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Have you ever thought about writing a book?


Have you ever wanted to write a book?

I had a dream many years ago that I’d one day write a book. Little did I ever guess that I would have written 3 traditionally published books by the time I was 33 years old!

My book-writing journey has been one filled with many challenges and celebrations. I’ve grown through the critiques (though there have been moments when I’ve thought, “If one more person says something harsh about my writing, I just might throw out my laptop and buy a one-way ticket to Timbucktu!”), I’ve learned a lot of marketing techniques that don’t work, and I’ve spent countless hours and hours writing and editing — many times when there are many other things I would have rather been doing!

It’s been grueling, at times, and exhilarating, at other times. But I don’t regret any of it. The biggest lesson I’ve learned is that it’s a whole lot more work to write and edit and market a book than I ever could have imagined.

Screen Shot 2015-01-28 at 7.15.46 AM

{Watch the video above for some strategies on marketing a book and mapping out a book launch plan, some of my honest thoughts on how much work goes into an effective marketing strategy. Oh and you also get to see my “fancied-up” hair and make-up — read the P.S. below to see what that’s all about! :)}

Wish Someone Could Walk You Through the Book-Writing Process?

If you are committed to the idea of writing a book, but you wish someone could walk you through the process of outlining, writing, editing, publishing, and marketing, there’s a brand-new course called Author Launch that you might want to check out.

It’s very pricey, but if you are really, really committed to the idea of publishing a book and you just don’t know where to start, I think it could be worth the investment.


I had the opportunity to participate in some of the filming for this 46-week course and I was very impressed with the caliber of the authors involved as well as the team who put the course together. It’s designed to take you through the process of writing your book from start to finish. Plus, you’ll be apart of a community of writers who are also working on their books at the same time.

Honestly, I think the community aspect of this course is what appeals to me the most. There have been many times that book-writing has felt like a lonely endeavor — especially when I was first starting out and didn’t know many other authors.

What Author Launch Includes:

  • 46-weeks of step-by-step instruction to help you write a book from start to finish.
  • Weekly emails with detailed help and practical steps for each stage of the book-writing process. These emails will include videos taught by 10 authors from different genres and backgrounds. {My videos are on finding time to write in the midst of a busy schedule and how to effectively market a book.}
  • A 50,000-word PDF workbook to guide you through the steps outlined in the course.
  • Detailed help and instruction for every part of the book-writing process: from writing an outline, writing your chapters, finding time to write, refining your work, self-publishing, traditional publishing, mapping out your marketing plan, and much more.
  • Access to a private community of writers who are also working through the course with you.

If you are interested in finding out more about this course, head on over to the Author Launch Page here. Registration for this course closes on January 31, 2015.

Get Some Sneak Peeks of the Course Here

To see a few examples of the videos and course materials, check out this video from Jeff Goins on Determining Your Field of Expertise, Sarah Mae’s video on Writing With Confidence, Donald Miller’s video on Finalizing Your Title, and Joshua Becker’s video on The Benefits of Self-Publishing.

Note: As I mentioned before, this course is very pricey. If you are just considering writing a book and not sure you’re ready to commit yet, I’d recommend reading this post of mine for some free advice on getting started.

P.S. I hardly recognize myself with that make-up and hair… it’s a far cry from the usual quick make-up and pony tail look I often sport! 😉 Sarah Mae’s sister, Keitha, did our hair and make-up for the filming and I was told mine looked great.

Since I’m not one to often get all fancied up, I’m still not sure what I think about myself with all that hair product, face product, and fake eye lashes on! But it’s always fun to try new things out. 🙂

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  • Jodi says:

    You look great, Crystal!

  • Karla says:

    Very beautiful!!!

  • Davonne Parks says:

    I like your more natural everyday look but the hair and makeup for that video was beautiful too!

    I absolutely loved the video, there’s so much wisdom in there. I started marketing my eBooks a few weeks in advance and realize that I totally should have done that sooner! Do you have any advice for writers who have already launched and would like to build up more hype about their books?

