Lise Cartwright talked about "How I personally wrote 14 books in the last 10 months & built an e-book business of $3,000-$4,000/month, all from scratch". It was a very lively session and her enthusiasm for what she does showed at all times.
As the title indicates, this was a webinar focused on her personal experience.
How does she go about writing a book or a series of books? She mindmaps her ideas for each book on paper for 2-3 days, groups them together, outlines the book based on the mindmap and then expands the ideas, in other words, starts writing. She writes series of ten relatively short books, because she likes to consume quickly - read a book in 2 hours, for example. That preference influences her writing, which is also a fast process.
She had an editor for her first book and recommends having one. She made sure everything made sense, so whenever she had gaps, she'd research to learn about it. It took her two and a half weeks to write the 30.000-word book. She only read it through once when it came back from the editor. She did a short pre-launch based on a 30-subscriber email list (what she had at the time) and then published it in 7 days. Why so fast? Since there never seems to be a perfect time to publish, she followed Chandler Bolt's advice, "Done is better than perfect".
How did she write her next books?
She wrote, published and launched one book a week for 3 weeks and felt brain dead. So she gave up the launch part of the three-part process.
It took her about 8-9 hours to do the first draft. Then she self-edited it and handed it over to the editor. Between the cover, a title, creating a freebie and a landing page plus writing, self-editing and re-reading it once when it got back from the editor it took her more or less 20 hours a week.
Lessons she learned from this process:
- it's possible to write a book in a very short period of time as long as you have a good outline, a checklist of everything you have to do and you do not deviate from this
- write, launch and publish in one week all by yourself doesn't work and you can't do everything "well"; something's going to suffer
- let go of the launch and opted for quality of the writing
- a good (copy) editor is a key element in the whole process.
Her writing changed with this series. She goes straight to the point - "no fluff" -, writes in a conversational tone and isn't academic.
All her books are published as e-books and traditional print books.
She loves the idea of "done is better than perfect" and "taking imperfect action", because nothing has to be perfect. Self-publishing online is great, because it means that you can change, tweak and upload again.
Parting advice for people thinking of writing their first book:
- do it
- don't overthink it
- don't spend too much time (in your head) talking your self out of it.
I relate 100% to Lise's conversational style. Though I've written three academic books (two ed tech books and a pronunciation e-dictionary), I never adopted the traditional academic style. Never the "we" instead of "I"! It was me writing the book, not co-authoring it. Why "we"??!! And I loved to give examples of my own experience whenever appropriate.
I couldn't write a book a week. It would definitely be too exhausting. I'm not in my twenties, thirties or forties, so my energy isn't as it used to be, though my enthusiasm for writing is. And I don't need to press things on me and stress myself to that point. But that's a personal choice, of course.
This summit is giving me such interesting writing experiences! I try to listen to one-two webinars a day and then summarize the ideas. I think I do more than this, but I'm enjoying it.
Thanks for a pleasant webinar, Lise!