My Publishing Journey

Jay Newkirk The Pearls of Business BookI can’t believe it’s been almost six months since I published my book, The Pearls of Business: Guiding Principles to Help Entrepreneurs Successfully Launch and Grow a Government Contracting Business.  The entire process—from writing the first draft to finding an editor to actually holding the physical book in my hands—was an incredible experience. So in honor of the book’s half-birthday, I thought I’d share with you a little about what I learned on my writing and publishing journey. (And I’m offering a free giveaway at the end.)

In the Beginning

I knew I wanted to write a book about the successes my business partners and I had as we grew our government support services business from a staff of three to a staff of over 1,000, building it to $100 million annual revenue before holding a successful liquidity event. I wanted to share what we did and what we learned with other entrepreneurs so they, too, could be successful, both professionally and in their personal lives. So I just sat down and started writing about what we did, starting at the very beginning of our venture. I didn’t think about the reader much, necessarily, beyond knowing that I wanted to help them. I dropped in the “pearls” I had collected over the years to help substantiate some of my points and I just wrote. When I finished that draft, I read it over a few times, was pretty pleased with it, then wondered “Now what?” I sent it to a colleague who suggested the name of an editor. From there, the real work began.

The Editorial Process

I sent my manuscript to Jessica Swift, an editor, writer, and publishing consultant based in Vermont. She liked what she saw and immediately had some suggestions about how to improve my manuscript. We decided to work together and the rest is history.

I explained to Jessica that I was new to writing and publishing, but that I really wanted to get my book into the hands of people who could benefit from it. Jessica offered both valuable editorial feedback and a long background in the publishing industry. I had no idea what I was about to get into or how much I was about to learn, but I was ready. 

Jessica pointed out that while my message was sound, some of the real value I could offer readers would be in teaching them how to apply the advice I was offering in their own businesses, instead of only telling them what my business partners and I had done. She provided a developmental edit to my manuscript and we dove into revisions. Jessica also guided me in the creation of my website and helped me develop and maintain a social media presence, which I knew even less about than I did publishing. But as we continued to work together, I began to see my writing improve, my message got stronger, and people were responding positively to the blogs I was simultaneously generating. 

As we continued to enhance the manuscript, I began to envision my readers in a way that I hadn’t before. I put myself in their shoes and worked hard to offer tips and strategies in ways that they could grasp and apply, rather than simply telling them what to do. And this is also at the essence of what I counsel entrepreneurs to do, but I hadn’t yet done it myself in this environment. Things started coming together and I could see the book taking shape. 

The End Stages

Once we had the manuscript the way we wanted it, we worked with a designer to create the cover and a typesetter to format the book correctly so that it could be printed. This was an interesting experience as I hadn’t known anything about the production side of publishing. Seeing my book transform from a Word document into actual book pages was overwhelming. I could literally see the book as it was being “born.” We then went through proofreading and final design stages and we were ready to put the book out into the world, which we did at the end of 2020. 

To say I learned a lot through this process would be an understatement. But becoming an author is one of the greatest honors of my life. And my goal when I first sat down and started typing is the same now as it was then—to help people. I want to teach others how to be successful by “holding hands and running with each other,” by surrounding themselves with people who are more knowledgeable in areas where they may be weak, and to define success as helping people, knowing that wealth will come as a side effect. (These are just a few of the “pearls” I offer in my book.)

I am grateful to have had the experience of becoming a published author. With this gratitude in mind, I want to give back. For the next five days, the e-book version of The Pearls of Business will be available for free. You can download the Kindle app to your phone, tablet, or computer, no purchase necessary. 

I hope that you’ll find some value in the book. I’ve spent years putting my thoughts down and framing them in a way that will be helpful, applicable, and inspiring. If you take anything away from reading the book, I would be grateful if you would leave a review on the Amazon page. This is one of the most helpful things readers can do to show support for indie authors such as myself.

As always, feel free to leave any questions or comments in the space below. I continue to want to live my dream of helping people where and when I can. Thank you for being a part of my journey.