Behind the scenes of writing my new book
Are you burning to write YOUR book?
My latest podcast episode is made for you.
I reveal all my book writing secrets and why writing a book is one of the best marketing tools for your business.
Even if you’re not thinking about writing a book I recommend listening in - even a short book can be so valuable for trust and visibility.
And if you’re a blogger you’re already contributing to a potential book!
Last week I announced the brand new version of my book, Chill and Prosper, due out in July - you can pre-order now and get loads of incredible bonuses – click here to buy now.
Today I'm going to take you behind the scenes of what it's really like to write a book. And some of the reasons why you should write one and some pitfalls to consider as well.
I love sharing behind the scenes of my business and I know you love hearing about it. Sometimes, it literally feels like gossip, because no one talks about it!
Anyway, 18 months ago Hay House called me and asked me to work on a new project. They wanted a new edition of Chillpreneur, with a new name, new cover and new content.
Now I always underestimate how long things take to write. In the final weeks before deadline, I was like, "I'll just change a few things, how my business has evolved and the fact that I have ADHD."
Let me tell you, I ended up totally rewriting whole sections because sometimes I can’t take the easy route.
Chill and Prosper has a completely new and fresh flavor as a book. And hopefully you'll get even more than you did from the original version.
In this episode, you'll learn:
- About my 1st self-published book on internet dating for men!
- How I got my dream publishing deal with Hay House
- The money side of writing a book
- Why I find writing so hard
- My exact royalty statement
CLICK HERE TO READ ↓
Denise Duffield...: Hey, gorgeous. It's Denise here. And before we get into today's episode, I just want to let you know that I have a brand new version of my book, Chill and Prosper, coming out. You can get some incredible bonuses at denisedt.com slash prosper. This is the updated and expanded version of my book, Chillpreneur with a brand cover, brand new name, brand new case studies, and tons of incredible bonuses. Some of those bonuses are limited time, so make sure you go to denisedt.com/prosper. Grab your new copy of the book and get all of your incredible bonuses as well. Enjoy today's episode.
Hi, gorgeous. It's Denise here, and welcome to this week's episode of Chill and Prosper, where we are talking all things book related. I'm going to take you behind the scenes of what it's really like to write a book. And some of the reasons why you should write one and some pitfalls to consider as well.
Now, so many people tell me they want to write a book. It is just one of the most amazing things you can do. And also it still has this mystique, I think in our society of, "Wow, you wrote a book," which is ironic because if you are a content creator, if you write newsletters, if you are a blogger, you're essentially writing books all the time, but you might not have been able to have the confidence to pull it together into some coherent sense, and commit to the fact that you are a writer, you are an author and you are writing a book.
So I have done other episodes about how I got my book deal with Hay House. I'll do a really quick summary, but I want to tell you what's going on with my new book and how that all came to play as well. So just really quickly, if you haven't listened to that episode, I've always wanted to be a writer and an author. I've self-published many times. My first self-published book was called Internet Dating Tips for Men, and it was because I was doing internet in my twenties in London, and I went, "Man, people suck at this. I'm going to write a book about it." And I think that's where a lot of those book ideas come from, of going, "I've got something to share. I've got a point of view. I want to help people solve a problem, and I want to write about it," non-fiction books, of course.
But I think you've just got a desire to get something out. And that might be for you if you write romance or fiction or other genres, is that you just have to get it out. It needs to come. And so that was my first book. And then in my twenties, I wrote some other books about weddings, and creating an ethical and green wedding, and losing weight for your wedding. Just things that were going on in my life at the time. But I really wanted to write a personal development book. And I remember asking the universe for a million dollar idea, a million dollar book idea, and I was in the shower and this came into my head, Lucky Bitch. And at the time I was exploring the law of attraction and all of these amazing lucky things were happening to me.
