Updated: Dec 26, 2019
Welcome to Part 3 of The Offworld Author's Guide to Self Publishing.
We will be tackling all the things you'll need to take care of in your Self-Publishing journey including Ghostwriting, Editing, Proofreading, Book Funding, Book Design, Book Production, Book Rights, Book Reviews, Book Publishing, Book Publicity, Book Promotion and Social Media, Literary Agent Pitch, Promo Videos, Audiobooks, Translation, Author Websites, Search Engine Optimisation, Screenplay Adaptation, Film Makers, Film Producers and Original Music.
All of these elements are key to giving you everything you need to make your book a success.
Don't want to wait for the next thrilling instalment?
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Have a look at our video as well....
Personally speaking, I’ve self-published 4 sci-fi fiction books on Amazon, sold tens of thousands of copies, and continue to collect thousands per month in royalty checks.
Self-publishing a book is done using these steps:
Write a book you’re proud of
Decide which self-publishing platforms to use
Get your book edited, cover designed, formatted Upload your manuscript and accompanying assets
Hit “Publish” when you’re ready.
Your book is self-published!
You can see it there on Amazon. You’ve even got an author profile. It feels fabulous. You should be proud of what you’ve done Now you can show everyone.
Not only do you no longer need one of the “Big 5” companies to publish your book, now self-published authors are actively turning down offers from publishing companies!
Self-publishing is a completely independent route with no barriers to entry whereas traditional publishing involves the acts of querying, landing an agent, and getting approved by a publishing house.
And this is what you get, things you don't get with traditional publishers:
Sole control of your book's rights
Sole control over the Story
100% of royalties
So, here finally, is a step-by-step comprehensive
self-publishing guide that will walk you through
the smarter starter steps of how to write your
book all the way to how to self-publish it on
Amazon’s Kindle (KDP) Network.
What you need to decide first when self-publishing a book, is WHY you want to write a book.
I encourage going through this brainstorming process as it’s the only way to ensure that you’re 100% committed to writing a book (and you’re doing it for the right reasons).
Here are some questions for you to decide why you want to publish a book:
Are you an entrepreneur or freelancer with a new business trying to get a leg up on your competition by publishing a book?
Do you want to leverage your skills and knowledge to become a paid speaker or coach?
Do you have a well-established business and you want to write a book to diversify your income streams and land speaking engagements?
Or do you already have a successful story, and want to build an asset that will share the knowledge and skills you’ve gained over decades of experience?
Do you have a larger number of book ideas or prompts you need to start writing?
Come up with at least 10 valid reasons why you want to write a book. Use the questions above as a starting guide to brainstorm.
If you’ve ever tried to start writing a book, you might have had moments where you’ve stared at a blank page for hours with nothing to show for it. Feeling frustrated, you resort to procrastinating and get nothing done!
This is normal, writing a book is hard work. In fact, coming up with a book idea in general can be very tricky. But in order to start writing your book, you must develop a writing process.
Here are some effective ways to write a book worth self-publishing:
Calendar. Schedule your goals per day/week.
Create an outline. An outline is like a map of your book that provides direction to your story. It keeps you on track and ensures that your ideas are organised.
Develop a writing habit. Condition yourself to write at the same time every day. With this practice, it will soon become a habit that will make writing a book automatic.
Get an accountability partner. You can hold each other accountable to write and finish your by your “draft done” date.
Build your writing environment. Find an area where your head is clear, there are no distractions, and where you can write in peace.
Of course, if you really don’t feel you have the writing style, or more likely, the time, there are many Ghostwriting Services that will write your book for you based on your root ideas and you will keep 100% of the rights to the book.
Figure out which methods best filter out the negative noise to get you into the writing process.
When writing your book, it’s important to get as much feedback as early in the process as possible.
It’s essential to get this feedback in order to improve your writing.
Everything from creative writing to factual, non-fiction works needs feedback in order to produce a polished publication.
As writers, it’s all too easy to retreat into your cave for a long period of time, spend countless hours writing what you think is the perfect first draft, only to find that
a) your draft doesn’t make sense to anyone else or
b) no one else is as interested in the topic as you originally thought.
Writing tips can come from anywhere and the best usually come from those reading your book for the first time.
Not only can a fresh set of eyes on your book help you catch typos and grammatical errors, but a new perspective can give you ideas for tightening up your story and making the theme more clear, like in the example below.
Giving your book to one (or more) “beta readers” before giving it to an editor and self-publishing can also cut down on the time and cost of paying a professional editor.
You can also use something like Grammarly or the Hemingway Editor so you can learn as you write!
You can get help with reviews via several Reviews Services to get reader reviews before and after publication.
Reach out to a few friends who could provide good (preferably unbiased) feedback, and ask them if they’ll be willing to read a chapter or two (or the whole book!) as you finish writing
Contrary to popular belief, you should never decide on a book title until after you are done writing your first draft.
This is because choosing a book title first often results in you “writing yourself into a corner” because you’re trying so hard to align your story to the title of the book instead of writing what needs to be written.
Don’t make this more complicated than it needs to be.
The key to choosing a perfect title is: the simpler the title, the better. As you’re brainstorming ideas, always remember to keep it simple.
Your title should also be clear on what your readers will receive by reading your book. This is because experts state that a clear promise or a guarantee of results will further intrigue your readers.
Here are some questions to consider when creating your memorable book title:
Is your title going to teach a high demand skill?
Can your title impact someone’s life?
Can your book solve a very difficult problem?
Is it short enough to read in a thumbnail image on Amazon?
Does it elicit an emotional response?
Editing Services also help you form the perfect title for your book along with full Concept Evaluation, Plot Evaluation and Editorial input.
Once you’ve narrowed down your book titles, send out an email to your friends and family or put a poll up to your audience asking what title they’d prefer. You could also ask a community of other authors what they think.
Hiring a great book editor can mean the difference between becoming a bestselling author, or self-publishing a mediocre book. Therefore, it’s important to take as much time as necessary during this stage of the process.
To find an editor for your book, begin with your personal network. Do you personally know any qualified editors?
Start there. If you don’t, then do you know someone who knows an editor? If you don’t have any luck finding an editor within your personal network, don’t worry!
No matter how you find your editor, make sure they’re a good fit before committing to the full book by paying them a small sum to edit a few pages or a chapter of your book. Some do provide a Courtesy Critique as well.
Make sure the editor is interested in the subject matter, that they can get your whole book edited in 4 weeks or less including back-and- forth revisions, and that their edits are both accurate and make sense to you.
Whatever you do, don’t give up during the editorial process!
It is truly essential.
Find a friend or professional editor who can make sure your book is error-free, and start working with them sooner rather than later!
When it comes to self-publishing, a high-quality book cover is one of the most important elements that will get your book to convert into sales!
The reason is that your book cover design is what readers see first and will immediately determine whether they want to read your book or not.
“Don’t judge a book by its cover” simply doesn’t apply to actual book covers, as much as we wish it did.
The hard truth is that everyone judges a book by its cover whether they realise it or not.
So you must make sure that it is created professionally and that it will stand apart from the rest of the books in your genre or category but at the same time fitting the demographic style expectation.
What makes a good book cover?
Simplistic styling. Too much going on will make readers unable to figure out what your book is about. Keep the cover minimalistic and it will convert more readers.
Professionally designed. Book cover designers know how to create book covers that convert. They have industry knowledge and have studied what works and what doesn’t.
Clear title and subtitle. The title on your cover does matter. The easier it is to read, the better. This allows your readers to clearly see what your book is about as they scroll through Amazon or other book retailers.
A design style that fits your intended audience. If you’re writing a faith-based book intended for an audience of faith, having an overly dark, devilish cover doesn’t make sense.
Prices will vary depending on what type of service you want, but the end result will be well worth the spend.
Find a book designer with any of these sites and your book will stand apart from its competition
Everything you do to protect your copyright and other rights must carry your name as the registered owner of your manuscript, your book and all publicity that follows.
This is where you normally lose all control with traditional publishers.
There are several Rights and Sales Tracking Databases to register your book on, primarily on the US Copyright Office. If anyone plagiarises your work, this registration is vital to effectively claim your property.
You should have already secured and assigned all ISBN Numbers for your book and now, you assign those same numbers to International Rights databases
You need the appropriate Sales Tracking is in place for your book from Retailers and 3rd Party Rights Trackers.
It is advisable not to scrimp on this one. Find someone who knows how to do this thoroughly. Imagine getting to this point only for someone to plagiarise your work. Without this stage in place and without bigger lawyers than them, you are vulnerable.
Get this done before you publish!
Amazon has a self-publishing service called Kindle Direct Publishing where you can create and manage your Kindle eBook, paperback, and audio books.
Amazon has recently acquired the well-known book printing company CreateSpace and they’re now merged as one.
This means you can now offer print books to your audience. It’s the best way to learn how to publish a book and start selling quickly, and I’ve used it for all my self-published books.
I highly recommend it for all new self-publishers! Here’s how to set up your KDP account on Amazon:
Visit https://kdp.amazon.com and create an account with either your existing Amazon account or your email address.
Next, you must complete your tax information. You will not be able to submit your published book if you do not complete this step.
Once your tax information is complete, hit “Finished” and your account is complete!
Or you could leave it all up to a seasoned Publishing Service to set this up and manage your portfolio.
Follow these steps to create your KDP account! With this platform, you can figure out how to publish your book within minutes and soon have it appear worldwide!
If you’re on a budget, there are plenty of resources online that can tell you how to format your book yourself for free. You can start by looking at Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing forums where there are plenty of discussions on book formatting.
You can also use KDP’s free resources to help format your book. Formatting can be a frustrating experience for the uninitiated though, so if you have a few bucks to spare, you might consider paying someone to help you and there are a few Book Creation and Production Services out there.
Also keep in mind that formatting will look different for fiction versus nonfiction books.
Typically, nonfiction books don’t have an indent between paragraphs but instead, they have spaces whereas fiction books are indented with each new paragraph.
Just be sure you hire someone who knows how to format your specific book genre.
Make sure your book is formatted properly by hiring someone who can handle the formatting process for you.
Then I would set the price to $2.99, and I would moderately increase the price by $1 every week and measure how well the new price performs. Once you see a sales dip, that will determine the exact price of your book that will guarantee book sales.
Find the perfect price by using this strategy that will attract your readers and best drive long-term success.
When you feel confident your book is ready for the public, you can create a KDP account and upload your book.
This is how to upload your book on KDP:
On the KDP main page, locate and click on “Your Bookshelf”. Locate and click on “Kindle eBook Actions”.
Then, locate and click on “Edit eBook Content”.
Finally, click on “Upload eBook Manuscript”, and upload your manuscript file from your computer.
Amazon also allows you to select 7 keywords or keyword phrases to make sure your intended audience can find your book when searching on Amazon.
It’s highly recommended you also select two different categories on Amazon your book might fit into so you can reach a broader audience.
There is a way we can get you 10 categories. It’s not available in Amazon’s publishing process, but we can handle it for you afterwards.
To select keywords and categories, look at other best-selling books in your niche and notice what keywords and categories those authors chose.
Once Amazon finishes uploading your file, a confirmation message will be sent and you can preview the uploaded file to check for any errors. Create your Amazon author central account after uploading your book.
Include a bio, photo, and link to your website or blog to help you stand out among authors. After a few more steps, you’ll be ready to publish your book, at which time you’ll click “save & publish” in your KDP book dashboard.
Afterward, you should be ready to publish your book! Just click “save & publish” in the book editing screen!
Follow these steps to upload your book. You are allowed to upload your manuscript as many times as you want with each upload overriding the previous.
Your launch team is the group of people who are dedicated to helping make your book successful.
They should be a passionate group of individuals who are eager to make your book launch successful. Remember, one highly skilled team member is better than a group of mediocre ones!
