April 29th – 21 days into the challenge and I’ve got a lot of catching up to do. If you are following along by email update here is what has happened thus far.
I was supposed to have my first Mindfulness book published on Amazon on the 15th of April. (2 weeks ago…AHEM. Fail #1)
I wrote it in less than a week (about 5 days of 2000 words a day) using the content cornerstone approach (a master outline that I’ve described and demonstrated in length over the years)
What happened next?
This is sort of where the disappointment, detour and do-over comes into place.
– I asked a few of my current friends and clients to read the just about finished product, and do light editing on my notoriously bad grammar.
Out of 4 people who had access to the pre-published copy – 1 loved it and 3 didn’t.
The problem is, the 1 who loved it was Me.
The 3 that didn’t were the people i was writing for.
(my “ideal audience” of people who were interested in mindfulness but didn’t quite know what it was in a conventional sense)
I was going to go ahead and publish it anyway, and just chalk it up to the fact that everyone knows 3 people who have bad taste in poetic and powerful prose and just remove all 3 people from my phone and Facebook friends list.
(Note: This is something you have to be willing to do when asking friends for input, it’s important to pick people that if they offer unexpected negative feedback, you can think of good reasons that you don’t want to be friends with them anymore and then hug it all out with your shrink later)
But, then, as the gods of chance and circumstance would have it, i got one piece of feedback that was one bridge too far on the self publishing totem pole of self restraint.
“I don’t know…..i like it, but it feels too Deepak”
And if there is anything I’m 100% sure of in this life, it’s that I don’t want my books on mindfulness, meditation and “secular spirituality” to be a poor persons version of Deepak Chopra’s word salad of new age nuttiness.
It’s not that I don’t like Deepak – I actually do – I have seen him speak multiple times and he can be very entertaining.
It’s just that I rarely understand a word he’s saying…..mostly because he just strings together lots of long sentences and with multi syllable sounds and unfurls them on those of us who are less literate than he is in the domain being described, which for me….raises a giant red flag that tramples on my trust.
And that’s the antithesis of what I’m trying to do here – I want this to start with basic, beginners level stuff that people of all types and stripes and across a spectrum of beliefs can immediately use to improve their lives in powerful, profound and measurable ways.
So I decided to scrap (at least temporarily) a whole weeks worth of work and start again, with a brand new book….and a hyper simplified strategy for making sure that I was writing something that people really wanted to read.
Here is what I did (and am still doing) next.
1- I’m re-writing the book as a Q and A. Question and Answer format is probably my own favorite way for learning something new, and It’s the absolute EASIEST way to write (for me at least) as well.
2- Here is a video that describes a very simple strategy for writing an ebook really, really fast that I posted years ago, that describes the Q and A process really well.
(and this was the basis of my own “content cornerstone” over aching outline approach that I’m still using, and have shared with well over ten thousand of people over the last 3 or 4 years as well)
3- I have a very small list of mindfulness oriented “marketers” on an existing list (about 150 people) and I emailed them to ask what they’re biggest questions, conundrums, confusions or challenges about learning mindfulness, living mindfully, and applying these ideas into their own lives on a daily basis as well.
About 15 people responded, and out of those responses, I formulated 50 questions that I’m going to be answering in the book, and as more come in, I’ll add to this number as well. (I’d like to have “101” questions for the title because I think it will improve sales, but I’m not going to sweat it or worry or procrastinate until i get it the perfect number to publish.
Other unexpected detours…….
The other big thing that has been played a big part in dragging my feet with all of this is a personal one.
My parents just sold the home I grew up in, and my sisters and I have been taking turns helping clear the house of mothballs and memories, and doing our best to help them get settled in their new home at the Jersey shore.
So about a week ago, I headed up to NJ from south Florida, where I’ve been doing my best to convince my mom and dad that lugging (yet another) bookshelf/bed/armoire/end table/sofa/ from 1982 from one house to the next was a bad idea for both my back, and for their beach decor.
