One Month After Leaving Hell

knowledge

So it’s been a month after my departure from medicine. The big question is …

What I have been doing with all my time?

I’ve mentioned that I wanna be a better writer and a better entrepreneur. And I’ve been making steady progress towards my goals.

I took the first week off. I watched TV and hung out with friends. Life was golden.

But then I got down to business. The best way to combine my two goals was to sell what I write – by becoming an authorpreneur. Thus, my goal was to write and publish a Kindle book.

Why Kindle?

  • Because Amazon is the largest self-publisher. I can get my book out to the market faster and with less hassle.
  • Because you get to keep a larger portion of your revenue (70%) compared to working with traditional publishers (15%).
  • Because Amazon is the largest online book retailer, so there are already a lot of people willing to buy.
  • Because self-published, electronic books are the future. In 2011, sales of Kindle books have surpassed sales of paper books. E-books are in, paper books are out.
  • Because I wanted to know how to create a Kindle book.

I gave myself 1 month to publish my first book. I decided to write about a topic fresh in my mind: leaving medicine. I would not recommend for you to copy my subject because I did not do any market research on its demand. It could be a topic that no one is interested in. This is just an experiment to learn how Kindle publishing worked. And since it is an experiment, I wanted to get it done as inexpensively as possible.

And I am happy to say, I succeeded and have made the deadline – even if you factor in the week-long vacation.

How Did I Do It?

First, I had to write the darn thing. I established a modest daily goal of 1,000 words a day. I went through months without writing consistently. Getting back into the groove would need transitioning. If I had to write more, I would have missed the target on most days. That would have led to needless frustrations.

I thought the book was going to be 7,000 – 8,000 words. So by doing simple math, I would have written a rough draft after about 1 week. Instead, it turned out to be 20,000+ words. Yet, I was able to complete it in 1.5 weeks. (During my down-times in residency, I snuck in a bit of writing here and there. So I had a bit of a head start.)

Right after finishing the rough draft, I had a graphic designer make me a cover.

I then spent half a week editing. I went through it twice, combing for mistakes and errors. It took me 3 – 4 hours for each edit. I could have gone over it a third time, but it wasn’t worth the time. Between Word’s spellcheck and my eagle eyes, there were very few mistakes.

I formatted it for Kindle. And just 4 days ago, I published it, which you can see here.

What Do I Do Next?

But publishing on Amazon is only half the battle. I’ve learned about the art, but what about the business? The marketing?

In mid-2013, the thing to do was to make the book free for 5 days. This way, people will download it. And as more people download it, its Amazon rank will go up. After the giveaway is over, the higher rank will result in more sales.

But as all gimmicks tend to do, it no longer works. Amazon changed its system so the giveaway-to-increased-sales stopped working.

I’m not sure what to do for marketing. For now, I’ve set it at 99 cents. And after I get more reviews, I’ll bump up the price. There is no hurry. I now have an asset that will make me money for hopefully years to come.

With that being said, I’m not going to dwell too much on the marketing right now. My next task is to write another book. I’ve already got it planned out – topics, subjects, and chapters. I hope to write, edit, and publish it in a week. I already know what to do, so it should be quicker the second time around.

My New Daily Goal

You probably think I’m crazy. A book in a week?

Yes, a book in a week. I am used to writing 1,000 words a day. It’s a piece of cake.

Now it is time to up the quantity: 3,000 words a day. Maybe I’ll have to write faster – more words per her. Or maybe I’ll have to spend more time writing. Or even both!

Just the other day, I read about a fiction author who pumps out a book a week. That is about 30,000 – 50,000 words a week, 4,000 – 7,000 words a day. When I read that, it was as if my eyes opened for the first time. Kinda like when Roger Bannister broke the 4-minute mile. Now everyone knew that the goal could be met. A book a week is possible.

Of course, it may take me awhile to reach his level. But after being able to write 3,000 words consistently, I’ll up it to 5,000 words. And so on and so forth.

I’m estimate I can bang out 3,000 words in 6 hours – a lackadaisical 500 words an hour. That would give me the rest of the time to read, exercise, eat, plan out my next work of art, and whatever else I gotta do.

My Weekly Schedule

When I’m producing that much output, I can’t just write when inspiration strikes. Inspiration is way too inconsistent – like a flaky, teenage girl choosing between a night out with her friends or going on a date with you. Sometimes she’ll be there, sometimes she won’t. The only way to meet my daily goal is to apply my butt to the chair and write.

Screw inspiration. Screw writer’s block. Screw procrastination.

Just write!

I have to treat this as a job. Show up every day and do my work. Even if I am writing 8 hours a day, 7 days a week, I am working less than when I did as a doctor. So it’s very doable.

So like a job, I have to set hours where I have to work. I have to plan out my schedule.

Weekday

  • 7:00 AM – wake up & get ready
  • 7:30 AM – morning walk and stretch
  • 8:00 AM – butt to chair (also known as writing)
  • 2:00 PM – lunch (if I finish the 3,000 words early, I can take lunch early)
  • 3:00 PM – read, edit, e-mail, publish, and work on business
  • 7:00 PM – exercise & shower
  • 9:00 PM – socialize
  • 11:00 PM – sleep

Weekend

It is pretty much like my weekday schedule, but I’m going to write only 1,000 words and read a whole lot more. This way, I can learn new things and generate new ideas.

  • 7:00 AM – wake up & get ready
  • 7:30 AM – morning walk and stretch
  • 8:00 AM – butt to chair (also known as writing)
  • 10:00 AM – read, edit, e-mail, publish, and work on business
  • 1:00 PM – lunch
  • 3:00 PM – read, edit, e-mail, publish, and work on business
  • 7:00 PM – exercise & shower
  • 9:00 PM – socialize
  • 11:00 PM – sleep

I have more I wanna cover in this post, such as …

  • the resources I used to learn Kindle publishing thoroughly
  • the direction of the website
  • the strategy for building my audience – through website or e-mail list

But I’m running outta time. I still gotta work on my book.

About My First Published Book

Before I check out, lemme talk a bit about my published book:

Chances are … you are not the target market. You’re not a doctor and you could care less about leaving medicine. But if you’ve been following me and my journey, you may wanna check it out. You’ll read about my complete story about why I left medicine. You’ll read about why the future for doctors is bleak.

And I’ll throw in a bonus …

If you buy it (which is inexpensively priced at 99 cents for now), post a review on Amazon, and e-mail me the link of the review, I’ll give you a peek of my business that I set up part-time during medical school.

Who knows? Maybe it’ll spur you to start one of your own.

I wanna know a bit more about you, my dear reader. So my question to you is …

If you could do anything and it was guaranteed to be successful, what would you do?

Lemme know in the comments!

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Comments

  1. Hey Alex,

    Haven’t read your site in a while — didn’t know you’d left medicine. Bold move.

    I’m sending you an email.

    Best,
    Ludvig

  2. I would be an International Weapons Dealer, but instead I would choose to be a Real Estate Developer

  3. This is inspiring, thank you for sharing.

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