How To Write & Publish A Book While Working A Full-time Job | Hassan Osman on The Reader’s Journey

Check out The Reader’s Journey Episode Page & Show Notes

Key Takeaways

  •  “There’s really just one and really only one thing that matters when writing a book and that is your reader” Hassan Osman
    • Your reader = Your customer
      • Your reader expects to get more value from your book than the amount of money and time it cost them
        • “Everything else is secondary…Don’t worry about your reviews, don’t worry about your cover design, don’t worry about the sales. Focus mainly on the reader.”
  • Your north star should be to write a really useful book. To do that, make it helpful, short, and well-written.
    • 1) Make it helpful:
    • 2) Make it short
    • 3) Make it well-written
  • “No matter what type of job you have, anyone can find 30 minutes a day” Hassan Osman
    • Wake up a bit earlier to write, take a shorter lunch break to do some writing, or go to sleep a little later
  •  As a first-time writer, you need to look at interest, experience, and market:
    • Interest: Pick a topic you’re interested in 
    • Experience: Pick a topic you have experience in, readers want to learn from people who know more than them
    • Market: When you pick a topic to write about, make sure there’s a market for it
  • Writing a book is a passive income business: Write it once and sell it forever
    • Pre-COVID Hassan’s book Influencing Virtual Teams was generating a couple of hundred dollars a month. When COVID happened, sales of his book spiked to over $2,000 a month.
      • “I didn’t have to put any additional incremental effort into that book. It’s just sort of an asset you have sitting out there.” – Hassan Osman
  • “You’re probably going to make more money because of your book than from your book” Hassan Osman
    • Writing a book opens up a ton of door (career booster, consulting gigs, speaking fees, coaching opportunities)

Intro

  • Hassan Osman (@HassanO) has published 8 books, 4 of which are Amazon bestsellers, while balancing a demanding full-time job. He is also the podcast host of Writer on the Side
  • Host: Alex & Books (@AlexandBooks_)

Books Mentioned

About Hassan Osman

  • Hassan’s day job is working as a director at Cisco System
    • In his free time, Hassan writes short books for busy manager
      • He’s written:
        • Influencing Virtual Teams: 17 Tactics That Get Things Done with Your Remote Employees 
        •  Don’t Reply All: 18 Email Tactics That Help You Write Better Emails and Improve Communication with Your Team  
  • Hassan was constantly getting asked how he had time to write a book while working a full-time job so he decided to write a book to answer that questions

Tips For Writing A Great Book

  • “There’s really just one and really only one thing that matters when writing a book and that is your reader” Hassan Osman
    • Your reader = Your customer
      • Your reader expects to get more value from your book than the amount of money and time it cost them
        • “Everything else is secondary…Don’t worry about your reviews, don’t worry about your cover design, don’t worry about the sales. Focus mainly on the reader.”
  • Your north star should be to write a really useful book. To do that, make it helpful, short, and well-written.
    • 1) Make it helpful:
      • Address a pain point for your readers
      • Always ask yourself: How will my reader’s life improve after reading my book?
    • 2) Make it short
      • People don’t have a lot of time to read these days. Take out any fluff.
      • “Make it long enough to get your point across, no more, no less” Hassan Osman
    • 3) Make it well-written
      • Make sure there are no grammar or spelling mistakes
      • Make your book a great experience for reader

Making Time To Write & More Writing Tips

  • Set a block of time for writing. Hassan tries to set 30 minutes aside to write 5 days a week
    • “No matter what type of job you have, anyone can find 30 minutes a day” Hassan Osman
      • Wake up a bit earlier to write, take a shorter lunch break to do some writing, or go to sleep a little later
  • If you write consistently, over time, you will get your book done
    • Try to write a little bit every day so that you keep your creative juices going and your momentum flowing
  • Avoid setting a daily word count, it stresses writers out and makes them use filler words just to hit their writing goal
  • You don’t need any fancy tools, Hassan only uses Microsoft Word and he’s written 8 books so far
  • If you’re having writer’s block: Do some research, working on editing, do anything that keeps your momentum going
  • Separate your editing from your writing
    • When you’re writing, focus on writing. Don’t stop to edit or clean it up. A lot of it will be garbage, but don’t worry, that’s what editing is for.
      • It’s okay for your first draft to be horrible, no one is going to read it and it’s not what you will be publishing.
        • “Accept the fact that this is going to be horrible as the first draft” – Hassan Osman

Advice For First-time Writers

  • As a first-time writer, you need to look at interest, experience, and market:
    • Interest: Pick a topic you’re interested in 
    • Experience: Pick a topic you have experience in, readers want to learn from people who know more than them
    • Market: When you pick a topic to write about, make sure there’s a market for it
  • Bonus advice:
    • Job-related: Pick a topic that is related to your job. It will advance your career and will open up opportunities for speaking and consulting gigs.
      • “A book is like a business card on steroids” – Hassan Osman
    • Evergreen: Look for topics that are evergreen that won’t expire any time soon. This will increase the chances of your book selling for a longer time.
  • Look at positive Amazon reviews to see what readers liked about books in your topic and use negative reviews to see what readers wanted from books but didn’t find.

Making Money From Your Book

  • Writing a book is a passive income business: Write it once and sell it forever
    • Pre-COVID Hassan’s book Influencing Virtual Teams was generating a couple of hundred dollars a month. When COVID happened, sales of his book spiked to over $2,000 a month.
      • “I didn’t have to put any additional incremental effort into that book. It’s just sort of an asset you have sitting out there.” – Hassan Osman
  • “You’re probably going to make more money because of your book than from your book” Hassan Osman
    • Writing a book opens up a ton of door (career booster, consulting gigs, speaking fees, coaching opportunities)

Publishing On Amazon & Becoming A #1 Bestseller

  • It’s only takes about 20 minutes to publish your book on Amazon KDP (Amazon’s self-publishing arm)
    • All you need is a fully formatted book manuscript and a book cover
  • Amazon KDP also lets you print your book on demand: Amazon prints a paperback copy of your book whenever someone orders a copy of it. They do all the printing, shipping, etc.
  • Being a #1 bestseller means your book is listed at the highest ranking spot in a specific category
    • It’s doesn’t increase sales that much, but it’s a credibility booster
  • So how do you do it?
    • List your book in a low competition category
    • Get a high number of sales in a short period of time
      • On the day you publish your book, list the Kindle version for $0.99 and ask as many people, followers, and friends to buy the book at that day

Amazon vs. Gumroad

  • If you want higher royalties and don’t mind do a lot of marketing work or customer service, then Gumroad is the best platform for you
  • If you don’t want to do a ton of marketing or distribution work, Amazon is the better choice
    • About 85% of books are bought through Amazon
      • The organic search engine is way more powerful on Amazon
  • You can publish on both platforms, the only thing is your book will get flagged if your book is cheaper on Gumroad than Amazon

Two Books That Hassan Recommends

The Reader's Journey : , , , , ,
Notes By Alex Wiec

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