So, you've had that one story at the back of your head for years. You want to write about it, but you've never written a book before.
You may find yourself overwhelmed with questions on where to begin. In this article, I'll show you how to publish your first book, from the ideation to selling and making money from your work.
There are a few key points to consider before getting started, though. Let's talk about some of them, so you're as prepared as possible to begin writing your first book!
1. Why should you write a book?
There are several benefits that come with writing an authoritative book, including:
- Earn royalty from every copy you sell- make money writing
- Introduce new concept to the world
- Market your business
- Establish yourself as the authority
- Secure more partnerships etc.
If you're thinking about writing a book as a way to make money, then you need to do thorough research and though-out planning. You have to write on a topic that has a demand, thus audience and topical research is necessary. Knowing whom you are writing to also means you'll be in a better position to write in a way that your readers will resonate with your concepts, ideologies or characters.
Since book writing can be a demanding process, be prepared to dedicate the set amount of hours each week to work on your book.
2. How to start writing your story
The steps to writing your first story are as follows:
- Find an idea for a story to write and make sure it's something you're passionate enough about to commit the time needed.
- Plan out what type of story it is, who your audience is and how best to frame the narrative (telling). Explore other books on this topic that are doing well in order to gain insights on how others are telling their stories. What approaches did they take and what styles are they using to frame their storytelling?
- Plan your book like a pro by outlining what you want to cover, in the order in which they should be covered. This will make it easier to write your book since you have a clear roadmap to follow.
- Start writing! Time to do what you do best. Pour your heart into those blank pages, filling each as you go. Stick to your own voice as this is what differentiates you from the other authors. Try not to focus too much on the technical side of things. Instead, write with a sense of what you want to convey.
- Edit Your Book Like You Mean business: Your first draft, is just but that. A first draft. Before your book is ready to be published, it has to go through several iterations. The first iteration is perhaps the no-nonsense editing process. I prefer you do this yourself first. Remove all the fluff, simplify complex statements, improve readability.
- Proofread your work, restructuring where necessary until you are satisfied. Take time to work on your book making sure that your points are clear and that there's clear value. Read or edit your work as needed, and then polish it before moving onto publishing.
- Have a professional do final editing: You can hire a fried who has majored in creative writing to edit your final copy. Once you receive the final edited manuscript, make the said changes, proofread one more time before going ahead to do the formatting.
- Format your book for publication: Don't worry if you don't know how to format your book for websites such as Amazon KDP, Lulu and Kobo publishing. You can hire a freelancer to help you out. You'll also need a professionally designed cover.
- Publish! You have several options here, but the most obvious would be self publishing through Amazon's KDP program or aggregator service like Ingram Spark or Draft2Digital. You can also choose to go the traditional publishing route where you approach a book publishing company, submit your manuscript and wait for their approval.
3. How to Publish Your First Book
With the publishing industry undergoing rapid change, navigating what is best for your book can be challenging. Here are three tips that will help you decide how to get a book published:
- Find the right publisher for your book. There are some publishers that are great with fiction, and others with non-fiction.
- Consider time and budget constraints before submitting-publishers have different deadlines based on factors like review copy requests or printing costs.
- Select a book publisher with whom you feel most comfortable working with. Make sure that you are in agreement with their submission and publishing guidelines.
If you would like to self-publish, here are some steps to follow:
- Figure out your marketing plan and budget–self-publishing is a lot of work, so you need to be fully committed.
- Find an editor for the manuscript and then find someone who can do both cover and interior design, following different stores guidelines.
- Consider book publishing companies like Amazon's Kindle Direct Publishing. You'll want to price your books competitively if possible. If not, consider publishing through Smashwords, which has no set prices but offers more flexibility than other-self book publisher platforms like Lulu.com—though they do have a more comprehensive distribution network when selling on their site.
4. Where can you get help with editing, cover design, formatting, and more?
There are many options for assistance for self-publishers who do not have the resources or skills to produce their books.
You can find editors, cover designers, and formatting services on sites like Upwork, Freelancer, or Fiverr.
Additionally, there are many resources online for those who want to DIY their book as well such as Editorial Freelancers Association and Reedsy Marketplace
5. What are the steps for marketing your first book?
Once your book is published, it's time to market. There are many ways to market your book today.
You will want to start by creating a solid social media presence on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. You should also make a website for book tour dates or upcoming events you attend to lead people back to your bookshelf with links in the posts.
You can also connect with influencers in your genre to share your book or film a video speaking about the book.
Another way is to become a guest speaker at a local library, bookstore, or even on a podcast. This will give you more exposure and build instant credibility if you're on stage speaking.
6. Tips on how to make money off of your book
There are many ways to monetize your book after it's published. One way is by giving away more content on a website or blog for free in exchange for an email address where you can market them later if they're interested.
Another option would be doing paid speaking engagements at events or even becoming a guest speaker at libraries.
You could also do live webinars that people pay for online and sell the audio version of your work which has higher margins than printed books with fewer barriers to entry because there is no printing cost involved!
Lastly, you can monetize your book by teaching a course based on the subject matter of your book or writing an instructional guide for people who want to do what you did.