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Self Publish Your Book

SELF-PUBLISH YOUR BOOK

The Ultimate Newbie’s Guide to Writing, Editing, Formatting, and Designing Your Book Without Breaking the Bank

 

© 2016 Abraham Adekunle. Shakespir Edition.

 

All right reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form whatsoever, electronic, or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any informational storage or retrieval system without prior written permission from the author.

 

Table of Contents

 

Why Should You Write a Book?

What If I Sell You an Idea for a Buck?: How to Find Winning Fiction and Nonfiction Ideas

Why Ideas Aren’t Enough

Tips on Finding and Choosing Your Book Idea

How to Find Ideas for Your Fiction Book

How to Find Nonfiction Book Ideas

How to Know That Your Ideas Will Sell

Planning Your Book

#1: Organize your files.

#2: Organize a launch team.

#3: Plan your time.

#4: Sketch your idea.

#5: Determine what you need to research.

Researching Your Book

#1: Surveilling Your Readers.

#2: Your Competitors.

#3: Sifting Information.

How to Research

Outlining Your Book

Tools for Outlining

Outlining Your Book

Writing Your First Draft

The Editing and Proofreading Strategy That Works

Can (and Should) You Design Your Book Cover?

Formatting is for the Geeks and Nerds

Final Words

 

 

Why Should You Write a Book?

 

If you about writing and self-publishing, you’d have heard that you should write a book more than a hundred times.

 

Someone could just distribute that advice, but the question remains: how do you do it? How do you write? Who does the editing?

 

I know you have many questions you want answer to. It’s a normal thing. I also had questions when I started out.

 

I don’t claim to have all the answers, but I’m willing to share what I’ve learned along the way.

 

This book takes you on a journey from conceiving an idea to publishing your book. You might think coming up with ideas is quite easy, don’t you? But it doesn’t happen like that under pressure.

 

After finding a promising idea, what next? Should you start writing your book? Or are there some sites you have to visit before writing it?

 

Get answers to all those kind of questions in this book. If you don’t see your question answered, you can forward it to abraham@writewithabraham.com

 

For now, I invite you to strap on your seat belt and watch as we go on this journey.

 

Cheers,

Abraham.

 

What If I Sell You an Idea for a Buck?: How to Find Winning Fiction and Nonfiction Ideas

 

What if I sell you an idea for a buck? What would you call that?

 

Fair deal? Good deal? Or bad deal?

 

The thing is:

 

Ideas aren’t sellable.

 

Even if they were available for sale, who would buy them? But let’s just imagine I sold you one (and gave you a percentage discount. :D)

 

Why Ideas Aren’t Enough

 

Let’s also assume two writers bought the same ideas from me (what do you think? I can sell as many copies as I like), and it was a military fiction idea.

 

Writer A knows nothing about the military, but he depends on his instinct. Sometimes, research can take one-third of the writing time, you know.

 

Writer B, which I’ll assume is you, knows quite enough about the military to save his life, and he can research his butt off and still write a few thousands words per day.

 

Writer C is a retired soldier, fought in Afghanistan, Iraq, worked for the Homeland Security for a few years, and he’s now retired. After his military life, he goes back to his noiseless, country home in Chicago, and he’s been learning to write to keep himself busy.

 

So, who do you think the idea would favor the most? Let’s take a closer look.

 

Writer A buys the idea, waits for the order to get to his doorstep, and jumped before the keyboard immediately. No research. No planning. No outlining. Nothing.

 

Writer B took some time to plan and outline his book, but it still doesn’t feel as being in the military. The context is absent. But he keeps writing anyway. That’s what writers know how to do best for the rest of their lives.

 

Writer C doesn’t need to research. He’d drilled countless holes in many insurgents’ forehead, dropped many fleeing soldiers, and he may have even flown an helicopter. So, he uses his experience in his fiction and off he goes.

 

So, who’s the idea going to favor most? Writer A? B? C? Let’s zoom in again.

 

Writer A knows nothing about the military, has zero zeal for research, and doesn’t even know that soldiers plan before they go to the battlefield. This idea won’t favor him at all.

 

He’s more likely to commit linguistic blunders, make false assumptions, and just write what he knows.

 

Writer B’s writing would move, surely, but at a steady pace. His writing power depends on how effective his research is. If he has impeccable writing skills and his research isn’t effective, it’s a two-way thing: readers may like the book or otherwise. If he’s a bad writer but a master researcher, it’s also a two-way thing, but I’d say readers won’t enjoy a badly-written book.

