Today we have a guest post from Derek C. Olsen, who just released his wonderfully practical and helpful book The Four Week Financial Turnaround. Thanks for joining us Derek!
If you have not yet embarked on the process of self-publishing a book, know that it is a long, uncertain, yet extremely rewarding road to travel. Where do you start? How do you get help? Where is the how-to manual? You must balance the millions of tiny details, tasks, and steps alongside the ultimate big-picture vision. Spend time getting dirty with details and tasks, then come up for air to spend time dreaming and thinking about the big picture.
After several months of this (on the conservative side), you will hold your finished book in your hands, lift it up high, and scream, “I self-published my own book! Here it is, world!!”
The most important thing I can tell you about self-publishing a book is this…
You are in charge. You are the only person who cares as much as you do about your book and how it turns out. You are the boss; you are the man; you are the producer. You are the everything. Even if you have others help you work on parts of your book, you are responsible for all of it.
Speaking of those millions of steps, here are just a few of them.
- Writing and Editing: Bring your book to life with the help of others.
Step 1: Write a book proposal. The first tangible step. It is very important to start walking in the right direction from the start. You don’t want to walk a thousand miles only to end up in a place that you never wanted to be. Writing a book proposal will help you organize your thoughts. Even if you plan to self-publish, write a book proposal. Pretend that you are submitting your book proposal to yourself.
Step 2: If you are writing a non-fiction book, workshop the book’s content with the public. I signed up to be a teacher at CommUniversity and held four different workshops using my book for the materials. The feedback that I received was priceless. I made major changes to the book based on the feedback. Maybe your city has a similar continuing education program that you could look into.
I imagine there is a way that fiction authors could utilize this method as well. Perhaps you could sign up to teach a writing class and use your piece of fiction as an example in the class. Ask for honest feedback from the students.
Step 3: Hire a professional editor and have ten people read your book before it is published. My spelling and grammar are terrible. However, keep this in mind: there is no prize given for a “best-writing” author, only a “best-selling” author. So even if you were blessed with less-than-ideal spelling chops, there is hope for you as a writer. Most people read at an eighth-grade level anyway (that’s great news for me!).
Tip: When you think you are finished, you aren’t. I almost published my book way before it was ready. I am so glad I slowed down and spent an extra three months making improvements. Always remember, “Books are never finished; eventually they just get published.” Don’t let ten years go by while you are trying to get your book perfect. It never will be.
- Self-publishing: The true definition of publishing is producing.
Step 4: Learn to delegate. In this context, publishing is another word for producing. To produce well, you must learn to maximize your strengths and let others fill in where you are weak (or simply disinclined). I had six people help me on this book. You might enjoy doing everything yourself, but just know that you don’t have to be the one who actually does everything. Likely, you will end up taking on a role much like a project manager. I wrote the content, but six other people helped me with the details – the process of production.
Tip: Use CreateSpace. I used Amazon CreateSpace to publish my book. I have no experience with the other self-publishing companies. There are a bunch of them, so do your research and find the one you like best. (Or, just use CreateSpace. They are awesome!)
- Launch and Promotion: Your book will not sell if no one knows about it. As a self-published author, it is up to you to let the world know about your book.
Step 5: Gather together a Book Launch Team. (If you don’t know how, join another author’s team and learn from him or her.) I was on Jeff Goins’ launch team. I am in Pat Flynn‘s First Book Facebook group, and I have watched, studied and learned from other book launches.
Step 6: Give your book away! Give your book to everyone you know. (Digital copies cost you nothing.) Give, give, give. Hold book giveaway contests (like the one you see at the bottom of this post). Give a copy to everyone on your book launch team. The more people who know about your book, the more people there are to share how great it is with others.
Step 7: Organize a book launch tour. I am on tour right now. As a matter of fact, this blog post is a part of that book tour.
It kills me to stop here. I have so much more to share about the self-publshing journey. It is a long road. Seek out as many resources as you can. There is a great CreateSpace community that is very helpful. Keep moving forward. You will figure it out, you will learn, and if you invest your time and energy into the right things, you will be successful.
I am writing a very detailed how to self-publish guide. Learn more about that here.
Leave your self-publishing tips, successes, and/or misadventures below in the comments.
Two lucky publishers will win a free copy of my new book The Four Week Financial Turnaround. (Go ahead and buy the book if you wish, winners who have already bought the book will have the option of receiving a $20 Amazon gift card!)
This guest blog post is part of the virtual book tour for the book The Four Week Financial Turnaround. Special bonus products included with purchase during launch week, Nov 26 – Oct 2nd 2012. Other special bonus resources always available on the website.