What Writing and Submitting a Book to Amazon in a Day Taught Me about Shipping

Ian Philpot
May 3, 2016 · 3 min read

For the last two weeks, I’ve been participating in altMBA — an online course created by Seth Godin and run by Wes Kao.

I’ve still got two weeks left, and I’ve already learned immense lessons about decision making, business model generation, empathy, and more.

This past Sunday, the altMBA class was assigned the task of creating an anti-obesity campaign. Thankfully, we work in groups of four, so I wasn’t developing this on my own. And the three guys working with me (Blair, John, and Oliver) are really talented, so I knew we’d end up with something great.

After we came to the conclusion that a negative campaign could do more harm than good, we went the positive route and decided to create an eBook full of facts about healthy foods and motivating quotes (mostly reusing content from Blair’s book The Happiness Revolution).

The decision to write the eBook happened at 10:30 a.m.

At 11:30 p.m., the four of us submitted our book, IncrEDIBLE: A 10-Minute Book to Ignite Your Healthy Living Cravings, to Amazon’s Kindle Store.

(It takes 24–48 hours to be approved into the Kindle Store, and I’ll include a link as soon as it’s live.)

So here I am, a little more than 24 hours later, and I’m already feeling like my life has changed. I don’t feel like the person I was on Saturday, and I don’t know that I’ll ever be like that person again.

Here’s what I learned:

The Shipper’s High

I spent all day Monday floating on a cloud of accomplishment nestled with pride, self-esteem, and a strong sense of camaraderie.

Going from nothing to shipping an eBook in a 24 hour period was no small task…and yet, I helped to make it happen. In a day or so, I will be listed as an author of a book on Amazon.

It’s such an awesome feeling.

A Shipper’s Gotta Ship

This project was the sixth I’ve had to ship so far in altMBA, so I’ve been used to shipping things. But none of them were quite this same magnitude.

When I got started on Monday, I started making a task list and realized it wasn’t big enough. I needed to go after big tasks and just ship them.

So I went back to my task list and put only the big things on there. I added things that I’d stalled on in the past, things I put on every to-do list for the last month but never got around to, and things that I wasn’t planning on working on for 2–3 weeks. Monday was going to be about shipping…because that’s what a shipper does.

Here I am on the other side of Monday, and I didn’t ship everything on that list. But I shipped about half of them, which is more than I realistically thought I could handle.

I realized, when you’re in shipping mode, you just get it done.

Content needs to be written? Done.
Strategy plans need to be made? Done.
Medium post needs to be started so I can ship early Tuesday? Done.
Next eBook plan needs to be outlined? Done.

Shippers Are Idealists

In my altMBA application, I remember explaining how I’m an idealist. That’s a recent self discovery for me, and I’m still working on understanding it.

But it hit me today: Shippers are Idealists.

Shippers don’t consider the constraints of a realistic mindset.
Shippers want to make themselves better today.
Shippers want to make the world better now.
Shippers fight the good fight even if they’re going to lose, because it’s a fight worth fighting.

Again, I’m only halfway done with altMBA right now. I expect to be in a totally different place at this time next week, and it will all be thanks to having to ship three more projects by then. They may be tough, and they may require more work than I think I have time for, but I will do everything I can to ship them…because I’m a shipper now, and that’s what I do.

Ian Philpot

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Ian Philpot is a digital marketer and a writer.