 

He’s less likely to make linguistic blunders, he would be able to understand military formations, and he would apply his own instincts, too. Give him 50%, I’d say.

 

Writer C has nothing to research about—military is his life, and he’s just reliving the experience on the page. He understands the battlefield mumbo-jumbo, he’s commanded men in military formations, and he’s fought with his life on the line. You don’t have to tell him how gruesome a war is. You don’t have to tell him the pains of facing the opposing rifle.

 

But since he’s just began to write, his prose may falter a little. He’d be producing practice materials. So, for him, it’s also a two-way thing: reader may ignore his shortcomings and enjoy the heart of the story or they may decide to do away with substandard writing.

 

You can now see that buying an idea isn’t worth it. Why? Everyone has one.

 

For that idea to be in either of the three writers’ favor, he’d have been in the military before and has good writing skills. Take any of that away and what you have is a probability.

 

Tips on Finding and Choosing Your Book Idea

 

You’ve now decided to find your own ideas. How do you go about it? What do you do? Where do you go?

 

#1: Have a journal.

 

Perhaps this is the most effective way of capturing your ideas when they hit you from the blue. Journals are meant for recordings. They don’t have to be perfect, but they should serve their purpose.

 

In these smartphone days, your phone can serve as your journal. You can use many applications for that, but I won’t recommend one. If you like, you can use MS Word, in-built notes, or any other application. Just make sure it’s easy to access and navigate.

 

If you’re using a physical journal (and you should), it should be portable and should fit into your pocket, at least. You want something you can access anytime, anywhere.

 

Here are tips on using your journal:

 

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Take it with you everywhere. That’s why you should choose a portable one. It should be able to follow you everywhere you go.

 

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Keep it simple. By simple, I don’t mean a one-line idea journal. I mean you shouldn’t keep a complicated journal. You should be able to navigate and do whatever you like with it easily.

 

*
p<>{color:#000;}. They don’t have to be perfect. In fact, they can never be perfect. You may know little about an idea, at first. You may have recorded it on a page with some other ideas. When the time comes to expand more on it, don’t whine that if there were only space between the ideas, it would have been easy to write. Instead, just move onto another page and record your ideas. And that’ll lead us to…

 

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Give yourself as much details as you can. In fact, detail yourself as long as you’re allowed. In the previous scenario, after you write your ideas on another page, link it with the details. Assuming you have an idea on page 1 and another on page 5, it’s as easy as writing something like, “More details on page 5.” That way, anytime you check page 1, you’ll know that there’s more details on page 5. Also, don’t fail to give yourself details about the idea itself, too—plot ideas, possible settings, character caricatures, conflicts, scenes, etc.

 

#2: Leverage your area of inpertise.

 

Here’s an excerpt from my book, Generate and Validate Your Bestselling Idea, which you can get here on my books page[_:_]

 

Lest I forget, I checked my dictionary, but I couldn’t find the word “Inpert.”

The word originated when I was brainstorming with my mentor. The idea was that since you’re not an “expert” yet, you can be an “inpert.” Which means that instead of wearing the same wig with a college professor, you can come off as reporting what ordeal you went through, how you learned what you’re narrating now, what worked for you, and what did not.

Simply put, an inpert is:

Someone who doesn’t appear as a Know-It-All, but who, with a conscious state of mind, commits to learning every day and helping others learn what he’s also learned.

Your area of inpertise can be anything. Remember that you’re learning and the tribe following you is learning as you.

Have you been studying how to write a book lately, but you don’t yet have a slew of books under your belt? You can relate your experience.

Tell us why your techniques didn’t work, if it didn’t. Tell us why it worked, if it did. Tell us the “smart cuts” you’d have taken to learn it faster. This itself opens doors to whatever you’ve been learning, whether a hobby or not, and that you’re passionate about.

 

#3: Be observant.

 

What is a writer’s work if not to observe everything around him and bring it to life on paper? That’s what we enjoy doing. The problem is that some writers haven’t grown familiar with the skill or how to acquire it.

 

Observation teaches more than experience.

 

For fiction writers, you observe for three things:

 

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Character ideas.

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Setting ideas.

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Conflict ideas.

 

Every story starts with one and fleshes out into the other two.

 

Let’s see how a writer could observe the world around him in my own experience.