    I’m contemplating this course. I have self-published three eBooks and have chosen a main topic (and written down chapter topics) for a new book I’d like to possibly have published traditionally. I just don’t know if I want to write it NOW but this seems like a really awesome opportunity…

    You’ve got my wheels spinning, thanks Crystal!

    • Jo says:

      Here’s an answer I gave another friend who emailed in and asked a similar question:

      My advice would be to go ahead and create a launch plan/marketing plan for the book now — even though it was released awhile back — and to work that plan just like your book hasn’t been released yet. Make those relationships, build that email list, write that guest post, find some kind of downloadable you can offer if people buy or promote your book (think of what the greatest needs are that people have that will be answered/helped through your book and focus on those either as a free downloadable worksheet or ebook or video series or pretty artwork)… keep providing great content and focus on helping and encouraging people.

      It takes a lot of time, but if it’s what God has really put in your heart and called you to, that will fuel your drive to really put forth the effort to keep at it and make a difference.

  • Pamela says:

    How do you keep marketing from becoming manipulation?

    I do not write books (I quit writing after my dissertation – it’s not my thing!), but I buy them. And sometimes I don’t buy someone’s book because of incessant marketing. It’s a turn-off. But it may just be my personality type?!

    There seems to be a fine line between plugging and nagging. Any thoughts on this subject?

    • lyss says:

      I am with you on that! I totally get that people send emails to try to make sales, but for that reason I’ve unsubscribed from pretty much everything! I don’t mind reading something once or twice, but when they send emails multiple times a day saying the same thing, it gets really annoying. I saw it the first time, people!!!
      For instance, I got on the email list for ultimate bundles. They sent me emails all. the. time. I counted over a dozen emails in less than 24 hrs. a couple weeks ago plugging their ebook bundle. I unsubscribed after that. I agree that excessive plugging is a big turn-off. Sorry, authors and salespeople, but filling my inbox actually makes me want your product less. But maybe we’re not the norm?

      • Jo says:

        I’ll write some more thoughts on this tomorrow morning. I want to think about it a little more before doing so.

        However, I just wanted to let you know, Lyss, that I forwarded your comment to the folks at Ultimate Bundles because I feel like it’s a very valid point and concern.

        • Jo says:

          As far as how to find the balance between marketing and manipulation, I think it comes down to providing value and developing and nurturing relationships.

          No matter what you do, you’re always going to have some people who feel like you’re emailing/marketing too much. But I think it’s important to step back and examine why you’re doing what you’re doing. Is it to help people or is to make a quick buck. And it’s also important to know your audience and listen to your audience.

          For example, in this post itself, I wanted to tell you about this course for people who might be interested in it, but mostly, I wanted to share my video and give you some helpful links. Because I know not everyone wants to write a book and many people can’t afford the price tag on this course, but I thought there was a lot of valuable information in the video links that were free and wanted to share them for those who were interested.

          If I were to say, “THIS IS THE BEST VIDEO COURSE IN THE WHOLE WIDE WORLD. YOU MUST SACRIFICE YOUR RENT CHECK THIS MONTH IN ORDER TO BUY IT” I’d be ridiculous and I’d quickly lose my readers’ confidence in me. I try to be very careful in what I’ll wholeheartedly endorse and only do that occasionally so that my endorsement has weight and value.

          Instead, I told you about this course, but I said that it was pricey and that it might be a good option for some. However, for many of you, the free videos and my post that I linked to about getting published would be the best starting point.

          By being honest and upfront like that instead of all hyped up, I probably would lose some potential sales, but I keep my readers’ trust. And that’s much more important in the long-run than a quick buck.

          I’m still learning to navigate these waters myself, but I think that what has helped me is to always check my heart and make sure what I’m putting out there is truly about helping people and making an impact versus making an income.

          Those are just a few of my thoughts. Feel free to disagree or give feedback. Like I said, I’m still learning and constantly re-evaluating things myself.

