The Two Most Important Steps to Take Before You Write Your Book

Back when I worked a standard, unfulfilling job, I’d never entertained the thought of writing for a living. Then one day, copywriting appeared on my radar. I thank my lucky stars for that on a daily basis, for two reasons:

Mindy McHorse

  1. Copywriting is the easiest way to make a lot of money fast as a writer.
  2. Copywriting is the key to making a lot of money as a book author.

I already know for a fact #1 is true, since I’ve enjoyed a healthy copywriting business for the past seven years.

As for #2, this is the year I plan to put it to the test. I have yet to write a book of my own, but assuming I can pull that off …

Then my training as a copywriter has already taught me what I need to know to launch, market, and profit from writing a book – in other words, I have nearly all the tools I need to self-publish. (Note: Self-publishing just means you publish and promote something independently, at your own expense. If you do it right, you profit independently as well!)

If you’re reading this, it’s fair to assume you’d like to write for a living (or you already do!).

And someday, you might want to write a book. When you do, self-publishing may be the best option for you.

This week, I’m going to shed some light on the world of self-publishing and why it might be the writing opportunity you’ve been waiting for. I’ll show you how to get started in self-publishing, set up your marketing platform, and establish a long-term income funnel as a writer.

But first, let’s talk more about writing books.

Because here’s the thing about writing a book: We all secretly want to do it.

And, why wouldn’t we? It’s an accomplishment. It’s a mighty undertaking that wins you nods at dinner parties. It also makes you look like an expert on your subject matter. It lands you titles like New York Times Best-Selling Author. And, it could make you RICH.

So, how come we’re not all busting through the gates of Published Authordom?

Simple. Until now, it’s been a darn confusing path to navigate. Plus, it’s a path that, until now, was riddled with negative potholes.

Note the key words there – until now.

Let me make one thing clear: The self-publishing industry on the whole has undergone an entire overhaul. Gone are the days when popular opinion assumed those who self-publish were vain or bad at writing (or both). Printing your own book is no longer stigmatized.

On the same note, gone are the days when the hallowed path to Book Writer had to be co-blazed by an agent and an editor. Which is a good thing, since landing both an agent and an editor continues to be challenging at best.

But, even with the stigma gone, writers are holding out on their book-authoring dreams through self-publishing for three reasons:

  1. The initial challenge of actually writing a book
  2. Figuring out editing and formatting
  3. Getting it into the hands of eager readers who not only pay for your book but lavish you with praise and five-star reviews

Fortunately, I’ve got some excellent strategies to share with you this week to help you plow through all three hurdles.

But, I need you to do two things:

First, figure out what kind of book you most want to write. For example, you could write:

  • A fiction book that challenges you creatively
  • A how-to book that showcases your knowledge about something
  • A topic-focused book that positions you as an expert
  • A memoir you prize for posterity
  • A book of poetry that satisfies your artistic side
  • A children’s book you can share with younger generations
  • A short story collection that pulls together your works from years’ past
  • A travel-focused book that chronicles adventures to be had around the world

Pick one. If you want to write more than one, terrific! But let’s just start with one for now.

Second, make the life-improving decision that you’ll write a book this year. Commit to it. Vow you’ll do it. Tell everybody, and tell them what you’re going to write. (Tell me!)

Tomorrow, I’ll be back to talk about how to set up your marketing platform and why it’s something you should do even before you write your book.

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Published: April 27, 2015

27 Responses to “The Two Most Important Steps to Take Before You Write Your Book”

  1. This is exactly why I got into this program. I had just finished writing my first book and gone through the first personal editing run, sent it out to my brother's editor friend for review and started submitting queries to agents when I received the e-mail about the Accelerated Program. I figured not only would it help me get by for what was sure to be an extensive publishing period but the program might help me towards that end.


  2. Looking forward to your series Mindy. I have written one book - released in 2013 - and it was a great experience. I am currently putting together my second book.

