My first book, More Than a Healthy Baby, has been out for 12 months now…here’s 12 things I’ve learned (this is a long-ish read!)
1. No one will market your book better than you because no one knows it or cares about it like you do.
2. In saying that, there’s limits to how much authors can plug their own stuff. I think authors plugging their own books on social media is mostly a waste of time *controversy!*. I just mean that me plugging my own book is a bit like a stage Mum telling you how awesome their own child is. There’s potentially far more impact from someone else who actually bought it, read it and shares it.
3. Writing the book is the easy bit. Even though when I’m writing I often hate it and will it to be over, this is still the easy bit. Same with creating courses. Creating is the fun bit. Once it gets to marketing, sales and launch day I just want to hide under the doona.
4. I remember someone saying you should only write a book on something that you’re happy to talk about non-stop for the next two years straight. Don’t be surprised if after completing and launching your book you’re completely sick of talking ad thinking about it. At the time of writing this list, it’s my kids’ 4th and 6th birthdays. That means it’s one year since my book came out, but I’ve been talking about and teaching birth trauma for 4 years now.
5. You can never have enough huge, shiny BUY THE BOOK HERE buttons. Just a few weeks ago, someone emailed me to ask if the book was out yet. That made me panic for a minute or two. It turned out that they just hadn’t seen the relevant section on my website, but it’s a good reminder make sure any of your products and services are so obvious that they can’t be missed.
6. Launch day can be pretty underwhelming. There’s such a huge build up and anticipation but nothing much happened on launch day. My husband took the day off work to help support me but it was mostly just me and him sitting at home, drinking a glass of champagne and then saying “now what?”. Halfway into launch day I also received some upsetting health news about a family member. Suffice to say, December 8th isn’t all happy memories for me.
7. Birth trauma is still a really hard topic to sell. As in, many people still don’t know what I’m talking about, or if they aren’t exactly jumping to rea about it because it’s hard work. I’ve lost count of the number of times someone has said to me “I bought your book…but I haven’t started reading it yet” well, it could be a very messy drinking game 😀
8. People will ask you “how’s the book going?” which is lovely, but I never quite know how to answer it. Unless you’re self-publishing, it’s quite a long-ish turnaround between publishing, getting sales data and actually receiving royalty cheques. Which brings me to my next point.
9. Publishing a book is not a quick return on investment. You write a book because you love writing and because it has to be written. If you only sort of maybe like the idea of being a published author then that might not be enough. You generally need to give up paid hours of work, socializing and sleep to write a book. I gave up the first two 😉 a lot more than people probably realize. I was saying ‘no’ to social events long before the pandemic hit because my ‘free time’ is generally for writing, gardening and sleeping.
10. When people know you’ve published a book they will want to pick your brain for free…don’t let them. What starts as a “can I ask a few questions” quickly turns into really specific conversations about publishers, money and how it all works. Every author, publisher and book is different. Before I sent my book off anywhere, I paid a few women to let me interview them about the process. This is why I have my own ‘pick my brain session’ you can book in my calendar. It’s part of respecting the time, research and really specific experience that goes into creating and launching a book.
11.Books have a timeline of their own. My second book was supposed to be about parenting in the pandemic. It was ‘supposed’ to be out by now (according to me!). I interviewed people, I reviewed footage and started writing only to find that the timing was never right. Ultimately, too much happened between December 2020 and December 2021. It didn’t make sense to try and be reflective in a state of active crisis. I beat myself up about not meeting a goal for months, before accepting I’d have to shelve this project. The time will come, it’s just not now.
12.Book ideas can come seemingly out of nowhere. Trust the detours. Sometimes it’s best not to plan or get attached to one idea. In March this year, a series of events led me to deciding that I was sick of saying I needed social media for my business. I was sick of spending so much time on it and suspected it was impacting my mental health. So I tested it. I blogged about 8 weeks of detoxing from social media and ultimately quit. Around the same time, I took Leonie Dawson’s 40 days to a finished book course (just for fun!) and this turned into what is now my second book, Motherhood, Mental Health & Social Media. I just got the edits back today!
If you ever want to chat about the process of writing and publishing my calendar is open 😊
Mum as You Are Podcast
It’s now been 4 and 6 years since my traumatic births. In Episode 23 I reflect on how I’m feeling, how I’ve grown personally and professionally and where I’ve come to in my birth trauma work. N.B. I don’t go into details about the births, I just share what’s been helpful for me and hat I’d say to someone who is struggling when a birth anniversary comes up.
You can listen to episode 23 HERE