Jean has authored and self-published several books in various genres and is passing on her experiences for those who want to write.
The Sea of Books Seeking Publication
If you have ever seen an editor's desk at a publishing house, it is a horrifying experience: Piles of manuscripts scream to be published. The sad fact is, even if your book is top-notch, the chances of you getting published by them diminishes as their time is eaten up, they are overwhelmed, your topic isn't as relevant as you think it is, and any other human blip in the continuum happens.
They have their stable of authors who make them lots of money, and they are very careful with their bottom line. If they don't think your book will sell lots of copies, you are done. Enter: the self-publishing realm.
Deciding What to Write About
We all know a lot of stuff, but some of the stuff we know (or the stories we have) is different than most other people. Maybe you have been to a very memorable place on vacation, and you would like to write a book about it. Or maybe your child has a condition that you have researched and know a lot about that could help other families. My great aunt and uncle came across Canada in a wagon train. My only regret was in not getting their story when I was younger and they were still here.
As you can see, the book I am featuring in this article is kid's poetry. The other name on the book is someone who has written The Dragon Slayer series on Amazon. We have written several books together, and, I have to say, writing is very rewarding. Don't be afraid to stick your toe in the water!
What Is It Like Writing a Book?
It is absolutely incredible how fulfilling it is to see something you have written show up in print.
Have you ever had a dream about doing something creative right outside the box? It does something to you because it comes from inside you, from a very deep place. It speaks of who you really are, and the creative process grows you into something more beautiful than you could ever imagine. It lifts you up and carries you through challenges, through blocks, and through your own self-importance.
It comes from a place beyond you, way beyond you. It is the same place that inventions and great art and fashion come from. It is a place that most of us rarely visit, but it's time.
We All Have a Passion
Whether it is making pita sandwiches or taking our dog for a walk, there is a passion somewhere. In my clinical practice, I ask people what makes their heart sing, and it is incredible to see that most people have no idea. So many people are out of touch with their own joy that I often recommend journalling to get them back in touch with themselves.
Just write, I tell them. Write about what you had for breakfast and how it made you feel. Write about one thing that was good that happened today. Some of my clients now have stacks of journals where they wrote some very ordinary things and some extraordinary things. It is those extraordinary things that get forgotten in the shuffle of everyday existence and need to be brought out and reread and maybe even written in a book that others can read to be inspired.
Get Someone to Read Your Manuscript
It's really important to have fresh eyes read your work. Spelling and grammatical errors come to light more easily. It can be embarrassing to have them pointed out to you after the book is in print. You need to be a little tough here and also be able to take criticism to make your book better. If you know a professional editor, you are lucky, but you might want to consider hiring one.
What Do You Do With Your Written Manuscript?
There are several options out there, but the one I use is called CreateSpace. It is associated with Amazon in some way, so you can even list your books on Amazon. Just Google it and you can read all about it. If you like what you read, you will be well on your way to being a published author.
What You Need to Publish Your Book
CreateSpace has options in some areas. For example, you will need to know what size you want your book to be, then you need to format the pages of your book to that size before you upload it. So, here is the list of what you need:
- A credit card or PayPal account to pay a small fee.
- A book title
- Artwork for your book cover, or you can pick one that they have (everyone uses the same ones over and over, so you may want something original)
- Formatted book pages in a size compatible with CreateSpace
- A price for which you want to sell your book.
- If you want some promo copies to give away, you need to order and pay for them.
- Patience—lots of patience.
The following photos are screenshots of the sign-up sequence and subsequent registering your book. The quality is not the best, but I have no way of improving it. They are a representation of the page you should be on next in the process of getting your book published. If your computer screen looks like the screenshot, then you are on the right track.
Step 1: Google CreateSpace
Step 2: Click on the CreateSpace Link and Arrive Here
Are You an Author, Musician or a Filmmaker?
Near the bottom of the screen you will see three options. Be sure to click on the one that suits you. Obviously if you are publishing your book, you are a soon-to-be-famous author.
You Will Need an Email Address and a Password
As you can see by the front page there are two options - one free and the other paid. Click on the free option. You can always come back and explore the paid options but for now, you want to get your book out into the world.
Step 3: Enter Your Email Address and Password
If You Are New to CreateSpace, You Will Need to Sign Up
Click on the icon to create your account.
Step 4: Fill in the Blanks (Easy Peasy)
Your Account Is Created!
If you do not wish to receive updates and promotions from Create Space, you need to un-click the check mark near the bottom of the page. Then click "Create My Account".
Step 5: Read the Legal Stuff
Some of us don't know a lot about the legal ins and outs, not to mention the pitfalls we can land in. You may want to consult someone more knowledgeable about legal matters or get a lawyer to take a look at this agreement. It is a standard agreement but you need to be comfortable agreeing to it. If you are sure you agree to all the terms contained there in, click "I agree". Then click "continue".
Step 6: Indicate Whether You Agree
Step 7: Verify the Email You Are Sent
Go to Your Inbox and Click on the Link in Your Email
In the email there will be a verification code. You can enter in in the box on the next screen or click the link to verify your email address.
Step 8: Your Account Is Set Up! Visit the Welcome Screen
As Soon as You Hit "Submit", Your Account Will Be Active
Two emails will arrive in your inbox, Complete Account Setup and Confirmation Of Account Setup. You need to follow the directions in those emails before your book can go live. Compliance of the law and publishing regulations will ensure that everything goes smoothly and your efforts are not wasted. The last thing you want to do is to have to disentangle yourself from a legal mess or find your book will not be published.
Publish a Book for About $40
Incredible as it may seem, if you have a book inside of you, you can use CreateSpace from Amazon to self publish your own book. There is no basement full of books, no huge upfront fees, no publisher to say no to you. It is just you and your book. You do have to promote it however but with all the social media around, it should be pretty easy. My business partner and I have sold just under a thousand books of one of our titles at the time of this writing and hundreds of e-book copies of that same book. Jump at the chance. Maybe you've got a fabulous way to make curtains that the world needs to know about.
Follow Along With the CreateSpace Pages
The rest of the information in the screen shots is personal so I have not included them here but it is extremely easy to follow. The most challenge you will have is converting your manuscript to compatible book page sizes available on Amazon. But, please, please, don't give up because you think it is too complicated. You can do this! Get your son or daughter to help you. Get your grandson or neighbor. You have come this far so don't walk away. If necessary, go to your local high school and recruit a student to help you.
Listing Your Book on Amazon
Amazon is pretty picky about being the exclusive listing for your book. With the millions of people cruising Amazon, it is a pretty wise move.
There is a waiting period for Create Space to get everything sorted out and ready to print, so when you get notification that your book is ready, then you can set up an Amazon Associate account and list your book. It is really easy.
You sign-in with your Amazon Associate login and click on "Sell My Stuff", list the title, set the price, describe the condition of the book (its obviously new), and save your book listing. Now you are published.
Create an Author Profile on Amazon
There is a space to create an author profile so people can see who you are and what you are all about. It is wise to fill it out so you are creating a more personal relationship with your potential readers.
Promoting and Getting Your Book out Into the World
This part can be tedious or fun, but the excitement of seeing your book in print should be enough to motivate you.
Your local community newspaper is always looking for interesting stories. Take them a copy of your book and a press release. They will put you in queue.
Send out press releases. Find some free services here.
Set up a blog that discusses peripheral topics related to your book or writing in general and promote it.
Find writing forums and become a helpful contributing member. Be sure to put your blog and book title in the tag line
Write for hub pages, triond or e-zine articles with references to your blog and social media. Also look for other free article sites but the three above have the highest traffic.
Post on all of the social media sites listed below, following the format they require to accept your post.
- google +
Repetition and Persistence Is Key
There are automation software programs, some of them free, that you can use to make the repetition less tedious. You write a whole bunch of posts all at once and post them to the software, instruction it when to post them.
The old adage, "out of sight, out of mind" holds very true these days with such an overwhelming influx of information. By writing articles, posting on forums and social media, commenting on blogs and even yahoo answers, you create an on-line following that eventually wanders over to your book.
Don't be afraid to research and ask questions. Most sites have an FAQ or a help-line. The success of your book, ultimately depends on you, even if you are accepted by a publisher. Stretch your wings and learn to fly.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
Priya Barua on November 14, 2017:
I believe you can also self-publish books via Amazon.