For the last year, I’ve been working on a book entitled No Matter What. It releases on April 29, 2014. It’s a book written to my three children, knowing others would listen in. I thought I’d write a series of posts about the book-writing, publishing and selling process, to let you in on how things really work for me.
Many people want to write a book, get published, or share an important message. And I know the publishing world can be very confusing. So my hope here is to pull back the curtain on how this process went for just one guy.
I have self published a couple of books before, but in 2013, I knew I wanted to write another one.
Step 1: Decide what to write.
You might have something burning inside of you, but my problem is focus. I love all kinds of topics from church to faith to business. So narrowing down a topic is hard for me. Heck, I even struggle with that on this blog, which is why there are posts for church leaders and business people.
I’ve sketched detailed book outlines for three or four books from all kind of genres, but what should I do next? Do I write a book about public speaking? Do I write about my story? Should I write about the business strategy we executed that landed us on the Inc 5000 list?
Too many options was paralyzing…I needed to focus. These questions helped me get started.
- What message is burning inside me?
- Where to I have uncommon expertise?
- What experiences do I have?
- What do I want people to know and do?
- What do I want to talk about for a year or more?
One of the things I messed up pastoring Oak Leaf Church was focusing on the church instead of my family. It led to a slew of problems. So over the last three years, I’ve gotten more intentional in this area. I realized that it didn’t matter if I was a successful pastor or business leader if my kids grew up to hate the church. My pastor, Andy Stanley said this in a message: Don’t give up what only you can do for what anyone else can do. Anyone else could run a business, but nobody else could be dad to my kids.
Last year, my oldest daughter turned 12 and entered middle school. And my youngest started first grade. I’ve realized more and more that my time with them at home is fading. There are things I wanted to teach them before they graduated from high school, and I didn’t have unlimited time to teach those lessons. Sure, they would learn a lot by just being around us – it really is caught more than it is taught. But I wanted to crystalize something. When they were older, I wanted them to say, “My dad always said…”
So while I love church and business and faith, I decided to focus on project any agent would hate. I decided to write a book for my three kids. Not about my kids…for my kids. They wouldn’t just be mentioned in the introduction or dedication, they would be the subject of the entire book.
The principles I wanted to teach would be the chapter titles. The illustrations would be stories from my life.
If nobody buys this book, it will be the most important thing I’ve written. If I spend all the time and money and never break even, the investment into their life will be worth it.
Because it’s for my kids. You just get to read over my shoulder.
Next up in this series: Outlining, Writing the Rough Draft and deciding how to publish.