I’ve learned a ton from publishing a book. Most of it has been great, but I’m not going to lie: there were some tough parts, too. Since I like to end things on an up note, I’ll cover the topic in reverse order: the Ugly, the Bad, and the Good.

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The Ugly

There are reasons most people don’t write books, and many of them are on the Ugly list. For me, it was one particular thing. In order to publish a book, you really have to put yourself out there. It feels so breathtakingly vulnerable, I’m not able to adequately put it into words. But trust me, it’s one of the hardest things I’ve done. And the scary energy and self-doubt that comes with it is, well, ugly.

The Bad

As you might expect, writing and publishing a book is hard. There’s a ton of things to learn, and writing the book itself is just the beginning. While nothing on this list rises to “Ugly” levels, my “Bad” list includes things that were uncomfortable and unexpected.

One of my challenges was cutting out a bunch of content (about 40 pages all together) that was messing up the flow of the book. It’s better because of it, but it’s hard to trash something that took so long to create. Then after you write, you have to puzzle out how to format your book, and which formats are required by which distributors. And how to upload, and what an ISBN is, and how to register your book with the Library of Congress. Not to mention learning how to market and sell your book. (I still haven’t figured out marketing!)

The Good

Many of the good things about writing a book are what you might expect, like creating something new and getting your message out in the world. Some good things were surprises, though, and others sort of snuck up on me.

So many people helped me during the process of writing and publishing my book that it restored my faith in humanity. Seriously. Everything from learning what goes where in my book, to which client stories to tell, to how important covers are, to which printers to use, was informed by the wide network of people gracious enough to share their expertise.

Plus, I finally got to use my journalism degree. Never thought I’d say that! Knowing how to write made working with my editor a breeze. She was able to focus on the important stuff (like clarity, references, and using the word “stuff” too much).

My book is already helping people. How do I know? Complete strangers are writing me to let me know. That is beyond cool. As an author (it’s pretty fun to be able to call myself one, tbh), having an impact beyond my typical sphere of influence makes me giddy.

The process of publishing a book reminded me of the warm hearts of my friends, colleagues, and acquaintances. In a time when much of the world seems contentious and adversarial, support and well wishes are a balm to my soul. And my extended community’s cheers and encouragement throughout the process delighted me beyond measure.

Not to mention writing and publishing a book is going to be a hell of a lot easier the next time around.

If you’re interested in learning more about my book, you’ll find a summary, the table of contents, and links to buy the book here.