I’ve also learned that my father might be guest starring on an upcoming episode of the show “Hoarders”, but that’s a different story for a different blog.
(Dad – please don’t pack another box of polyester plaid pants from 1981 and 80 pound CRT monitor from when Bill Gates had hair. No, Dad……I promise……they aren’t worth anything on Ebay)
So that’s been a challenge. (no pun intended 🙂
But make no mistake, there is a lot going on behind the scenes, and progress delayed is not progress denied.
I will have (or be directly involved with) 52 unique products, sites, services or offers completed in 52 weeks…including a few community sites that will benefit everyone who is following along here.
I have a few updates to post today and tomorrow with regard to some of the specifics, including some of the different ideas and approaches I’m pondering when it comes to creating COMMUNITIES to help promote all of this new content- example earnings screenshots from my existing (April 2015) Amazon authors account on the OLD books i published a few years ago (so you can see where I’m at now……and you’ll be able to compare that number to where this is going as well) and a whole bunch of other kick butt resources for building buzz for your books, brand, blog and business…….regardless of where You are starting, or caught standing, right now.
Also, when it comes to the PUBLISHING piece of this puzzle (e.g. – the writing of books)this is HUGELY important to understand and to fully embrace down to the soles of your feet.
I’m not worried, nor should you be worried about writing Shakespearean literature.. This is not about perfection, or poetry, or prose that would make your English teacher smile. For me….it’s about authenticity, and sharing a slender shred of my own story, my own experience and expertise, in a way that brings insight, inspiration, information and empowerment to others.
I want to communicate important ideas that I think will help people.
I don’t care what you know, or what sort of life you are living, you have a story to share that can help others through the experience and authority of having lived it. As long as my ideas are communicated clearly, I don’t care so much (anymore) about how “correctly” they appear on paper or pixel.
The secret to Amazon’s amazing, unprecedented success with their publishing platform is that they’ve opened it up to everyone.
Amazon has democratized the publishing process.
Anyone who wants their words out in the world can quickly, easily and affordably self publish on the LARGEST platform in the world, without outside arbiter to “approve” of your work. (barring the very infrequent Amazon rejection of course for a TOS violation or a book being unreadably bad in some way that no one reading this will probably write)
For better or for worse, you are the only person that decides whether your work is worthy of being read.
For many of us with a story to tell, but no pedigree in publishing….this is a life changing opportunity.
We are living through a most magical time to be an author, artist or creative, and who knows how long this wonderful window stays ajar.
Forget about having some agent, or outside arbiter giving you permission to publish.
You don’t need anyone to tell you that you can.
You don’t need validation, or even an audience.
The only thing required is courage – and a willingness to tell your story with a whole heart. (and that’s not really required either, it just helps to do it well.
When I published my first book on Amazon, (a book i’ve long since removed) someone said – “I felt like I needed a shower after reading this”.
The truth is, i laughed about it in public…..but deep down, where it matters most, it hurt.
It stung. Because I wanted everyone to be affected by my work for the good….and I really never considered that there would be people who scoffed at my stuff.
I used to have imaginary conversations in my head with people who said nasty, unflattering or what I considered to be unwarranted critiques.
And no matter how many others voted with shiny stars of approval, it was only the ugly words I remembered then, and still remember now.
I wish I could tell you that I’m attack proof – or review proof – or troll proof now.
I do drink more, which helps.
But I know things I write will be publicly maligned by those with better spellcheckers than I, or who own thicker thesauruses or are gifted with more astute instincts when it comes to putting pen to paper (or pixel).
But I no longer let it stop me – or slow me down an inch or iota.
Or rob me of my willingness to be courageous…and put work out into the world that inspires others to improve their lives and dance in the direction of their own dreams.
With that as my guide – I can’t lose.
And so too won’t you.
So even if you aren’t sure you can…….feel the fear – dance with doubt and disappointment if you must – but embrace your muse.
In the end, I can tell you from experience, it’s the hug you will remember most.
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