For starters, I’m just a dude who likes to write. I find it very therapeutic and enjoy it. I also enjoy sharing my experiences in hopes that what I share may help someone else. Sharing knowledge is a pretty cool thing to do. All that being said, I want to share my experience publishing my two books on my own. There’s a bit of a learning curve but there is a TON of information out there how to do so getting through the process is not so bad. Now, you could pound the keys and save your draft to word and hand it over to a publisher to do the rest. Obviously, you’ll have to pay for this service leaving you with very little when all is said and done. It’s not a bad deal if you’re already branded and an established author who does this for a living. I mainly did it to check a box in life and leave something for my family. Consider it “Legacy Building”.
Here’s how I went about it.
Write book in Word or similar. I chose Word because I know it and the program is very user friendly. I wouldn’t recommend Notepad or anything else like that. In Word you can track changes and edit. That’s very important when it comes to the editing part. Also, you can save in a PDF and Amazon is going to require you to use a certain format that you can download from their KDP site. You can start your draft then paste what you’ve written into the KDP required format. The format will be dependent on your book size. It may take some time to write your book. Just like cutting down a tree with an axe, just keep whacking away. If you don’t get everything you want to say in the first one, guess what? That sets you up for writing another one. Takes notes throughout the day, week, year, etc. Jam in your notes to your transcript when you have time.
ADD FOOTNOTES FOR CITATIONS AS YOU GO!!!! I didn’t do this. In my most recent book I had a TON of quotes, data and figures. It wasn’t until I sent it to my editor and when she asked me about the citations that I had realized, “Ohhhhh, crap”. Yeah, that sucked. She was awesome and did it ALL for me. We worked back and forth, that’s where the tracking changes feature comes in nicely in Word and squared it all away. Looking back, when I do my next one, I’m going to do all my citations as I go. You can learn how to cite by just Googling it. It’s really not that bad. You just don’t want to have to go back and do it all. A good editor will also write your bibliography for you to place at the end of your book. Mine did. Winning!
Register with KDP. It’s super easy to do and doesn’t take much time. The site is very user friendly and also includes videos teaching the new user how to do it all. I really enjoyed learning the process and working with the site. Amazon KDP
Self-edit, have a friend edit then hire an editor. My wife was my first editor. I kinda felt bad asking her to do it after she had been at it for a couple weeks. There were quite a few of mistakes. “That’s the way I talk! I just want people to read it and be familiar with me”. Yeah, well, it still needed some polishing. After she had her turn at it I found a young lady down in Arkansas with a degree in editing on LinkedIn. After visiting with her a bit we came to an agreement and I let her have her way. She changed quite a bit but did an outstanding job maintaining the overall tone of my book. It was still be, maybe just a more proper Me talking. It’s worth the money to do it. Especially for your first book.
Choose a group of people to read it. People who you may disagree with politically, religiously, etc. Friends and family will tell you how awesome it is no matter how bad it sucks. I put out a post on Facebook and chose 7 people. I received solid feedback from 4 of them. The other three I never heard back from. Some of the feedback was hard to swallow but they were right. I made the necessary changes. Remember, you’re putting yourself out there and opening yourself up to scrutiny. Be prepared.
When you feel it’s ready, upload that sucker to KDP. You don’t have to publish it immediately. Just get it on there. The super-secret people at Amazon will look it over and do whatever it is they do. Even after it’s published you can still upload edits. I had to upload edits about 3 times after it went live. I also ordered an “Author Copy” so I had some pages to flip through and review the flow of the book. Again, you’ll have to choose a format KDP accepts. I uploaded the E-book version in PDF and the paperback version in Word.
Create your book’s cover either on your own, like I did, using KDP’s “Cover Creator” or you can create one yourself using something like Corel or Adobe Creator. I used Corel and KDP’s software to create my cover. I talked back and forth with my editor on the design. You’ll need an about the author section so have something typed up for that. Write a short synopsis for the back cover as well. If you can get one, have a notable person write a review you can add as well. It adds merit to your book.
Look through other books you’ve read and like. Lay it out like they did. Also, the template you download from KDP will have sections you fill in (i.e. acknowledgements, table of contents, etc.). You’ll have the required information that’ll have to be added but I like some things I’ve seen in other books so I emulated that. You’ll get your AISN and ISBN numbers from Amazon. No, you don’t have to register your work to copyright. That’s a personal preference. If you’d like to, you can do that here. Copyright
How to sell your masterpiece? Run ads, word of mouth, social media, etc. Facebook and Instagram are a GREAT way! Yes, you have to pay for ads and sponsored links. Every time I run an ad for my book, I sell books. If you don’t run an ad, I don’t sell books. Amazon will also help promote your book and you can run ads through them as well. I’ve found that running ads through Facebook has been more productive, especially since they run them on Instagram as well. Whether you use it or not, Facebook can be a major player. I’d recommend creating a Facebook “fan page” for yourself to promote your book and run the ads from that page. Learning how to run ads on Facebook is a whole other animal in and of itself. I’ve done it for years for my own gym business. Branding yourself is very important.
That about does it!!! You’re all set to go. I hope this has helped those who are ready for their next big adventure into the world of writing and publishing books. Like I stated before, you can take the easier route by just hiring a publishing company to do all of this for you. You’ll, more than likely, sell more books, too. I wasn’t looking to make a living from this and wanted to learn the process. It took hours and days to learn but I eventually succeeded. You can too. Lastly, please feel free to leave some feedback that may be helpful for others or share your own experience. If you’ve like what you’ve read, please COMMENT, SUBSCRIBE, LIKE AND SHARE this article. Thanks again for reading!!!