Every morning, I write or rewrite or edit 500 words. Right now we’re past the first draft and we’re in the process of reaching out for endorsement deals for the book. I’m also trying to get forewords from influencers to help promote it.
I want to talk about why I decided to write the book in the first place, and the route that I’m taking. Keep in mind that this is a work in progress, so I’ll continue to give updates on this over time.
At the very end of the interview, I always talk to people about tangential stuff. Joe happened to say at the end that publishing a book is a game changer. Once you do that, it changes everything.
It got me thinking about the progression of my professional life. I have Single Grain, a growing and profitable business. I also have two podcasts now (Growth Everywhere and Marketing School), and I’ve spoken at different events.
What’s next? Write a book.
It’s been over a year since I started writing Level Up, and the process began with me taking a bunch of Post-Its and throwing all my topic ideas together. I figured out what I wanted to write about in each chapter, and then I just started talking into my phone every morning and recording my thoughts with Rev, and that was how I got the ball rolling.
At the same time, I started listening to this podcast by Copyblogger on how to publish a book, which was really helpful. What I’ve found is that most successful books go through more than five drafts. That led me to decide whether I should self-publish and get it out quicker, or try and wait for a big publisher.
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Neil happened to be releasing his first book, Hustle, and I asked him, “Hey, can you introduce me to the guy that helped you with your book?” And that guy’s actually helping me with my book now, and we’ve decided to take the publisher route.
Having a physical hardcover book is powerful. People tend to treat it more seriously and respectfully compared to an e-book. It’s something that you can hold in your hand, and having it backed by a big publisher is serious validation, so I’ve decided to go down that route.
The first step to approaching a publisher is to put together a book proposal, which is basically an outline of your book, and why it’s unique. It includes a marketing plan as well. You need to show potential publishers that you have a plan for marketing your book on your own before they’ll help you. This is where you include details like how big your e-mail list is and how big your website is.
Publishers want to know what firepower you can put behind the book to help push it, because they’re interested in selling as many copies as possible.
The concept of Level Up is that gamers actually learn a lot of the skills needed to become an entrepreneur by playing games. In other words, playing games can actually help you level up to playing the game of life and business. At the end of the day, you can gamify just about everything, and in fact the most successful people do gamify their lives.
The ultimate game, I think, is eventually “beating” the game of business and moving on to philanthropy. One of my favorite books, The Billionaire Who Wasn’t, is about Chuck Feeney, the main founder of Duty Free Shopping, who’s given away nearly his entire fortune of $7.5 billion during his lifetime.
He indirectly inspired Warren Buffett, and in turn Bill Gates, to try and do the same thing with their Giving Pledge.
So the premise of Level Up is, how do you go from gamer to entrepreneur? And how do you then play the game of business really well, to the point where you build up your wealth enough to move on to the game of philanthropy?
I’m hoping that because there are so many gamers out there, this book will inspire some people.
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Right now, we’re done with the first draft which is about 60,000 words. It’s still a really rough draft, but the process has been really enjoyable. Very excited to see what happens with it. For now, my goal is to reach out for endorsement deals and forewords.
Fun fact: I got Mark Cuban to respond the other day. Unfortunately, he’s not going to be a part of it, but at least he responded. We’re trying to get endorsements from studios and producers like Electronic Arts and Sony, too.
Ultimately, if I were a parent and my kids were playing a lot of games, I’d want to give them this book. My parents used to think gaming was a waste of time, and to an extent it can be. If you overdo anything, it ultimately is unproductive, and can become harmful. But if you do it in moderation, you can learn a lot.
When I look back at my gaming history, I would say I probably did overdo it, but it’s the same thing with a lot of entrepreneurs, right? We’re all obsessives, and it’s partially why we succeed.
If you haven’t read it before, definitely check out Seth Godin’s 19-point checklist Advice for Authors. One of the key points? If you’re writing a book, don’t expect to make a lot of money. It’s just good to get it out there for your personal brand, and if it takes off? Cherry on top.
If you create a lot of content already, I highly recommend that you think about writing a book, because you probably have a lot of the content published anyway. I think it’s going to be really rewarding.
This post was adapted from Eric’s Facebook Live videos: Growth 90 – DAILY live broadcasts with Eric Siu on marketing and entrepreneurship. Watch the video version of this post: