Write a Book and Get It Published. (Yes, You!) Seven Key Strategies for Getting Started

Young people and education, woman studying for university testI’m about to tell you do something and you’ll think I’m crazy. Ready? Here goes: You should write a book.

I know, I know. You don’t need one more “to do” on your list. You have the pets, the kids, your job, possibly a significant other and their job, your house, this, that and the other. You don’t have the time or energy to put towards writing a book. Why would you put another “to do” on your list?

Publishing a book is more than a way to share your message and wisdom with others. It’s also a tremendous marketing tool. After all, no matter your industry or profession, everyone wants to do business with the person who “wrote the book.” Becoming a published author positions you as an expert and instantly affords you the type of credibility which can skyrocket your career to a whole new level.

Yes, you need a blueprint on how to create a success. But don’t think for a minute that you can’t learn how to do it. You can – and publishing a book will change your life. It changed mine.

In 1967, I was working as a social studies teacher at Calumet High School in Chicago. It was a rough school in a rough part of town at a rough time in history. Dr. Martin Luther King was assassinated during the spring of that school year, on April 4, 1968, and we had a full scale riot in the school the next day.

The next year, I moved to Clinton, Iowa to take a job with the Clinton Job Corps Center, where I taught basic reading, math and job skills to women who had dropped out of school. I say “women” but many of them were just kids. They were 16-23 years-old and mostly women of color. Life was tough for them. But neither racial conflict, crime, nor poverty was the biggest problems of the women in Clinton or the kids in Chicago. What was? Low self-esteem! If you don’t believe in yourself, you’ll never find the motivation to change your life for the better.

Wanting to help these people, I worked with W. Clement Stone, who had a foundation at which I learned how to teach people self-esteem and self-motivation. He was one of my teachers and I’ll tell you more about the importance of teachers in a minute.

From Stone, I got motivated to go to graduate school and, later, I got a contract for an educational book about motivating students in the classroom. Great that I got a book deal, right? Well, I still had to write the book.

Picture this. It’s now 1975 and I’m working and going to school to support my wife and new-born baby. Now I have to write a book titled 100 Ways to Enhance Self-Concept in the Classroom – and I only have 20 ways. So I came up with a strategy, a blueprint really, for creating the book. I sat in my kitchen at a “desk” made of two filing cabinets with a hollow core door on top on which I put my IBM Selectric typewriter. And then I wrote one way to build self-confidence and self-esteem for the classroom every 3 ½ days. That equaled two ways a week and 100 by the end of the year.

Know what? The plan worked. The book sold 400,000 copies and became a bestseller. My life changed quickly and for the better. I became a consultant to school districts, spoke at educational conferences and made more money to support my family. I felt fulfilled creatively and motivated professionally because I was on the right path.

The path that started in that little kitchen led to me co-authoring the Chicken Soup for the Soul series. The books have sold over 123 million copies in North America with more than 500 million copies in print worldwide. But even that took a strategy for success. Many, many people said that Chicken Soup would never work as a book. It was initially rejected by 144 publishers. When I finally did get a publisher, he said we’d be lucky to sell 20,000 books. I told him my goal was to sell a million-and-a-half in the first 18 months. He laughed and said I was crazy. Well, today he laughs on his private jet!

Here’s what I know: If you have a plan and the right teachers, you too can become a successful author.

Here’s how to get started and make your book a success:

1 – Declare yourself an author NOW. Come up with a working title for your book and start telling people you’re the author of the “upcoming book titled XYZ.” One big reason to do this is it will create positive momentum for you. Once you start telling people you’ve got a book coming out, it makes it much easier to get it done. Plus, you can start enjoying some of the ancillary benefits of being an author, such as getting publicity on radio/TV, print publications and online. As with many things in life the key is to just get started – even if you don’t feel quite ready.

2 – Be selfish with your time. Writing a book is important – to you, your family and your future – and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Share your goal with your spouse, your parents and your friends. Ask them to help you create the time to write, even if it’s just 15 minutes every day. Create the habit. Good or bad, habits always deliver results. If you only write one page a day, in a year, you will have written 365 pages—more than enough for a book!

3 – Find your message. There is a book inside of you. It might be a business book, a memoir, a cookbook or something funny, a how-to or how-not to, a what-for or why-not. What are you good at? What is your passion? What can you teach other people to do?

4 – Identify your niche. Who needs to learn what you have to teach? Who would be most interested in your story? Get specific. For example, the Chicken Soup series includes Chicken Soup for the Christian Woman’s Soul, Chicken Soup for the Military Wife’s Soul, Chicken Soup for the Working Woman’s Soul and others. Knowing your niche will help you write the book and market it.

5 – Consider co-authors. Think a whole book is too much work? Get a co-author. I had co-authors on my Chicken Soup books. That person can share in the writing and, later, in marketing the book.

