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Author by necessity

Documenting my journey from clueless newbie to published author

So what am I doing here? As President & CEO of LabMD, Inc., a uropathology medical laboratory in Atlanta, Georgia, (we test blood, urine, and tissue for cancer and other medical issues), this is not my normal venue.  However, shockingly, I am writing a book about battling the Feds while I continue to fight the Feds and learn about writing and publishing a book all at the same time.

Briefly, my book is a narrative non-fiction about my ongoing dance with the Federal Trade Commission. It highlights cybersecurity, government overreach, beating up small business, and how lawyers operate behind the scenes. I have an obsession with letting the world know this story.

Starting with zero knowledge of the publishing world and with the goal to get as many eyeballs as possible reading my story, I knew had a lot to learn in a very short time. I started by flying to Carla King’s self-publishing boot camp at the San Francisco Writers Conference in February, 2012. I was very intrigued to find the publishing world in the state that was in. I observed a crumbling oligopoly of king makers that had no idea what was hitting them.

Most of the class members were authors writing books about their passions, whether those were their childhood struggles, family history, romance novels, or art. Most would call themselves “authors.” I did not dare label myself an author. I knew I had a long way to go, but I had a leg up on most in the room, because I felt the driving message from every speaker was “this is a business.”  Since I have been in business since I was a twelve year-old with a paper route, I knew I had that part nailed. I just had to figure out all the other stuff.

I walked away from San Francisco with four points top of mind:

  1. My book better be compelling to the reader or it will flop, and it may flop anyway.
  2. I need to be my own publicity machine regardless of which book publishing avenue I choose.
  3. I am walking into an industry at a time of great shifting, change, and implosion. There are a ton of experts. Who do I trust?
  4. If number one doesn’t occur, then items two and three don’t matter.

I have been asked to write about my journey from clueless newbie to published author, the people I have met along the way, the spectrum of sometimes conflicting advice they so generously offered, and the reasons, after gathering all that information, I chose to self-publish.

I will be stopping by on a regular basis to describe my journey and lessons learned. I look forward to hearing back from you with more pearls of wisdom and mutual support. The one thing I figured out pretty quickly was if you want to write a good book you’re not going to make it happen on your own.

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  • http://www.philsimon.com/ Phil Simon

    You’re wise beyond your publishing years. There’s no secret sauce. Books succeed and flop for all sorts of reasons–and we don’t know why in advance. We probably never will be able to predict book sales.