How To Self-Publish Your Book

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Congrats! Verbal commitment is always the first step to accomplishing anything.

I’ve written and self-published 5 books and here’s how along with all of the valuable lessons I learned along the way so that you don’t make the same mistakes I did.

I hope it helps!

How To Self-Publish Your Book


I chose to self-publish because I didn’t want to wait on someone to give me approval to write my books. If that was the case, they wouldn’t be out inspiring people today. I know published authors and the hustle is the same. In today’s market, publishers are just a stamp of approval. At the end of the day, you have promote your book via speaking engagements, partnership deals, radio and TV interviews, blogging, etc. I wish I could tell you the advantages of having a publisher, but I don’t know since I didn’t take that route. If you self-publish and the book blows up, you can get published by someone later, but by then, you will have the upper hand in the deal.

To self-publish, you can do it on your own by following the 3-step process below or get it done through sites like lulu.com, blurb.com, booksurge.com, createspace.com, or wordclay.com.

1. GET YOUR LIBRARY OF CONGRESS NUMBER or Preassigned Control Number (PCN)
Cost = FREE

Purpose: A Library of Congress catalog card number is a unique identification number that the Library of Congress assigns to the catalog record created for each book in its cataloged collections. Librarians use it to locate a specific Library of Congress catalog record in the national databases and to order catalog cards from the Library of Congress or from commercial suppliers. The Library of Congress assigns this number while the book is being cataloged. Under certain circumstances, however, a card number can be assigned before the book is published through the Preassigned Card Number Program.

Website:http://pcn.loc.gov

2. GET YOUR ISBN # & BAR CODE
Cost = $150

Purpose:The purpose of the ISBN is to establish and identify one title or edition of a title from one specific publisher and is unique to that edition, allowing for more efficient marketing of products by booksellers, libraries, universities, wholesalers and distributors.

Website:
www.isbn.org
http://myidentifiers.com

3. GET YOUR ELECTRONIC COPYRIGHT
Cost = $35

Website:
http://www.copyright.gov

How To Organize Your Book

Whether you’re writing a fiction or non-fiction book, I would use a mind mapping tool such as www.mind42.com. This will help you layout your chapters in an organized fashion. For those of you who plan to write self-help books like me, your chapters should be titled according to your audience’s problems or pains. This requires research on your part via a survey (use Google Forms), just talking to quite a few people dealing with the challenge you are addressing, and interviewing experts. The first chapter should address their biggest challenge and then you should work your way down. The audience is looking for insights, answers, how to steps, and examples that they can relate to.

How To Save & Manage Your Books Drafts

To avoid the possibility of hard drives crashing and losing everything, I just used Google Docs to write my books. It saves every draft automatically. I would have one Google Doc named “The 8 Cylinders of Success” and another one named “The 8 Cylinders of Success Ideas”. The first one is the actual book and the next one is for ideas that I want to incorporate into the book.

How To Overcome Writers Block & Procrastination

Every writer faces it. It’s not just you. Even Paulo Coehlo, one of my favorite authors ever, faces writer’s block and procrastination. It was so helpful to read this interview with him on GoodReads.com about how he deals with it. After reading it, I didn’t feel so bad. Accept that writer’s block and procrastination is part of the process. The greatest writing comes on the other side of the writer’s block.

I wrote the first draft of my Good Excuse Goals book in 30 days by using the methodology I talked about in the book. I basically sent an email to over 100 friends telling them that I was going to send out a first draft in 30 days to anyone who expressed interest. Once I did that, positive peer pressure kicked in and I had to deliver. If you want to raise the stakes, promise someone you will give them $100 if you don’t send the first draft by a certain date.

How To Get Feedback On Your Book

Feedback is good but it isn’t God. You have to do what resonates with you despite what others say sometimes. A lot of people have good ideas, but very few people can execute. Sometimes people will try to write the book they never wrote through you by giving you their opinion. Don’t listen too firmly to one person’s opinion—instead listen for commonalities among everyone’s opinions and address those commonalities (i.e. multiple people saying that your sentences are too long).

How To Get Your Book Professionally Edited

Get a professional editor, not a friend. Prepare to revise, revise, revise, revise, revise, revise. But also don’t get trapped in perfectionism. Decide what “done” looks like, otherwise you will draft and draft and draft forever. My books aren’t perfect, but they are out there in the world inspiring people. Your editor is your first line of defense. The second edition of your book—if it sales—is your second line of defense. I don’t have any tips on finding a great editor. I used Craigslist. I’m sure there are better ways, but I don’t know of them.

How To Find & Work With A Co-Author On Your Book

Some of the world’s best selling books have been co-authored (i.e. The Bible) and many authors hire writers to write for them. Co-Authoring can speed up the writing process and give the book more character since—two voices can be better than one. But every positive reason can have a flip side. There can be too many voices and no clear flow and it could take twice as long if the co-authors aren’t on the same page. If you think someone has a unique opinion that complements your opinion and will thus add more value to the reader, then go for it. If you think your ideas can stand alone, then write it on your own.

