Back in November 2021 I had a brain wave. I should write another book, but what would I write about? I thought perhaps it could be about communication, maybe various business concepts.
Near the end of 2021 I was gifted a book from Strategic Coach titled, “Big Book Payoffs” -Why Every Entrepreneur Should Write a Book” by Dan Sullivan and Tucker Max. Clarity questions were posed, such as:
- What’s the real reason for writing the book?
- Who’s the ideal reader for the book?
- Why will they care?
- What’s your plan?
This book provided further clarity on “my why” and who I would be writing for. I wanted the main audience to be leaders and entrepreneurs and it even went deeper, by asking me to attach names to who I would want to read my new book. Names like, Denis, Richard, Eddy, Brent, Henri, Justin, David, and many more came to mind.
Inevitably this clarity and pre-work led me down the path of writing a book about leadership, specifically leaders and their journey in business and in life. The concept of Lunch with Leaders was born.
Writing a book is on many people’s bucket list, but it isn’t for the faint of heart. It takes hundreds of hours, and there is a financial cost (Ranging from $6,000 bare minimum to $100,000. or more), time cost, and emotional cost. You get caught in the book project and at times it can consume you and eating into free days like weekends. While I don’t have the exact number of hours that I have in my book, it was significant over two years and the many versions and countless iterations of the book, tweaking chapters and modifying cover design to the subtitle was part of the process, which was daunting at times. Many early mornings on weekends (My most creative and uninterrupted time for me). Getting up at 5:00am and sitting by my fireplace and putting 4-5 hours on a Saturday and Sunday was the norm for months and months.
This was definitely the case for me, along with publishing challenges including my original publisher having major financial struggles and eventually they declared bankruptcy….after all of my book investment was paid for. That cost me more money than was planned to get my book complete and I had to source a new publisher to help me finish the project. Fortunately, my new publisher was incredibly helpful, and I believe helped me produce a better book.
Is the pain, stress and struggle worth it? For me, it absolutely was worth it.
The guiding light for me, was always reminding myself why I wrote the book, or past books for that matter. As Tony Robbins said, many years ago, “your WHY must be the most compelling.”
I have been fortunate to have two bestselling books: Remarkable Service and Relationships for Keeps.
Becoming a best-selling author is a dream many writers have, but the journey to achieving such a status is fraught with challenges and hurdles that can test even the most resilient. While the allure of fame, fortune, and literary recognition is undeniable, the path to best-seller status is paved with obstacles that require a combination of talent, perseverance, strategy, and hard work. And there is rarely fame and fortune! For the record, it wasn’t why I wrote any of my past four books. Don’t get me wrong, there is an upside to authoring a book. It can enhance credibility, help you be seen as a thought leader, and create more brand awareness of the author and their affiliation with a company or business, in my case the writing process and desired outcome was always connected to my business, X5 Management. It is a passion and calling that I feel privileged to have started and now watching it grow and flourish is so gratifying. With reference to enhancing my own credibility and becoming a thought-leader, in early 2024, I was approached to give a presentation to 12+ executives in New York City in May 2024. This request was attributed to the fact that I wrote my first book, Remarkable Service in 2017. The benefits of writing a book aren’t always realized immediately.
One of the biggest challenges faced by aspiring best-selling authors is the sheer competitiveness of the publishing industry. With millions of books being published each year, breaking through the noise, and capturing reader’s attention is a huge task. A high-level google search revealed that the total number of new book titles released in North America annually is around 4 million.
Once you get your book ideas to paper and create some structure, a draft manuscript is prepared. (Manuscript defined: The original handwritten or typed version of a book, as submitted by an author for publication).
For Lunch with Leaders, I interviewed twelve leaders via Teams/Zoom and recorded the interview. The audio was transcribed to get a very rough draft of the conversation to start to build out twelve unique chapters for each leader. By the time the book was sent for publication each chapter was likely reviewed and edited, at least six times (including a review by each leader who is in my book).
A manuscript may be a literary masterpiece, but without effective marketing and promotions, it can easily get lost in the vast sea of publications.
To give you context, in Canada, most people would buy a book online via Amazon.ca
On the night before Amazon bestseller day, Lunch with Leaders ranked #235,246 in books on Amazon. At the end of my bestseller day (January 30th) ranked in #6 position, which makes my book an Amazon bestseller. Some additional stats that I am very proud of achieving include: #1 in Leadership; #1 in Entrepreneurship; #1 in Business Leadership; and #1 on Amazon’s Movers and Shakers list.
The amount of hours and team support to literally tap your network, business community, along with family and friends was substantial, and extremely strategic.
In addition to the fierce competition, the evolving landscape of the publishing industry poses its own set of challenges. Traditional publishing houses are more risk-adverse than ever, often favoring established authors with proven track records over emerging talent or catchy topics.
In my case, the publisher that I originally used was a smaller firm but would have published several thousand books in their time in business. The reality, I am not famous so a big publishing firm wouldn’t jump up and ask me to have my book published with them.
Self-publishing, on the other hand, offers a more accessible avenue for authors to get their work into the hands of readers. However, it comes with its own challenges, including navigating the complexities of formatting, cover design, editing, and distribution. Few entrepreneurs have time for that.
Another formidable obstacle on the journey to becoming a best-selling author is the changeability of the literary market. Trends and reader preferences can change rapidly, making it a challenge for authors to predict what will resonate with audiences. A book that might have been a hit a few years ago may struggle to find an audience in the current market. Selecting a relevant topic that can stand the test of time is critical.
Once a book is released, the author’s role extends beyond the efforts of writing and marketing. Building and maintaining a connection with the reading audience is what I have found to be most rewarding. Whether it be social media, virtual calls, or networking events, building, and maintaining momentum is how I have kept engagement high.
I love the relationships I have been able to maintain and the many readers that I have inspired through my writing. Becoming a best-selling author is incredibly rewarding and gratifying, and I am very pleased to influence others with my business books. So many business leaders have told me they have learned lessons they can apply to their business, their organizational culture, and their customer service standards, to name a few.
It is such a sense of accomplishment to create a goal, and consistently work towards it one step at a time, celebrating victories along the way and recognizing hurdles or delays do not mean the goal cannot be achieved. My goal was writing, Lunch With Leaders – Real Stories of Pivotal Moments for Today’s Executive, and despite having published two best-selling books already (Remarkable Service and Relationships for Keeps), this book was one I had wanted to write for a long time. I get major satisfaction when other leaders that I know professionally have comments about the book.
It was such a pleasure to sit down with so many successful leaders and learn more about their wisdom and insights that they have learned about what it takes to run a successful business.
Their stories are inspirational and are sure to influence the many readers that enjoy my book.
If you purchased a copy of Lunch with Leaders, I thank you, if this article creates interest in reading it you can purchase a copy on Amazon.