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This blog was featured on 08/30/2016
SWP’s First Book: An Inside Look at the Process and the Challenges—and a Chance to Win
Contributor
Written by
Brooke Warner
October 2012
Outlining
Contributor
Written by
Brooke Warner
October 2012
Outlining

I first decided to write What’s Your Book? in January of this year, when Kamy and I were just beginning to turn around the idea of what She Writes Press might look like. I set out to write my book in six months as a challenge to myself, in part because I really wanted to write a book, but mostly because I was planning to co-teach a course, “Write Your Memoir in Six Months,” and I wanted to see for myself what challenges would come up in attempting to write a book in six months.

As it turned out, we launched the press on June 29 and I finished my book on July 1. Those months leading up to finishing the book were pretty intense. I was committed to my six-month deadline, and Kamy and I were deep in the creative process of launching this press. The fact that it all came together within days of each other was never planned, but when Kamy suggested we publish our books on SWP, it was a no-brainer.

As a veteran of traditional publishing, the thing that most surprised me is how many surprises and challenges I confronted along the way. Over the years, without realizing it, I’d begun to take getting published for granted. When you work with authors for a living and see new books being produced month in and month out, the whole process can and does lose its novelty. 

On the writing front, I realized that writing a book is really demanding!! Reality check. I’ve been coaching writers for years, championing them through their stuckness and through their manipulative gremlins. Confronting my own revealed how insidious those voices really are. I struggled through questions of whether what I was writing was relevant; whether I had anything unique and different to say. I think one of the worst messages we feed ourselves is that whatever we have to say has been said before. The “why bother?” track writers can get stuck in is like a death sentence. I worked my way through my own, but I had to pull out the best strategies I use on my own clients, and even then it was an uphill battle.

On the publishing front, I realized how much I rely on my team. In creating She Writes Press I’ve relied on my go-to gals—Kamy and Krissa and Caitlyn and Kristina—but also on our production team, on my colleagues at Seal Press, on my agent friends and industry folks. I’ve had to ask a million questions about things I thought I really understood.

So what has all of this taught me? Number one, I’m so excited that I self-published. I’ll always be an advocate of traditional publishing, but the offering we have at She Writes Press is amazing, and I stand behind it 100 percent—with my heart and soul, and with my book baby! We’ve been billing SWP as a publishing option for authors who want the freedom, control, and financial rewards of investing in their own books up front without sacrificing the credibility and status that comes with publishing under a highly selective imprint. And I can now stand behind my own project and my own press with the conviction that this offering holds up to my own high standards.

Number two, I’ve learned that no matter how much you think you know about something, there’s always more to learn. You will always benefit from the knowledge, input, expertise, and opinions of others. I’ve listened, responded, acknowledged, taken in, absorbed, and digested over these ten months on a level previously untapped. Community is everything. Doing this alone or in a bubble would have been hard work, but doing it in community has been one of the most rewarding journeys I’ve ever been on.

Finally, I learned that you really can do what you set your mind to. My book is all about the journey from inspiration to published author. If you have a book idea in you, or a manuscript-in-progress, you can and will become a published author if you follow the advice I offer up in my book. In my own estimation, my three most valuable offerings are (1) techniques for overcoming the mental and emotional hurdles to writing and publishing; (2) real strategies for building your platform—and why it matters; and (3) a roadmap to getting published. I talk about this a little bit more here.

I welcome your questions, insights, and sharing around your own process! Please leave a comment and qualify to win a copy of my book.

We will be randomly selecting FIVE winners!!

Please join me later today (Thursday, Oct 11) for a free conversation focused  on Chapter 5 of my book—Your Publishing Plan—at 4pm PST | 7pm EST.


I also invite anyone in the Bay Area to come out and meet me at my very informal book launch event on November 11 in Marin. I’d love to meet you, and I’m giving away an exclusive book launch event gift to anyone who drops in. And you can buy my book there for just $10.

 

Thank you and I look forward to hearing from you!

Let's be friends

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Comments
  • Congratulations to the very lucky winners! After reading Brooke's book, I know you are in for a real treat!

  • Flora Morris Brown

    Yippee! I'm so excited to be one of the winners. Thank you for your generosity. My address is on its way to your email.

  • Brooke Warner Outlining

    Winner of the giveaway announced!!

    Charlotte Watson Sherman

    Deborah J. Brasket

    Flora Morris Brown

    JoeAnn Hart

    Pam Helberg


    Please email me your addresses so I can get the book out in the mail. brooke [a] shewritespress [dot] com.

    Thanks everyone for your support and comments!

    Brooke

  • Sola Olu

    I am just about finished with the process of self-publishing through Create space. **Look out for "The Summer Called Angel"

    This was an excellent article that captured the process very well - "you really can do what you set your mind to" it takes time, and sacrifice but nothing beats a writer seeing their work and name in print.

    For my next book I will definitely look at options- the first being SWP!! Thanks for sharing.

