I was thrilled to be asked to write a little blog about my book ‘Thrive with the Hive’, well, not about the book itself, but more about my self-publishing journey, which seemed such a long time ago. I have to say I had to sit down for a couple of hours to actually try to re-trace what was the journey about.
Before moving back to Jersey, officially 16 years ago, I travelled quite a lot, leaving my beautiful France, I worked in America, Jersey, and in England for several years, doing what I have always done since leaving catering school, working in Hospitality.
I guess when people ask me why I started writing a book, the main reason was that I felt during my travels, working with incredible people, I learned so much and I had so many ideas, training exercises, stories to tell in my head, I wanted to put some order in my head by putting all those ideas into a well organised place. That way I could find things, use them easily and then the thought came to me, if I was to write a book, not only could I use it but I could also share my knowledge with others.
There were three instrumental people who gave me confidence to start the book, first my business coach, who basically kicked me in the backside and said get on and do it, let go of the fear of failure, the fear of writing and get on with it. Richard Rolfe who, directed me to how to do it and said if he can do it, so can I. And Simon Brown who actually showed me the system he was using and introduced me to Leanpub.com.
So, I was off, I went onto Leanpub.com which is on online platform, I logged in, created a new book, received a file in Dropbox, and was ready to start. Wow, just as simple as that? Yes, just as easy as that, however to enable Leanpub.com to actually format your pages as you go along, you just need to learn a little about Markdown. Markdown is the simplest way to format books so they’ll look good in multiple and competing e-book formats.
I had an idea of what I wanted to write about but it was all over the place. A good thing to do before you start writing is actually create a mind map of your chapters, what content, what title, what pictures you are going to use. It’s the quickest way to get your plan in place.
Whilst I was writing, I also worked with a marketing agency to help me with the title of the book, the front cover and the synopsis of the book. I knew I wanted to sell the book at some stage so all this had to be done professionally. We looked at things such as a catchy title and also a bright cover that can be seen in the middle of 100 of other books. Knowing what I know now, I would also recommend to get your back cover done too as you will need it if you get your hard copies of your book printed.
Almost 3 years later, I finally decided I needed to finish the book by the end of 2015 and the last few steps went pretty quickly and almost all at once. Being French editing the book was a must and I have been very lucky to have the support of an editor who had the task to read through 418 pages.
The book was almost finished, I thought it would be a great idea to get a couple of celebrity endorsements, and was again very lucky to have two customer service experts to give me a recommendation. Once this was done the price structure had to be worked out so it could be sold in different countries and as an e-book. And then it was time to upload a pdf version of the book on lulu.com, an online publisher. The process also included the creation of my own ISBN which is the barcode at the back of the book used by retailers so they can scan the book, and then I pressed the published button… this was a scary and thrilling experience.
Incredibly, two days later, the books were in Jersey. When they were delivered I felt like a kid opening a Christmas present, wow, the book was so big, so bright, such an amazing feeling to hold your book, you definitely need to try it!
But the journey didn’t stop there, I went to local retailers and managed to get ‘Thrive with the Hive’ on WH Smith’s and Waterstones’ shelves. The Chamber of Commerce and Coco Rico also agreed to sell some copies for me and you can now find it at the Jersey Library.
Marketing and promoting the book is so important if you want to get your name out there. Lulu.com does send your book to all platforms such as Amazon, Goodreads and other online book sellers but local marketing has to be managed. Creating summaries for each chapter and create lots of PR around the launch with radio interviews, papers articles.
I guess the journey has only just started, next I want to use the book as a big business card, enabling me to inspire much bigger audiences and become a Buzzational speaker, showing ways to buzz, help businesses to thrive by delivering buzzworthy customer service.
But I tell you what, if I can do it, so can you… what are you waiting for??