I was winning competitions, door prizes, bingo. And then I won a travel competition to travel all around the world, all paid expenses, everything for six months. And my friends were just like, "Denise, you are such a lucky bitch." And it was kind of tongue in cheek. And so I thought, "Well, that's what I'm going to write my first book about, about the fact that I don't think that this is luck. I think I've been doing things that are somehow causing this," Which of course is some of the principles in the law of attraction, that you start to think about things. But it was more than that, I was like, I'm not just thinking about it, I'm telling people about it, and then they're telling me about opportunities." So I was wanting to demystify that law of attraction process, and reverse engineer it. And I just wanted to tell people what I knew.
So I decided to self-publish my book called Lucky Bitch, and I still have the original copy at my rose farm because it is such a testament to planting a seed, backing yourself, and realizing that you have something to say, even though it's not perfect. And it wasn't perfect. It was written half in US and half UK, English, there was typos in it, but it had a really big heart. And you might think, "Well, how does this get you a book deal?" I also then wrote a book the next year called Get Rich Lucky Bitch.
In the meantime though, I was sending out a newsletter every single week and telling people about my book. I didn't realize that one of the commissioning editors of Hay House, which is a big personal development publisher, they were watching my newsletter. They reached out and said, "We would love to explore doing a book with you. Will you pitched to us?" And I went, "Yeah. Oh my God. Absolutely." And it didn't pan out, because they just went, "Look, we're just not sure about the word bitch. It's just a little bit harsh. It's not really on brand for us." And I went, "No problem." So I went away and thought, I'm going to think of a different book idea to go back and pitch them. But also I'm going to build my platforms because all publishers ask for your social media numbers, they ask for your newsletter list. They want to see that you can market your own book. And so I just went away and went, "I'm going to get my newsletter list to X." I can't remember what it was at the time. "And I'm going to come up with another book idea."
And so I did the same thing. I was like, "Universe, send me a best selling book idea." And I came up with the idea, Chillpreneur. And for me, that really encapsulated everything about my philosophy in business. There's always an easier way. There's always an easier way to make money. There's always a path to lease resistance, and you don't have to follow everyone else's rules. So I went back to Hay House and I said to them, "I've got an idea for a new book, called Chillpreneur, and would you guys like to republish my other books?" And they went, "Yep, totally." And so the reason why I shared that is because sometimes people think, "I won't self-publish because that means that I won't be able to do traditional publishing later on." And that's not true. You can absolutely showcase the fact that you can sell books. And I sold about 20000 books by myself. I can sell books, I can market books. I have a message.
And also being able to say, "Here's a new book, but here's some I've already written." They love the fact that there's other books all ready to go. So no excuses, you can literally self-publish this year if you want to. And it doesn't mean that it's precluding you from traditional stuff later on. But there's a couple of things that happened in that process that were... I just want to share the behind the scenes of it, because I think publishing is seen still as this very big, scary thing, where there are gatekeepers and scary people behind the scenes who are rejecting you and rejecting your book. So I felt that same way as well, and publishing can be a very slow process, by the way, it can take a long time for things like signing contracts and getting the details together. It's an 18 month process, which is really hard me as an entrepreneur because I'm used to doing things so quickly. So it just can take a long time.
The other thing that people don't understand is how the money side of it works. So I just want to share that side too. So when you get paid in advance, you actually don't get all of that money at once. You usually get paid a third of it when you sign a contract, you get a third of it when you deliver the manuscript to them, and then you get a third of it when it actually gets published. So that could be a two year process, because even for me sending the pitch, that took six months for us to sign the actual contract, even though they wanted. It just took that long for things, for the details to be worked out, for them to work out where the book fit into their publishing schedule. It took a long time.
So, I didn't even get paid that first third for about six months. And then I think the second bit of money came maybe nine months later. And then the third bit came probably nine months later too. The other thing that people don't realize is that you get paid your royalties, you get them paid twice a year. And they're usually about a couple of months in arrears. So for example, like the last check that I got, which would've been in April, that would've been from the previous year, July to December period. So the lag times can be quite a lot. So I got a $30000 advance for the new book, and I decided to just give the, the other books without an advance. And that's not advice or legal advice. For me, I just went, "I just want all those books together. And it doesn't bother me that I didn't get in advance, because it just means that I'll just get paid straight away on those books." And I knew that they sold well anyway.
