Getting Started

So, you want to self publish a book. Congratulations!

Have you written it yet? If not, then you better get started.

Depending on your skill level this could be a long or short project. It took me one month to write my first book Finding Gloria and 2 years to get it good enough to face the world. In other words, if you plan to self publish, be prepared to put in some time. Writing your book is half the project.

Self publishing is like a puzzle. There are many steps. Some can be done simultaneously while others require more patience. The first step is to write your story. Keep it simple – the process, not your story – I got pretty bogged down at one point trying to decide on what word processor to use, what template to use and other silly things. I once spent days trying to download cheat programs to make things easier. All it did was take valuable time away from finishing my project. I ended sticking with Word. It was the most reliable and converts into print ready pdf’s fairly easy.

As a self publisher, you are the ringleader of a three ring circus.

You are the author, editor, publicist, illustrator, layout person, marketing rep, sales person – ultimately you are a business. I have mentored a few authors who have not taken that commitment seriously and they’ve sold a handful of books. One author put together an amazing book and despite my suggesting to order only 100 copies to start, she ordered 1000. She did no advertising, no promotions, no signings and she sold 20 books. I feel bad for her, but she was warned.

You cannot publish a book and expect to sell without working on sales. You have to sell it to readers first. Create excitement…make people want it. While you write or are working in the layout stage create buzz. Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads and similar sites are invaluable when it comes to marketing. Post cover samples, chapter teasers, or make a book trailer.

Don’t freak out!

If you really want to be a successful author you are going have to be prepared to work. In this post, I eluded to self publishing, templates, marketing; there are so many details. How many authors know how to write a good press release, or have you found a great template? I have one, or two that I am willing to share. Have you considered e-books? I have a great template for that too – it has never been denied premium status on Smashwords. What’s Smashwords? It’s a great e-book site to buy and sell books.

These are all things (and there is much much more) that new authors need to know. I’ve learned a lot of this on my own. I have published 5 books – 2 are full length novels and will soon have two more, along with a children’s book. Finding Gloria has been on the Amazon best sellers list SEVERAL times, including #1 in Canada twice! Call me the voice of trial and error (fail and success).

I encourage every budding author to “do it” – don’t talk about writing that novel, DO IT! And check back here once in awhile, because I will have some great tips on what to do, or what not to do; including answering your many questions along the way.


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