 

I was going somewhere urgent that day. I was an hour late. As I tied the last knot of my jean-laced sneakers, I bolted out the door and off I go.

 

In the market area, the noise had increased. People moved in random directions. Hawkers hawk, chanting exaggerated praises for their good. Motorists call for passengers as if they’d appear from nowhere. Trucks honk like elephants, a clear warning for the stubborn car driver thinking of overtaking.

 

Here, there was no rest. You could, but not other people. I noticed some group of people, taking a brisk strole as if they’d visit the rest room the next moment. Here was a supposed banker in black suit, white tie, and white shirt. He held a briefcase on his left hand and his right hand brushed his scanty beard. He muttered a solemn sorry whenever his shoulder brushed past a reluctant fellow, and he didn’t even wait for a reply.

 

Here was another fellow, walking aimlessly. He held a pirated, cheap gin in his hand and gulped it down before revealing his absent front teeth in a wide grin.

 

Such was a tiny part of life in Lagos.

 

Yes, that wasn’t fiction. It happens everyday. How did I know? I observed it. I know how those who walk briskly do. I know how a reluctant stroller behaves. So, in my observation, I have these ideas:

 

*
p<>{color:#000;}. A setting idea. Probably a market but surely a metropolis.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Character ideas. A supposed banker and a street guy.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Conflict idea. Shoulder brushing another person’s shoulder escalating into a fight.

 

Oh, those ideas are for sale, by the way. A buck per a bulleted point.

 

For nonfiction writers, here’s what you need to do:

 

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Solve a problem. It makes you observe the problem you want to solve closely because you may doubt that you can solve it. It also makes you think if the problem is really a problem, after all.

 

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Issue a benefit. People love benefits. They just can’t do without falling for one. Let’s face it: we do what we do because of a benefit. It could be personal acheievement, money, ego, or any other thing. Once you know what speaks to someone’s heart, give it. And before you can do this, you have to observe.

 

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Follow specific keywords. If you have keywords that your readers search for already, you’ve observed one of the things they do. People do search for keywords because they want something.

 

How to Find Ideas for Your Fiction Book

 

There are two ways, I’d say, to find fiction book ideas, and they are:

 

#
p<>{color:#000;}. The “ceiling fan” method.

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Prompts.

 

#1: The “ceiling fan” method.

 

Have you noticed? Stories always start from one of setting, character, and conflict. Just like the ceiling fan, you cannot have a complete story without the three of them. If you start with one, you’ll definitely end up with the two others. It’s inevitable.

 

The ceiling fan has three equal hands, equidistant from themselves. If you’re a maths geek, it means that there are 1200 between every hand. That shows they’re equally important.

 

If you start from the edge of a fan’s hand and travel its length, when you get to the center, there are the two others waiting for you.

 

The only way to evade this is if you’re writing only about one of them. For example, if you were describing only a setting, then you wouldn’t want to interfere with a character. Likewise also, characters and conflicts.

 

Let’s say you start your story from an idea about a river. You could then ask yourself questions that’ll reveal some other elements, too.

 

What happened at the river? Who was at the river? (To know more about this, check out my book How to Write a Short Story. You can ceck it out on my books page.)

 

#2: Prompts.

 

Prompts, as it says, are cues you take to kickstart writing your own story. It motivates you to write by creating an element of a story, then you to flesh it out.

 

You should only resort to this if you’re idealess. I don’t use it because the little ideas I have hasn’t even neared the planning board. If truly you’re a creative, then coming up with ideas shouldn’t be a problem. It should be executing them.

 

Other ways to find fiction ideas are…

 

*
p<>{color:#000;}. …crawling genres you like to read;

*
p<>{color:#000;}. …starting out from a setting you’re familiar with;

*
p<>{color:#000;}. …envisaging a scene;

*
p<>{color:#000;}. …keeping the title and description short.

 

How to Find Nonfiction Book Ideas

 

First, you need to let go of the opinion that says that you need to look for nonfiction ideas from scratch. No, ideas are out there, supported by people and their wallet. You just need to find them.

 

Second, solving a problem should come first. Nothing more or less in writing your book. If you solve a problem, there’ll be people waiting to buy your solution.

 

Here are some of the ways you can find ideas:

 

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Finding your area of inpertise.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Average monthly Google searches.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Ebook retailers’ monthly searches.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Social media platforms, Q&A sites, and forums.

