There was a time when becoming an author was a far-fetched dream, and writing a paper was the closest anyone in my community had come to sharing a message. The journey to becoming an author has not been a straightforward one. It has been one of mental challenges, imposter syndrome, and lack of knowledge around the phenomenon that is indie publishing—but it's been so worth it.
How it Began
I had relocated from Nigeria to London in the 1990’s and was adjusting to my new life. I had started a new school and formed a few beautiful friendships. While sharing stories with a friend, I remember her words very clearly, “you should write a book, Yem.”
These six words were all I needed to spark the desire in me to tell my story.
Limiting vs Empowering Beliefs
Limiting beliefs are littered all over society, through the media and other people sharing their opinions of how one should live. Sadly, in most cases, this becomes disempowering—especially when we start to own these beliefs. Every time I started writing, this happened. That inner voice would say, Who are you to write? Nobody will want to read it anyway. This line of thought would filter in and out of my psyche for approximately eight years.
Then, I acknowledged the disservice I was doing by not using my voice.
I began to ask myself (and I invite you to ask yourself), Who are you not to be great?
One of my favourite illustrations from my book. You have the key to unleash your power!
Did you get the memo that life would be easy and straightforward? Well, I didn't!
That is precisely why I decided to write my book. I wanted to pave a way for others to dare to dream and live differently.
Writing a Book
We all have a book in us, because we all have a story to tell.
Two years ago I decided to embark on writing my first book (rather than dreaming about it) and that truly was the magic step—starting it! Sometimes, we're crippled by fear of the thought of an action, but all we need to do is start by taking that first step.
I immediately signed up for a writing course to give me some structure while writing my book. This was extremely useful, and I would recommend it to anyone who wants to write a book but doesn't know where to start.
I spent the better part of 18 months writing in spurts—with big doses of doubt sprinkled in between. I spent six more months battling limiting beliefs when I realised all I had to do was take the last few steps. Momentum, my friends, is the key!
The last steps for me included hiring an editor to review my work for grammatical errors. Writing isn’t my main profession, but I was keen not to lose my voice in the content of my book—so I needed to make sure my tone remained through the editing process. Professional editing was a great investment.
After being burnt by other publishing companies, I was so grateful to come across Ingram Spark. Their end-to-end offering for indie publishing is phenomenal—seamless and straightforward.
Writing isn’t a natural talent for me—but there are quite a few people out there who feel the same way, and still have story to share. Below, I've included a few writing tips if you're fairly new the process.
Writing Tips for New Writers
- Decide if you want to write a fiction or nonfiction story.
- Establish who your target audience will be. This allows you to hone in on crafting your message.
- Invest in a writing course to give you structure and guidance for your book.
- Write, write, write! Try to eliminate procrastination and dedicate a set time every week to chip away at the book (especially if you have a full-time job and other responsibilities).
- Get a trusted friend to read your manuscript, then get it reviewed and edited at least three times after that (an error can always be found!).
- Get a proof of your book before mass printing.
Marketing Tips for First-Time Authors
I was strategic with my marketing plan and began carrying out marketing initiatives more than 12 months in advance.
- I launched my podcast (titled the same as my book) about 12 months prior to the release of my book. This started to create a buzz around my initial community.
- Increasing visibility on some of the key social media platforms, especially LinkedIn, helped my message spread far and wide.
- I personally invested in a PR agent for support in targeting my ideal audience.
Until such a time comes that my book is featured on Oprah’s Book Club (gotta dream big people!), my book really has become an impressive business card.
My book is a brilliant conversation starter for the main work I am preparing to embark on in 2020, which is to inspire, motivate, empower, and guide people to lead a phenomenal life through global workshops and seminars.
"Use your voice" is one of my mantras and I urge anyone who has been thinking of writing a book to do it. I am a firm believer that your dreams choose you—so use your voice and write. Your audience is waiting for you.