6 – Think marketing from day one. One of the biggest mistakes most new authors make is to spend all their time and energy writing the book, without sufficient thought to how they’ll market it. Ideally, you want to consider marketing issues while writing your book. For instance, consider short snappy chapter titles which easily lend themselves to being blog posts and/or radio/TV show segments.

7 – Meditate on problems. This might sound counter-intuitive. When you meditate, you try to relax, right? Well, not really. Meditating is harnessing your brain power and if you focus that energy on the problems you encounter – and every creative venture encounters problems – you’ll solve them. Meditate, go for a long walk or take a hot bath. Give your mind a problem to solve and give it the room to do so, and it will. That’s how I came up with the title Chicken Soup for the Soul.

 

Yes, there are other things you need to know. But the most important things are to get started, work hard and have the right mindset. I’ll share one of my favorite quotes with you. When oil tycoon J. Paul Getty was asked how he became one of the richest men in the world, he said, “One, get up early. Two, work hard. Three, find oil.”

To learn about meditation, check out my article,  How to Meditate for Clarity, Intuition, and Guidance.

 

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Want more free tips from on writing a book and making it a big success?  Get 3 free author training videos featuring me and Steve Harrison, who has helped over 2,000 authors promote their books. 

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Comments

  1. Katya Toland says:

    This is great! Thanks for sharing. I have started to write but put it off …this is giving me the motivation to get back into it.

  2. Susan Burke says:

    This has spurred me on. Last year I wrote a synopsis for my book idea and it’s rested in a folder until this week when I took it out and started to type my introduction. I intended to write for two hours each day but got distracted doing other “stuff”, now having read this I know I have to write my story. Great article, many thanks for the tips.

  3. Danielle Desiree Gómez says:

    Thank you Jack for sharing. I have aspired to write a book for quite some time. With work and a Master’s Degree in Business, I keep postponing it. Articles like this have
    inspired me to write, write, write. . .even in the wee hours of the night 😀 Super excited to be working on my book.

  4. Erica Hammon says:

    Erica Hammon

    I signed up to get more info from your coaching office last week, and they suggested I read your book. I immediately got it from the library. I can’t believe it, but I feel the Success Principles are already starting to work in my life! I have to tell you in this blog because I don’t have your email!
    I have been drawn to what you’ve said since watching you in The Secret 5 years ago. Recently, in researching about you, I’ve found we have so much in common. (weird in common!) We’re both teachers, we both were struggling with finances when we got the idea of writing a book, we both had that same upbringing that money doesn’t grow on trees, and we have the same birthday! Awesome and weird, right? I feel like I could call you up and say, “Hey, Jack. I’m that unknown twin that got separated from you at birth!”

    After struggling financially for years, I went to school to become a teacher, while holding down a job as a classroom assistant, with two small children, and some medical problems. I published one article in a magazine, wrote a children’s book for a college class, and then dropped writing! I thought that if I just got a degree, life would be smooth sailing from then on. Wrong! What? I’m educated!
    It’s amazing to me that through listening to your book, you have become my biggest coach, cheerleader, and inspirer when you don’t even know me and we are thousands of miles apart.
    I think what you are doing to help people is great, and it is going to happen for me too! I am going to be a best-selling children’s book author!
    I already have a list of goals, and one is to meet you one day! Thanks!

  5. Leah Chamish says:

    Thank you Jack…you are so right. However, is it fine to put it off if you have an important goal that precedes it? I am currently on Kickstarter with a gift for kids called Touring Teddies.
    I worked nearly 10 years to create it. It was actually your book “The Success Principles” that helped me recognize my goals and take steps I needed to get where I’m at… so I thank you!!!
    As far as writing a book – well, that’s my next goal… Wishing you much continued success,
    Leah Chamish

  6. Heather Schliewen Gordon says:

    Thanks Jack! I have been wanting to finish a book I started about a year ago and this was just what I needed to get it going again. I like the sound of telling people I am the author of “upcoming book XYZ”!

  7. Tolu Ayo Tope says:

    thank you Jack ,

    am really inspired am going to write my book this year and publish it by the 2nd quarter of the year.

    i need some gr8 more minds to inspire and support or co-author with me me on my way to launch it . i can be reach on http://www.facebook.com/toluayo.net
    or call +2348030602853
    i will be glad if you can be part of my success .

    1. Ankit yadav says:

      What do you plan to write about??

