With the ascent of Amazon and social media‚ especially for someone who has a message and an audience to share with‚ there are more efficient and speedier ways to get your message out; then going through a traditional publishing house. Most publishers will not even look at new and upcoming authors; most require that you have an agent to represent you, and it can take a lot of time and money. Also, publishing companies need to make money, so usually for starting authors royalties for book sales are minimal compared to the income generated by self-publishing!
After I recognized that I had a message and audience to deliver it to, I began writing. I did not use a ghostwriter‚ for one I could not afford it‚ however, the main reason was that I wanted people to read my writing and not someone else’s. So, I began to type my book on Microsoft Word! Then I would have one person edit and several others proofread my work!
What I learned from this writing process was the following. One must set aside 40 minutes to an hour a day, and write at least 400 words a day. And taking a rest on the weekend. My most creative and productive time was after my morning devotions; which I normally spent at the gym listening to podcasts. I did have to move my gym time‚ and in all honestly, I gladly surrendered it‚ for this season of writing. Most people I know take months or even years to complete a single writing project. Not because it should take so long to write; but because they are inconsistent in their work. While others wait for a wave of inspiration to hit them to get going. I do admit there were days that my mind went blank. During these days I did not have a single idea flowing; but I purposed in my heart to write 400 words a day, regardless of how I felt.
Editing and Proofreading
English is my third language after Ukrainian and Russian so as you can imagine, I am not very good at writing in my English. First few books I had many layers of editors and proofreaders and still, there would be typos that readers would point out. Sorta embarrassing. But now, I have one older gentleman who edits the main things in my writing as well as checks with theological accuracy, and then one more person who goes through to check for spelling errors, and then I submit it to Cathy Sanders for the rest of the work. I would highly recommend her for all your editing, proofreading, book design, and formatting. For self-publishing guys, she is gold. I don’t get a discount for promoting her FYI!
Formatting and Publishing
I did some research on where or with who I should publish my book through. From this research I concluded that my best options were the following two companies: Kindle Direct Publishing (Amazon Company –www.kdp.amazon.com) and Ingram Spark (https://www.ingramspark.com). These are the companies I found to be the best at printing traditional books, as well as eBooks. The best part about going through these companies is that they will make your book available on all their distribution channels. For example Barnes & Nobles, GoodReads, IndieBound, Powell’s Books, Nook, and RKobo. Even though they do not put your physical book in airports or groceries stores; they do make them available for purchase on their online stores. But let’s face it, now days most of us don’t go to Barnes & Nobles to buy books‚ we get them on Amazon with 1 to 2 day free shipping.
However, Kindle Publishing can’t print hardcovers and they do not publish in Russian as of yet, maybe this will change in the near future. They charge $0 for set up and provide their own ISBN number for free of charge. Amazon is great at depositing royalties after 60 days; and giving you a live graph of who and where your book is being purchased. Both platforms provide you with guidelines on how to format your manuscript; and what format to export it to, when publishing with them.
Once I decided on the content and size for my cover, I had my wonderful graphic designer create a book cover. Once I submitted my manuscript, Amazon approves it within a day, so you can get a proof copy. As I waited for my proof copy…I went ahead and copied my manuscript into pages and exported them into eBook for iTunes! After this I started to work on my audio book by asking our sound guys to install an app on my computer and I used a studio microphone to record my book! I personally dislike listening to books that are not read by the original author; so I made a personal decision to use my own voice and record my books.
Marketing and Promotional
One of the first things I did was to share that I was writing a book, on my social media‚ this kept me motivated to keep writing, and it build anticipation for those who follow my ministry. Every step of the book process, I managed to keep my audience in the loop! When I travel I have Amazon send books to that particular place, for the price I pay as an author. Doing this allows me to have my books readily available for those readers who want to get it immediately.
So, the following is a to-do list I use when writing and publishing a book:
- Create an account on Kindle Publishing, Ingram Spark, iTunes Books, and Audible
- Choose a title and subtitles for the book. Plan out all the chapters.
- Write every day, so you can write 400 words a week.
- Keep your social media followers up to date about the writing process.
- Find an editor and proofreader(s).
- Get a good book cover with a recent photo of yourself.
- Format it for Kindle Publishing, iTunes, and Ingram Spark, and submit it.
- Record an audio version of the book and have an audio technician clean it.
- Launch the book! Ask friends and family members to share it!
- Create a website for the book or dedicate a page on your current website.
- Record book study videos with questions for small group study.
- Get some graphics with quotes from the book, to post every single week to give your book exposure!
- Ask all your readers to drop a review on Amazon.
- Create a 60-second video promo for your book.
- Get some merchandise that promotes and goes along with your book.
If you have some other tips or questions, please comment below.