You can write and publish a book or ebook entirely on your own but many of the steps can be difficult and lacking experience you can come up with a poor quality book that could hinder sales in spite of your marketing efforts. If you want to do it all, my self publishing workbook (http://selfpublishingworkbook.com/) can be a great help and you can find help in this blog plus soon I will have some tutorials available on specific aspects of the publishing process for both print and ebooks. Unless you are already skilled in the various steps involved or can learn them, I suggest that you hire some help to ensure a quality book.
I write how-to books so for me the writing is about helping others to do a specific job, perform a task, or run a business. I write about what I know and have personally experienced. As I read posts, comments, articles, and even books, I notice that individuals have questions or sometimes I just notice that information seems complex and I can simplify it with my own information. This is how the idea begins and in the next posts I’ll cover how I take those ideas and apply them to my writing.
If you plan to do most of the work yourself because you have the skills or face a limited budget it takes some time and effort to learn the various aspects. I believe that the entire process is often overcomplicated or over priced unnecessarily. To do it yourself it’s important to keep things as simple as possible. I am including a series of posts on my publishing simplified blog and will be sharing some of that information on this blog also. This will include specific methods for simplifying every task. This post is an introduction to the many simple methods I use to write and publish my books and ebooks. These are methods that you can use to keep things simple.
I write and publish how-to books based on my personal experience but my methods will work just as well for any non-fiction books even if based on research and will even help with fiction books. In the next few posts I will cover every step I go through when writing and publishing my books. If you find them of value you can follow them and ask any questions you may have.
In the next post I will describe how I begin writing my books.
For me, backups have to be controlled manually and they can’t be overdone. I can’t conceive of trusting years of my valuable data to anyone. I’m fairly certain that most individuals would consider my backup methods overkill. I have an original and two copies of all my data on external USB drives and none of it is in the cloud. I encourage others to to do the same because I know it’s critically important to take data backup seriously but there is another method.
Backup to the cloud has become quite popular and some companies provide an excellent service that promises automatic backups. All you do is configure it and then forget it. The forget it part worries me. If you choose to use a cloud based backup method I strongly encourage you to check your backups at regular intervals to make certain they are working as configured. Automatic is great but a small glitch could cause the backup process to stop and without notification you might never know until you really needed the backup and it wasn’t there. Take care of yourself by checking your backups regularly.
As an IT professional I deal with computer problems everyday but it still surprises me when individuals lose years of work because of a serious computer crash. In many of these cases backup methods are readily available but simply not used. While most large businesses realize the consequences of lost data and have extensive backup methods that even include multiple location replication, individuals still seem to believe that computers, laptops, and tablets are invincible and don’t require backup. After losing hundreds of pages of your inspired writing you will certainly realize the folly of that belief. Hopefully you won’t wait until that happens to start backing up your work. More on backup in my next post.
Since I publish books for other writers in addition to self publishing my own writing, the publishing aspect of my business takes a lot of my time but the writing is what I enjoy the most. As a one-person business I get to handle everything so simplifying is critical. I’m often told that I can make more money by printing my books in quantity and fulfilling the orders myself and I realize that’s true. Unfortunately, that takes a lot of time that I prefer to spend writing. And, realistically, if you consider the time spent in storing, packaging, and shipping out books, you really aren’t making more money, you are getting paid for the additional labor. For me POD (print on demand) is the only sensible method and Createspace is my choice to handle my printing and fulfillment worldwide. I do all the front end work including design, formatting, layout, cover creation, and then upload it all. Once I go through the proof process to make certain of the quality of the book, then I can focus on marketing and let Createspace handle all the fulfillment no matter where in the world the orders come from. This allows me the time to write.
Naturally, each of us has to choose the best path to self publishing but for me, after twelve books and 7 years, Createspace print on demand is what works best.
As a writer/publisher I read many blogs and lists so I can keep learning. Many times I run into valuable tidbits that help me to simplify my work. I also read many messages about how to make more money by ordering books in quantity instead of using POD (print on demand). That advice I always pass up because I don’t believe that I’m actually making more money if I have to spend much more time fulfilling orders.
For me, POD in general and Createspace in particular provides a totally viable option that lets me concentrate on writing and publishing books. I don’t have the time nor inclination to maintain a thousand books in my garage and box up and ship out every order from a customer. Perhaps your income will be higher but when you consider all the time spent in the fulfillment tasks, are you really making more?
My next post will cover how my customer’s orders are fulfilled promptly worldwide and how that takes place without me doing any part of it.
Woodworking Business 101: A Basic Business Guide For Woodworkers serves as an excellent beginning with the basics of the woodworking business and including all other aspects of the business of woodworking such as licenses, local and federal taxes, best ways to deal with suppliers, setting up bank accounts both checking and savings, using and accepting credit cards, the critically important aspects of contracting for work, the difficulties of accounting including unique, much easier methods, and the less than pleasant task of dealing with the IRS.
Woodworking Business 101: A Basic Business Guide For Woodworkers helps you to develop methods to get customers but more importantly it shows you the best ways to keep customers after that first job. In spite of its importance, keeping customers is often overlooked leading to a long term loss of income.
Paperback and ebook versions available on Amazon.com .
I read several self publishing blogs and groups always with an eye to learn more since I believe learning is a lifelong endeavor. Recently I ran into a long exchange in one of the groups regarding which was the best tool (Word, Wordperfect, OpenOffice, Scrivner, Etc) for writing a book. From the gist of the discussion it was really about formatting and layout as opposed to writing. Since it was a self publishing blog, that makes sense but it was obvious to me that many people confuse writing with publishing and to me they are two different things.
I have used many “tools” for writing my books including Word, Wordperfect, OpenOffice, and even Wordpad. I find the tool that I used for writing is unimportant because I don’t do any formatting or layout when I write, I just write. I keep writing in the plain vanilla Normal style until I finish the book. Then I edit several times myself and have others take a shot at it until I finally arrive at a final manuscript with which I’m comfortable. Then I switch gears, or is it hats, and become a publisher. Once that happens none of those writing tools, which are office productivity not publishing tools, is acceptable unless you are just producing an ebook. If you are going for a printed book I advise the use of a good desktop publishing software. My favorite, which I have used for a dozen books, is PagePlus from the Serif software company in Britain. The latest version is X7 but X4, usually available for a fraction of the cost of the new version, does a great job as does version X5. Even if you went for the newest version and paid full retail it would cost only $99.00, an absolute bargain for a fine application.
No, I don’t sell the product nor do I benefit from it’s sale either from the new version on the Serif web site or older versions from Amazon. I just know it’s a great tool for publishing any book. So, no matter what software you choose to write your book, once you are ready to publish it’s time to find a publishing tool.
I find the comments in blogs and groups regarding how anyone can now write and publish books or ebooks, and the negative impact this is having on the publishing business, disappointing. Some comments even mention that many would-be writers really have nothing to say. Even if there is some truth in those comments, it’s not relevant. Writing and publishing is a business and if I have an idea for a book, wanting to write it is reason enough. When published as a book, an ebook, or both, the market will decide if it has value.
Whether the books I choose to write become financial successes or total failures, all the choices, risks, and rewards are mine not those who choose to disparage books or self publishing because they don’t meet some perceived standard.
The many writing and self publishing blogs and groups provide a unique opportunity to learn and share valuable information. They would be of much more value if we stop concerning ourselves with the actions of those we may consider less talented and focus on producing the best possible books and ebooks.