    I'm a total diy'er, so I did all the formatting (for print and Kindle) myself and I bought my ISBN. This made the project longer than if I'd hired people to do it, but now I have some new skills.

    I did hire an editor to put a second set of eyes on the book, and that really helped give another point of view. She asked questions I hadn't thought of.

    Wes Fahlenkamp

  3. My paranormal romance, The Vampire Girl Next Door, was a finalist in the 2014 Readers' Favorite Books Awards contest and listed as a Notable Book Page-Turner in the Shelf Unbound Writing Competition. I'm now writing the sequel. I promote the novel through book signings, advertising in Shelf Unbound online book review magazine, and my website, thevampiregirlnextdoor dot com I'm hoping that money I'll make through copywriting will allow me to afford more promotion of my novel.

    Writer Richard

  4. I have muddled through all the holes to get a book self-published. That was 2 years ago. I have only sold a handful of copies. I am very interested in the marketing part. I don't have the capital to store 1000's of copies to do book signings or to get on the distributions lists for big box stores.


  5. Hi, Mindy, I'm already in the process, I wrote a fiction book which is waiting for proofreading, and I had self published "Polo the little chicken" but I have only sold 5 books, there's still a huge amount of marketing work to do with it. Please share with us your knowledge and expertise. 😃


  6. I self-published a romantic/paranormal/historical novel (The Forgotten Promise) a couple of years ago. Since then I have sold some copies via Amazon (gaining several 5-star reviews), the self-publisher's website, my own website (www dot kateryder dot me) and at literary festivals and events, plus local bookshops, etc. I am just finishing my second novel and would like to get both books in front of a wider audience. I am eager to learn more about the marketing side and also converting into eBook.

    Kate Ryder

  7. Your article is always!

    What I thought was really funncy is that right after receiving your email on "self-publishing" I received the following email from Bob Bly (yes...I'm on his list too!):

    "7 reasons not to self-publish" in which he starts out: "...Because I can think of at least 7 additional advantages of traditional publishing over self-publishing..."

    Just thought the timing was impeccable!

    I'm sure AWAI doesn't check with Bob for coordinating your posting calendars!;-) LOL!


  8. the timing of this post is crucial for me. I am about to put my money towards paying to have a book proposal professionally done, and this 'self-publishing' idea yet again rears its ugly head to confuse me again. the thing is that I have written my book, but I really want to write, write write for a living so I signed up for the accelerated program in the interim. I am now eager to see if based on what I hear tomorrow if I will change my mind.. again.


  9. Hi Mindy, I have written a book I published about the Suhoor of Ramadhan. It is a book on fasting. I sold a few and have one copy left. Before the final product was finished, the steps to the end was work. I committed to and made my intentions for the purpose of the book. With the help of friends, pictured recipes, editing, binding was given to help in the completion of the book. I now have decided to expand the book for the general public. I intend to keep you updated. Chow.

    Aunti Vi

  10. Two years ago, I completed the Accelerated Program. Though I didn't pursue a career in the field, I did some paid writing on line. My passion was always books, to read and to write. The program helped me to go for it and take the plunge to self publish.In the meantime I have two published illustrated children books. Promotion is the key but it's also very time consuming. I'm at present working on an adult novel. Thank you for the article.

    Christina Steiner

  11. I'm interested... initially (impulsively) started compiling my true stories about training my therapy dog.

    After just a bit of research (totally drenched with cold water), I opted out. That was almost two years ago.

    I'm again interested... 80 plus short stories need to be edited.

    Joseph Lacey

  12. Hi Mindy,

    I've just completed TWO fictional books that I've yet to self edit, but I have self published them both though. Looking forward to your self publishing articles series on this subject, as I sure could use a lot of assistance. Also have a few of AWAI's programs as well. Might even also try to attend Bootcamp this year. Fingers crossed on that one!

    Kimberly Smith

  13. Hello Mindy I've already started writing my non-fiction book on forgiveness and the process I took when forgiving my alcholic father. Looking forward to your advice.
    PS I'm also going to start the Accelerated Copywriting Class once I finish my online writing course.