 

How to Know That Your Ideas Will Sell

 

Two elements of an idea that’ll sell are:

 

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Buzz. This is simply the amount of people following that topic. If a bee is around, the buzzing won’t be much. But if they come in hundreds, you can’t deny hearing anything.

 

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Content. This is the amount of content that has been created on that subject. I went to a Q&A sites and searched for beadmaking. Funny but expected, it returned with 35 measly results. If that topic were already popular and moneymaking ready, millions of people would’ve recognized and even written a fair share of content for it.

 

(For more information on this, check out my book Generate and Validate Your Bestselling Book Idea, which you can find on my books page here.)

 

Will You Still Buy Ideas?

 

No, not after all you’ve read here. Ideas are everywhere, available to anyone. You don’t have to wait for anyone’s permission to execute an idea. It’s yours and yours only.

Planning Your Book

 

After choosing the idea for your book, the next thing I recommend you do is to plan your book. But most times, writers do mistake planning for outlining. They aren’t the same. Here’s why:

 

Suppose you’re going for a journey in the Dark Age. You know the destination but not the route. No map. No gears. No survival kit. Nothing except that you’re going from point A to point B.

 

Normally, you’d first go in search of the materials you’d need. That is, you’ll go in search of gears, survival kits, and most importantly, a map.

 

Let’s assume you find a map. Then you’d start planning your route. That’s what I call planning and outlining.

 

Your to-do list might look like:

 

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Find a map.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Gather survival kits and gears.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Plot your route.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Head out.

 

All, except the route plotting, are planning for the journey.

 

Simply put, planning is preparing for the journey while outlining is plotting your way to your destination. Well, you can call journeying writing, if you may. But it remains a fact that you have to plan.

 

So, what do you plan?

 

#1: Organize your files.

 

This is as simple as opening a folder in your hard drive and naming it the working title of your book. You don’t have to create a final title right then, but to recognize the folder, you’d want to give it a relevant name.

 

Personally, I open subfolders in the main folder with labels like, Print, Ebook, Cover, etc. so that it’ll be easy to navigate. If you stick to the one-folder method and you design your cover yourself, you could end up littering the folder with cover files. Why not open a folder for it and store all the cover files there?

 

For example, here’s the folder I opened for this book.

 

 

If you use physical documents, you should bind them together and consider marking them on the header so that it won’t mix with other documents by mistake.

 

#2: Organize a launch team.

 

Do you have an audience? Fantastic. You can create a launch team for your book and build awareness even before you write a word.

 

You’d be surprised that many will be willing to be your beta reader, tell others about your book, and open their wallet when you hit the publish button.

 

With an email list, you can segment those people and send them emails concerning your offer.

 

#3: Plan your time.

 

This may not resonate with everyone, but it’s crucial to getting something done. If you’ve successfully built a daily writing habit, feel free to skip this part.

 

Planning your time shouldn’t be a one-size-fits-all thing. What works for you may not work for another person. And what works for me will certainly not work for you.

 

If you know the approximate wordcount, you want your book to be, you can then divide that by the numbers of days you have before the deadline. For example, if you want to write a 10,000-word book in a week, then your daily wordcount goal should be:

 

10,000words ÷ 7days = 1429words.

 

That’s approximately 1,500 words. [* Keep in mind that most times 80% of what you write is what will remain for publication after editing. *] For example, a 10,000-word manuscript will equal an 8,000-word book after editing.

 

Here are some tips on planning your time:

 

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Short writing sessions matter. If you can only spare 45 minutes in the morning and 30 minutes in the night, should you write anyway? My answer is yes, if you know what you’re doing. No point in writing what will be cut later, is there?

 

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Be willing to adapt. Perhaps, this sums every other point I would have written in this section. If you know something urgent got in your writing way, you should learn not to blame yourself. It wasn’t your fault. If you know you’ll be traveling for some time, you’ll plan portable gadgets that will serve you anytime you need it. In short, don’t follow a timeplan you made religiously and blame yourself if you don’t achieve it.

 

#4: Sketch your idea.

 

Architects, sculptors, and artists use sketches as a landmark for their original works. They create it to guide them through the original works.

 

If artists could use sketches, why not writers? But the question remains: how do you sketch your idea?

 

For fiction writers, you can sketch your ideas many ways, but I don’t recommend one. Note that there’s no much distinction of planning from outlining in fiction, so you should stick with outlining.

 

You don’t do much research like nonfiction writers, there’s no keyword to root, and almost all genre has an audience.

