If you’re a writer, you’ve likely at least daydreamed about writing a book.
If you’re a blogger, maybe you’ve thought about writing an ebook. Ebooks have gone from being labeled a “cop-out” to the traditional publishing model to a respectable and incredibly popular form of publishing in the span a few years. And for any writer who has useful knowledge, a story to share and—most importantly—a unique perspective on something, it’s a great way to promote your work.
Today, I’m psyched to share the unique perspective of Jen Glantz, the author of the ebook All My Friends Are Engaged. (You can read a sample chapter here.)
Jen’s here to talk about the thought process that goes into deciding to write a book—and then actually writing the thing. Jen was also kind enough to answer a few of my questions, which you’ll find below. Enjoy!
Writing a book, kind of like going on a first date, sounds like such a brilliantly exciting idea. And it is, until moments before it happens.
Moments before you have to start and are sitting there overwhelmed with anxiety, nerves, and not a single idea of how to begin.
Before your pencil hits the paper, or to be more with the times, before you start chomping down on your keyboard to make paragraphs flow into beautifully synced stories, you need to flesh out your idea. It’s best to start with an outline that includes what each chapter will be about and how long you anticipate each chapter to go on for. That way, when you begin writing you won’t be surprised or lost when it comes to how to keep the chapter flowing and when it’s best to end it.
The next step I’d recommend is to challenge your book idea. Take each chapter and ask as many questions as you can about it.
Does it make sense? Does it add to the overall plot of the book? How can I make it stronger?
When publishing an ebook, you have the opportunity to tap into many different modes of social media for marketing and have the potential for many more readers to check you out. That’s why it’s important to make sure the content you’re writing is crisp, unique as it is thoughtful, and worthy of a one-click download.
Write your heart out. But only after you’ve thought it out.
CASSIE: Congrats on publishing your ebook! I LOVE the concept and think a lot of twenty- and thirty-somethings can relate to the subject matter. Can you tell me a bit about why you decided to write it?
JEN: Thank you so much, Cassie! I was sick of looking at my Facebook newsfeed and seeing that all my friends were engaged and asking myself why not me? What’s wrong with me? So I figured I’d write a book about some of the more memorable dates I’ve been on. It turns out, what kept this book flowing with such passion was the hope that people who read it would understand that while yes, dating can be awkward, it can also be a whole lot of other things.
What was the most difficult part about creating this ebook? How did you work through it?
It’s a bit intimating pressing the send button after the book is written. Just knowing that (hopefully) a lot of strangers are going to be reading the intimate details of your dating life is a bit overwhelming to digest. In the end, I was proud of what I wrote and wrote it with the intention to relate to others and make them feel okay about their potentially awkward dating life. I pressed the send button and ate a giant cup of ice cream. I felt really good!
I know a lot of bloggers (myself included) aspire to write and publish their own ebooks but struggle knowing where to start. What advice would you give them?
Start now—even if you don’t have a publisher or know how or where you are going to sell it, just start writing. Writing down thousands of words and carefully connecting hundreds of sentences together takes a lot of time, persistence, and motivation. But it’s also really exciting. Even if you have “bad” writing days or you feel stuck in an idea, just don’t give up. Close your computer for an hour, play some good music and dance around or go for a long walk. The ideas will start latching on to you like lint if you just stick with it and keep working very hard.
What has been the best part about becoming a self-published author?
I think to be a successful writer in this day and age you need to be more than just a writer. You need to have a keen sense of social media and the chops to be a PR maven. There are so many different websites and outlets for people to read content on and it’s important that what you write, who you are, and how you market yourself makes you stand out. It’s a humongous accomplishment for me to have this book in the hands of strangers and every time someone reaches out to tell me they’ve read it, I’m just overcome with happiness.
Any other ebooks or projects on the horizon?
I plan on writing many, many more books. My blog is my platform to try out new ideas and new stories for potential books. As a writer you face a lot of rejection and a lot of people telling you no. My future holds a lot of that but it’s okay because I plan to never give up and be so persistent that one day a wonderful publisher will call me up and say, “You know what, Jen Glantz, we will give you that book deal you desperately deserve.”
Jen Glantz is the author of All My Friends Are Engaged, a book of dating disaster stories. She’s the heart behind the website The Things I Learned From and the biggest supporter of the NYC pizza industry. She’d love for you to say hello: @tthingsilearned or email@example.com.
I know there are a lot of you out there who have written your own ebooks.
What was your experience like? I’d love to hear about it. Share your story in the comments. (And leave a link to your ebook, of course!) If you’re like me and haven’t written one (but want to), what would you write about?