So that's just some little behind the scenes about how that process works, if you're curious. And it also means that if you are an author or an aspiring author, it really helps to have other forms of income in your business. And so for me, my course, my money bootcamp course, and some of my other little offerings, they are what makes me money. If I just had a book and I was waiting for those checks, it would've been a little bit stressful. So I think all authors should have other forms of income as well, but then the book can be a great business card for those.
So I'm just going to take a little break. And when I come back, I'm going to tell you some juicy stories about what I really disliked about the process, and how I made it better in the end. See you in a sec.
Charlotte Pardy: Hi, I'm Charlotte Pardy, an award-winning psychotherapist and author who works with daughters of difficult mothers. Denise's book, Chill and Prosper has really helped me. I've really internalized that message of knowing myself, standing in my power and being able to trust myself to build the business of my dreams. The difference with Denise's book is that it drills down into actually how to do that. The case studies, questions and journaling prompts turn this from a feel good about yourself book, to a powerhouse manual of how to play the business game and win at what really lights you up.
Denise Duffield...: Welcome back. We are talking about all things book. And I realized in that first part, I was like, "Am I getting too nerdy here? Am I getting too in the weeds?" But I think it's important to share things like that, because the process is just so mysterious and the more we can share, and the more we can share numbers I think is really powerful. And recently when I got my last royalty check, which I think was about $20000, I can't even remember, this is how my memory is like a squirrel. I did a post on Twitter where I was like, here's my royalty statement. And I'm totally happy to share this with you as well. So if you just go to the transcript for this episode, I will totally share my royalty statement with you, because it's just really fascinating to see, and I'd never seen anyone share it before. And I was like, "I'm not going to get in trouble, whatever." I love transparency."
Anyway. I wanted to also share some of the things that I didn't like about the process of both creating the book and also writing the book. Now, a lot of people have asked me why the first edition of Chillpreneur, why it didn't have me on the cover. So let me tell you why. First of all, when I handed that book in, I was about eight months pregnant with my third baby. And we were starting to talk about the cover, and I gave them some concepts of and things, and some of them were okay, but it was very like, person in a hammock kind of thing, person on the beach, very coastal freedom, which is my version of freedom, might not be yours.
And I even got a one of those 99 design things to be able to come up with some concepts. And I just put in one as a placeholder and it was a lady with a laptop, on a sun lounge on the beach. And that was just a placeholder and Hay House were like, "We really like that one." And I was like, "I'm eight months pregnant now. So I can recreate that picture." I was like, "Give me six weeks," because I'm delusional. I was like, "Just give me a couple months and I'll be able to recreate that picture." And they said, "No, no, we like that picture." And I was like, "Oh no, that's just a random lady. It's not me." But they really liked it. And they got feedback from their teams that it was a great one.
And I was so bummed and, sorry, Hay House, if you're listening to this. But I really was. And I was trying to push back and this was really, really hard for me because when you're dealing with a publisher for the first time you feel like, "Oh my God, they've chosen me. And if I'm not agreeable, and if I'm not a pleasure to work with, they'll cancel my contract." And so I was really nervous about going, "I really, guys..." I was trying to be diplomatic. I was like, "I'm not sure that cover of really resonates with my audience." But it's not that I hated it, hated it. I just didn't really like it at all. I'm trying to be diplomatic. I hated it. No. And I was just disappointed that it wasn't the cover that I had envisioned, and that I wasn't on the cover.
And so I was trying to be very nice and diplomatic and I pushed back as much as I could, but it just didn't work out. And so I remember saying to the universe, I was like, you know what, I'm just going to give that up to the universe. I'm just not even going to stress about it. I'm going to promote the book to the best of my ability. I'm really proud of this book. I'm not super proud of the cover, but the message will go out and people will love it anyway. And again, I wanted to share, because I actually hear that from a lot of authors, that they're not happy with their covers, and they don't want to talk about it, because they're afraid of getting into trouble with their publisher. And the Hay House people are really lovely. I'm sure that they know this about me now.