 

To sketch a story, you can use the Snowflake Method, which is available over here. It’s a term coined by Randy Ingermason and is used to build a novel before writing.

 

For nonfiction writers, three ways to sketch your idea are:

 

#
p<>{color:#000;}. The Question Method. Here, you sit down with a pen and a notepad, and scribble questions your potential readers are going to ask while reading your book.

 

For example, if you want to write a book on blogging, your readers could have the following questions:

 

*
p<>{color:#000;}. What’s a blog?

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Why open a blog?

*
p<>{color:#000;}. What’s a domain name and how do I buy one?

*
p<>{color:#000;}. WordPress.com or WordPress.org?

 

Once you’ve written all the questions, you have a sketch. Then you can start outlining or writing your book.

 

#
p<>{color:#000;}. The Circle on Page Method. Here, you draw circles on page and you link it to relevant circles on the page. It could like this:

 

 

I like this method because it combines creativity and brain-muscles flexing. It allows me to co-ordinate what leaves my hand and where it goes on the page.

 

#
p<>{color:#000;}. The List Method. This method is simply listing every possible topic about your idea. By far, it’s the hardest because it leaves you to your fate. No creativity. No spice. No fun.

 

For the questions above, it would look like this if it was a list:

 

*
p<>{color:#000;}. What a blog is.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Why you should open a blog.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. What a domain name is and how to buy one.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Why you should never go with WordPress.com, rather go with WordPress.org.

 

#5: Determine what you need to research.

 

You may notice that you don’t know most of the items on your sketch. That’s no problem. Take a pen and a notepad, and mark what you’d need to research. This will speed up the researching process.

 

 

Researching Your Book

 

I hinted at researching in the previous chapter. But how do you research?

 

Many experts can’t answer this question. Because no definite method works for everyone. But as I’ve noticed, we can categorize research into three parts:

 

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Research about readers.

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Research about competitions and competitors.

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Research for facts and instructional materials.

 

#1: Surveilling Your Readers.

 

For every book, there’s a potential reader waiting somewhere for it. Writers’ job is to discover their information and put it in front of them.

 

For fiction writers, you don’t have to research much about your readers, as you should if you were to write nonfiction. But you still have to do it.

 

It’s the heart of a nonfiction book. The passion to solve a problem drives a nonfiction writer, but the want to entertain drives a fiction writer.

 

To determine your readership, ask yourself the following questions:

 

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Who are your readers? This isn’t some vague caricature character, represented by a name. Give a demography. In fact, you’re fine if you represent just a single person.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. What are their greatest fears?

*
p<>{color:#000;}. What have they tried before you pitch yours?

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Can you solve their problem?

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Where do they hang out?

 

#2: Your Competitors.

 

The next obstacle that gets in the way of writing your book is your competitors. Knowing how tough the competition is would help a lot. Sometimes, your competitor might be a website, software, a book, or whatever. Your job is to figure that out.

 

For example, you’d have to look at other books in your chosen genre, how it’s written, the book description, the cover, the pages, etc.

 

Ask yourself the following questions:

 

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Who are your competitors? No competition means no market. Fierce competition means a viable market.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. What is the quality of the products they produce? (E.g. content, blurb, cover, etc.)

*
p<>{color:#000;}. What are the different price points they were offered? (Free? $.99? $2.99?)

*
p<>{color:#000;}. What is their quantity? (E.g. wordcount, pages, etc.)

*
p<>{color:#000;}. How can you do better?

 

#3: Sifting Information.

 

After you find information about your competitors out there, you’ll now have to find the facts to use in your book. It’s for fiction and nonfiction writers alike.

 

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Places. Fiction writers need this while it’s inevitable for a travel writer.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. People and their culture.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Instructions and how-to’s.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Statistics.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Scientific and technical concepts.

 

But for simplicity’s sake, here’s what I recommend you research:

 

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Statistics. For example, how many blogs are there in the world?

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Websites. For example, sites that add more value to your content.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Stories, usually to back up your claim.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Instructions and how-tos. For example, how to convert an MS Word file to MOBI.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Reading to get a clear idea and further clarification of a smaller topic, which is inevitable if you’ll be searching for the content not pouring them down on the page.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Articles that explain more of what you’re writing about.

 

How to Research

 

You’ve found out what you should research about, but how do you do it?

 

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Interview.

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Books.

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Publications e.g. newspapers and magazines.

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Internet (which is the best and easiest for most subjects.)