          • Jody says:

            Crystal, I really appreciate this about you. I have definitely noticed your intent in promoting stuff is pure and I really trust your opinions. So does my husband he pretty much always agrees to a purchase if it’s something I let him know you’ve recommended as the stuff we have purchased based on your recommendation we have always found to be very beneficial and a good purchase for us. I did recently unsubscribe from the same emails for the same reasons Lyssa mentioned and honestly when I did my thought proccess was I really trust Crystals opinion and if it’s something really great I will hear about it from her. I really appreciate your integrity when it comes to promoting things, other people’s and your own. Along with the great content you put out that helps me in so many areas of my life, that trust I have for you is a huge part of why I love your blog so much.

            • Jo says:

              Thank you so much for your sweet encouragement! And it’s my readers’ trust like this that makes me want to be even more careful about what I promote. I can’t always please everyone, but I want to do the best I can to live a life of integrity.

          • lyss says:

            Thank you for your thoughtful reply. Your genuineness shines through, and I admire that. I hope I didn’t sound like a nit-picky, complaining person. I certainly don’t want to discourage you or anyone else from using the marketing tools that are working! I guess I’m just one of those people that don’t care for all the emails. But if most people don’t object, go for it! In the case of the bundles, I know that I will see it promoted on this and/or other blogs I read, so I won’t miss out even if I don’t get email updates.
            I love that your life is about helping people, not just making money. I think that is how you can have the impact that you have. I can say that you have been an encouragement to me in many ways over the years. I think I’ve been your reader for over 10 years. My, how time goes fast! : )

      • Misty Nicole Overstreet-Roberts (The Lady Prefers To Save) says:

        I could not agree with you more. I am finishing up my dual JD and Masters degrees, and will take a year off before applying to start my doctorate program, the writing alone is draining! Oddly enough I am working on my first novel, and its based on my childhood. I also work from home as a legal clerk, and my employee and I recently discussed this very idea. He jokingly mentioned that for the price that many “self-help” authors sell gimmick-themed classes, seminars, etc. you could start shopping around for a story editor. I’ve always been quite torn, while I agree with the over saturation of ads, especially from ultimate bundles and blogelina, I’m also a blogger, and so I know how crucial the push for affiliate marketing can be. I may be a strange fish, but honestly, most educated, straight-forward thinking folks can write a book. I think the two elements not being marketed enough to the masses, passion and research.

        • Jo says:

          I completely agree with you that most people can write a book. However, the whole writing/editorial/publishing process is a LOT harder than most people realize. In fact, having walked through the publication of a few of my close friends’ books in the last two years, all of them talk about how much more they will appreciate a published book now that they know how many steps, and days, and phone calls, and edits, and interviews, etc. it requires to get the book to market and have it sell well! 🙂

          And I feel the same way. Not only do I appreciate books so much more now that I have a better understanding of all the steps involved, anytime I find out that an author has sold 50,000 or 100,000 or more copies of a book, I’m incredibly impressed because I know how hard they worked to make that happen!

  • Charlotte says:

    I agree, you look great! I prefer your more natural look and believe your true beauty comes from within! It shows! 🙂 Thank you for all you do!

  • Chelsea says:

    You look beautiful as always, my favorite part of the look is the adorable bouncy curls! 🙂 I love picking your brain, so i found this particular clip really helpful, and I am not even looking to launch a book! But I am in the process of launching a new business, and I found the information very applicable in that situation too.

  • Jody says:

    You look great Crystal! I like the hair and makeup…I think it’s a nice switch up and highlights your beautiful eyes!

    I saw through the link on how your day went that there is a December212012s guide to simplifying your life published this past November…is that book available somewhere…did I somehow miss that one??? I am in the midst of simplifying as much as I can and would love to read a book like that!!! If my eyes were playing tricks on me please disregard this comment (except the part about loving your eye and makeup, dont disregard that I really like it!)

    • Jo says:

      We had talked about doing that MSM Guide, but it’s not become a reality yet due to time constraints. So if it’s been written and published, that’s news to me, too. 😉 I’ll let you know if I do end up writing and publishing it, though!

  • Hilda says:

    Thanks for this Crystal! I’ve been thinking about writing a book and I know the accountability, information, and support of a program like this would help me actually do it instead of just continuing to think about it 🙂

    Also, the link for Jeff Goins’ video is incorrect. Can you fix it please? I really enjoyed the videos I watched and would like to see his. Thanks!

