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  • SWP’s First Book: An Inside Look at the Process and the Challenges—and a Chance to Win
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
Written by
Brooke Warner
October 2012
Written by
Brooke Warner
October 2012

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!

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  • Wynnie

    As a new author, having self-published one book but looking to publish more, I found your article and your website very helpful and interesting.  I would love to read your book and look forward to reading helpful tips for unique authors like myself who write channeled poetry - more in the mind, body, spirit category than poetry.

    I am so grateful for my gift of being able to channel this poetry and share it with others -- but I know I have so much to learn about writing, editing, publishing and especially marketing myself and my work.

    I love "She Writes" because I can read articles like yours and learn and grow as I continue to write.

    Thank you, Brooke for sharing your expertise.

  • Ani Sky

    This would be the book that I need, whether I win or not...  I am/have been/keep trying to get my own book written and (hopefully) published.  The subject matter is delicate for me but I don't want it to be that way for the reader.  I am a survivor of more than 30 years (accumulated) of domestic abuse, and I want to write a book that could possibly save a person's life if they take it for what I want it to be--a warning, the red flags, the understanding of what it is to be a victim, male or female, young or old.  My abuse began before the age of ten, and due to that I made so many dangerous life-changing decisions that would continue that cycle.  My hope, at the least, is that it will be cathartic for me and (maybe) a life saver for another.  Any emotionally validating help could be a catalyst for me, but the thought of receiving a book to prod me along would be fabulous!

  • Rita Arens

    Yay, yay, yay! So excited for you and to read the book!

  • Pam Helberg

    I'm looking forward tO reading this and discussing with my fellow Red Wheelbarrow Writer pals! Thanks for sharing!

  • Brooke Warner Outlining

    @Deborah, thanks so much for this perspective. And I will say this: Despite all those hundreds of books I've midwifed into print, holding my own book in my hands for the first time was---AMAZING! :)

  • Brooke Warner Outlining

    Thanks so much everyone! I'm so grateful for all the comments from those of you who've read the book. @Kate, my book is prescriptive; it's our class that's memoir. And I admire the students who've signed up to take on this challenge!

  • Deborah J. Brasket

    I like what you say here: "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." 

    I think that's something we wanna-bes struggle with, seeing the eventual publication of our work as inevitable, normal, realistic.  We don't take being published for granted! 

    I realize I may not be speaking for all aspiring authors, but for many of us, in the back of our minds is the doubt, fear, that as good as we think we are, as compelling as our subjects and ideas are to us--it just may never happen.

    So I'm thinking we may need to change our mindframe, and work at seeing publication as inevitable, normal and natural outcome of our talent, perseververence, and creativity.  We need to take publication for granted.  Thanks for opening my thought to that idea. 

  • Kate Ryan Williams

    Glad to hear more about She Writes Press and looking forward to reading this book.  I admire someone who can complete a memoir in 6 months! 

  • Evalyn Lee

    Can't wait to read it!  Am so sorry to be in London otherwise I'd be in Marin to get my book signed!  Way to go! Bravo!  

  • Bella Mahaya Carter

    Hi Brooke: I finished reading your book last night. Chapter 5 was a good as all the others. Sobering? Yes. Reality check? Yes. But also illuminating and empowering. I cannot believe you had even the slightest doubt about the originality of your content(great lesson here for writers who have the same doubts and fears). Your book is so FRESH and CURRENT. My bookshelves are crammed with writing and publishing books and nobody writes about publishing today the way you do! Your knowledge, experience, scope and HEART leap off those pages. I'm grateful for this book. I feel like I've been waiting years to read a book like this one—to receive this message: if you're called to write and publish, you MUST write and publish—and here's how to do it! Bravo! I plan to write a review for Amazon, and I'm so thrilled with this book that I might just blog about it! Congratulations for walking your talk as well as being such a great teacher and coach. This book should be REQUIRED READING for every aspiring author—and also for authors who want more creative control over their work or who want to see more of their hard-earned profits!

  • Kasey Arnold-Ince

    I'm about 90% through Booke's What's Your Book, and have recommneded to several people!  Not only is it very clear and concise, it addresses all the questions you want to ask (and the issues you want to ignore), in friendly and encouraging language that firmly nudges you into action.  (Okay, well, it nudged me, and that's something!)

    Great job, Brooke, and congrats on doing it in 6 months!

  • Jen Lave

    Can't tell you how much a "book" burns within me.  And the timing of this article...not counting the fact that I "happened" to stubble upon it...astonishes me!  Glad to read I am not the only one with "those little voices in my head" discouraging me from the doing the one thing I've wanted to do my entire life.  With this post & your book getting more and more convinced that all things are possible for those who work hard & believe. A One Day official Published Author, Jen


  • Doreen Pendgracs

    Congrats on getting your book done, Brooke! It is indeed such hard work, and I've found that over the past few months so many forms of distractions have taken me off the track and interrupted my flow. Life gets in the way!

    I guess the only positive thing about that is that we make our own deadlines, and if they need revising, we're able to do that. I'll try and catch your conversation later today. 

  • Chery Small

    I would really like to win a copy of your book. I am hoping to become an author someday.

  • Congratulations! I'm looking forward to continuing to learn about the process myself (and clearing the hurdles!).

  • Congratulations, Brooke! Isn't first hand experience a real eye opener? You also identified one of the very best lessons in life when you wrote:"Finally, I learned that you really can do what you set your mind to." I look forward to reading "What's Your Book" cover to cover. Wish I could join you in Marin - it sounds like a well deserved party waiting to happen!


  • Cecelia A. Cancellaro

    Great post Brooke and congrats on the book. My copy arrived yesterday and I can't wait to read it!