They say that in every person is a book, so if this is the case, why is it only some of us go on to write, edit and publish this book? How many laptops have folders with the beginnings of a manuscript in, always started with the very best of intentions, only to be slowly put on the shelf after a couple of months?
The thing is, we all have great intentions but when the effort becomes too much, so many stop being consistent and gradually stop, the result is a half-finished project/objective, further cementing a belief in our subconscious that somethings are just too difficult.
And the reality is that yes, somethings are hard, but once you make the progress toward your goal a habit, and stick religiously to that habit, irrespective of how challenging the goal may be, you have a far better chance of achieving it and being successful.
Now for me, this goal came with trying to increase fitness levels and get back in shape, so during lockdown I decided I would start running. Using a running machine at first, I would run (slowly) for five minutes, getting off the machine and thinking I was going to pass out afterwards. Each week I increased the length of time and distance and then began to road run alongside the treadmill. Now I compete in charity races, running 5Ks every other day and a 10k at the weekend.
My point being, that at first it was hard, I was sore, tired and could always think of an excuse not to go for a run, but over time I turned the running and exercise into my daily routine, it became a normal part of my day and just something I did without fail, I now look forward to it and keep pushing my goals further each week.
Forming a new habit takes about 30 days, so for that first month you have to dig deep and stick to your goal, for the running, it meant breaking down my exercise into something that was challenging but not unrealistic, if I could realistically exercise for 30 minutes per day, then I did that (ensuring that I took Sat and Sun off to recover). Again, every week I increased the challenge/target for myself, this ensured that I grew, didn’t injure myself and kept motivated.
But wait, what has running got to do with writing a book?
It’s comparable with regards to your goals, targets and plan on how to achieve them, no one starts of thinking ‘I have never run, so next weekend I’ll complete in a marathon’, and it’s just the same with a book, no one (who wants to write a well-crafted book that is) thinks I’ll knock out a 90k word book over the weekend and publish it to critical acclaim on Monday.
Breaking down your end goal into smaller steps has been shown time and time again to be a sure-fire way of being successful, and more importantly, a way of ensuring that you don’t feel overwhelmed by the goal ahead of you.
So, if you have a goal of writing a great book of 90,000 words or so, that is well edited and proofread, be realistic in your timeframe and how much time you will spend on it each week. Keeping in mind that everyone’s lifestyle is very different, and our commitments will dictate how much time we can spend writing. But we can all figure out a daily routine which will fit us as an individual, one that we can stick to, and which will ensure we hit our goal.
For the case of a 90,000 word book, it breaks down to writing 1,731 words per week for a year (or 248 words per day), for most people, this is very realistic and something you can make a routine out of, for others they may be able to achieve this with daily writing over a six month period, and for people with very heavy commitments, completing their target would need to be spread out of 18-24months instead.
Whichever way YOU do it, it should be personal to YOU alone, the main point to remember is that goals are achieved by taking one small step at a time.
So, keep taking those small steps, and change your routine to one which will take you to your goal.
One of the most popular print on demand services today is KDP, being part of Amazon it has a massive distribution and free to upload your book to, which is another reason why so many indie authors chose Kindle Direct Publishing.
However, a common question we get asked is, ‘how do I upload my book to KDP?’, well it’s easier than you may think (and if you’ve done it before, you’ll agree, however, if you haven’t yet uploaded your book, here’s a quick guide which you may find helpful.
First, go to KDP and create your own account, it’s free and doesn’t take long to get up and running.
Once you have an account, each time you log in you’ll arrive at the ‘Bookshelf’ page, here you can create your first book and it will also show you the titles of books which you have already published via KDP.
To create a book, click on the +Create yellow button.
The next page will ask what type of book you are creating, for this example we’ll look at a paperback, so click on the ‘Create Paperback’ button.
Now you’ll get to the part where you’ll enter some details about the book itself.
The first question it asks is about the language of the book, KDP supports 37 different languages for print and a further 7 for eBook alone, you can see the full list here.
Next it will ask for the title and subtitle of the book, KDP does have guidelines on what can and can’t be used for titles, so it is worth taking note prior to settling on a title.