To find quality candidates, here’s a questionnaire you can use to assess applicants and see if they’re qualified to market your book:
Why do you want to support my book?
What goals are you trying to reach with this project? How would you market this book?
Which influencers would you reach out to and why?
Do you have a genuine interest in my book and its genre?
Create an application with questions that align with your thought process. Try to be open-minded with those who think outside the box – they may be the perfect candidates that can get your book to become a bestseller. And don’t forget to use our Reviews Service.
It’s not enough to learn how to publish a book and be done with it. You still have to take action even after your official launch.
As soon as your book goes live on Amazon, be sure to leverage your launch team and your audience to help you market your book! It may be odd to ask your fans for help, but your fans are there to support your project and want to see you succeed.
You might be surprised how willing they’ll be to help you if you just ask!
Here are some marketing initiatives you can assign your team and audience to do:
Share content from your book as blog posts across social media
Submit reviews on Amazon (ensuring they don’t make the mistakes in the video below)
Help build your book’s website
Reach out to influencers for a future guest post or podcast feature Share a book review on their YouTube channel
Buy extra copies to gift their friends
The additional exposure generated from your launch team and audience will help push your book up Amazon’s rankings, which will drive more sales!
Create your book marketing launch plan using these methods. Measure each of these methods to see which will best get your book in the hands of new readers and convert into sales.
Publishing after writing a book is just the beginning. Depending on your goals for your book, self-publishing can get you more customers, free publicity, and establish you as an expert in your niche.
This can help you land speaking gigs and build a business within your area of expertise.
Your book sales can also help fund your lifestyle with passive income.
Dream big about what you want your book to do for you. When you have a vision for where you want your book to take you, it will be easier to take advantage of opportunities as they arise.
Getting clear on what you want will also help you focus your writing content.
What to do now?
Now that you’ve learned how to publish a book, it’s time to take action and bring yourself one step closer to your goals and dreams.
If self-publishing a bestseller is something you want to do, and you’re serious about changing your life and your business for the better by getting your book out there in the world, then you need a step-by-step system to follow to take action.
Spare a moment or two and have a glass of something. Remember the last time you hid yourself away and read that first Agent’s reply? Different now, right?
Apart from getting started on book number two, you could always keep a thought in the back of your mind about different formats for your book.
And maybe you think about the Movies. Why not?
While you were writing your book, you will have imagined scenes and action, characters and all sorts of things. So, how would your book look on the big screen, as a movie?
If you like your book, you’ve got to love the movie it could be.
"Based on the novel by " is a particular favourite because the
story already has traction. People already know of it. Just look at The Shawshank Redemption, Harry Potter, Wizard of Oz, The Color Purple, Jurassic Park, Lord of the Rings and thousands and thou- sands more. All originally books.
Well, you can transform your book into a fully adapted Screenplay and get it in front of Movie Producers.
Think about it. You’ll get a nice percentage (based on the movie’s budget) and someone possibly famous will be taking on your lead character.
Take a look at the steps to seeing your story on the big screen
Of course, if you still want to examine the traditional publishing route, why not see what the agents say now you’re professionally published with everything in the right place?
After all, you’ve got reviewers and customers, star ratings and book sales to do most of the work for them.
Suddenly, it becomes more viable talking to you. You’ve got sales. You’ve got followers. Publishers love picking up successes and they love series. Why not keep your main character alive to come back and save the world another day? You’ve already got a captive audience.
So maybe you go back to the process you started with with a bit more encouragement.
If you do, there are services that can develop exactly the right collateral and methodology to pitch an agent, format your manuscript for that purpose, and pitch out, not to 20 or 30, but to hundreds of logged agents.
There are some clever little gizmos to feed all the relevant manuscript data and agents submission requirements and pitch out to everyone on the list.
This time round, make sure you’re presenting your work in the right way to agents. They have set formats to receive things and they get mighty peeved if you suddenly send through an amateur eBook or such like.
And save yourself hundreds of hours doing it manually.
And that's it for Part 3 of our series. And that's it for the series.
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Take care, big hugs and adios.