  • Brooke Warner Outlining

    @Lourdes, good for you for taking the plunge with a course like that. It's so great to have the support! And yes, @Karen, NANOWRIMO is coming. Very exciting stuff!

    @Jill, I did this post a few weeks ago on the difference between us and Author Solutions, and then a general overview. Bookbaby is e-publishing only, so that's the primary difference. But check back bc I'm blogging every other week on these questions---always on Fridays. Thank you!

    http://www.shewrites.com/profiles/blogs/what-s-what-she-writes-press-vs-author-solutions

    http://www.shewrites.com/profiles/blogs/what-s-what-subsidy-publishing-true-self-publishing-and-hybrid

  • Karen Banes

    I'm also planning to have my still-in-the-planning-stages book ready in 6 months (using next month's NaNoWriMo challenge to get a first draft done fast). And I'm excited to see how SheWrites Press develops. Tons of luck to everyone involved.

  • Jill Zima Borski

    Any input on how publishing through She Writes is better than Amazon's Create Space or BookBaby? Anyone ever see a blog on this with real comparisons and pros and cons. That's the chapter I need! My memoir is going to e-press somewhere by Nov. 1!

  • Lourdes Anllo-Vento

    Thank you, Brooke! Gracias!

    For walking the walk and being an inspiration, for letting us benefit from your experience and for your commitment to SWP. I just registered for a 9-month course on memoir writing and your post helped me commit to finishing my memoir in that time, instead of just taking a course... Unfortunately, since I write in Spanish, I won't be able to count on SWP for the time being... Maybe when I translate it into English?

    Best of lucks, in any case. I'll buy your book if I don't get one of the free copies...

  • Brooke Warner Outlining

    Wonderful, Arleen. Thanks for ordering it! :)

  • Arleen Williams

    Congratulations, Brooke. Love the cover. Look forward to reading the book. Amazon tells me my copy is in the mail!

  • Artycappuccino

    It's surprising what you can learn. Honest article. I'm resting my teen novel and writing picture books and younger fiction whilst I get my head together on the re-writing aka editing.

  • Shannon Drury

    How many times can I enter?!  I would love to have a copy of this book.  Congrats, Brooke!

  • Brooke Warner Outlining

    @Mardi, it does not. It's a guide to becoming a published author and it doesn't take readers through post-publication. Thanks for the question! And good luck. I would definitely consider working with a marketing or publicity person who can help you give the book some new life and direction.

  • Brooke Warner Outlining

    Thanks so much, everyone! We're going to leave the post up through the weekend and we'll be announcing the five winners on Tuesday next week!

  • Mardi Link

    Does your book include an author promotion calendar? I'm 10 months out from publication on my memoir and would really like to start planning for what I can do to augment the marketing and p.r. work of my publisher.

  • JoeAnn Hart

    If at first you fricasee, fry, fry, a hen. 

    So many hens in the road to publication. 

  • Thank you Brooke -- for writing the book and for following through with your vision for SheWrites Press. 

  • Judith Newton

    Congratulations!! You are such a pleasure to work with and I'm definitely buying the book!

  • Marla West

    Your book sounds like it has lots of practical, real advice for overcoming hurdles to publishing. Looking forward to reading it. Thanks.

  • Flora Morris Brown

    Congratulations on your new book and on demonstrating what happens when you put your mind to a goal.Thank you for sharing real-life ways to get over the hurdles and how to build the ever-important platform. Without these two pieces, publishing a book doesn't magically become successfully selling a book. Looking forward to your chat this afternoon.

  • Tamara Duricka Johnson

    Congrats Brooke! So excited for you! Thanks for sharing your own story and insights. Can't wait to read it!

  • Lorna Collins

    Congrats, sweetheart! There's almost no better feeling in the world than holding the book for the first time! and it never gets old, no matter how many times it happens.

  • Congratulations and best wishes on your new book!  My curriculum book, Teaching Technology Through Interest Projects, was recently published and I couldn't believe the charge it gave me to hold it in my hands.  I am currently working on another curriculum book, along with a memoir, but finishing both of them seems daunting at this point.  Your ability to stay focused and finish in six months is inspiring.  Looking forward to reading your book!

    Warm regards, Jenny  http://brookssabbatical.blogspot.com

  • Brooke Warner Outlining

    @Ani—right on. This is so valuable, and such a good reason. I've work with lots of survivors over the years. Survivor stories make up a big component of Seal's list. One memoirist I'm working with now just sent me this quote this morning: "You can't change the past but, with understanding, you can sometimes draw the poison out of it." —Carlos Gebler. Wanting to help others is such an honorable and important reason to write.

  • Judy Archer

    Looking forward to reading your new book and writing mine which combines family history of the women ancestors in one line of my family, the research process and my relationship to the discoveries. Even though I have published articles and my thesis, this seems more daunting as I am making up the way I am doing it.