7 Things I Learned While Writing An Amazon Bestseller

By Robert Kennedy III

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The title might come across with a little bit of braggadocio.  But, one of the first things I’ve learned in this book writing process and my process of personal growth is just stating what is and going from there.

I spent a lot of time fighting internal battles, like many people.  I dissected and analyzed.  I bought in to the idea that there were a set of people who had the right to proclaim value.  I bought into the story that your value was diminished if you drove a high-end Hyundai instead of a Mercedes.  Like everyone else, I made comparisons and ended up not moving forward because I wanted to avoid the criticisms.  I wanted to avoid people telling me they didn’t agree with the ideas I had.  I was looking to sidestep those who had an opinion on how long the prose should be.  I was maneuvering away from the self-proclaimed “keepers of the law” who would be sure to point out all the errors and let me know which literary rules I’d broken.

Yet, when you rationalize avoidance, you simply end up falling into the trap anyway.  You end up stagnant not realizing the trick.  The trick is…most who criticize are either trying to keep you behind them or right with them.  They don’t want you to move ahead.  It may sound innocent.  And, they may not be malicious.  But, the deep-rooted reason is a personal sense of dissatisfaction or threat disguised in a let-me-help-you-out statement.

I just released a book called 7 Ways To Know You Were Meant To Lead on Amazon.  Because of some of the aforementioned internal battles, I spent several months stopping and starting.  I wrote sporadically some days because of my own internal editor.  But, there was also the “is what I have to say important enough” fight which kept popping up.  I’ve written two other books and have 4 other book projects in queue.  Yet, the internal war still slowed my progress.  It was after speaking with a friend of mine (Thanks Jeff) and one of my coaches that I determined to focus in and simply write.  Put away the distractions and simply get this project done.

While going through this process, here are some things I learned:

  1. Don’t overthink it.  Get it done – I have more ideas and I don’t need to put them all into the same book or the same space.  Sometimes you don’t need to say more than is necessary.  There were moments I held myself up because I wondered if I needed to say more simply for the sake of having more pages.  It reminded me of my time in an honors English class in college when I felt pressured to write fluff simply to impress the professor.  Since I didn’t want to write more than I wanted to say, I just stopped writing…for a long time.
  2. People are rooting for you – Once I told people about what I was up to, there were smiles, head nods and many statements of support.  Once I reached out to some of my mentors and people who inspire me, they were glad to be helpful.  We often think, based on our own “lack of time”, that everyone else is ridiculously busy and has no time for you.  The truth is they may be busy but there are so many people in your world who root for you.  And when they root for you, they will help you.  You just need to ask.  Quite a few of them have been where you are before and they will do what they can for you, especially if they trust you are the type of person who will also pay it forward.
  3. Don’t release on a Monday – Yes, it’s the beginning of the week and people are responsive, but it’s hard to pull everyone together on the weekend to prep for a Monday morning launch.  If anything changes or goes wrong, if you missed anything in the planning process, then it can be challenging to make those adjustments on the weekend when it’s less likely people are in their offices or checking their emails.
  4. Find someone who has done it before – I read a lot of information.  I watched webinars.  I spoke to publishers and self publishers.  I joined Facebook groups.  But nothing was as valuable as having a conversation with someone who has gone through the process before.  I had conversations with 2 such people (Thanks Kim and Ed) and they added so much unsolicited value.  I was in search mode and I don’t know that I asked them directly.  But, it’s true…when the student is ready, the teacher will appear.
  5. Celebrate in the moment – Somewhere in the back of my mind, I felt like the best seller revelation would last forever.  You know, like in the Olympics when Michael Phelps won, he stood and soaked in the cheers, then he would have 4 more years of being #1 before someone snatched it from him.  Or, like becoming president of the US, you get elected, you walk down the street in DC with a cavalcade, you get booked on David Letterman and then you have 4 more years before someone snatches it from you.  I envisioned it being like that.  But, in the book business or the music business, you can be #1 one day and #55 the next.  So, when you hit #1, celebrate all 60 minutes of it.  Party like it’s 1999 (is that even a thing anymore?)
  6. Everybody is NOT doing it – Sometimes you get lost in you own mind.  You get into Facebook groups and it seems like everyone in the world is releasing a book or coaching or doing something exactly like what you are doing.  But, it’s not everyone in THE world.  It might just be everyone in YOUR world.  When you focus in, your world becomes consumed by what you are up to and it can be easy to lose sight of the other people outside of your current cocoon.  What you are up to provides value for people outside of the cocoon and some who may be IN the cocoon as well.  Even if you are doing something similar, no one does it like you and presents it with your perspective and your authenticity.
  7. No one can take it away – Some people will be happy for your accomplishments.  Others will try to diminish them.  You may even do a good job of diminishing it yourself by reading crazy internet articles only meant to disparage.  But, it can never be taken away.  The moment in time where your listing says #1 can never be taken away.  I know because I took a screenshot.  And everyone knows, in this age of deleted tweets, screenshots last forever.  Screenshots mean it happened.  (Well, there’s photoshop but that’s another article).  With tongue firmly out of cheek now, the truth is no one can change the past.  They can attempt to make it seem more or less important but they can never take away the fact that it happened.  It’s yours…FOREVER!

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As I embrace the achievement, I do what achievers do.  They begin to look for the next stage of achievement.  Amazon? Check.  New York Times? Let’s start the journey!