STRONG HOW I WROTE MY FIRST BOOK

What happens after you have written it?

I handed in my first full draft of my book in July, and thought that things would calm down from then on. That certainly wasn’t the case. I got assigned an editor, who went through my whole book and sent back amendments such as suggested changes in the sentence structure and grammar. There ended up being tonnes of edits, drafts and amendments. My book went back and forth more times than I can count. I also had a dietician read over the book to check that all my nutritional guidance was legitimate, and a lawyer to make sure I wasn’t making any unreasonable claims. It was a stressful time. I remember exchanging emails with my editor at 10pm on Saturday nights, desperately trying to get everything finished in time for my deadlines.

Once the book was finalised, then came the photoshoots and design process. I made a multitude of pinterest boards, I practically had them coming out of my ears! I had a series of meetings discussing how I wanted to layout the book, the colour schemes and the photography style I wanted to use. I had 4 days of lifestyle and fitness photoshoots which included all exercises as well as the cover itself. Then there were 4 days of food photoshoots. All of these included a huge team from makeup artists through to food stylists. I loved every moment, and it felt incredible to see the book come to life!

Headline have an awesome design team and I was lucky that I loved the overall initial layout of the book that they proposed. However, there was still a lot of back and forth on tiny details from font sizes to picture formats. I was sent huge print outs of the complete book design which I had to draw on, amend and write notes about – specifying the tiniest changes I wanted on every single page. This was all done on extremely tight deadlines, I am talking about having a couple of hours to turn this around. Eeeek!

Perhaps the toughest decision was settling on the cover design. We went back and forth on this many-a-time. I struggled to decide what image I wanted on the cover which would accurately convey the message of the book. In the end I settled on a collage design which allows every element to be represented, and I absolutely love it!

Hundreds of emails were sent back and forth in the final few weeks before the book was sent to print. I was constantly looking at page designs, tweeking text and amending picture selections. Finally, everything was agreed upon and I gave the go ahead to send to print at the end of September. Phew, what a relief!

What about marketing and PR?

Throughout the whole process of writing the book, editing and designing it; I was having meetings with the publishers in-house PR and marketing team as well as my own personal PR. The book isn’t going to sell itself! Sure, I have an audience across social media but so much other work goes into spreading the word about the book, securing stockists and pushing pre-orders on amazon.

I have actually done multiple talks about the book to people in the literary industry. One was in front of over 250 people…It was terrifying! I also worked with the team to set up marketing strategies and secure mainstream media coverage. I found this whole process fascinating, but scary. It made me realise that this book really is going out into the big wide world, and it needs to sell. The whole publishing house have bought into me and my message, and now I need to convince everyone else that it is worth investing in too. It is a scary prospect, but I am working my booty off to try and make my team proud!

What next?

The book is printed and will be released on December 29th. I am currently focused on building up to the release date alongside the marketing team; with pre-order competitions across my social media and an epic launch party with all my favourite people. I have received my first hard copy of the book, which was SO surreal. It got shipped to work and I actually cried right in the middle of the gym! It just felt so incredible to see it in real life. It made me realise how much hard work went into it and I am not ashamed to say that I felt so overwhelmingly proud of myself.

Once the book is released I will be completing a book tour across the UK in January. Locations and dates are yet to be confirmed but likely cities include London, Edinburgh, Leeds and Manchester. I will continue to do events through the whole of 2017 including supper clubs, workouts and more; all based around the books content and key message of getting stronger both mentally and physically. I can’t wait!

How can you get your hands on it?

This book is my passion project. I feel kind of guilty shoving it down your throat, but it I have put my blood sweat and tears into it, so I really want it to do well. I would massively appreciate any support with it in the run up to the launch date! The main place you can pre-order the book is on Amazon, and your support with that would literally mean the world to me. It will also be stocked in most large book retailers as well as supermarkets and independent shops from December 29th.

I hope learning about the process of creating my book has been interesting, if you have any questions then just leave them in a comment below! I have filmed multiple behind the scenes youtube videos showing the making of the book which you can check out here and here!

Zanna xx

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