When I meet people and we discuss the passions we have and what we do, when I tell people I'm a writer and author, the astonished faces that I see are amazing. It's like this surreal feeling that someone is actually speaking to a published author. Then comes the questions of what I write about, how I do it and if I went through a publishing company. Then I tell them I do it all on my own (90% of it, I'm not going to lie) and that I'm a self-published author.
To make things easier on people and just in case anyone comes across my blog and sees this blog post, I'm going to break down the whole process for me from beginning to publishing. I will address marketing and book reviews in another blog.
Brainstorming: This is the most important process to any book that you will write. I have a blue book that I use to write every single idea or concept for a book, my to-do lists along with each chapter for my books. I basically write anything and everything that comes to my mind. Even if it doesn't sound right, right away, eventually there will be a good 2-3 chapters that may not fit into what you're trying to write and the message you're trying to give to the readers.
Every book I've written goes through the brainstorming sessions which can take 1-3 days at a time. A lot of times, it can go longer but once I write down chapters, I will write what will be discussed in that chapter and with characters, there has to be story line development and whether it's going to sound good, it's well written and has substance. Most of this comes natural to me because of the fact that I've been writing for over 20 years and I've been honing my craft for so long. Along with that, I'm always writing shorter poems, screenplays and working on a plethora of other projects.
Book Title: This is harder than what you think. You don't want to have the same book title as others because it'll get lost in the shuffle on book websites. You also want to have a book title that grabs someone's attention and gets them intrigued (I still have issues with this after writing a plethora of books). You don't want anything boring and it sounds generic either. You want it to appeal to someone who comes across your book right away so don't lose sight of that.
Writing the Book: For some people, this is the hardest part for numerous reasons. People's schedules, lives, kids, family, distractions and plenty of other things. If you have a goal to finish a book by a certain time, stick to it. I talk to people who ask me about the process of publishing a book, I ask them, have you written the book and I get the answer, "not yet." You can't skip the important steps before even getting to the publishing process.
Write consistently, no matter what. It doesn't take me long to write books because I buckle down and get to work. That means I don't go out much, I don't hangout with friends, I don't let many things distract me and I know what my goals are. I hold myself accountable for my own lackadaisical ways and goofing around. If you need someone to keep you on track and push you, then do that. Otherwise, you won't finish your book and you'll concoct excuses as to why you can't finish your book or haven't finished it.
Editing/Proofreading: Honestly, I do this myself, it's my book, my content, why wouldn't I do it myself. I do miss things here and there. I haven't read a perfect book in my life. Certain sentences can be worded differently to sound right, sometimes a word gets misspelled, that's just part of it. If your book is formatted correctly and can be read efficiently, then you're good to go.
If you want to pay someone to read over your book, go for it. If anything, get a family member or friend who loves to read to go over your book with you. Basically, find ways to keep your costs down when it comes to things like this, it'll benefit you in the long run if you're a new author.
Formatting: This is the most crucial part of your book, no if's and's or but's about it. Especially for paperbacks which will be your bread and butter. eBooks is important too because you don't want your book to look sloppy and unreadable. While there are plenty of places and websites you can use, I go with Fiverr to get someone to format my books.
I have someone who is amazing at it, he copyrights it all for me, and formats it to where you can see the title of the book on the top and my name on there. Using people who have high ratings, great reviews, you can spend $50-100 dollars instead of hundreds of dollars.
Depending on how long your book is, word count and the sizing you want will determine your price. Oh and don't forget to tip them when you get your masterpiece back!
Book Cover: To answer the question before it's even asked, no you don't have to spend $500 dollars for an extravagant book cover. Once again I use Fiverr and I've found someone who does great work for me. They made my book covers for Code Blue: An Oath to the Badge and Gun and America Under Mind Control.
For my other books, I made them myself by using canva.com. It's a website where you can make your own book covers for eBook and paperbacks. It's a great website, but sometimes the options are limited but those are the websites I've used to create book covers.
Synopsis: You want to talk about your book and what it's about but not too much. It makes sense but then it doesn't. If you give too much information about the book, then there's no incentive to buy it. If you give too little, then it's not enticing enough to get someone to buy your book. So there has to be a common ground in what will work and what won't. The good part is you can change it a few times before it officially hits bookstores and is on sale.
Stress the important aspects of the plot and story line and discuss your main character briefly. You have to draw readers into what you're writing about and why. A good 6-8 lines about your book should be sufficient enough to get readers drawn in. If you need help with it, there's nothing wrong with that, always remember that.
Book Publishing: The easiest way to get your books to a bunch of bookstores is to use a website that will give you that opportunity. I use Draft2digital because it allows you to send your books to all of the major book retailers except Amazon. I created an Amazon account separately to publish my ebooks and create my paperbacks.
Draft2Digital has an easy menu and layout and they guide you step by step on how to get your books out to all readers. You get to choose what bookstores you want to publish them on and it saves you the time from having to create accounts for every bookstore such as Barnes and Noble, Apple, Scribd and many others.
Pricing: As a first time author, it's totally up to you with pricing but if you make it too high for eBooks and/or paperbacks, you won't see many sales. If you're an unknown and you want people to take a chance on you, have an audience before your book is published, have a few reviews and have a low price point for the time being.
Sometimes you can drop your price to 0.99 cents and get some sales and if you get reviews for those, that boosts your book on Amazon. Promotions are key and important but that'll be discussed in the next blog.
That's the process with my books and how I do everything. Your journey doesn't have to be the same as mine but there is some good information I provided.
Be good and accomplish your goals.