How to turn a book into a 6-figure business
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==> Why a 6-Figure Author?
Trust me. It's not about the money. Here's what I mean...
I published my first book in 2004, The Journey Toward Relevance. The truth is, I didn't know what I was doing. No one was mentoring me on the finer details of writing, publishing, or marketing. Naively, I thought I'd sell a million books and make a million dollars.
So I could do this writing thing as a full-time gig. Sure I loved being a pastor and serving in a church, but even back then I felt the pull between my day job and my dream job. Every once in a while I'd get a phone call or an email to go speak somewhere about my book. I'd literally have to tell the caller or sender, "Hold on. I'll have to get back with you. I need to check with my boss."
Then I'd bring up the request in my next weekly meeting with my Senior Pastor. He was a very generous leader, but rightfully so, I'd have to "sell" him on the idea. I'd explain why it was a good thing to leave my "job" for a couple days to go and talk to groups of people who needed to hear the message behind my book.
Sometimes he let me. Sometimes he didn't. Sometimes I'd have to "sell" other people on the idea too like my director, other staff members, ministry leaders, elders, etc.
We feel imprisoned when we need permission to do our passion.
I Needed Permission to do my Passion
When I didn't get permission, I'd squeeze in a speaking gig here or there on the front end or back end of a vacation. In those days our vacations weren't that glorious. It probably meant Kelly and I visiting her family in Michigan or my family in Wisconsin. Still, it always felt like speaking invitations were a stressful experience because I had to defend my rationale for wanting to take them.
And then there was the actual writing of the books.
I am a father of three kids. They are each two years apart. Imagine having a 5 yr. old, 3 yr. old, and 1 yr. old and trying to write as well. Since I was absolutely committed to be the best employee and father and husband, that meant writing a total of 4 books in the "margins" of life. These books were written at 12 am or 2 am or sometimes even 4 am, in between feeding the babies.
I'm not complaining.
I loved those moments of bonding with my son and daughters. And since I was up anyways, I thought rather then go back to bed I'd crank out a thousand words of the next book that loomed over my head. After all, my traditional publishers weren't about to let me miss a deadline.
I Needed to Find a Better Way
Needless to say, the pressure of being a pastor, a daddy, a husband, a doctoral candidate, an author, and a speaker wore on me.
I tried to do it all...AND because I wasn't a 6-Figure Author I needed to do it all.
Writing books was only a part-time job. It paid some bills, but it certainly didn't pay ALL the bills. And because it didn't, I needed to keep my day job. This reality created a growing internal tension.
I found a way to make it work, until the day they asked me to be the next Senior Pastor. Don't get me wrong, I worked for an amazing church on so many levels. The people were unbelievable and the elders were extremely kind. I seriously considered being the next Senior Leader.
He was the catch. The church wanted to identify me as the next Senior Pastor and then begin a 10-year succession plan. As a young man in my mid 30's I knew this wasn't in the cards for me.
Although I didn't know exactly what I wanted to do, I knew I didn't want to sit on the bench for 10 years while in the prime of my life. And so I got incredibly focused. I told myself, I'd find a way to become a 6-Figure Author more out of necessity than out of desire.
Becoming a 6-Figure Author isn't about the money; it's about the freedom.
If I wanted to do what I loved full-time then I needed to provide for my family. I knew this meant replacing my income so I could pay for health insurance, mortgage, school, veh...