Outlining Your Book

 

Although you can use a variety of softwares for outlining, using a word processor just wouldn’t cut it. Spreadsheet may be easier to use but stressful.

 

You can skip this part if you can now write your book without problem using your sketch. But sketches are just a guide and may not be what you need.

 

Tools for Outlining

 

As said earlier, using a word processor, like Word, is the dumbest way of outlining. It’s not just meant for that. But you can use the following tools:

 

#1: Pen and paper.

 

 

#2: Mind Mapping. (You can get it here: http://freemind.sourceforge.net/wiki/index.php/Download)

 

 

#3: yWriter.

 

(You can download yWriter6 here: http://www.spacejock.com/yWriter6_Download.html)

 

 

Other tools you can use are:

 

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Scrivener.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Evernote.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Blog posts.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Sticky notes.

 

Outlining Your Book

 

After you’ve gotten your outlining tool, then it’s the time to outline your book. Here’s how you should outline your book:

 

#1: Arrange your sketch.

 

The idea sketch you made isn’t just for making’s sake. It serves a purpose. And one of it is re-arranging the items. You can re-arrange your sketch in:

 

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Logical order. Speaking of writing a book about blogging, a reader will want to know what a blog is before opening one, and likewise, will want to know what a domain name is before buying one. That’s logic. “It makes sense,” they’d say.

 

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Alphabetical order. This always happens when writing tips or process. For example, the A-Z of writing a book.

 

#
p<>{color:#000;}. The order of process. What if you’re writing about shopping on a particular site? You wouldn’t want to start with placing an order, that’s wrong. Instead, you’ll want to start by introducing the site, show the reader how to open an account, and find what he/she wants. That’s what I call the order of a process.

 

#2: Use the Book Outline Formula.

 

The book outline formula looks like this:

 

INTRODUCTION

 

CHAPTER ONE:

INTRODUCTION:

SUBHEAD:

A POINT

ANOTHER POINT

ANOTHER SUBHEAD:

A POINT

ANOTHER POINT

CONCLUSION

 

CHAPTER TWO:

INTRODUCTION:

SUBHEAD:

A POINT

ANOTHER POINT

ANOTHER SUBHEAD:

A POINT

ANOTHER POINT

CONCLUSION

 

CHAPTER THREE:

INTRODUCTION:

SUBHEAD:

A POINT

ANOTHER POINT

ANOTHER SUBHEAD:

A POINT

ANOTHER POINT

CONCLUSION

 

CONCLUSION

 

 

 

 

Writing Your First Draft

 

So, you have now finished with planning and outlining your book. Next is to start writing your book. Even if you haven’t done this before, something would probably be telling you that you need to organize things to achieve the most stress-free writing.

 

You can do that by:

 

Writing in chunk.

 

Yes, you read that right. You can’t write a book at once. Scratch that. You can’t finish a book at once. Why?

 

Do you know that you can write a novella in 24 hours? Someone actually wrote about it. What if you prefer to write short books? That’s fine.

 

The thing is that you can never finish it all in one sitting. Even if you plan to finish it in a day, you cannot crank out every word of the book at one sitting. And if you do, it will be a whole lot of crap that needs thorough editing, which you can’t do at that time or yourself.

 

So, logically, to avoid stories that touch the heart about how you failed to write your book’s first draft, write it in chunk.

 

You’ve written an outline, right? And you have your sketched-out idea? It’s time to use it.

 

Look at your outline and choose a section or chapter among all the items. Now begin to write as if you’re writing a blog post. If you write your blog posts in chunks, too, don’t change it. Simply do that until you finish writing that part. Repeat it until you finish the book.

 

Easier said than done, isn’t it? What makes it extremely boring is…

 

Not starting from the beginning.

 

Some writers think writing a book should begin with the introduction. In other words, they think writing a book should be following the outline religiously.

 

No, I disagree. You don’t start the introduction first because you haven’t even known what you’ve written down about it. What you set out to write isn’t what you end up writing.

 

You can start from anywhere without loosing track. That’s the beauty of being a writer. You can decide what to write at anytime. You’re in control. That’s what it means to self-publish.

 

To do these, bring out your outline and choose an item (chapter, preferrably) that you’re comfortable working with now. Start writing. Repeat that with every item on the list.

 

If you write fiction, then you should start in the beginning. I find that if you start writing fiction from the beginning, there’s more chance that the story will be coherent than writing it from the middle.

 

Writing in second POV for nonfiction.

