From time to time in this space, Balboa Press publishes articles written by our authors in which they share some aspect of their self-publishing journeys. These are the words of Terry Sidford, author of One Hundred Hearts: Inspiring Stories from the Women who Lived Them.. For more information about Terry, check out her website. Download the Balboa Press free publishing guide to receive more information on self-publishing your book with Balboa Press.
How many of you are authors or always wanted to be an author? In my wildest dreams I never thought I’d be a professional writer. I’ve been a life coach for over 16 years and witnessed firsthand how amazing and courageous women are. This started me down a path of wanting to better understand the difference between women who come through difficult times stronger versus those who never move beyond their misfortunes.
My close friend Colleen suggested I write a book on the subject, and start by creating a survey that asked women to describe some of the most challenging times in their lives and how they coped with them. My first thought was, “She is out of her mind, I can’t write.” But on the other hand, there was a little voice in the back of my head that also said, “Why not? You can do this.”
This is when my journey of becoming an author began.
I started by creating a survey (just as Colleen had described) and emailed it to 100 of my female clients and friends. The surveys did not return as quickly as I anticipated. In fact, a few of them never came back at all. However, I wanted to get at least 100 completed surveys as the database for my book, so I asked friends and family to send the survey to other women they thought might be interested. It was a painstaking process, but I never gave up. I was persistent even when yet another voice would say, “Terry, this is crazy and too difficult.”
One year later I received my 100th survey!!!!!
Now it became real. I was excited and scared all at the same time, not knowing what to do next. I started contacting people whom I knew were authors, or who personally knew an author. I asked them questions and welcomed suggestions. I found a writer to help me form the outline for my book. I started calling self-publishing companies to find out the process of turning a manuscript into a book, and determined if that process would fit my needs. Balboa Publishing was a frontrunner, because most of their published books were in the same genre as my book. In the end, I choose Balboa Publishing because they appeared to offer everything I needed.
One year later, after many days of wanting to give up on my book, “One Hundred Hearts” was ready to be published. At this point, I thought writing the book was the most difficult part of the process. However, I was surprised to discover that editing held the most challenges. Luckily, the editing team at Balboa, as well as other amazing people in my camp, held my hand one step at a time until I felt good with the end product.
It was two years after the first thought of writing a book that I received an email from Balboa informing me my book was published. There are no words to describe the elation I felt. I have never been so proud of anything like this in my life. It was like deciding to complete a marathon, even though I had never run a day in my life. You research how to train, you train, and then at some point you are miraculously at the finish line looking back in disbelief. At the same time you are so proud of what you’ve accomplished.
Now the next step begins. Will people like my book? And how do I get it out there for people to read? Balboa has a complete marketing program to help you. Plus, there are also many resources available online that allow you to speak with other authors who self-published, so you can find out what worked for them.
In my case, the social media campaigns and my book signings have been particularly successful. Here are my successful tips to market your book:
1 – Use Barnes & Noble for book signings.
2 – Ask people for reviews on Amazon.
3 – Set up speaking engagements and sell your books.
4 – Use your book to support a nonprofit organization.
5 – Tell everyone you meet that you are a new author. People admire authors and love to support them.
6 – Be a guest for book clubs.
Many people have come up to me in such admiration about being an author. I asked them if they have ever thought about writing a book. Most of them said that they had. I encourage anyone who has considered writing to do it. Writing a book will be one of the best things you ever accomplish. Telling your story is such a liberating, creative experience. Had I not written “One Hundred Hearts” I would have never known the impact of my book on my life, as well as on the lives of others.
Everyone has a story to tell. Being an author is one way to make your mark on the world and get your message out to many people. I am thankful to everyone who supported me in this process, especially in those dark times when I wanted to give up. My advice is to keep moving forward one small step at a time and you will get there. The first step is to just write your thoughts down and believe you can keep going.
I hope this was a helpful inspiration to anyone who wants to be an author, and validating to those existing authors who can relate to the process.
Balboa Press authors who’d like to share a 350-600 word experience related to the self-publishing of their books, are invited to do so by sending a message through our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/BalboaPress, by tweeting us @BalboaPress, or by emailing blog@ balboapress.com. We may not be able to use every story, but we will read and consider them. Balboa Press reserves the right to edit stories for content, grammar and punctuation accuracy; as well as for space.