But you just have to know that if you're going into that situation with a publisher, chances are, you don't have a lot of control over your cover. And that can be one of the benefits of self-publishing, if you're exploring that route, is that you can choose everything, every single part of it. But I just said to the universe, "I'm just going to let that go. Come back in the future sometime. We'll do a new cover eventually."
So the really cool thing that happened was about maybe a year and a half ago, Hay House were like, "Denise, can we have meeting with you?" And my mind was just like, "I'm in trouble, I've done something wrong. They've been listening to my podcast episodes where I talk about how much I hate my cover. Oh my God, I'm going to get in so much trouble." And I sweated about this for a week. And finally I was like, "Cool. So for the meeting that's coming up this week, is there an agenda? Is there anything I need to prepare?" And they were like, "No We just want to talk about a new project." And I was like, Thank God. I'm not in trouble. I'm not in trouble about my book cover talk."
Anyway, so what happened in that meeting was that they said, "We would love to do a new version of Chillpreneur. And I just went, "Oh my God. Yes, thank God." Because this just never happens guys. Especially within just a year or two. Normally, to be able to do a new addition, you have to have sold a billion copies, it has to be out of print, there's so many scenarios where that just never, ever happens. And so I just went, "Thank you, universe." And I said, "Cool, but I really want to do a different cover this time." And they went, "No problem." But they said, "We've got something that we didn't like either." And I was like, "What?" And they said, "We never really loved the name Chillpreneur." And I was a little bit disappointed for about a second, but here's some other juicy stuff too that you might not realize, is that I loved the name Chillpreneur. I really thought it encapsulated, as I said, so much of my philosophy in business. Not everyone loved it, because there's a lot of cheesy -preneur things, and some people didn't like it, whatever.
But there was actually a bigger problem that was looming behind this Chillpreneur thing. Entrepreneur Magazine or Entrepreneur Inc. I can't even remember what they're called, they actually own the trademark to everything entrepreneur and -preneur. Everything. And they are extremely litigious. And you can't sue me guys for actually talking about this, because you're absolute jerks. But anyway, they're extremely litigious. So if you have seen or heard of people changing their name from a -preneur kind of thing, this is exactly why. So you can use it for books. So cool, I can use Chillpreneur for a book, but I actually couldn't use it for anything else. So I couldn't use it for podcasts, or programs, or courses, or even blog posts sometimes you have to be super, super careful about. If you've been wondering about John Lee Dumas, for example, his podcast used to be called Entrepreneur on Fire. Not anymore. Now it's called EOF.
There's so many examples about this where literally people have been sued. Some that I can't talk about, because they were in litigation for a long time, and as part of the settlement, they agreed to change their name, and they also agreed to never, ever talk about it. So, I don't know John Lee Dumas I don't know if that's exactly why he changed, but I've heard enough stories now that I just went, "Oh man." So when it came to changing and doing a new version of the book, I went, "You know what? This is a good time for us to change that name." And so we renamed the book Chill and Prosper.
Now I have a brand new edition coming out, depending on when you're listening to this, it's either available for pre-order or it is probably out already, but the new version has new case studies. It has a lot of new nuance of things that people have been asking me about, people who have been asking me to elaborate on things. So I want to make sure that if you already have a copy of Chillpreneur, that I make it worthwhile for you to buy the new version of Chill and Prosper. And I love the cover. I'm really happy with it. And I just feel so grateful that I was given a do over. And also, it means that I could change the name and all that kind of stuff.
So if you go to denisedt.com/prosper, you can see all of the pre-order bonuses for that. We are doing a book club, we're doing some videos, I've got some meditations, I've got a ton of extra resources. So go do that, please pre-order the new copy and buy the new copy, because I just, as I said, I want to make sure it's really valuable for you to be able to get all those extra things, and to make it worthwhile buying another book, if you already bought the first one.
