Today’s featured debut author, Cathy Presland, wants to help you get your business up and running and has written a nonfiction book to show you how to do it.
Name of book: Get Momentum Guide to Starting a Business: 30 Days to Turn Your Inspiration to Income
Book genre: Nonfiction/Business & Entrepreneurship
Date published: January 2012
Publisher: Self-published with BookBaby
What is your day job? I run my own business – author, speaker and mentor to inspired entrepreneurs.
What is your book about? How to start a business. I wanted to take what can be a very overwhelming process and break it down into straightforward steps that guide a new entrepreneur through the essentials. My aim was to help readers get their business up and running quickly. And start making income – this bit was important because I found that new business owners who don’t make an income very quickly get very disheartened. I’m sure it’s the same for authors who don’t sell. We lose confidence, and that can stop us from doing the things that matter to get our products out there.
Why did you want to write this book? I had been teaching this material and wanted to get it out to more people in an accessible form. And partly it was simply wanting to write a book. There’s still something magical about it, even if it’s only an e-pub right now.
What would you say is the most challenging part of writing a book? For me, it’s definitely the editing, just the idea that I have to read through those 40,000 words and make them better – although I find that the idea is always worse than the reality. If I chunk it down, it’s not too bad. One section or one chapter. But if I didn’t have to do it at all… that would be perfect!
What kind of research did you conduct in order to write this book? The book was a couple of years in gestation. I’d been mentoring women entrepreneurs, and this came out of my experiences with them. You know that when you find yourself going over the same ground and repeating the same message that there’s something that needs to be said.
What motivates you to write? I need to communicate. I need to talk. I need to teach. I have such a desire to make the journey easier or more fulfilling or just “better.” I think that’s what motivates most of us in business.
Did you experience writer’s block? No, not really. I think I might have had editor’s block at a few points along the way, though. I definitely had to “force” myself just to open up the document and go back over it. This book is pretty structured, and I think that makes it easier to just go in and write or edit a chunk. For me, I think I would find it harder to write fiction. But, then again, I am quite structured, so even with fiction I can imagine a whole lot of post-it notes or whiteboard sketches with my plotlines and characters.
How long did it take you to write this book? Five weeks. Well, kind of. I already had some of the material in the form of training – Powerpoint slides, etc. But from the decision to create the book to the point of a final draft, it took five weeks.
Tell me about the self-publishing process. Was it easier or more difficult than you thought it would be? Oh, very easy. I commissioned my own cover from 99designs. I know I could get a better cover, but with e-pubs it’s so easy to change those things that I decided to publish with that cover and change at a future point. Choosing a cover was a real experience. I had a small focus group, and I think every person in the group had a different opinion on my short-list of covers. With an e-pub, the layout is very simple, so I did the formatting myself. Then I sent to BookBaby, and they did the rest.
What would you say is the biggest misconception about writing a book? Time, definitely. And that links to our belief about what a “book” is. I thought I would write a book “someday,” but I was fixed with the idea that a book needed to be 400 pages, with years of research. A bit like a Ph.D. And mine certainly isn’t that. It’s a much simpler how-to guide. But once I started to look at what people were actually reading, I shifted my belief, and it made the whole process much easier and, of course, shorter.
What was your favorite aspect of the writing process for this book? I love the idea of creation, deciding what I want to say, how I want to say it, what new ideas I can bring in. I love that whole creative process.
What tools/methods have you employed to promote your book? One part of my strategy has been to choose a title that does what it says. I know it isn’t the most creative, but I want to show up when people are searching for something specific inside Amazon. (I realize that fiction authors can’t really do this, but there are other things, like choosing categories, that help people find your material.)
Tell me about your second book, which came out just this month. Yes, the writing bug definitely took hold! That one came again out of a conversation with someone who was asking me for advice on getting found on the internet. So when I realized how much I had to say, I decided to write it down and put it out there.
My favorite last question: Oprah once famously said that there is no such thing as luck, without preparation and a moment of opportunity. Would you agree or disagree with regard to your own success as a writer? Totally agree. Well, almost. Maybe 90 percent agree. I think that for the 10 percent there is a coincidence of timing that we can’t always predict. For authors, I think that comes down to practical and real commitments: “I am going to write my book by August.” Now post it on Facebook. Tell your friends. You’ll be more likely to commit to the process. And, of course, you’re more likely to complete the process. It’s not (just) about luck.