Self-Publish with these 5 steps
Remember when we used to have to hire someone to chisel each letter of our message into a block of clay when we wanted to “publish” our work? Or when we had to print each sheet of our book individually and then spend days binding them? No, well luckily neither do I! Today, we live in a phenomenal technically advanced world. And with the hi-tech improvements in book production, publishing a book is no longer only for the elite. No longer is it a labor intensive process and no longer do you have to have thousands of dollars or the backing of a big publishing house to successfully publish a book and reach the world with your message.
However, while self-publishing a bound book is as simple as a few clicks of your mouse, self-publishing aQUALITY book takes appropriate planning and techniques.
I’ve been self and indie publishing for the past 7 years, beginning with my desire to turn my Anthropology Masters’ thesis into a readable and useful book for the community I had researched. The result: Jihad of the Soul: Singlehood and the Search for Love in Muslim America” is now used as a textbook in U.S. colleges and was able to truly set me up as an expert in that emerging field. Since then, I’ve gone on to publish a series of calendars, additional books, and more recently in the past few years, I have been sharing my system with other authors who wish to publish their own books. I’ve seen quite a few different scenarios, but there is one thing for certain: QUALITY requires technique and effort.
Now quickly, what do I mean by quality? Print on Demand services like Createspace and Lightning Source (Ingram Spark) have changed the game. But with that ease, several folks began to publish inferior products; books that were not cohesive, books that contained grammatical and factual errors, and books that were not properly typeset and physically uncomfortable to read. So yes you can print and bind any message but youshouldn’t! The steps below are to help you produce a QUALITY book.
5 steps to self-publish your book successfully
Step #1 – Get your mind right
Many people jump straight into the “hows” including discussing the best printer, the best cover designer, or the best ways to build your platform, before they even think about WHY they want to publish their book. Spend some time thinking about your goals and intentions for your book. If you don’t know your goals, you can’t achieve them.
Books have power and you want to have the proper mindset for at least 2 reasons: 1) to build the determination you need to complete the task at hand and 2) to purify your intentions to produce a book that will be of benefit to the society. It’s not enough to just have a book. The book needs to serve both your personal goals, and as a spiritual person, I believe our work should contribute to the positive evolution of society.
Plus, if you don’t create a strong author mindset, all the tips in the world won’t help you. You need to build up your inner author armor, your fortitude, and your sense of goal achieving in order to succeed. The goal is not to START your book. The goal is to PUBLISH your book. CLAIM it for yourself that you are going to finish this book. Tackle any fears or doubts that may come up for you. You are smart enough. You have access to all that you need. You deserve to write. People will benefit. Know and believe that deep down.
Step #2 – Write and self-edit your draft
Organize -> Brain Dump -> Outline -> Write. This is the simple process I teach to write books quickly. I am an entrepreneur running 2 businesses, a mother of 3 children, a volunteer in my community and the wife of a psychologist… I’m busy! And my guess is that you are too. None of us have time to waste. Using this simple writing method helps you maximize the limited hours you have and finish your draft quickly so that you can move to the next step. For details on this writing process, download the free ebook, 3 Secret Publishing Tipshere: www.enlivenyoursoul.com/ebook. I walk you through the process in detail there.
Step #3 – Assemble a Book Dream Team to help you fine tune, layout and design your book
Do you know what line leading is? Do you know every instance of when you should use “me” or “I”? Do you know about printer bleeds? Do you know the science of book covers? There are a lot of little details that can make or break your book. Although you are “self-publishing,” don’t think you have to go at it alone. There are professional designers, editors, typesetters and indexers available to help you. Like a diamond, your book may be a bit rough when you finish your draft, but by working with a team of folks, you can polish it into a professional production. Depending on your budget, from students to professionals you can pull together a book dream team to make your book shine.
Step #4 – Attract an audience
You can have a beautiful book but if no one knows about it, it won’t sell. And while you can have A LOT of success with even as few as a hundred copies sold (if they are sold to the right people J ), you still need to find a way to reach your target audience. To do this, you have to know WHO your audience is. Pick a niche. Focus small so that you can achieve big results. Your job is to find the largest concentration of your target audience and market directly to them. Concentrate on attracting a fan base. Not just a large number of LIKES on social media, but a true group of fans who adore your work and look forward to what you produce. Blogging, doing webinars, and giving regular useful information to your audience will quickly cement you as an asset. People like to hold on to things that are giving them benefits. Start building an email list and engaging with fans now. Your future book launch will thank you.
Step #5 – Make Sales Continuously
At this point, you MUST realize that self-publishing a book for profit requires you to approach this as a business. This is not just a creative endeavor. You are not just a writer. You are a business owner and your book is a product. One of the things I neglected in the beginning was to continuously market my first book. I was shy and felt like I was self-promoting. That is a mistake. People WANTED to know about the book. By not sharing it, I was actually doing them a disservice!
Also because I didn’t publish for money at that time, I didn’t monitor my sales. I didn’t network a lot. I didn’t really reach out and build a tribe around me. Looking back, I left thousands of dollars on the table by not following simple business techniques. To make sales, you need to know your audience and provide the opportunity for them to purchase!
Luckily one thing I did recognize even way back then, was that book sales are only one portion of the income pie. Speaking engagements, workshops and events are going to bring you 10 to 100 times the profit of one book sale. So while concentrating on moving your book (hopefully by the case), also concentrate on building auxiliary products and services using your book as the platform.
Publishing your book is going to open an entire new world for you so start today. And when you finish, send me a copy!