Do you dream of waking up and sipping on some coffee while writing a book you always dreamt of?
Unfortunately for me, and for many of you, that day is not today. We have so many responsibilities that just quitting our jobs to become a full-time author is not possible.
But what if I told you that even while working a full-time job you can write a book and publish the same?
In fact: In today’s article Deepesh Dhamija shares the exact strategy he used to write and self publish 3 books while working at a full-time job.
Presently he works as a Fund Accountant at a Large Insurance Company in India.
Here is his story.
Qualifying as a Chartered Accountant
I am born and bought up in Mumbai (India). In school, I was a very average student but I have always been good with numbers and in mathematics.
At the age of 15 years, I weighed 80 Kgs. I was a lazy and overweight student. I joined a gym after class 10.
Initially, I was only interested in weight loss. But once I achieved my goal of weight loss, I was hooked to exercise and fitness.
I was lucky to get admission into Narsee Monjee College of Commerce and Economics, Mumbai (India) where I was surrounded by so many bright and intelligent students.
There was a point in time where I was managing 4 courses at once and was lucky again to crack all 4 exams together – M.Com, CA, CWA, and CAT MBA Entrance Preparation. All this while I managed to make time for the gym and exercise.
I qualified as a Chartered Accountant in 2008, and also got 95 percentile in CAT and got calls from several prestigious management schools in India. However, I decided to start working instead of pursuing an MBA.
I got a job offer at the age of 23 from a leading Insurance Company (where I continue to work as a Fund Accountant) and joined the Insurance Industry. And exactly one year into my first job I got married at the age of 24.
This was my life growing up to becoming a Chartered Accountant.
The idea of Writing a Book
Early in my career, I tried my hand at several side projects like teaching CA students in Coaching Classes, mentoring etc as I always wanted to have something of my own.
I wanted to transition from an employee to an Entrepreneur.
While juggling a full-time job, my side projects and family life, I would struggle to find my ‘Me time’.
Within 5 years into my job, I gained 18 kgs of excess weight. I realized I couldn’t continue with my existing habits anymore. So, I read self- help books and started experimenting and retained what really worked and eliminated what didn’t.
Within 2 Years, I lost most of the excess weight I had gained! WOOHOO!
Everyone around me was surprised by this transition, they kept asking me for tips on how they could also get fit while working long hours.
I would keep giving tips and guiding them from what diet to exercise.
And that is when the idea of writing a book came up.
Self Publishing A Book While Working Full Time
I had the idea of writing a book but just the thought of writing a book then publishing it while working almost 12 hours a day seemed very daunting and scary.
But the urge was so strong that I could not let it die.
I did a little online reading of how other people managed to write books in spite of their busy schedules.
And I took the following steps:
1. Used affirmations to achieve what I want
- I would often think that people who become successful writers are born with some kind of natural talent.
- But when I got to know that many successful people use affirmations and small steps to achieve their goal of becoming a writer or an artist or an entrepreneur, I decided to give it a try.
- I started using my affirmations to become an author.
2. Joined a group to help me in my goal
- I started searching for groups that would help me become a better writer.
- As I was searching for such groups online, I came across Toastmasters Club which helped people become better public speakers and leaders. So I decided to join the club.
- But something or the other kept coming up that prevented me from attending the Toastmasters Club meetings. Finally, after a few months, I attended the Toastmasters Club meeting in Mumbai as a guest.
- Impressed, I attended a few more meetings and decided to become a member.
3. Gave Speeches
- I started giving speeches about topics of health, fitness and habit formation.
- I read several books about each topic to prepare my speeches.
- I would then take out points that I liked and applied them in my life and tested what worked for me and how.
4. Used my speeches to write each chapter
- I would use each speech to write about a specific topic.
- I would then share my experience in my speech and used the speeches to write my book chapter by chapter.
