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Over the past several months, I have had the good fortune of working directly with Grant Sabatier to launch his latest book, Financial Freedom. Since we’ve been in the trenches together this past week for the book launch, I thought it would be interesting to take you behind the scenes.
I took the time to sit down with Grant and pick his brain about the writing process behind Financial Freedom. You’ll notice that his answers are written in the third person since I’m paraphrasing as he’s answering my questions. As you’ll soon find out, he poured his life and soul into this book. That’s why I volunteered to join him on the 3-month Financial Freedom Book Tour and spread this message around the world!
Ready? Let’s dive in.
Behind The Scenes of the Financial Freedom Book
What sparked your motivation to write Financial Freedom?
Grant knew he wanted to write a book shortly after he started blogging. Within 18 months, his traffic had grown significantly and he quickly started to receiving multiple questions per day on different topics. One question led to another and by the end of the email chain, Grant had sent 12 different blog posts to address the reader’s questions.
Clearly, this was not optimal for Grant or his readers. So, he decided to write a book to answer all of the questions at once. Next time someone asked him about side hustling, investing, saving, increasing income, or any other money topics, he would have a book to hand over. His driving motivation was to “write the book that he wished he had” in order to make it easier for others to follow in his footsteps.
Tell me about how your book “team” was formed. How did you choose your agent and publisher?
After his appearance on NPR, Grant was contacted by dozens of agents to write a book about his story. Most of these agents seemed salesy, sleazy, or just not the right fit. Understanding that he had a small window of time for a large opportunity, Grant reached out to a well-known agent who agreed to work with him.
An agent was an essential piece of the equation if Grant wanted to do this thing right. Immediately after finding his agent, Grant began to work on his book proposal to pitch to publishing companies. A book proposal basically outlines the vision, structure, and marketing strategies for the book.
Grant wrote a 90-page book proposal in 10 days and sent it out to nearly 20 different publishing companies. Many publishers wanted him to niche down into just side hustling or investing, but Grant envisioned a more holistic finance book.
After several weeks of back and forth, Grant signed with Penguin Random House. This publisher “felt right” and liked the money=freedom and time DOES NOT EQUAL money focus. They also appreciated Grant’s differentiated message from the traditional “cut out your Starbucks” personal finance advice.
What was your technical process in writing the book?
The book started as a comprehensive outline. Grant initially went through 20-30 iterations of the outline before the final version was accepted. Penguin actually completed rejected the first draft. Grant stated that “learning how to write a book while writing a book is like putting the plane together while flying”.
After receiving pushback that the book was “too advanced”, Grant simplified the content and received new criticism that the book was “too simple”. Knowing that he needed to find a middle ground, Grant became obsessed with effectively simplifying complicated topics. Often times, he would read the chapters out loud to himself to make sure that the content flowed and made sense.
One of the biggest challenges for Grant was learning how to draft and free-write. In blogging, he would write and edit simultaneously. But in writing a book, this process was extremely slow and inefficient. Stopping to edit the content ruined his thought flow.
After finally learning how to free-write effectively, Grant would write for several 16-hour days straight before hitting a wall and experiencing extreme burnout for a couple of days. This process continued until the book was completely finished (would not recommend this tactic).
During the entire process, he would carry around a small notepad to jot down thoughts, phrases, and ideas.
At any point did you feel like giving up?
Grant never wanted to give up, but he definitely had feelings of “not being good enough”. Despite the 30 revisions and constant pushback, he understood that he had the opportunity of a lifetime.
Some chapters were re-written over and over again, and Grant actually hit the keyboard over 3 MILLION TIMES (keep in mind that the book is 132,000 words)! At one point, Penguin gave him a hard deadline and he was almost two months away from not being able to make the book happen. However, Grant “wasn’t going to go down lightly”.
Without the support of his team at Penguin, his editor, and his colleagues, the book would have never happened. This support motivated him to push through and write the best book he possibly could. After it was all over he “collapsed at the finish line”.
Did you have one primary editor or did you have many editors with varying backgrounds and financial knowledge?
Grant says that he had “different levels of editors”. He had one amazing dedicated editor at Penguin Random House, but he also utilized many other talents in the editing process. His copy editor had experience with money books and thoroughly analyzed all of the charts and calculations.
Additionally, many bloggers in the financial independence space (myself included) stepped up to read early copies and provide feedback. Key contributors were Vicki Robin, J.D. Roth, J. Money, Sam Dogan, Bobby Hoyt, Erin Lowry, Matt Zubricki, Drew (Guy on FIRE), Chris Durheim, J.P. Livingston, Brandon (The Mad Fientist), Farnoosh Torabi, Robert Farrington, Phillip Taylor, Steve (Think Save Retire), and John (ESI Money) … to name a few.
So many people were involved to bring the book to life and Grant couldn’t have done it by himself. Not only did the community help to edit the book, but also inspired Grant and taught him valuable lessons.
Any final thoughts?
Financial Freedom is a life philosophy, not just a book about money. Grant couldn’t have written the book without guidance and inspiration from his friend and mentor, Vicki Robin, author of Your Money or Your Life.
To anyone thinking about writing a book, Grant advises you to think about a few key questions:
- What makes you different? What makes your story different?
- What do you really want to say?
- How are you going to say it?
If you have powerful answers to these questions, start free-writing. Just sit down with a blank sheet of paper or a laptop and start writing and see where it takes you. Writing a book was the most difficult thing that Grant ever did. He collapsed at the finished line and wrote the best book that he possibly could.
My thoughts: This book is seriously going to change thousands of lives. It’s a template for anyone to follow to dominate their personal finances. In the short few days since the book launch, we have already received hundreds of messages and emails from readers about how much the book is impacting them.
If you feel financially stuck and need guidance, I wholeheartedly recommend that you check out Financial Freedom. This book paves the road to financial success in the most digestible form possible. Financial freedom is not a liberty reserved for the elite; it’s possible for anyone.
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