But that was just some little behind the scenes of how the book process works. As I said, you can self-publish, doesn't mean that you can't go to a publisher later on. The fact that you might not love your cover, but not everything is set in stone, and just some little behind the scenes about me. And you know what? The thing that I find really tricky, I do find writing really hard. Not because of the actual process, it's just because I'm a procrastinator, and I completely underestimate how long things take to write. So the final weeks of the new version of Chill and Prosper, because of course, I was like, "I'll just change a few things to mention the pandemic, and mention the fact that now I have ADHD." And I totally rewrote so much of the book, because, God, I just cannot do things in an easy way sometimes. And I just was like, "I need to rewrite that, and I need a story for that, and I need a story for that." So I think you'll find that it has a completely new and fresh flavor as a book. And hopefully you'll enjoy it just as much as you did the original version.
So again, all of those bonuses are at Denise dt.com/prosper. Now, I also want to hear from you, are you thinking of writing a book? Are you in the process of writing a book? Do you need just a little bit of encouragement? And what little tidbits did you get it out of this episode? I always love hearing from you, and I love sharing those behind the scenes as well, which I know people appreciate, and people love hearing. But it feels like gossip, because no one talks about it.
Now I've got one cool thing that I want to share with you. Instead of a final thought today, I just want to share a little story about Hay House that just was so touching and beautiful to me, and I will share it right after this final break.
Gianluca: Hi everyone. This is [Gianluca]. I run a bespoke travel company in Romania, and I have been reading the Denise's books, newsletters, and even joined Money Bootcamp since January, 2021. I can see safely say it's been one of the smartest things I've done in the past two, three years. And probably the best bit that I like, it's the variety of affirmations that one can come up with that start with, "It's safe for me to..." So for example, it's safe for me to do less and make more money. It's safe for me to spend money. It's safe for me to enjoy spending money. And on and on it goes.
Thank you so much, Denise, for the inspiration, for showing us, I don't know, that it can be done, and for all the great work that we have access to because of you. Thank you so much.
Denise Duffield...: Welcome back. So something really fascinating happened to me recently. I had to call the Hay House office to speak Reid Tracy, the CEO. I wanted to speak to his secretary, and I didn't have her direct line. So I called the Hay House switchboard, and I almost fell off my chair because Louise Hay herself answered the phone. Oh my God. So it's her recording of her, and it honestly just gave me chills, because it was like, "Hello, this is Louise Hay, and welcome to Hay House." And then she talks, "Press one for this. And if this is about a Suze Orman product, press, whatever." And I just thought, "How beautiful it is, what a beautiful legacy that you can have the amazing creator of Hay House still answer the phone, and still be part of the company in such a beautiful way. It literally just gave me tears, and I actually didn't listen to any of the prompts. So I had to call a few times, because I kept on forgetting which number I was supposed to call. It was just so beautiful.
But at the end she just said, "All is well." And I can't even remember exactly, but you know how she just always says, "You are loved, and you're in exactly the right place, and all is well." And it was just such a beautiful message that I really needed to hear. And I actually never ended up getting through to the person I needed to speak to. But I needed to speak to Louise. I needed somebody to tell me, "All is well, everything's working out. You're exactly where you need to be." It makes me cry, thinking about it, because is we just don't hear that enough, do we? We don't get to tell ourselves that everything's going to be okay. And we don't remind ourselves that all is well.
So that's my final thought for today, is a reminder from Louise Hay herself, all is well. All is well. All is well. And I hope you have a beautiful week, and I will see you on next week's episode of Chill and Prosper. I love you, bye.
About the Show
Chill & Prosper is your weekly dose of money mindset, marketing and humour from best-selling author and entrepreneur Denise Duffield-Thomas.
Denise's philosophy is that there is ALWAYS an easier way to make money and that's what she's here to help you do. Each week, you'll get actionable advice to help you make more money, with less work. There's no need to hustle - let Denise show you how to embrace the Chillpreneur way.
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