- After giving 15 speeches, I had read hundreds of books, accumulated several pages of content, got feedback on my speeches and used that feedback to improve my content, delivery, and stories and finally compiled and edited those speeches into my first book.
5. Self Published my books
- I then searched the internet, learnt about self-publishing a book and came across Kindle Publishing.
- I finally published my first book on Kindle in 2016 – Losing Weight is a Piece of Cake.
How Should You Start Writing a book
Writing a book is not complicated.
You take one step at a time, then another and another. You write a sentence, then a paragraph, then an entire chapter.
Writing happens in bits and pieces.
Following are a few suggestions for writing your book:
1. Know Your why
The question is not “Should You Write a book?”
The question is “Why you shouldn’t write a book?”
Before you decide to write a book, you should know your why.
- Passive Income
- Become an expert Authority
- Launch and Expand your Business
- A book is a Visiting Card on steroids.
- Get Speaking Assignments / Consulting
- Your Book is Your Legacy. You Will Live Forever!
- It’ll teach you about yourself.
- It’ll Make You Smarter
- It’s Like Therapy
- It’s an amazing experience
2. Research the topic you want to write about
- Do research about the other books on the same topic.
- What extra do you have to add to that?
- How is your book different from those books
3. Start Small
- Writing is about moving forward little by little even if you don’t have a perfect solution.
- Setting the target at 500-1000 words a day may feel exciting but soon the reality will hit you and you will fall behind, feel tired, unmotivated and unfocused.
- Set a goal of writing at least 50 words daily.
- Give yourself permission to be happy even if you have just logged into your blog or opened your manuscript and have not written a thing! Soon this habit will make you want to write.
4. Write the outline first
5. Get early feedback
- Get early feedback on your writing from Friends, Family, Peers, etc.
- Write double the number of pages you wish to publish.
- Editing will take care of the extra pages.
6. Accept that the initial drafts will NOT be good enough
E.B. White: “A writer who waits for ideal conditions under which to work will die without putting a word on paper.” Keeping this in mind:
- Your first few drafts may be shitty and that is ok because often from those first few shitty drafts will spring forward some good and a few brilliant ideas.
- You may write anything and everything that comes into your mind. You don’t need to follow any sequence. Let the ideas flow through you.
- You can organize the ideas into categories and edit it later.
- Don’t aim for perfection.
7. Use Online Tools
- You can use online tools like Google Docs or Dropbox or host of other tools that help you access your manuscript from anywhere.
- This way you can write on the way to work or while waiting for your train or bus or in the cab.
8. Find the right mood
- Writing is often about rituals. Some rituals trigger the mood to write. For some it may be getting up early in the morning and watching the sunrise, for others it may be walking, for some cooking or cleaning dishes or reading.
- You need to find what gets you in the mood to write.
9. No matter what, finish the book
Do whatever you need to do to get it in front of people.
10. Publishing the book
Even the most brilliant writers were rejected several times before they got published. Keeping this in mind:
- You can approach a publisher and go down the traditional route that is after Writing the Draft there is Contacting Publishers, Agents, etc.
- If you were to take your book to a traditional publisher, they will give you royalty on your book sales and look after everything like editing, marketing, publishing, etc. However, it could take months or years to publish.
- But if you choose to self-publish then you can become an author easily. If you self publish you have to take care of Editing, Cover Design, Publishing, Marketing, etc all by yourself.
11. Marketing the book
- If you publish through the publisher your expense is only time invested, rest they will take care.
- If you self publish then you have to bear the expense of marketing and selling.
- If you market it well, it will do well. Books don’t sell on their own unless you are already famous. So you have to put in the work to sell your books by doing speaking engagements, Free Seminars, Online marketing, etc.
12. Embrace failure
- Send your book to as many publishers as you can and even then if it doesn’t get published, self publish it.
13. Write another book
- Your first book may or may not be successful.
- However, don’t let that stop you from writing your next one because your next one will be a better one.
