Life After College: What Your Parents and Professors Never Taught You is actually based off of my website, Twentity.com, which is a place for twentysomethings to go to learn how to enter the real world. Every other week, I post articles on topics that are not taught in college, such as searching for an apartment, managing finances, choosing life insurance and more. And although my site is doing well, I needed a different medium to reach my target audience: recent college grads. I was really thinking what type of book should I write that will help them. Should I write one on the job market? No, because there are plenty of books that do that. Should I write on motivation? No, there are far many experts on that topic. I really struggled to find a topic and one day I had to slap myself on the forehead when I realized I had been slowing writing the book over the past couple years that I’d been writing the articles for the website.
I really felt like an idiot because I had wasted all that time thinking of a topic when it was right there in my face all the time. The book evolved from a collection of articles to becoming a guide for recent college grads to use from the moment they graduate and have to move back home to getting their own place to getting a job to managing their finances to taking care of their health and more.
When you think about it, in college, they teach you to be proficient in your major but they don’t teach you life preparation skills. When you graduate college you realize there is more to life than having a job. Yes, a job takes up a huge chunk of your day but those days you are not at work, what are you doing? You’re balancing your checkbook, you’re trying to get your first place, you’re looking for a job, you’re making new friends. But no one teaches these things, those who have come before us have learned by trial by fire because no one told them. And instead of telling their children what they learned, they just take for granted that everyone knows and the cycle continues. I decided I wanted to stop the cycle from continuing.
And the more I told people about what I was working on, they got really excited and were already looking to buy the book and I hadn’t even gotten through half of it. That helped me continue writing because I knew there was a need for this book.
I made my outline and then had to rewrite some articles with updated information or completely write something new. I used to think that when someone said they just used material they already had that that was a simple job. But I quickly learned it’s not. At least for a non-fiction book you have to do research to make sure the information you are giving is up-to-date, as of printing it.
Writing this book took a long time, about a year and two months. But now that it’s all done and I have to work on promoting it, I find that selling a book is a lot harder than I thought. And I wanted to make sure that I mention that because some authors think that when they post their book on the Internet for sale that everyone is going to step over others to get to it. Unless you are already established, you are going to have to get out there and promote the heck out of your book.
One final piece of advice I’d like to offer to would-be authors is that if you want to write a book, stop talking about it and just start writing. It’s never going to happen if you don’t take some action.
ChaChanna Simpson is the author of LIFE AFTER COLLEGE: WHAT YOUR PARENTS AND PROFESSORS NEVER TAUGHT YOU. You can visit her website at www.lifeaftercollegebook.com.