The third option is for a series of books, you don’t have to have the series complete to select this, it can help with readers finding your book, so it you are publishing a series, this should be selected (you can see more on series with KDP here).
Scrolling further down the page and you’ll come to the edition number, so what is an edition number? KDP lists it as follows:
An edition is a particular version of a book. The edition number tells readers whether the book is an original version or an updated version. If this is the first time you have published this book, enter the numeral 1. If the book was previously published and the version you are publishing contains significant changes, enter the numeral 2 (and so on).
Next, you’ll enter the Author details (note, this cannot be changed once you have published the book)
Under the author is the box for contributors, this gives you options for adding editors, illustrators, forewords, and you can add to this (let people know who designed your book cover).
The Book Description box is well worth taking your time with, here you’ll add a description of the book that Amazon shoppers will read to learn more about it, so it needs to be captivating and focused on your potential reader.
KDP offer a guide on how to write a book description, it’s well worth checking out before your start, so if you need time, go to the bottom of the page and click on the ‘Save as Draft’ button, you can then come back and finish off once you are happy with your book’s description.
Here you have two options for your book, the first is that you own the copyright and hold the necessary publishing rights (as KDP put it: Choose this option if your book is under copyright and you hold the necessary rights for the content being published).
And the second is that your book is Public Domain work, (as KDP put it: Select this option if you are publishing a public domain book. Keep in mind that the duration of copyright varies between countries/regions. So, if your book is in the public domain in one country/region but not another, you must identify your territory rights accordingly.) You can find out more from KDP’s site here
Keywords are what will help readers find your book, there is so much information available and a quick search on YouTube or publishing forums will give you more detail than you’ll ever have time to look at, however, KDP have put together some information on this and their help page for keywords is worth a look before you enter any keywords
You can currently choose two categories for your book, again, this will help readers find your book, so take your time and select the most appropriate ones for your publication.
Here you will select whether your book is appropriate for people under or over the age of 18.
Once you have filled in all of these areas and are ready to move forward, click on the yellow ‘Save and Continue’ button at the bottom of the page.
Here you can either upload your own ISBN or use one of KDP’s free ISBNs, now there are pros and cons to using either, KDP have an article listing everything you may want to know here, so, take your time to decide prior to moving forward.
If you are publishing for the first time many authors will leave this blank, or if you are planning a future launch, you can select the date in this box, KDP have this to say about publication dates:
Your publication date is the date on which your book was first published. You cannot change it after publishing your title. If you leave this blank, KDP will automatically use the date on which your book goes live (i.e. it is available for sale) on Amazon.
Again, another important section for setting up your book, here you’ll let KDP know the size, paper choice and trim selection for your book.
Ink and Paper type - KDP books can be printed in black and white, standard color, or premium color. Standard Color offers a good balance across price and quality, but is not available in the Japan and Australia marketplaces. Premium color provides a more vibrant, crisp color. You can find out more about Paper Type here.
Trim Size – This is the size of the book once it’s been printed and cut to size.
Bleed Settings – This is an area (normally 0.125in) on the outer edges of the book which is trimmed off when the book is cut to size, these areas are not usually required for books which just have text alone, but where you have graphics/art/images which go to the edges of the page, you normally extend them so that when the book is cut, you don’t end up with white lines along the outer edges. You can find out more about bleeds here.
Paperback Cover Finish - here you can choose either matt or gloss for your book cover’s finish, both look great but there are traditional selections for each one, KDP give further details here.
Here you will upload your manuscript of the book, KDP give you several options for upload files, they do recommend you use a PDF, but you can also use DOC, DOCX, HTML or RTF, you can learn more about formatting your book from KDP’s Book Formatting Page.
Next, you’ll either upload your completed book cover or use KDP’s Cover Creator, obviously we are going to recommend you use a professionally made book cover design that has been sized for your book and will be unique for your title.
If your book cover already has a barcode, make sure you check the box to confirm this, if you are using the free ISBN that KDP issues, leave this box unchecked as KDP will add a barcode to the book cover for you.
