Here is where you can find Property Investor Toolkit: A 7-Part Toolkit for Property Investment Success (UK site) or International site
The story of taking a book writing dream to an Amazon Best Sellers reality
It has been and continues to be quite a journey!
Almost 30 years ago I had a dream...more a loose ambition than a set goal back then...but I always knew I wanted to write a book. Then the 'what on earth will I write about' question spun around my head almost endlessly.
Should it be fiction or non-fiction? Personal or not? What did I have to say anyway? I recall Sting being asked by Jools Holland in an interview, why haven't you released an album for so long? His reply: 'I didn't have anything I wanted to say.' Perhaps that was the same for me...I wanted to write but I didn't know what I wanted to say?
Time passes, experiences are gained, paths change and life moves forward. With it, the 'story' unfolds, weaves it's own path and takes you into new places of discovery. I have had around three clear phases to my working / business career: corporate, entrepreneurial and consultant in the loosest of terms. I have loved and lost and have a family of my own. I have travelled the world and met many interesting people. I have dipped my toe into various forms of investment and stuck with one in particular.
I had at least three different ideas for a book and that was part of the problem. Others had their opinion of what MY book should look like and what ground it should cover too. This was confusing and did not really help, as I was not as passionate about some of these potential ideas.
The start of a breakthrough
A couple of years ago, over the Christmas and New Year break, I sat down and just wrote a fairly technical 'white paper' on Business Case Appraisal. It was a finance-for-non-finance managers kind of paper, aimed at helping middle and senior managers to understand and then justify asset investment decisions to the senior decision-makers in their business. I called it a labour of love and even as I write those words, how can a white paper on investment decision making and love appear anywhere near each other in the same sentance? The thing is, it wasn't the subject that I was in love with, it was the process and creativity of writing. I had started to get the monkey off my back...after around 25 years of waiting!
Next, my curated insights on the Scoop.it platform followed by this website and blog, allowed me to combine two of my passions - property and writing. I was hooked. I was 'in flow', as it is known and writing on a subject that I was passionate about never seems like work. I am in fact perfectly relaxed as I write these words and time is flying by...but that can also be a bit of a problem at times too!
The next logical step was to write a book of course. I had some great input, support and advice from a fellow property writer, who helped me to start to shape a concept into a plan. I started in earnest with a book idea - a collection of musings about my approach to property investing. I wrote two or three chapters very quickly and had the full twelve mapped out too, with the raw material ready to be knocked into shape. My mentor felt that it was not the right book to start with and after being momentarily crushed, I agreed also.
The challenge with that was that the alternative concepts that we discussed were not striking a chord with me deep inside and I got stuck if I am perfectly honest...no more 'in flow'. This was a tough time and I was full of self-doubt and angst, as I saw what had become a 'nearly there' turn into a 'slowly slipping away' instead. Then I recalled what I heard Gary Lightbody, the lead singer from Snow Patrol, say once when asked about his writer's block. He said, he was given advice from one of his mentors that 'writers write'. So simple and yet so profound he thought and so do I. Just write something, even if it is terrible, just put pen to paper of fingers to the keyboard and write - throw it away or hit delete later, that's OK. Eventually, the habit will yield to the creativity within.
Back in the saddle
So, having written around 5,000 words, if my memory serves me correctly, on that Business Case white paper, I then set about writing a series of mini-guides aimed at helping property investors looking to start out. I had in mind, something that I wished I had myself when I started out. In all honesty, I imagined something similar to that Business Case article, so I thought +/- 5,000 words was about what I could achieve. However, to my shock and surprise, I found 13,000 words came flowing out of me freely. These 13,000 words are not full of padding and fluff either I am told, so I was back in the saddle once again.
But here's the thing - I didn't even realise that this was effectively a book that I had written! For quite some time, I was giving these mini guides away in a series to new subscribers to this website. Fair enough and I did have some nice feedback over the few months that I adopted this approach. I was then back to 'what is my big book idea' again...labouring with the subject that I had been encouraged to tackle. I think for many writers, being passionate about the subject is so important and to be perfectly honest, I was not passionate about that subject...not then anyway.
"When the student is ready, the teacher will appear..."
Finally, after much gnashing of teeth, I began working with a different mentor in a wider personal development context. I was particularly shaken by the idea of purpose in our lives. You see for me, I saw 'purpose' as being a Gandhi or Mandela type of thing - a great destiny and to be honest it scared the living daylights out of me! Them, at a similar time I was reading The Miracle Morning (see my reading list blog post), when Hal Elrod mentioned that a purpose does not have to be this grand, forever ideal, as I had been thinking. It could be a purpose 'for now' or for 'this year' instead. Whether or not this is strictly true, it was a complete breakthrough for me I can tell you!
I adopted the Miracle Morning challenge and the teachings of my other mentor and suddenly the whole idea of purpose came to me in one of my first meditation sessions. Yes, I know it might sound a bit hocus pocus and touchy-feely but trust me, it radicalised how I saw myself and what direction I should take. In essence, what I was doing 'on the side' became 'front and centre' in my life and my energy was transformed, my creativity came alive and my purpose extremely clear. I won't drift off too far in that direction, that is perhaps for another day; suffice to say that writing and publishing my book was very much a part of it.
So, where to begin, I asked myself. Then, as if a bolt of lightening had struck me, I had the answer staring me in the face...I had already written a book! That was the best place to start...publish what I had already written...Eureka!
Full speed to hitting Amazon Best Sellers List
So, that's exactly what I did. Then within two weeks of making that decision I had the format to publish version ready and then another week later...it was published on Amazon and ranked #1 in the Real Estate section in the Kindle store - that makes it one an the Amazon Best Sellers list! Wow, how amazing is that?
I have a second part to this story about how writing is only part of what is involved in writing a book but that is for another day! For now, I hope you have enjoyed the story of how I managed to finally realise my dream of around thirty years in the making and then just three weeks to make it a reality. The lessons learned are many but here's the thing...now that I have done it and that monkey is finally off my back, my belief to do it again has sky rocketed! Expect more books from the Richard W J Brown 'Author' stable but in the meantime, please do enjoy the one that I have written instead 🙂
Thanks for indulging me here...I really do hope that you enjoy the book, or perhaps take some inspiration from this journey of mine...don't wait 30 years though will you? Your story, or purpose might not be to write a book and be among Amazon Best Sellers but I hope that you are 'in flow' and have identified your purpose, whether it be of the Ganhi / Mandela variety, or the 'for now' or 'for this year' type instead.