      1. Tolu Ayo Tope says:

        Am writing Mini books on

        1.Personal Motivation
        2. personal finance

        3. personal development .
        these books are already documented on my folder .
        just looking forward to launch it out into the market .
        thank you .
        connect me on http://www.facebook.com/toluayo.net
        on twitter @toluayo1

        1. Ankit yadav says:

          Your topics interest me… :)

  8. Hi Jack, thank you for these advices, great stuff :-)

  9. Ted Wallof says:

    Thanks for sharing Jack. I’ve been blogging about fitness and plant based nutrition at ZenFans.com, but you’ve got me thinking bigger! Why not write a book about my passions? Thanks for the push. Wishing you continued success! Ted

  10. Omer says:

    Thank you Jack. This is really helpful

  11. Christina Hollis says:

    Some great tips, and really inspiring. I would never have got started without you, Jack, and look at me now! http://amzn.to/1gQnmkf

  12. Practical and fun tips – thanks so much!

  13. Karin Halford says:

    This is very helpful. I am almost finished my third book. I am an editor as well.

  14. Magdalena Miczek says:

    I have written super extra book for childern and NO ONE publisher wants to publish it :((!

    1. Arthur Kaptein says:

      I am working on a Brainstorming Book and will be using Create Space to publish it. Love the way new technology opens up possibilities for people to publish their books.

      1. Ankit yadav says:

        I would like to know more about your book.. What exactly is it about??

        1. Arthur Kaptein says:

          Hello Ankit yadav, it is a book about Brainstorming,

          http://www.ultimatebrainstorming.com/BookContent.html

          The tips from Jack Canfield have given me an extra push to write a book. I am now working on the final edit and if I stick to my planning it should be finished in 2 weeks. In total I have been working on it for almost two years now.

          Best,
          Arthur

  15. R'achel says:

    Thank You Mr. Canfield! I am finishing up my E-Book titled “I went from depression to Happiness in 7 Days: Pushing through the pain” But I do plan on writing another book that will be published soon after I release my first book. Thanks again!

  16. Vaibhav says:

    thank you jack , u r the best writer

  17. Magdalena Miczek says:

    I have written super extra book for children but NO ONE publisher wants to publish it :((!

    1. Min Raj Shrestha says:

      Don’t worry, we should try more time, I hope one day comes in our life.

    2. Jaimin Sharma says:

      Jack canfeild was turned down by more than 140 publishers…. Change it response and try till u get desired results simple..

  18. Andrea Frasier says:

    Thanks for the tips! I’ve started my book called, Give Me Five: Five Daily principles for Living a Simply Happy Life!

    1. Ankit yadav says:

      I like the concept of your book..

  19. amor says:

    this is really great ! thanks Jack for sharing

  20. Min Raj Shrestha says:

    Thank you Jack, you motivated me so much. Now I have finished a novel and one publication is reviewing my novel for publish. I hope they will publish my novel. Really this is so great for me.

  21. FARRUKH IFTIKHAR says:

    Hi Jack: Thanks for this wonderful message. I have already started writing my first book and I am sure my book will be published by next year. Regards. Farrukh Iftikhar

  22. Dotty Brown says:

    Thanks , Jack . I have a message to share . I’m not getting any younger and wish to leave a legacy . Aspire to inspire before you expire !

  23. Carlos Antonio Ojeda says:

    wow, that is exactly what i was waiting, i star a book a year ago i put on the closet, but now after read this i’m 100% sure will be the best seller of the year…thank you and be Bless

  24. Mema Mamali says:

    How do I find a co-author?

  25. udarath says:

    I like to publish my book too. Waiting for it to complete

  26. Danny Brennan says:

    Thank you for the great blog post. I am twenty years of age and from Ireland. I recently published my first ever book called Think. Grow. Live. It has changed my life.

  27. Carolyn Strain says:

    My name is Carolyn Strain from Boise,Idaho and I’ve always wanted to be a writer since the age of 15yrs.old,but I’ve never done anything about it can you help.

  28. Rosario Manangan says:

    Thank you Sir Jack… when I told my brother and sister in-law that it seems my mission in life is to write a book and teach. My brother said “do you know how long is the process, etc. in writing a book…! it’s not that easy…” And when I told my mother that I will be a writer… my mother said “are you having a fever..?” I just smiled… :)
    I was inspired what Sir Steve said…”Some people die with their story still inside them…”
    From Ma’am Lisa Nicholes ” Your story is not just for you, its for other people to hear also… something like that… and maybe there are some people who have the same experience as I am… I might inspire them in someway… just like I was inspired by the Stories I am hearing from Sir Jack, Steve, Sir Vishen, Sir Bob, Sir Joe, Sr. T. Harv, Sir Ted, and many many more good and wonderful people who are sharing their personal experiences, insights, knowledge, wisdom, etc.

  29. Brad Patterson Pga says:

    My book has been inside my head for 15 years. I just haven’t taken the time to put it all down on paper. It is based on historical fact that not many people know about. If I put it out it will likely be controversial. Even more so as a movie. I’ve delayed because of the thousands of hours of research required to give an accurate account of history. Perhaps i should make it “loosely” based, or “based on a true story.” That way creative license opens up so many ways to shock for laughs and for tears?