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Tell Your Own Story: Write, Market and Publish Your First Book Hey, you! Go rescue that half-written manuscript sitting in a drawer, and get to work.

By Meiko Patton Edited by Dan Bova

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

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May I ask you a personal question? When you look back over the past five years of your life, do you find yourself in the place you thought you'd be? Be honest. Have you:

  • Started that great business you had in your head five years ago?
  • Finally obtained that healthy, vibrant lifestyle you dreamed of?
  • Forgiven that person who hurt you so many years ago?
  • Finished writing that manuscript you'd started?

If not, why not?

Related: Should You Self-Publish or Commercially Publish Your Book?

The simple answer is, you've chosen not to. Your choices have led you exactly to where you are today. But, don't beat yourself up, because the great thing is that the next five years can be completely different from the last five, if you make a few changes now.

The best way to you can start making changes is to start that "project" that has been in the back of your mind for a while or complete that unfinished project that is lingering over your head.

I recently finished rereading The Compound Effect, in which author Darren Hardy says that entrepreneurs need to forget about their willpower and instead focus on their why-power.

Most of the time, we fail to realize or accomplish our goals because we depend too much on our own abilities. Writes Hardy: "Your choices are only meaningful when you connect them to your desires and dreams." He continues, "The wisest and most motivating choices are the ones aligned with that which you identify as your purpose, your core self and your highest values."

So, what are the best ways to accomplish your business goals? Did you know that one of the fastest ways is to become a recognized authority in your field? And the best way to do that is to tell your story, in your own words by finally writing and finishing your book. Don't be like everyone else and die with a book still in you. Get your story out now so that you can inspire someone else to do the same.

So, I ask you, what is your why? And what are your reasons for wanting to be an author? Here are some ideas to help:

1. Write down your own top-ten list.

When you write down your dreams on paper, wonderful things start happening for you. Life changes for you when you commit things to writing. Review this list every single day. It will hold you accountable and force you to finish what you said you would do, long after the mood in which you said it has dissipated.

2. Review business books.

I regularly read books on business because they inspire me to continually get better and to improve. Reading books by others also stimulates your mind and brings you more ideas to act on.

3. Ask your email list a question.

One of the best ways to know what your audience wants to hear is to ask its members what they are currently struggling with. Once you get those answers, you are in a better position to tailor your message to them.

Related: How Self-Publishing Can Establish You as an Expert

If you fall into any of the following categories, then the upcoming free Self-Publishing Success Summit may be just what the doctor ordered. On his summit website, creator Chandler Bolt, a college dropout, whose self-published book has made him over $300,000, describes those four categories:

  1. The aspiring author -- You know that having a book can grow your income or your business. Are you a coach, consultant, small biz owner, blogger, speaker or anyone else who needs more credibility and leads? Speed up your path to success with a book.
  2. The partial author -- You've been sitting on a half-written book for months, sometimes years. You just can't bring yourself to finish it and publish it. You don't possess the requisite knowledge about self-publishing, and quite frankly, you're a little scared to put the book out there.
  3. The existing author -- You already have a book or multiple books. . . but. . . you're having trouble selling them. You're struggling to make it to the next level with your success and income. This event will be the push you need to take things up a notch.
  4. The side hustler -- You've tried multiple times to start a side business or something that brings in passive income, but up until now, most of those "experiments" have failed. A book is your first step to making passive income and growing your confidence to take on bigger challenges. . . like finally getting that side business off the ground.

In the end, you can either accept reality as it is, or you can shape your own reality by making minute changes today. In five years, you will be, well, somewhere. Whether it is well designed or not designed at all depends on you.

Related: 10 Truths About Self-Publishing for Entrepreneurs With a Book Idea

Meiko Patton

Amazon #1 Best-Selling Author

Sacramento-based Meiko S. Patton is a writer for the federal government and author of How a Postage Stamp Saved My Life.

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