Thank you to everyone who’s already bought a copy of my new book, a natural disaster, out now on Amazon. It’s been a long time in the making since I tried to prioritize too many things at once and grew so overwhelmed that I froze in paralysis. So it makes sense why this collection took a few years and still ended up short.
There were a lot of mistakes made, but I eventually ended up with a product I could be proud of, or at least I hope I will be since I still haven’t gotten my own hard copy. I don’t want you to make the same mistakes I did, so here are the lessons I learned from self-publishing on KDP (a few days after the book’s release).
My Top 5 Tips
1. Write More and Write Often
I had a really hard time coming up with content when I felt like everything I wrote was trash, so I had to basically cover my delete button and force myself to write everyday with an alarm. It started with an alarm at 8 pm to do 5 minutes of journalling. The first week I had this alarm on, I rarely actually listened to. I probably journaled once that first week, but each week after, I began journalling more, and a month later, I realized I’ve been journaling without the alarm at all.
Once journalling became regular, I set an alarm to block out time to write this book. As months passed journalling and using my journal entries as inspiration for my writing sessions, my book began to finally take form. It was only then that the fire of determination was lit. Once I saw my book become more full and real, it became impossible to not grow attached to it and want to finish it. This book is years worth of poetry that took months to put together and weeks of indecision to still be a very short book. I think that my own insecurities are what lead to such a prolonged timeline. If I hadn’t deleted every other poem I’ve ever written or second-guessed every word before I put it on a page, I’d at least have a book with enough pages for spine text. As the saying goes, you can always edit a bad page. You can’t edit a blank page.
2. Utilize Pre-Order
This wasn’t especially useful for this book, but depending on the content, pre-order can be a great way to create hype around your book/product. For my next travel tips book, I’m going to utilize pre-order and promote my book’s release beforehand. After I dropped my book, a lot of my friends and family were like, “I didn’t know you were writing a book!” I guess making moves in silence isn’t the smartest if your success is dependent upon people knowing you and what you do. That was my own fault, but that plays off my next tip.
3. Call Yourself An Author
I remember telling one of my friends, “It’s so weird. I’m technically an author now.” And it was really weird, but now I’ve warmed up to it a bit. Once I started calling myself an author, I started doing what authors do. I know I can’t just call myself a millionaire and I’ll become one, but I might start doing things that millionaires do. So ask yourself, “What would a successful author do?” Would a successful author procrastinate writing that next chapter? No, so you won’t either.
4. Learn How To Use InDesign
I’d seriously recommend learning how to use InDesign or Canva if you are on a tight budget. For some people, content creation is easy, but formatting it to be pleasing to a reader is difficult. The easiest and cheapest way to have a nice design for your book is to use Canva since it’s an amazing and free online tool. You’ll be able to use that to create professional graphics and any kind of cover you want. However, if you want a more hands-on approach to the book-making process, then InDesign is the right choice for you. With InDesign, you’ll be able to format every single page the way you want it. Right now, it’s $20.99 a month, but their free trial should be enough time for you to decide if that’s the design approach you want to take.
5. Post A Job To UpWork
This blog post is not sponsored. I just really like their platform. UpWork is a freelance platform that will connect you to high-quality professionals, such as myself (insert shameless self-promotion of my writing and editing UpWork profile here), to complete jobs on a hourly or project-based budget. If learning graphic design is just not your forte, then leave it some one else. For my next book, I might hire someone to do all the formatting since it is such a pain to do. I couldn’t do that for my poetry book because of how personal it is to me and how particular I can be about formatting; however, your book’s content might do better if you have an experienced graphic designer work on it for you.
Although you might think it will be expensive, you’d be surprised. You can find some freelancers who are willing to do work for fairly cheap, but be wary of their work and reviews, for not all freelancers lighten the load. Some can make the whole project more difficult than it has to be, so just make sure you do your research before you hire them. With that being said, if you’re looking to publish a book and you need an editor, then just send me message through UpWork using the link above or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d be more than happy to edit your book for you. I’m not as great as some other graphic designers, but if you also need someone to design your cover, then I’ll throw it all in together at a bundled rate.
To quote Shia LaBeouf, “JUST DO IT!” No, but seriously, you just need to do it. I’ve been saying since I was a kid that I wanted to be a writer, but never took steps to make it happen. I just hoped that someone would discover me one day, which I know is ridiculous in retrospect, but I really didn’t think I could it on my own. I thought being a writer was like being a singer, and I could never just become famous without help. I was right that I needed help, but not by some big-shot to give me a big break, rather by my own support circle. If you want to write a book, tell your best friend and have them hold you accountable. Every time you procrastinate or forget to write, they’ll be right there calling you out and reminding you.
This is your sign to write that book and publish it. You can do it. I mean, I did, which isn’t saying much, but you get what I mean. KDP’s interface is natural and smooth, so there isn’t really much of a technical learning curve. The biggest obstacle you’ll have to publishing your book is actually writing it. After that, it will be promoting it, which will most likely be my next blog post, so keep an eye out for that.
Once again, a big thank you to everyone who made this book happen. I seriously appreciate every single one of you, as well as every single one of my readers. My book’s success is dependent upon you, so thank you. In case you missed the link earlier, you can buy my book on Amazon here. If you enjoyed this post or know someone who might enjoy it, then please like and share. If you have any questions or if you’d like me to write a follow-up post on my experience promoting my book, then please comment down below.
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