  • Yolanda says:

    You look beautiful– inside and out! I am always amazed at how God uses you to help encourage and cheer me on to the next phase in my purpose journey. Book writing is the next phase. Thank you for all that you do!

  • Anna @ Feminine Adventures says:

    You’re gorgeous Crystal! Though I think you look equally lovely in a ponytail— your inner beauty and love for others shines through either way.

  • Heather says:

    before I read your footnote, I saw the bottom picture of you and thought to myself, “Wow, Crystal looks really great in this picture.”

  • Jaime says:

    I think you look amazing all done up! How fun!

  • Meredith says:

    You look gorgeous, Crystal! It’s fun to have someone else do your hair and makeup!

  • Kimber @ Let's Do Some Good Today says:

    Thank you for your candor! Writing a book is on my bucket list. 🙂 It’s good to hear your perspective!!

  • Katie says:

    I must say I am in love with the fake eyelashes! You look wonderful!!

  • Kelly @ The Nourishing Home says:

    You look beautiful with and without makeup, and even more important – you’re beautiful on the inside. I just wanted to take a minute to thank you again SO much for all of the time you spent sharing your wisdom and advice with me at Allume. It was such a joy to meet you and be able to share some meals together. All of the things you advised me to do have made such a huge impact in my book launch and I have learned so much from this experience. I truly can’t thank you enough for being so willing to help others. May God continue to richly bless you in all you do! With much gratitude, Kelly

  • Antonella says:

    Hi Crystal,
    you look lovely with or without make-up, but surely your eyes and hair stand out more when made-up! 🙂

    Your video was so helpful, full of useful info (as always in what you do). I appreciate the mapping and planning part, it’s crucial to transform wishful thinking in real action.
    Ahem, guess how I know? 🙂

  • Jennifer says:

    I love makeup (not so good with hair though) but have neither time or money to keep up a fancy face so what fun to try it with someone else’s help!

  • Ruth says:

    The look …great! your grammar? a double negative. “I don’t hardly”. You know better. This was a slip up that shouldn’t have happened.

    • Jo says:

      Thanks for catching that! 🙂 It’s one of my many grammar faux pas that I’m trying to rid from my vocabulary. But it still slips in every now and again! I just pulled it from the post so that all the other grammarians wouldn’t be horrified. It’s a great example of the fact that I’m far from perfect and make plenty of mistakes here — and in my real life. 😉

      Thanks for being a reader here; have a fantastic day!

      • Christina says:

        Crystal, you’re a true example of having grace, I would have had a *hard* time responding to that comment in such a nice way …

        And I agree with everyone else, you look great! I know how it’s hard to step out of your comfort zone though …

  • Courtney @ Blessed by Brenna says:

    I love your hair curled like that! You look beautiful with your makeup all done up, but I think you look even more beautiful without it 🙂
    Your video is phenomenal, I started taking notes! 🙂 Thanks for sharing. I love Allison’s book Packing Light and have been enjoying seeing where her writing career is going!

  • Natalie @ A Turtle's Life for Me says:

    Hi Crystal! Thank you SO much for the post, the video and especially for being so transparent. I’ve been fortunate enough to speak with you in person in 2012 and 2013, and you were so encouraging to me in my quest to publish a freezer cooking cookbook based off of one of my blog posts. Unfortunately, that never came to fruition, because I also owned a bakery during that time and just was swamped! We sold the bakery this past Fall, though, and my goal for this year is to finally get that darn book written! I may have missed the boat on all those potential buyers, but at this point I’m doing it because it’s a goal I want to see accomplished! Thank you for being such a shining example to the rest of us and for the personal words of encouragement you blessed me with a couple years ago!

    • Jo says:

      I was JUST thinking about you the other day and wondering if you ever published your cookbook… yay for making it happen now!! And thanks for your kind encouragement!

  • Tamboliya says:

    I like your make-up, hair product & false eyelashes in this photo (your makeover); you look beautiful in it! Like a model)! 🙂 Then again, your natural look is nice too! 🙂 Be encouraged. 🙂

  • Tamboliya says:

    You look like one of the Kate and Ashley twins (a compliment)! 🙂

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