When Richard McMunn wrote a career guide for prospective fellow firefighters 10 years ago, he never dreamed it would be the catalyst for a multi-million pound self-publishing business.
Since then the 44-year-old, who was brought up in Leyland, has written more than 150 self-help books.
Before I knew it I had 30 guides for sale and business was booming
Richard, a former pupil at Balshaw’s High School, is now one of the UK’s leading self-publishers of non-fiction books and he is also currently helping almost 100 budding authors to get their work into print, both as paperbacks and e-books.
It’s been a remarkable journey since he started writing his first book – How To Become A Firefighter.
It took him three months to complete, thanks to many late nights writing in his cellar after his shifts with the fire service.
He recalls the moment he realised he might be on to a winner after publishing the book through the Amazon website: “The book sold very strongly and I found myself having to drive around to post the orders in lots of different post boxes, as I was quickly filling them too quickly.
“It was a very exciting time. After that my productivity increased and I used to stay up until the early hours writing new content and guides.
“Before I knew it I had 30 guides for sale and business was booming.”
Four years after starting to write his first book, Richard decided to resign from the fire service and concentrate on his burgeoning business, which was soon generating a six-figure income.
It was still a difficult decision because he had been promoted to a district manager position, and after 17 years with the brigade would eventually have been entitled to a good pension.
But Richard continued to churn out career guides for a wide range of occupations, including the police officers, soldiers, driving instructors, train and taxi drivers, magistrates, prison officers and property investors, with many of them achieving the coveted number one best seller’s ranking.
He believes his books sell so well because he includes dedicated content which focuses on helping people pass interviews and fitness tests for their dream jobs.
Richard said: “I am working with 93 authors at the moment through my mentoring programme and I always encourage them to think how their content will benefit the reader, and not to think about how much money their book will make for them.
“If you write fantastic content and you make a difference to your readers’ lives, the financial reward will come regardless.”
Richard now publishes and sells his own books through his company How2Become but continues to achieve massive sales on Amazon and major high street booksellers such as Waterstones.
He urges others who are considering writing a book, particularly if it is a career guide or a self-help book, to go down the self-publishing route rather than finding a publishing company.
Self-publishers keep 100 per cent of the royalties, he said, and there are now so many easy ways of promoting and marketing books through social media and websites.
Richard, who left school with just three GCSEs and had no writing experience before completing his first book, also advises budding authors to believe in themselves and to make sure they get an effective front cover designed to attract readers.
He added: “More often than not, people have information contained within them that is beneficial to others and a book is the perfect way to share this information.”
• For more about Richard’s work, visit www.richard-mcmunn.com.