Author Spotlight: Clara Rufai

Developing ResilienceTomorrow at 3 pm CST, I will be joining author Clara Rufai on her Leap and Shine 2016 Teleconference. I’ll be speaking about the topic of Confidence, one I’ve been writing about since June. I’ll be sharing with her listeners the I’ve learned over the past 11 months after taking the leap to a full commitment to my writing business on how to step out in confidence no matter what your situation or circumstance happens to be. However, before I go into that, let me share an excerpt from her book, Prison Break: The 9 to 5 Escape Agenda

, that outlines her journey to becoming a published author. It shows the kind of resilience it takes for you to succeed.

What Is Resilience?

Resilience is the capacity to recover from difficulties and adapt to circumstances as they arise. Getting this book from start to finish in time for my launch date tested every ounce of resilience in me. However, it has been an excellent exercise in developing it for the day when I am ready to finally make good my escape.

Nothing Goes as Planned

My plan for my book was simple: write the book, publish the book. I did not realize everything it would take to get from the writing of it to the publication of it. I knew that it would take some time to get the interviews completed and returned to me. I knew that it would take some time to get a cover designed and approved. Beyond that, I did not have enough experience to know what to expect.

Deadline after deadline was missed. I was continually challenged to revisit and revise my plan of attack. New information continued to surface and details that I was not even aware needed to be looked at were brought to my attention. My resolve to have my story put out and to meet my deadline was put to every imaginable test.

I share this with you because my experience is an excellent example of why you need to develop resilience. No matter how good your plan, there will always be things that come up along the way that you were not expecting. You will need to become good at adapting and forming new strategies to meet the challenges you face.

Editing Proves Challenging

Despite hiring two editors, and editing the manuscript myself, we still ran into major issues with the manuscript when it was put into the hands of test readers. There were inconsistencies brought to light with their help that needed to be resolved quickly and decisively. I am required to make tweaks to ensure that the promises made on the back of the book are delivered within the content of the book.

Remember that in an earlier chapter I told you nothing is ever going to be perfect? This book proves the case. It is not perfect. It is as perfect as I have been able to make it. However, if I held back the content waiting for that perfect day, when every single word in it met with everyone’s approval, I promise you it would never have seen the light of day.

Incidentally, if you do find errors or gaps, I encourage you to send them to me at They may well provide occasion and reason for writing another book.

The Truth about Independent Publishing

When I chose to go the route of independent publishing with my book, I did not realize just how involved the process would be. There are a myriad of details to be put into place. Each of those details contributes to the final look and feel of the book and to the professionalism of it. It also makes a huge difference in how well it sells when it finally is released.

As an independent publisher, it isn’t just the book I’m responsible for preparing. It is also the launch. I discovered I must be in charge of my own publicity campaign. I must recruit people who will help me promote the book to others. I must make decisions about pricing, covers, formatting, distribution channels, ISBN numbers, and bar codes. Every detail is my responsibility as the publisher. With an already full plate before me, this was no mean feat, and there were many times when it felt like it’d be far easier to just give up.

Now though, I am encouraged by just how much putting this book together and working through the steps of getting it ready to launch have prepared and are preparing me for life on the outside.
As those who have escaped can tell you, the same things that are true about independent publishing are equally true about being in business for yourself. You will wear many different hats. You are the accounting team, the marketing team, the sales team, and the promotions and public relations team. The buck stops with you. Everything is your responsibility.

Even when you hire outside help, the final results are still ultimately your responsibility. It is your job to make sure your workers stay on task and are clear on what you want them to do. It is your job to be sure that the work they do is up to your specifications. It is your job to be sure that they represent you in the manner you want to be represented. Your reward for your hard work is that you get to keep the profits and take the credit at the end of the day.

What It Takes to Be a Best Seller

It is an eye-opener when you learn what goes into making a book a best seller. If you want to wind up on the New York Times Best Sellers List, you must sell 9,000 copies in a single week and those purchases must come from numerous sources. Imagine getting the entire town of, say Queensferry, to purchase your book in one week. It’s a sizable feat.

