What’s the hardest thing, the easiest thing, the most fun thing, the most frustrating and maddening thing about being an author?
Maybe you’ve thought of writing a book yourself and have wondered about this. Maybe you want to write a memoir or lessons life has taught you. Maybe you have an area of expertise you’d like to write about. If you have a question, feel free to post it in the comments. Meanwhile, some of my random thoughts on the topic…
The easiest thing about being an author is getting the idea. People get excited about their ideas. But having a big idea isn’t enough. You’ve got to take the next step and start writing. I start my writing by creating an outline. Not a formal outline with Roman numerals and letters. My outline consists of a list of chapters with bullet points under each one on my talking points.
Next comes research, and I’m not talking about doing a Google or Bing search. That’s not research. If you simply regurgitate what’s already been published on the Internet, readers will quickly kill your book by posting reviews that say, “You can get all this info for free on the Internet.”
For Repair Your Credit Like the Pros, I conducted many interviews. I interviewed top successful credit repair business owners who had been doing the work for over 10 years. I interviewed top executives at Fannie Mae. I interviewed top executives at the credit bureaus themselves, Experian and TransUnion. I spoke with employees at American Credit Reporting. This is in addition to my own personal experience working in the industry.
For Get the Mortgage You Want Like the Pros, I got copies of the underwriting guidebooks by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, FHA, etc. Each of these are over 1,100 pages long. In addition, I spoke with loan officers from different parts of the country and underwriters. I also called on my own 23 years’ experience in the mortgage business.
The one thing I did NOT do was read other people’s books and copy them. If you do that, you’re not being an author, you’re writing a school report — and you had better cite your sources.
The Most Fun Part
I love the actual writing where I get to express my thoughts and let my voice come through the information. That’s fun. But the most rewarding part is when I hear from my readers. The many emails thanking me for writing the book or for changing their lives is why I work so hard to deliver quality content.
The Hardest Part
For a book to be successful, you’ve got to get lots of 5-star and 4-star reviews on Amazon. That’s the hard part, because only about 10 percent of people who buy a book will leave a review. The big New York publishers give away dozens, if not hundreds, of books to get early reviews. I tried giving away a dozen books (which I have to pay for) on a previous book in exchange for an honest review, whether good or bad; but even though people are happy to get a free book, they won’t necessarily write a review, so I decided not to do that again.
Instead, I just wait for reviews to come in — and that’s really hard. Take my new book, for example. Several hundred have sold, but there are only two reviews so far. So it’s the waiting… and hoping someone will write another review. You can see what I’m talking about here.
The Most Frustrating, Maddening Part
When you spend hundreds to thousands of hours creating an original work and create a title no one has published before, and then someone comes along and copies your title and produces a crummy knock-off, that really gets to me. But then I have to realize it happens to the big NY bestselling authors too, and that those copycat-posers soon fade away, because after their mother and five BFFs give them 5 stars, it never does sell much after that. It’s easy to see, and easy to see why.
But sometimes, I’ve had to go a step further. I had to hire an intellectual property attorney because someone was reselling my original letters, which is a copyright violation and a crime — and theft is never okay.
The Best Part of Being an Author
My greatest thrill came when I walked into the University Bookstore on the campus of Columbia University in New York City, and there on the bookshelf was my very first book for sale! (That was Mortgage Ripoffs and Money Savers, which is now outdated and has been replaced by Get the Mortgage You Want Like the Pros.) That was bigger to me than seeing it in my local Barnes and Noble. I’ll never forget that joyful moment.
With me at the time was a lovely woman who lives in and ministers in one of the dangerous ghettos in New York. (A few days prior, a gang shooting had occurred outside her apartment building.) She saw my book on the shelf and she shared in my joy. Then she said something really cute.
She said, “I’m surprised the employees here didn’t make a fuss over you when you walked in the door, seeing that you’re an author and all.” I chuckled. Well, there are more than 50,000 books in this bookstore, so I’m just one small fish in this ocean. But a very, very honored and happy fish!!!