How To Layout The Interior of Your Book

First and foremost, books aren’t going anywhere. People still read and will likely always read. The question is how, when, and where. For instance the younger generation may read online or via audio books, on their iPod, when they’re on the bus after school. Given that information, you have to write accordingly. For instance, I wouldn’t write a thick book with dense vocabulary with simple black and white text for a younger audience. The author has to write with the audience and their environment in mind. Write how people read and don’t give yourself a page minimum. Say what you have to say, nothing more and nothing less.

With The 8 Cylinders of Success, I did my best to make the book an experience rather than just a book. I did things like put in big quotes and bolded key sentences for skimmers. I used a color insert to capture them visually. I included workbook pages and action steps at the end of each chapter. I used new vocabulary that I created. Authors and publishers are getting more creative with layout though too much innovation can increase costs.

How To Be Innovative with Your Book

They say there is nothing new under the sun, so why should you write your book if a similar one has already been written? Here’s why. Just look at your book shelf. If you were a librarian and had to categorize your books, you could probably create sections—self help, financial, spiritual, fun, autobiographies, etc. My point is that people buy more than one book on a particular subject. I have dozens of books on personal and professional development. Buying one book in the space doesn’t turn me off to every other book in that space. In fact, it intrigues me to read more books in that space based on new concepts and insights I got from the first book. The fact that Purpose Driven Life sold 35 million copies didn’t stop Eckhart Tolle from writing A New Earth: Awakening Your Life’s Purpose. And the fact that both of those books exist didn’t stop me from writing The 8 Cylinders of Success. And almost everyone who has bought my book probably has one or both of those books on their shelf at home.

How To Make Your Book An E-Book

E-books are a good marketing tool, but they are just as hard to distribute as a real book. Look at it like a music mix tape that you give away for free to build your list and your buzz for your real book. You can write a short E-book on a related topic to your book to give people a free taste of the quality of your writing. Also check out this amazing post by Seth Godin called The Last Hardcover.

How To Print Your Book On-Demand or In Bulk

When you self-publish, the biggest cost is the cost of printing. I mitigated that cost by doing pre-order sales of my books. That helped a lot. In hindsight, I would have used print on demand instead. It cuts into your margins per book, but it removes the risk of holding inventory. My house is full of boxes of books. Lesson learned.

Since then, I have converted all of my books for Print-On-Demand through CreateSpace.com. All I had to do was submit a PDF of the book and a JPG of the cover. They send a proof. I approve the proof and the book is ready for sale. They take care of all of the shipping to the customer and you can distribute through Amazon through them. I don’t have to hold any inventory. Even if I want to send a book to someone, I can use my credit card and their address. The other great thing is that if I find an error or want to make a change to the book, I can edit the PDF, re-upload, order another proof and approve it. To be honest, the cost per book is almost the same as printing in bulk on my own and I don’t have to go to the post office at all.

Other printing websites: BookPrinters.com, KD Press, DiggyPod, BookMasters, 48hrbooks.com, Lightining Source

How To Distribute Your Book

Once you’re ready to distribute, you should find a distributor like www.createspace.com or  www.lightningsource.com. Distributors offer options like print on demand, print to publisher, or print to warehouse. You can also post your book on www.amazon.com using Amazon Advantage. I made the mistake of self-distributing. It would be a lot easier if I let one of these companies handle it, so I don’t have to go back and forth to the post office to ship envelopes and boxes.

How To Create A Business Based On Your Book

Unless you become a best seller, I’m not sure if selling books is your business model. From what I see, speaking engagements, teleseminars, courses, trainings, and consulting are the best business models for non-fiction authors. Each of my books was based around a movement or community I was already serving via courses and trainings such as Driving School for Life, The 30 Day Do It Movement, and The Route 66. My books don’t guarantee that new lines of business open up, but they do serve as the best business card I know of. It says a lot about who you are and what you know and you can use it to open doors to new opportunities. People listen more.

Also check out these articles:

Why Books Are The Ultimate New Business Card
– Simon & Schuster to stream book videos on Roku and Blinkx
How To Self-Publish A Best-Seller – Publishing 3.0

A Prayer for Writers

Oh Great Spirit
please bless all the writers
who through in-lightening the mind
have made the world brighter
may we copy you and copy-right
releasing sloppy writing
for the text-ure of your Word
is so perfect when you guide it

May our pen-man-ship not sink
but be buoyed by your ink
help us fish for the words
to catch the thoughts that we think
a book equals a basket
of bread to feed the masses
food for thought is free
no one leaves hungry or asking

Ashe. Amen. And so it is.

Keep right-ing!