To become a best seller on Amazon requires a third of those sales. It’s still a challenging number, one that can seem daunting. You will need all the help you can get to reach the numbers. There are services that will guarantee you a spot, but the fees for such services are pretty steep and the costs can go upward into the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

In a recent Forbes Magazine article, a speaker by the name of Soren Kaplan achieved the 3,000 copies sold mark by getting his corporate clients to agree to purchase copies of his book as part of his speaking fees, along with purchasing copies for resell. It’s a tactic that has caught my eye.

Scrambling for Proof Copies

Just when I thought I gave myself plenty of time to get proof copies ready and ordered, I was offered the opportunity to appear on television. I did not have time to go the route I’d planned to get the books in hand. I was forced to think on my feet and search for an alternative production source. That source needed to be based in London so that I wouldn’t have to worry about shipping or customs delays. I was fortunate enough to find one.

The books arrived just in the nick of time, and I was saved the embarrassment of showing up at the television interview without tangible evidence of my work in hand. Again, this was a test of my resilience. Could I adapt when things moved more quickly than I expected or planned for? I am happy to confirm that I could, and I did.

In life and business, as in books, opportunities may come before you feel fully ready to take advantage of them. These opportunities may not show up again. You must do what you can to capitalize on the situation, even if it means making sacrifices to do so. I would have preferred to wait until my manuscript was polished before printing the proof, but waiting would have meant missing the chance to gain the publicity that might help my book become a best seller.

The Value of Testing Your Product

Although testing the book with beta readers did mean additional work to be done, and although it presented additional challenges, it was invaluable. I can only imagine what the reviews might have been had we put it out there as it was. As it is, I am confident the product does exactly what is promised and delivers the strategies needed to help those who dream of breaking free of their prison. It offers them a path forward in making it a reality.

Doubt in your product, service, or your personal brand can prove detrimental to your business. The only way to pre-empt and cure doubt is to ensure that what you have produced does what you promised it will do. The only way to check and ensure this is to allow a small group (an advance party of people) to test it. Only then will you know where the problems are and what needs to be corrected, polished or tweaked to make your work the best it can be.

Allowing your work to be tested before release is an act of responsibility. It is part of living up to your Shine Factor. Shining means that you always aim to offer your best work and produce the best material you possibly can. You do not fall into the folly of allowing yourself to release shoddy work. You strive for excellence in everything you do as opposed to settling for sloppiness and nonchalance.

“Taking the path of least resistance only leads us to a place where we cannot have the utmost respect for, and faith in, our ability to persevere and to overcome” – Clara Rufai

Reworking the Plan Until It Shines

My original plan for the book didn’t work 100%. It didn’t deliver all of the content I wanted to offer my readers. It wasn’t explicit enough in carrying the message I wanted it to. Thanks to my esteemed beta readers for investing the time to review the book for me, under tight timelines. Their feedback suggested additional work was required. I decided a mini overhaul was needed.

I went back to my editors and we spent an entire evening reworking the plan so that we could be sure everything that was promised would be delivered to the reader. The manuscript was dismantled, rearranged, and rewritten to match the new plan. It was painstaking and tedious work, but the result was a much better book, a much more thorough coverage, and a foundation to begin building my dreams.

As it was with my book, so it is in business. If the original plan you create does not hold up to testing, rework it until it does, even if that means you must completely dismantle and strip it to the core. You may have to toss out some parts and create new bits to fill in gaps, but what you will come up with is a much better version of what you had when you started.

Ready to Share Your Story?

If you’re ready to step out of the shadows and into the spotlight, you’re going to want to attend tomorrow’s sessions of the Leap and Shine 2016 Teleconference by Clara Rufai. It will start at 2 pm CST and I will be speaking at 3:30 pm CST on the subject of Confidence.

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