    Dawn S

  14. great idea mindy my story, my book- the philosopher in exile growing up in san francisco 1949-1974 growing weird in san francisco 1974-1994 we threw the baby out with the bathwater 1994-2014 and Senior Moments 2015-to stardust again (what could be better than a second childhood as a flower child once again?!)

    that's my story and i'm stickin' to it!


  15. I am ready to get the book that I started, two years ago, finished and published! It's been my dream for as long as I can remember and I keep procrastinating. My book is about several women at a crossroads whose paths collide at different times. Fiction, definitely. I'm excited for your series this week.


  16. Thanks for the great article. This is the year I'm going to finish my memoir.

    Daniel G Taylor

  17. Hi Mindy, just letting you know i am slowly writing a book about life, from life as a kid and through to now, regards Dave E

    Dave E Australia

  18. Perfect timing Mindy!

    I will be writing a book this year, I have decided to self-publish, so I'm researching the many paths available to new authors.

    I'm excited to tune-in to your series this week!

    Jeff Klaubert

    Jeff Klaubert

  19. I have wanted to write a book since I was 10! I finally started a fiction murder mystery a couple of years ago, but I've only got about 75 pages written... now I have the bright idea (or crazy idea!) to write a non-fiction book about the psychology of chronic illness. I've been distracted from the book writing though by trying to get into copywriting as a means to live the writer's life.

    Guest (Linley A)

  20. What impeccable timing for this post Mindy! I just completed my first book and am about to release it. I'm looking forward to your insight on the marketing end of things.

    Guest (Melanie Fischer)

  21. HI Mindy, I love you article and am looking to make a living as a writer, so far I have written 2 Science Fiction novels and are at least a chapter or two in to two other novels and look forward to being published and make a living as a copie writer as well, thanks for your article.

    Guest (Adonlee)

  22. Actually Mindy, I've already self published one book. I have my first novel at first draft status and dreading the rewrite. I have about 5-6 other books and projects in their early stages. I just need the time to write. That's why I'm doing this course so I can support my writing habit.

    Guest (Leo Sandy)

  23. Hi Mindy,

    Thanks so much for this series. After a terrible winter and a very full spring, this is the year I am getting my Delta Shadows series launched! I moved here to be able to do the needed research and now it's time to bring that all together. Looking forward to seeing what you have planned coming up :)

    Guest (Wendy Strain)

  24. I am mainly a Poet (one self-published) and Lyricist, with several works in the hopper. I also write in other genres: adult, children, and SciFi - with several (over fifty at last count) novels or collections of short stories. I have been blessed with a highly active and involved teenage boy, and a supportive partner who also writes. Yet I can not find the allotted time in which I can focus on my craft. Can you offer some helpful advice to do so? Thanks Taylor

    Guest (Taylor Ramey)

  25. Mindy, Back in 2007 I had a pay - for- publish book entitled "The Coming Age and other poems published by Watermark press. I also have (unfortunately) several versions of fiction books I`ve been been working on for a long time (ie years). I also have a number of unpublished poems.


  26. Mindy, I am currently about three-weeks in doing the Accelerated Copy writing Course. But my love and passion is fiction writin. I have completed my first novel and had a lot of rejections and is now working on my second novel. I'm glad to learn that the stigma of self-publishing has diminished. I'm thinking of taking the Romance Novel Course to fuel my passion for fiction writing. Do you think I make a living from that? I'd like your feedback. Thanks.

    Mary E

  27. Hi Mindy - I am writing a book this year and it's about surving military deployments from the spouse (dependant)perspective back home. It's personal, being a retired Navy wife myself. I realized I can share what I wish I could have read during those times in my life. I'm excited! I'm doing the Accelerated Copywriting program at the same time. Maybe too much, but I'm focused and making good strides on both fronts. I truly enjoy reading your articles. So helpful!!!


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