Book Cover Preview
This is the last of the options on this page, click on the yellow Launch Previewer button and it will get ready to show you a digital preview of your book (this may take a moment or two).
This will now show you a copy of your book and allow you to go page by page through it, if there are any errors it will show you where they are, if you have any, you’ll need to adjust your book and then reupload. So, take your time and go through each page to fully ensure that you are happy prior to moving forward.
Once you are fully satisfied, you can click on the yellow Approve button (bottom right of screen).
This now takes you back to the Paperback Content page, where you can click on the yellow ‘Save and Continue’ button, again, in the bottom right of the screen.
Paperback Rights & Pricing page
Select where you have the rights to distribute your book, you can choose either worldwide or individual territories, you can find out more from KDP about Distribution Rights here
Select where you expect the majority of your book sales to be from.
Pricing, Royalty and Distribution
Here you’ll select the price of your book for where it’s being sold and the royalties you will get in return, KDP have two options for royalties of either 35% or 70%, KDP also have a useful guide on pricing that is worth taking a look at. It is also worth looking at what other books within your genre are doing with regards to price, getting that sweet spot for price can sometimes feel a little trial and error when first publishing, so do your research first.
Terms and Conditions
You confirm that you agree to them once you click on the publish your paperback book button
Request Printed Proofs
In the green bordered box, click on the Request printed proofs of this book link, this will allow you to order a copy of your book prior to publishing, this is worth doing so you can get the chance to read a printed version of the book prior to going live, it’s amazing how many additional edits to the manuscript you find when reading a printed version.
Once you are happy with everything, click on the yellow button ‘Publish your paperback book’.
This will take you back to the bookshelf page and let you know that your book is in review with KDP, this process normally takes around 72 hours (or less), KDP usually emails you to let you know once it’s live, but it’s worth logging back in and checking.
Sometimes you need a little help, and self-publishing a book is no different, yes it can certainly be done from scratch without any prior experience, and many indie authors do this, but there are plenty of courses (free and paid) which will help you on your journey to publishing your own book and save you a great deal of time and stress in the process.
But where do you look for courses on self-publishing?
Well, one of the first places can always be via a company where you may end up publishing you book with (in fairness, it’s in their own interest to have knowledgeable authors using their services).
One of the biggest names in self-publishing is IngramSpark, they have a massive distribution and have been helping authors since 2013, so they know a thing or two about the industry. What’s more, they have their own online Academy which offers several free online courses to help you become a more successful and professional published author.
Their Academy is free to join and certainly worth using, even if you don’t publish with Ingram, they can certainly teachyou a few things which will help on your publishing journey.
Not just for idly wasting time, YouTube has a massive selection of channels aimed at self-publishing authors, some of these are great a will really help you get to grips with publishing and promoting your book. Now, because there is so much to choose from, here are a couple of channels you may want to check out first:
Self-publishing with Dale – Self Publishing School – Lulu Press – Amazon KDP
Again, all of these channels are free and offer countless hours of lessons and videos to help you become a highly successful author.
This is an online academy which offers thousands of courses created by experts within their own fields, from learning how to code to self-publishing a book successfully, they offer everything you could want when it comes to learning how to publish.
They do offer some of their courses for free, with the paid lessons ranging in price from $10 to $200 depending upon the course, what’s great is the review system and feedback, you can get a very good idea if the course is right for you prior to signing up.
You can see some of our hand selected courses for Udemy here
Here you can learn from the very best within the writing world, from Neil Gaiman, R.L Stine, Malcolm Gladwell, Margaret Atwood and even Dan Brown. Their courses come as a 30 day subscription which is currently just $15, once subscribed you can also take advantage of all of the other masterclasses they offer (again, all from the biggest names within each individual area).
However, this service seems to be more about developing your craft as a writer and author, so it may be good to use in conjunction with some of the other courses specifically aimed at the publishing side of things. But all the same, it’s great value and gives you insights from the most successful authors in the world. Find out more from their website here Masterclass.
With the internet at your fingertips, you have access to an endless amount of information on how to publish, promote and sell your book to an audience, the only thing you need to do is start.
Book cover designers.
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