Common Myths Stopping People from Publishing Their Book
- You need to be an expert to write a book: You don’t need to be an expert infact you become an expert only after you write a book.
- Writers Block: If you have a problem in writing but can speak, then record your ideas and give it to someone who will listen to it and transcribe it. You can also use the help of a Ghost Writer if you have money to spare.
- Fear of Failure: How many people will ask you if your book fails – “I didn’t expect this from you?” You tried something. You are better than passive critics who don’t have the guts to try and fail. So don’t worry about your critics.
- A book is written: A book is not just written, it is engineered. It requires a – writer, editor, publisher, designer, and marketer.
- Your work stops after you publish the book: The real work starts after you publish the book. You will have to do speaking assignments, book signing, attend literature festivals, do podcasts and media interviews to promote the books.
- People must like your book: What people like depends more on their choices and preferences than on your writing. Most people don’t even read all the books they buy. Many people buy books for the sake of buying and gifting books.
- You need a publisher to get published. This is the biggest fear of all writers – fear rejection of publishers. However, today with Kindle, Createspace, Audiobook Creation Exchange (ACX), etc you can self publish your own book.
Should I Quit My Job to Pursue my Passions
I have a full-time job as a Fund Accountant at a large Insurance Company but still managed to write and self publish 3 books, work out every day, practice yoga, etc.
All I did was proper time management and cutting out on unnecessary social life.
A day job gives you money and routine that you can use to enhance to pursue your passion or try out new projects on the side. Without money, you will have to rely on the mercy of others.
In my opinion, only after you successfully start making money from your side project, should you leave your job and jump fulltime into your passionate side project.
In the meantime you can search for a job:
- That helps you acquire or practice the skill sets required for a side project
- Gives you fixed working hours
- Is close to your home and entails limited travelling
- Or a job that allows the flexibility for work from home so that you can use those few hours of time and energy saved for doing the work you love.
Key Takeaways From My Journey
Start where you are
- Not where you wish you were, but where you are, because every worthy goal begins with a single step.
- Don’t beat yourself for not having reached already where you wanted to reach.
- One year from now, you will wish you had started a year earlier. START NOW.
Use what you have
- You don’t need to have all the resources handy to make your dreams come true.
- The time, energy, people and resources will come once you start.
- Sometimes people get so caught up in the things they “need” to make their dreams happen that they lose sight of the dream.
Do what you can
- That’s all anyone can ever do.
- We have to recognize that although we may not have power over our circumstances, we do have some power. With that in mind, we can take action.
- As we start taking actions and moving towards our desires and dreams, our power grows
Be Patient and give yourself sufficient time
- Think in terms of months or years, not days or weeks.
- Humans often overestimate what they can do in a week or a month but underestimate what they can do in a year or a decade.
Which is better, traditional publishing or self-publishing?
- With self-publishing, you can produce your content as quickly as you want. And in the Amazon Kindle store, you can publish a new book whenever you want.
- That way, you can share your work as quickly as you create it!
- Traditionally-published authors are typically paid an amount of money upfront but they only get a small cut of the earnings.
- When you self-publish, you take in most of the earnings. On Amazon, self-published authors receive 70% of the royalties for an eBook priced between $2.99 and $9.99. Now that isn’t bad!
- Today with Kindle, Createspace, Audiobook Creation Exchange (ACX), etc you can self publish your own book.
Money is NOT in writing the book
- The real money is in the business you build around the book.
- You can make more money from the business or speaking assignments that your book will get you than from the royalties you will earn from the sale of your books.
- Often you may have to give away your books for free just so that people read it.
- Writing a book will give you an ‘Expert Tag’ in your field.
Today I am a husband, a father, a writer, and those identities don’t take away from my day job, but in fact, help me bring my authentic self to my work and do better at it.
Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines.
Now It’s Your Turn
Are you interested in writing a book but don’t know how?
I am happy to help and guide you. You can connect to me on LinkedIn at – Deepesh Dhamija.