July 20, 2017


My first idea for a book could not have come at a worse time. I had no writing skills, no published works to point to, no college degree, no success story, no knowledge of how publishing worked, and no money.

I wasn’t just broke, I owed several thousand dollars trying to keep afloat a business selling my handwoven goods. I was recently married and my wife was pressuring me to get a job. But I couldn’t because my last job in a friend’s woodworking shop had left me bed ridden for weeks from breathing dust particles.

As I lay there depressed, I knew I couldn’t be the only weaver who needed help with their business. Where did they turn to for help? I could not find a single book or even an article in weaving magazines related to our particular marketing issues.

Then this completely wild, incredibly insane, and wholly tempting thought came: Why don’t I write a business guide for weavers and fiber artists?

This was the same business I was teetering on bankruptcy over. Yeah, I know, what was I thinking?

Against all odds and rational thought, I believed in my dream enough to write and self publish that first book, called Weaving Profits, in 1991. I printed the individual pages at a local copy shop and bought a comb binding machine to assemble the books. I could only afford to make fifty copies which I promptly mailed out to relevant magazines that had book review sections. My thinking was that if I managed to get decent reviews, sales would follow and I could then always go back to the copy shop and make more books. It was about as low risk, low cost operation as I could manage.

A few months later, The Crafts Report, the leading magazine in the professional craft world, mailed a copy of their new issue in which their review of Weaving Profits appeared. I read it slowly, holding my breath, afraid my first lunge at authorship was about to be cut to pieces. But one line in the review stood out. It read: “This book should be viewed as the blueprint for success in the crafts industry.” I had to read those words several times before it sunk in they were talking about my book. Even today, reading that review quote chokes me up.

Those few words changed everything and became the building block of an incredible journey. High praise from editors and other experts soon followed. Orders began appearing in the mail. With checks! So many orders, that I had to abandon DIY book manufacturing and get my first real book printing of 1,000 copies.

James Dillehay, AuthorFast forward …… the first book led to a second book, and then a series, which led to interviews in many of the major craft and hobby magazines. Then, I got calls from The Wall Street Journal, The Chicago Tribune, Bottom Line Personal, Family Circle, HGTV and Entrepreneur Radio and many other media.

I received invitations to serve on various advisory boards, paid speaking engagements, and offers to develop and teach college level classes. Doors opened right and left.

I felt I had made my mark enough to step it up. I had always admired one of the best-selling marketing books ever, Guerrilla Marketing, by Jay Conrad Levinson. I saw that he had expanded his series to include GM books specifically for all kinds of niche businesses, though not yet one for my field. So I reached out to Jay through his website and he agreed to a meeting. I’ll write more about this meeting in a future article, but I went on to co-author three books in the series.

There’s more to the story but if I tell you everything now, there’s no point in writing a blog.

What about you? Is there a book inside you that you’ve been thinking to write and publish? I’m guessing there is or you wouldn’t be here.

To get right to the point, what are you doing about it? How long are you going to put off realizing your dream? Is the technology of getting into print or Kindle intimidating? Are you thinking that self publishing costs too much money? Or takes too long? Have you heard the (false and I can prove it) statement that self published books don’t sell? I’ve asked myself all these questions and more.

I’m here to tell you, all of the objections can be overcome, as long as you believe in yourself. My life was basically falling apart when I got the crazy idea to write a book. Yet, publishing that book changed everything.

If you are an author with a passion to write and publish, I hope you will find the resources I share here both helpful and a source of optimism. I would like to stay in touch. When you sign up for my VIP Newsletter, you will be the first to get new articles, tips and resources as their published. And I’ve got some great free resources in the works for you too.

For now, leave your comments below. I read them all. Would love to hear what’s going on!