What’s the key to a successful self-published book? Great writing, of course, is one—but as career coach Amy Van Court of Possibilities Unlimited attests, lots of research on self-publishing and collaborating with a knowledgeable team of experts are the keys that unlock the doors to getting recognized and generating sales.
Amy wrote Escaping Career Prison: Three Keys to Breaking Free and Finding Work You Love after years of helping women free themselves from unfulfilling work and land in livelihoods that allow them to achieve career success on their terms. She combines a straightforward, no-nonsense approach with compassion and understanding to help readers discover and utilize their unique gifts, passions, and talents.
Writing a book to help women build a more fulfilling career was a bold mission, but Amy approached it with meticulous planning. “I did a tremendous amount of research on the process before the first word went down on paper,” she says.
As Amy investigated publishing options, it became clear that self-publishing would be the best avenue for her. She feared traditional publishing would delay the process, and she didn’t want to give up creative control and ownership of the end product. “I chose to self-publish because it gave me complete control over the decision about whether to make my work public, how, and when,” explains Amy.
She determined she could accomplish the two critical components that traditional publishing offered—quality editing and a great cover—on her own by working with great collaborators.
Amy found The Writer’s Ally through an Internet search. “It is scary and thrilling to hand over the heart of one’s work to others, with the tender hope that they will breathe it into existence with care and integrity,” Amy admits. “Ally and her team were gifts from heaven who ‘got it’ from Day One, providing me with candid feedback and wisdom that honored my desire to make a positive, meaningful impact for readers.” She reviewed several book designers, ultimately choosing to work with a cover designer from Italy whom she found on Elance.com.
While Amy is exceptionally pleased with the outcome, it was a challenging venture. “It is a lot of work to self-publish,” says Amy. “Managing one’s self, the project, and the people collaborating on it, all while learning the process and all of its components, is a full-time job.” Still, she wouldn’t trade her experience for anything. “It was SO worth it, all the way around. I’m thrilled with the people I chose to work with on this project and I feel so grateful to have found them,” Amy extols.
With her content and package expertly crafted and presented, Amy’s book is getting noticed in big ways. She has so far received accolades from three of her heroes (Seth Godin, Dennis Merritt Jones, and Tama Kieves) and she’s sold a nice quantity of books. Amy has also been thrilled to read reader reviews, which affirm that she has reached her original goal of helping as many women as possible find the self-knowledge and courage to leave unsatisfying careers and find soul-singing ones.
She used Amazon to both distribute her paperback book (printed using the POD machinery of a local shop) and create an electronic version for Kindle. “The process of distributing the book on Amazon was a snap; it took just a few hours to post the Kindle version and only a few days to go from upload, to proof, to live distribution for the paperback,” she describes. Her book is also on the shelves of a local Denver bookstore.
For others hoping to self-publish, Amy offers this advice: Find and hire the best editor you can get your hands on. “This is so, so, so important,” she says. “Once your book is out there, it’s a reflection of you that can’t be erased or taken back. Honor that. Care about the book, care about your reader, care about yourself: Have it edited by someone you respect and trust, and listen with a tender, open heart to what your editor says.”
Escaping Career Prison will guide readers on a journey to discover and explore the three keys to career freedom: deep self-knowledge and self-acceptance; managing the inner critic that keeps you stuck; and connecting with the wisdom that will support and guide you toward a fulfilling career. For Amy, her journey as a self-publisher has been a rewarding discovery as well, allowing her to fulfill her passion by helping her readers live theirs.