The Challenges of Writing a Book

In case you missed our big book launch this week, or our sneak peak at the first chapter, check them out first!

You want to know the most surprising thing about writing a book?  Writing it is the easy the part!  Seriously, 60,000 words or so actually isn’t that hard if you know where you’re going and how you want to get there.  The real problem is everything else and all of the time and energy it takes from the basic writing!

Publishing

Most people could probably write a book, but only a few people could likely get one published.  Justin and I looked into approaching the big boys of the publishing world with a proposal, but there were just so many things wrong with that picture.  First and foremost, I’m not a patient person, and the publishing business is notoriously slow.  It often takes publishing companies months to get back to you and that’s if they get back to you at all!  In the non-fiction genre, those precious months make it almost impossible to create a product that is new enough to be considered up-to-date.  Plus, I can be a bit of a control freak.  I hated the idea that publishers could simply tell me to change things – so we figured, who needs ‘em?  From what we read, most unknown authors have to do all their own marketing and convincing of stores to give them shelf space anyway.  We decided that giving up a massive percentage of anything we made on the book certainly wasn’t worth those headaches.  Consequently, we (and by “we” I mean Justin) set up our own publishing company and we did it everything ourselves.  That was actually a pretty cool experience all things considered.  We love having the ultimate level of control over our final product (although now that it is out there, I don’t think we would be averse to eventually working with a large scale publisher or distributor at some point).

Editing and “Writing Perfect”

When it actually came down to “putting pencil to paper” we found that writing wasn’t hard, but writing perfect is extremely difficult.  Editing was a truly humbling experience for us and gave us a new appreciation for just how complex the English language is.  I can’t imagine how people feel when they have to learn it as something other than their mother tongue!  Eventually, after roughly 1,999,999 rounds of editing you eventually come to the conclusion that it is nearly impossible to create a mistake-free document of that length.  That being said, I’m extremely confident with the final product we were able to put out there.

One thing Justin and I definitely would recommend is paying for some good help.  The freelance market is full of super talented people willing to work for very reasonable rates.  We crowdsourced our cover (which I can will unabashedly say is one of the coolest personal finance book covers ever created – even though that might be a little bit like being the tallest person in a Kindergarten class) and outsourced all of our editing and layout work.  Writing a book is a HUGE time commitment which you will almost assuredly get very little monetary gain from.  Our advice is to do everything you can to make it a little easier on yourself and get some semi-professionals to help you out with the stuff you’re not an expert at.  Just handling the online logistics of creating a publishing company, formatting the work, communicating with the printers, handling the shipping, and setting up the distribution is exhausting in and of itself.  The new markets set up for people to find a great person to do freelance work for them really benefit the employer.  Make use of this new labour movement in order to leverage your time wisely!  I think that principle could be applied to many other areas of life too actually.

Help Us Help Others!

So now comes maybe the hardest part of all – the marketing.  We’ve done some research on the topic and we think we sort of have our arms around it, but man it looks labour-intensive!  Luckily we’re aided by the fact that student debt and post-secondary education seem to be hot-button issues right now.  We’re counting on all of our great friends in the blogging universe to help us get some initial publicity momentum started (well that and the fact that we both have big French-Canadian families that will buy the book out of family loyalty as evidenced by our Facebook walls the past couple of weeks).  We’re hoping that we can eventually catch the attention of some even bigger media fish.  Justin and I are also hoping that if we can convince enough people to buy our book through Amazon (where I buy almost all of my books anyway) the “Big A” itself will help with our marketing efforts by recommending us to other people and just generally doing what that money-making machine does best.  We do know that this book is pretty unique and original and that there isn’t anything else like this on the market today.

Finally, the really hard part about trying to sell copies of a book written for 16-24 year olds, but one which will likely be purchased by 30-60 year olds, is that there are very few products that exist like that.  There is a reason for that – because marketing to those two demographics simultaneously is nearly impossible.  We chose to write More Money for Beer and Textbooks for students.  We tried to make it realistic, add a little humour, and tell some fun stories about booze and partying.  The challenge now becomes convincing aunts, uncles, older cousins, moms, dads, and older siblings, that a book with a mug of beer on the cover will actually help their child keep hard-earned cash in their pocket.  We’re sort of hoping that you all as our loyal readers help us out in this regard!  Justin and I are banking on the fact that money-savvy people out there will realize how important it is to not only get this information into the hands of young adults, but to get them to actually read it!  Keep a look out for us on other personal finance blogs, on the radio, and hopefully maybe in some of the major newspapers in the months to come.

Oh, and don’t forget about our giveaway this week! What’s the point of writing a book if you can’t be a little vain and give away a few FREE copies right? In addition to wanting to reward our loyal readers, we are obviously trying to maximize our modest marketing budget and are asking for your help in spreading the word about this great new resource.

To qualify for our draw, simply fill out the form below and then set about getting as many entries as you can.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Congrats! I’m sure you WILL make money with your book. I’m just in the concept phase on one I want to write. It’s interesting that you set up your own publishing company. Did you consider using print on demand companies for your hardcover books?

Hey Marie, we’re using a POD for the soft cover. We decided not to go the hardcover route at all actually. It’s not that hard to add that feature if we wanted to though.

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