Derek Olsen is the creator of the online financial website Beatnik Budget and is author Four Week Financial Turnaround his first self-published book which became #1 in the budgeting category on Amazon. Along with his wife Carrie, they have produced an audiobook It Takes a Village to Write a Book and written their latest book out this month called From Your Head to Your Hands – How to Write, Self-Publish, and Launch Your Book. Derek was kind enough to answer a few questions about his self-publishing writing process.
1. Did you always know you would write a book? I started out as a financial coach. I would meet with people one-on-one and help them organize their money. One day I looked at all the materials and worksheets that I used during my coaching sessions and thought to myself, “Hey, this could be organized into a book! Then I can sell the book to people I am not able to meet with face to face.” That is how the idea for the book came to me.
2. What made you take the first step down the road to authorship? At first I had no idea if self-publishing was even an option. I thought publishing your own book was something that wasn’t available to someone like me. After reading about self-publishing and how much easier it has become, I was encouraged. That same year I went to Dan Miller’s Write to the Bank Live Event. Mr. Miller no longer hosts that event but you can still purchase the materials that were used during the workshop. That is where I started my self-publishing journey. (Affiliate link) Check out the endorsement on the sales page! Does that name look familiar?
3. Was it hard to find the right editor that shared your vision? The editing process took so much longer than I thought it would take. But at the same time, editing and re-writing was the part of the process that had the biggest positive impact on the book. (True for both of my books.) Finding the right editor wasn’t difficult, it just took some time. I posted everywhere I could that I was looking for an editor and did a lot of online searching. I sent my first draft to about 15 different editors. About 10 of them replied and I chose from those.
4. What are some qualifications you found in a good editor? For me, I needed someone who could take what I said and turn it into what I was trying to say. I needed more than a spell checker, I needed help with paragraph and sentence structure, and even context and meaning. My editor was able to bring my writing up to a level that I would not have been able to on my own.
5. How did a launch team add to the book’s success? I cannot over exaggerate how much having a launch team helped. I also can’t over state how much fun it was. It was great to launch my first book with the help of 88 people, not just by myself.
6. How important is it to have a launch team for any product? Huge. Giant. A requirement. If you jump into a pool alone, you make a small splash. If one hundred people jump in to a pool at the same time, that is a totally different experience. Plus, it’s not just the people on your launch team, but the people who they tell about help spread the word also. If everyone on your launch team tells just ten people, the amount of people you will reach will be much larger compared to just you by yourself.
7. Was there a part of the process when you wanted to quit? If yes, what kept you motivated? Yes. I thought about quitting several times. (On both books!) Keeping your momentum and your attitude in check can get challenging. Finishing strong is the hardest part. I kept reminding myself that finishing strong is the only thing that matters. A book that is 99.9% finished is no different that a book that is only 4% finished.
8. What was your favorite part of the self-publishing process? I enjoy the challenge of completing such a huge project. I also really enjoy sitting back, looking at what I have accomplished, and thinking, “Wow! I can’t believe I was able to pull if off.” I believe any author should feel proud of writing a book and betting it out there. I know, and other authors know too, how challenging that is. So, be proud, enjoy your hard work.
Connect with Derek at DerekAndCarrie.com
And on Twitter.
QUESTION: do you have a book or project you want to start? What’s holding you back? Share your thoughts in the comment section.