You probably already know this, but we published a Kindle book in January titled Bless Like Jesus: Stop Trying to Convert and Simply Show People They Matter. What you might not know is that we are re-releasing the book in paperback next month with a new foreword from our friend Scott Nelson and a few other added bonuses.
Since the first release of the book, we've been asked a lot of questions about it. Some people wanted to know about the book itself. But a lot of people were more intrigued with the process behind publishing a book.
Well, since we are almost ready to release the paperback version of Bless Like Jesus, and we've been doing a lot of work setting up the training programs that will launch next month as well, we thought it would be a good time to share some of the story behind the book. So here are answers to some of the questions we seem to hear a lot.
NOTE: If you're already on our VIP Email List, make sure you read all the way to the end of this article for a special bonus we put together for you before the paperback version is released!
Why did you decide to write a book?
When we first made the decision to write a book, we had been living in Midtown Sacramento for about 3 years. During that time, we left the church we grew up in, moved twice, had our third son, planted a church, shut down the church we planted, changed our outlook on about 1,000 topics, became known as regulars in a handful of local spots, and developed really close relationships with our neighbors.
It was a busy 3 years. And it was great!
We didn't realize the uniqueness of our approach until our former church reached out to us and asked if they could interview us in front of their congregation. They were preaching through a series about being a good neighbor, and the pastors were using Jay Pathak & Dave Runyon's book, The Art of Neighboring, to guide the sermons.
In the interview, we were asked all kinds of questions about how we were able to build such great relationships with our neighbors. They wanted us to share some of our reasons and they wanted to hear what we were doing differently.
Throughout the interview, we couldn't help but notice how many of our answers started with terms like, "Simple. We just..." and "All we did was..." But it became obvious that what had become second nature to us since leaving the church we grew up in to be more present in our neighborhood was completely foreign to our friends.
We knew we had to share our stories and our experiences. Bless Like Jesus was not our first idea for a book. In fact, we outlined 3 other ideas before settling on this one. We even wrote an introduction chapter for one of them. But, once we found the right topic, the ideas just flowed.
Did it really only take 3 months?
Yes. The time between deciding on a topic and publishing the book on Amazon was 3 months.
We were only able to make it happen so quickly because of the techniques we learned in an online program called Self Publishing School. If you're thinking about writing a book for the first time, we highly recommend you check it out.
Here's a general idea of how that process went:
Planning and outlining - 2 weeks
Once we had a topic, we brainstormed everything we might want to include in the book, categorized it all, and put it into an outline.
We knew what we wanted to accomplish with every chapter of the book before we ever started actually writing it.
Rough draft - 2 weeks
We know 2 weeks seems like a very short time to write an entire rough draft. But it just takes motivation and consistency...and being content with knowing the first draft would kind of suck.
Chandler Bolt, the founder of Self Publishing School taught us that "done is better than perfect" when it comes to the rough draft.
So, we wrote a chapter a day, and we didn't look back. It would have been easy to get caught up in perfecting each chapter before moving on to the next. But, by allowing each chapter to be less than perfect, we were able to write the entire first draft in just 2 weeks.
Outside editors and reviewers - 2 weeks
Once we had a rough draft, we started reading through the rough draft to see what needed to be fixed. And, as we expected, we needed to make some major revisions and additions.
We also asked a few friends if they would read through it and give us honest feedback. This was probably one of the best decisions we made. Our friends encouraged us and gave some very valuable input that made Bless Like Jesus far better than it was before.
Making revisions - 2 weeks
Once we had all of the input we needed, we went back through our draft and did a major overhaul.
Some chapters doubled in length. Some entire pages were deleted. We added more personal stories and more practical applications. We tweaked the formatting so the book would flow better and be easier to follow.
By the time we were done with revisions, we really felt like we had a different book than we did a month earlier. The ideas were the same, but the quality was far better.
And, finally, we passed it on to a professional editor to clean up whatever we had missed after reading through it 7-8 times ourselves.
Formatting our book for publication - 2 weeks
We were not prepared for this part. It's a good thing we had Self Publishing School to guide us through the formatting process.
We used a website called fiverr.com for most of the formatting stuff. We ended up having 8 different people create book covers for us to choose from for about $5 each! Then, we picked the 2 we liked best and asked our friends to help us decide.
We paid someone to format the book so Amazon would accept it into the Kindle Marketplace, because we had no idea how to do it.
Most of the work during this 2 weeks was actually done by other people, and we just oversaw and reviewed things.
Final preparations before publication - 2 weeks
The last 2 weeks before the day we had chosen for publication were a bit hectic.
We set up a launch team. What's a launch team? We gave an advance copy of our book to about 25 people. We asked them to read it, share their thoughts, and share about it with friends.
We set up the Joe & Sarah Caples Facebook page, and we got the ball rolling for this website.
And we contacted a whole bunch of freebie promotion sites, so people would hear about our book being free for the first few days after releasing it.
So, after 3 months, we were published authors.
Hey Aspiring Authors!
If you're thinking about writing your first book, then check out this FREE mini-course from Self Publishing School. We can't recommend it enough!
How has it been received?
48 hours after we launched Bless Like Jesus, over 1500 people had downloaded it for free! Our book was the #1 free book in multiple categories on Amazon, including "Evangelism" and "Christian Living." We got to watch our book surpass big name authors like Beth Moore and Charles Spurgeon to top the charts.
Once we started charging for the book, it remained in the top 10 bestseller charts for paid books for a few more weeks. Our book was visible to people looking for similar titles, and people are still buying it today.
As of this writing, it has 13 5-star reviews on Amazon (more would be better...hint hint). And, we've had numerous people personally give us positive feedback.
Will you write more?
We're almost done getting the paperback version out. We made some improvements to the content of the book. Our friend, Scott Nelson, wrote a great foreword for us, so we added that. And it took us a few attempts before we were happy with the way the paperback looked.
We recently got more serious about consistently posting here on our blog, too.
We have about 6 book ideas floating around in our heads, and we're still figuring out which one will come next. But, once we decide, we plan on having it ready for you very quickly.
In the meantime, if you have read our book and enjoyed it, would you do us a favor?
Amazon pays close attention to the way readers interact with books and authors. So, it would be really helpful if we had more reviews for Bless Like Jesus.
If you liked the book, please click the button below to share an honest review on Amazon. It will help more people find the book, and it would mean a lot to us.
***THIS BONUS HAS EXPIRED***
If you're already signed up for our VIP Mailing List, then you should have received a special offer from us this morning (July 20, 2016). We are almost finished creating 3 different levels of training to help people as they read Bless Like Jesus, and we want you to get early access. So, check your email for that special offer! And, if you aren't already on our VIP List, you can click here and sign up to find out when the paperback is available and so you don't miss any future offers!