The Work-at-Home Success Bible is the book I wish existed when I started my work-at-home journey. It covers everything from asking a boss to telecommute to finding legitimate work-at-home jobs, how to start a home business, and making money online. More importantly it focuses on helping people tap into skills, experience and passions they already have and use them to design a career that fits their lifestyle and goals.
Tell us something about yourself.
If someone told me I’d write and publish a book, I would have thought they were nuts. Writing terrified me. My background is in social work, but when I had children I wanted to be an at-home mom. Not being able to afford that, I sought ways to work at home. In 1998 I started a website WorkAtHomeSuccess.com that shared what I’d learned. Since it was online, it required that I write. A funny thing about writing is that the more you do it, the better you get (at least I hope so!). Now I don’t mind writing so much and I’m even putting fingers to keyboard to write a fiction piece. We’ll see how that goes!
What inspired you to write this book?
I noticed that there weren’t any books about telecommuting, particularly about telecommuting in the computer age. Some work-at-home books would have a paragraph or two, but none went into detail about finding or getting a work-at-home job. I pitched a book about telecommuting online, but the publisher asked for the complete “Bible” on working at home.
How did you choose the title?
My original title was The Pajama Mama’s Guide to Work-At-Home Jobs (or something like that). It was the publisher who came up with The Work-At-Home Success Bible, which is better because it used my website. The bible aspect helps it rank well at Amazon in women’s Christian books, but I’m always concerned these women will be disappointed as there is no Christian slant to the book. The publisher told me not to worry because many non-religious books used the word bible.
What obstacles did you encounter in getting this book published? How did you overcome them?
Things went pretty smoothly. My agent was helpful in providing feedback to beef up the proposal. My editor was fairly approachable. The issues I had were typical and included having sections edited out that I felt needed to be in the book. I explained my side and was able to fit the information back into the book in a way the met the editor’s needs. The process is really long and some of the resources I had in the book changed (I.e. eBay fees went up). The biggest challenge has been marketing. I have a publicist at the publisher, but most of the marketing has been on me.
How did you know you wanted to be a writer? How did you get started?
I didn’t start out wanting to write. And in fact, even after the book came out I didn’t consider myself a writer. I was on an arts-oriented radio show and asked the interviewer why he had me as a guest. “Because you’re a writer,” he said. Oh…right. Mostly I was thinking about sharing information, not being a writer. That has changed and I’m more and more feeling like a writer.
Do you have any writing rituals?
Writing is part of my work everyday…I’m blogging, writing articles, writing PR pieces, etc. When I’m working on a book (I’m pitching a new one now), I create a writing schedule. It’s easier to create a schedule writing non-fiction because its information focused. My goal might be to finish chapters 2 and 3 this week. Because I’m familiar with the subject and usually have an outline, the writing goes quickly. I’m writing fiction now and I find it more difficult to create a writing schedule because the topic isn’t as defined. I try to write at least 1000 words a day, but usually I get about 1500 words a week. Since I write so much as part of my work, I’m computer/writing weary at the end of the day and don’t want to get back into the chair to write more, so the fiction gets the least attention right now.
How do you come up with the names for your characters?
My published book is non-fiction and all people in it are real. But I am writing a fiction and have found names to be a challenge. For example, I wanted a woman’s name that conveyed both femininity and strength. My biggest challenge is in coming up with last names.
Did you learn anything from writing and publishing this book? What?
I got to experience the process… query to agent … proposal to agent…tweak proposal…send to publishers…etc. But I’d done a lot of reading and going to writing conferences before I wrote and became published, so I’d heard first hand about writing and publishing. Nothing popped up that I hadn’t been aware of before.
If you were doing it all over again, what would you do differently?
I’d get more help with marketing when the book was first published. Marketing the book is something I do everyday. And since the material is still relevant, it can still be marketed even a year and half after publishing. But its been a learning process and I do lose some oomph over time. For example, many people won’t review the book now because its old (many want the book before release). I wish publishers would offer more guidance and support especially if it’s up to the author to do the marketing. For example, my publisher sent copies of the book to be reviewed, but wouldn’t let me know who it was sent to so I could follow up (the list is proprietary). Marketing is the key to selling the book, so I’d focus on that more if I could do it over again.
What types of books do you like to read? Who are your favorite authors? Why?
I’m an avid reader of both non-fiction and fiction. In non-fiction I read business, marketing and success oriented books. In fiction I prefer mystery with a hint of romance. I love J.D. Robb’s In Death Books (and Nora’s single title women’s fiction). I also enjoy Janet Evanovich and Jennifer Crusie for their funny, quirky mysteries. I love Jane Austen especially Pride and Prejudice and Persuasion. I’ve recently discovered Carl Hiaasen who is very funny.
Are you working on your next book? What can you tell us about it?
I’m currently working with my agent to pitch a new book about mommy-blogging.
What is the best advice you could give other writers about writing or publishing?
- Find your voice. My initial attempts to sell my writing went horribly wrong. The content was good, but the presentation was boring, like a school term paper. Once I started writing more like I talk, agents and publishers were interested in what I had to say.
- In non-fiction, develop your platform. Today publishers want to know you have a ready-made audience to buy the book.
- Learn about book promotion. This is crucial. I have a friend who is self-published and feels that with his book on Amazon and available to booksellers he’s got all that he needs. But not all booksellers pick up all books and if they do, the books don’t necessarily sell. What’s worse is books that are returned.
Who is the perfect reader for your book?
The Work-At-Home Success Bible was written with women in mind (another choice by the publisher), but is perfect for anyone who want to make extra money or living working at home.
Where can readers learn more about you and your book?
My book is available at bookstores and online at Amazon.com and Barnes and Noble. The book’s site is http://www.workathomesuccessbible.com. People can learn more about me at http://leslietruex.com or at http://www.workathomesuccess.com.