More than a decade ago my best friend suggested that we write a book. We had two problems. We shared many interests, but we didn’t share much expertise and we couldn’t clearly identify the potential readers. We decided not to go ahead.
The idea of a book continued to tug at my interest.Over the last generation I have answered scores of investment real estate questions. I explained realities and presented insights hundreds of times. Most potential investors have some interesting fantasies unsupported by reality. Part of my job as a broker is to help people understand market reality and what their options are.
In 2016 I knew there was a unique, book worthy message. Instead of merely writing about wealth building I could accent legacy building. My objective was to help my clients and other apartment investors achieve their goals. I call apartment investing face-to-face capitalism and it’s not for everyone. I aimed to dispel myths and discourage some investors from becoming rental owners.
I never thought it would be easy, but it was the hardest mental thing that I’ve done. That was the first surprise. My first attempts were nothing I could be proud of. I rejected the notion of a ghostwriter but understood a writing coach would produce a far better product. Here are some other surprises and suggestions from writing and publishing a professional book.
Hiring a book coach made success possible. This was about my writing coach’s 50th volume and my first. Wally Bock was knowledgeable, wise, candid, and understood that editing was the harder work. Part of his job was to push aside the mountains of compost and then recognize the situations where an angel could be freed from the stone.
Writing a book is hard work. The writing itself was not that hard. The hardest part was deciding what good ideas and wonderful phrases shouldn’t become part of the book. My coach tactfully, gently, and firmly forced me to make hard choices about content, audience, and purpose. Making those choices was awful, but Building Legacy Wealth is far better because of Wally’s concern, insight and candor.
I had to decide how many secrets to reveal. I have developed processes and practices that made our team unusually successful. Some my smartest competitors would read the book. I didn’t tell all my secrets, but competitors have told me they understand our team’s success better now.
It’s hard to demonstrate that you’re an expert without sounding like a braggart. When you talk with someone you observe their responses and change your wording. You can go back and use different words to explain something they didn’t get. In a book, you get one shot.
I’m thankful for the beta readers. Seventy-five wise people, including associates, peers, clients, and non-investors read a chapter or more. The volume was far, far better because smart people who were not subject matter experts asked fundamental questions. I’ll always be grateful that they identified gaps which my writing coach and I tried to fill.
When the writing was done, the book wasn’t done. Professional editing, proofreading, interior design, and cover design remained. We created descriptions and keywords. We did mailings, speeches, and interviews to let people know about the book.
My wife’s support was essential. Sandy and I better understand why so many authors dedicate books to their loved ones. Sandy helped shape the concept and offered help on more versions than either of us want to think about. She tolerated my investing time, thought, and emotion in the book, which meant less time together.
Was it worth it? Yes. Here are some of the results that bring me joy.
Endorsements from the heads of local, state, and national associations was an unexpected delight. My writing coach called them “legacy referrals.”
I was thrilled when several people I respect bought copies for family, friends, co-investors and employees. I was delighted to realize significant players found that much value in my sharing what I’ve learned the hard way.
The book helped my business. Several high net worth owners sought me out because of it. Hundreds of local investors have the book and the commissions from serving them are welcome.
Writing the book was hard. I gave up income as I devoted time to the book instead the brokerage, but it was worth it. The unexpected satisfaction is knowing that people I will never meet have learned from my study and experience. My definition of legacy is what people do, say and think because of your influence.
My craft is a service business. I talk with thousands of people, hopefully help hundreds and get paid by dozens. If Building Legacy Wealth transmits hard-earned wisdom to more people and enable people to learn or at least consider ideas sooner, that is part of my legacy.
Terry Moore, CCIM, is the author of Building Legacy Wealth: How to Build Wealth and Live a Life Worth Imitating. Read his “Welcome to My Blog.“