More people than ever are self-publishing books on a range of topics—and you can be one of them. Learn how to start writing a book

More people than ever are self-publishing books on a range of topics—and you can be one of them.

In September 2016, Bowker—the official ISBN Agency (which stands for International Standard Book Number, or the number assigned to every book that is published) for the U.S. and Australia—released statistics showing that 727,125 new ISBNs were issued in 2015.

This number is up more than 375 percent over five years prior, meaning more people are writing and publishing books, even if they don’t work through a traditional publishing agency.

Maybe you’ve thought about writing a book but haven’t yet taken the steps to get your thoughts, ideas and stories down on paper. Perhaps the task seems too daunting, you haven’t had the time or you’re just not sure what to say.

Although it may feel like writing and publishing a book wouldn’t really impact your business, the reality is that there are three reasons why every massage therapist should at least consider taking this route.

1. A book is an effective marketing tool.

Elaine Fogel Schneider, Ph.D. (known simply as “Dr. Elaine”), is executive director of TouchTime International LLC and the author of Massaging Your Baby – The Joy of TouchTime – Effective Techniques for A Healthier, Happier, More Relaxed Child & Parent. For her, writing a book has been an effective marketing tool.

“As a therapist working with infants and their parents, having a book has brought writers, television producers, radio show hosts and agencies to my door asking me to be interviewed, or to provide face to face trainings or webinar presentations around the globe,” she said.

Fogel Schneider says she has traveled “from California to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, as a trainer of TouchTime.”

In fact, her book has been translated into Chinese and Malay, increasing her presence in those areas, as well as in the U.S., and opening up more opportunities for her to share what she knows about the benefits of massage to infants.

2. It establishes you as an expert

Kamillya Hunter is the owner and founder of Spa Analytics Consulting Group, a company she created when she was a massage therapist before letting her license lapse after her family moved to Germany. Her company supports the massage industry through consulting services, website design and content.

In August 2017, Hunter released her book,Success of a Failed Therapist and says that not only has it been well-received by other massage therapists, it has also helped establish her as an expert in the field.

“Whether it’s written to your massage client or simply [about] a particular service or topic you know well, when people see your ideas and thoughts in print, you attract a higher quality client base,” says Hunter. “You become an industry leader and it adds to your status of expert.”

3. It Gives You Another Revenue Stream

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the mean annual wage for massage therapists is $44,480 with a mean hourly wage of $21.39. Whether you make this amount, a little more, or a little less, if you want to raise your annual revenue even more, writing and selling a book is one way to achieve that goal.

Hunter says that writing and publishing Success of a Failed Therapist has, for her, created passive revenue opportunities outside of the treatment room.

In other words, her book makes her money even when she isn’t actively selling it. “If well distributed, [a book] can provide you with a decent stream of revenue that can be just what you need during the down times of off peak seasons,” she says.

How to Start Writing A Book

The idea of writing and publishing a book can seem as daunting as standing at the bottom of a mountain and wondering how you’re going to get to the top—but there are steps you can take to start making your very book a reality.

The first step is to come up with what it is you want to write about. Maybe massage has been a life-saver for you personally and you want to share your story in the hopes that it will inspire someone else to find the same relief.

Or perhaps, like Fogel Schneider, there’s a particular demographic that you massage, such as athletes, women or the elderly, and you would like to serve them even more by providing them important information about the benefits of massage.

Once you’ve decided on the basic premise or topic of your book, the next step is to come up a basic outline. What topics do you want to make sure you cover? In what order should they be presented so that they make logical sense to the reader?

Not only does having an outline help you better organize your book and give you an idea of what needs to go in it, but it can also help you stay on task when writing—which is what you’re going to do next.

While some people enjoy the writing process, others find the idea of putting thoughts in black and white a task they’d do anything avoid. If you fall into the second category, here are some tips that can help:

  • Set aside writing time on your calendar regularly so you’re always moving forward with your book. This could be by designating 30 or 60 minutes each morning or night, or by putting aside a block of time on weekends where you just sit down and write.
  • Write to simply get your thoughts down. Don’t worry yet about how good your ideas are, how your stories sound or whether you’ve used the right words. These issues can and will be addressed later, during the editing process.
  • If you truly detest writing, consider hiring a ghostwriter, which is someone who can take your thoughts and ideas and put them into book form. Alternatively, you could also dictate your book to audio and have it transcribed.

Whether you write the book yourself or have someone else write it for you, at this point in the process, you’ll have a rough draft.

With that, you can start tweaking it so it has all of the information you want it to have and provides it in the style and tone that you want it to. This is accomplished through editing and it’s something you can do yourself or hire out.

Ideally, you should have at least one other person preview your book as two sets of eyes looking over your book increases the odds that you’ll find any potential grammar, spelling, or content-related errors before it goes to print.

With your book in publish-ready form, you can take one of two routes. You can either self-publish using one of the many business found easily through a Google search, or you can seek publishing through a traditional publisher. Both have their pros and cons, so it’s all about finding the best option for you.

Having a book can give you another marketing tool, can help establish you as an expert, and can provide another stream of income.

So if you could use any one of these three benefits in your massage therapy business, then maybe it’s time that you sit down and write your own.

Who knows? You may just like what you read.

About the Author

Christina DeBusk is a freelance writer dedicated to providing readers relevant, research-backed content related to health and wellness, personal development, safety, and small business ownership.

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