Over the weekend my friend Derek Miller asked me (and several other authors he knows): If you’ve published a book, why, and how’d it go? which isn’t an unusual question for authors. I sometimes I wonder when people ask me “so how did you start writing books?” is a veiled “so how did any publisher in their right mind allow you to write books for them…”, but in all fairness the answer is simple:
They asked me.
Yep. In what would be a rather terrible BlogWorld expo in almost all other respects, my good friend Paul Chaney came up to me and said “I’ve told my publisher that you would be perfect to write their intro blogging book…” Within a few months I had the first advance cheque and contract from Pearson Technology Group for what would become Create Your Own Blog. The original title was: Blogging 101 From Start to Stardom, I kinda liked the original title (I came up with it), but the Create Your Own… is a Pearson/SAM’s series so I rolled with it.
The question of “how did it go?” is a lot harder. I enjoyed writing, but frankly I was a very typical first author. I got behind, I missed deadlines, I got writer’s block. At one point my editor offered me a co-author, but I was bound and determined to finish this book on my own. So after a “finish the damn book or else” ultimatum from my editor (who is awesome by the way, just so you don’t think otherwise), I finished the book last summer to have it come out (in print) this past January.
However, I do love writing books, so much so that I started Using WordPress before Create Your Own Blog was 100% complete (we were finishing final edits when I started working on the first drafts) just as Book Three is already underway before Using WordPress is complete (again, I’m in the final edits stage). What do I love about doing this? Here are (some) of the reasons:
- They pay me. Hey, not to be crass, but there are worse ways to earn a living than getting to do the stuff you love and get to write about it. For money.
- There is something about having a “book”. Yeah I know, it’s a tad on the egocentric side, but seeing my book on the shelf in the store was an amazing feeling. Sure I had hard copies and electronic versions already, but seeing it on the shelf made it “real” and cool.
- I love the challenge. Look, don’t get me wrong, writing books isn’t easy. Some nights a whole chapter come out in an evening. Other nights I can barely get a page out. But creatively. Yeah it’s a rush.
- I have more space than on a blog post. Sure, I could write longer and longer posts but having the space to just go at it and tackle everything is amazing. And hard. It’s taken a long time for me to realize that I can write more about a topic than a few sentences. I have time and space to go into detail.
I’m sure I could come up with more than four reasons, or even split all of those into a couple more, but honestly those are the big ones. And frankly they all sum up into one big one:
Because I can.
I wasn’t sure if I could pull off a book, much less a solo-authored book until I finished one (now nearly two). Now that I know I can do it, I don’t want to stop. I have at least one more book in my head in addition to Book Three, and that doesn’t count a second edition of Create Your Own blog and any other projects that come my way.
So, that’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it.
And writing it down.