 

Ninety-nine percent of how-to books are written in the second point of view. Why? Because that’s the tone—it’s conversational. But if you write fiction, you can write in any POV you want.

 

If you’re just starting out, I’d rather you stick with the first and third POV. Those are the easiest to write.

 

The Editing and Proofreading Strategy That Works

 

So, you’ve written that book, that impeccable body of prose that’ll deliver someone somwhere from a problem, plus entertain in the process.

 

How do you cut out the fluff? How do you slash out the unnecessary part? Succintly, how do you say more with less?

 

Editing has four levels, which are:

 

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Developmental editing.

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Line editing.

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Copyedit.

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Proofreading.

 

Not every manuscript will need the four, but you’ll be better with two or three on your work. As said earlier, about 80% of a raw manuscript is only publishable. That means you have to roll up your sleeves and get to work in weeding out the 20%.

 

#1: Developmental Editing.

 

If you’ve been following the planning and outlining method in this book, I don’t think you need this.

 

Developmental editing looks at the big picture of a manuscript. It looks at:

 

*
p<>{color:#000;}. The organization. This is how you organize your whole book, and I addressed it in arranging your ideas under outlining. Your content should be logical, progressive, and succint.

 

*
p<>{color:#000;}. The content. Does it contain everything a reader has to learn about the idea? If not, how much does it contain? That’s what you ask yourself while evaluating your manuscript of content issues. Simply put, if you can’t read the book as a newbie and do what it teaches, then you haven’t taught anything yet. That means someone out there won’t understand some part of your book when you publish it.

 

The remedy is to follow the planning method laid out in this book. Imagine being on that journey from point A to point B and you’re not organized. You sleep on the road at will or when you’re tired. You travel in the middle of the night. You eat anything you find.

 

It just doesn’t add up. You have to have planned everything before setting on the journey. Sure, it may not work out the way you wanted, but there’s always a pivot in that case.

 

#2: Line Editing.

 

Line editing has to do with the sentence structure. You look at collection of sentences and look for ways to slash it in pieces and still convey the same meaning.

 

Look at this, for example:

 

It is important for that thing to have been done by you very quickly. You know that.

 

And look at the latter version:

 

You know you should have done that thing fast.

 

First sentence, 17 words. Second sentence, 9 words.

 

That’s how line editing works. To see how to line edit your manuscript, see here: https://smartblogger.com/editing-tips/

 

#3: Copyedit.

 

Copyedit looks at the word level of a manuscript. While line edit looks at the sentence-by-sentence collection, copyedit looks at word-by-word collection.

 

As paragraphs can be littered and padded with unnecessary sentences, so can sentences be padded with unnecessary words.

 

Look at this, for example:

 

There are many writers who don’t outline.

 

Still succint, right? (Not like those “It has come to my attention that so many writers don’t outline.”) Look at the latter version:

 

Many writers don’t outline.

 

Seven words slashed down to four.

 

What about this:

 

I can’t make it to the meeting.

I am going to give you tips on editing.

 

And the latter version:

 

I can’t attend the meeting.

I’ll give you editing tips.

 

#4: Proofreading.

 

Proofreading is just the last attempt to correct spelling errors, typography errors, grammar errors, punctuation ho-hums, etc.

 

So, what’s the strategy?

 

The strategy isn’t far-fetched.

 

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Edit it at first on your own.

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Use grammar checkers.

#
p<>{color:#000;}. Read out loud. (Or let a speech-to-text reader do it.)

 

First, before you delve into editing your work, have the following:

 

*
p<>{color:#000;}. A list of your weak areas.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Examples of those weak areas and, if possible, templates to search for mistakes. See an example here: 297 Flabby Words and Phrases That Rob Your Writing of All Its Power

 

#1: Edit on your own.

 

Let it rest at first. This is because you’re accustomed to every word of your manuscript. Editing it immediately after writing it is the most terrible editing blunder you can make. Give it a week or thereabout before you come back to it.

 

After you come back to it, edit it as much as you can. Don’t look at your template or weak areas. In this phase, many heroic words will die.

 

Again, let it rest for some time and edit it. This time, use the template closely by you. You’re training your brain to recognize errors more than it could now. You could think, “Oh, how did I miss that?”

 

You can have as many rounds as possible or as you want. Don’t forget to save your edited text separately. (See this list of ebook writing blunders to avoid on Ali Luke’s blog post on SmartBlogger.)

 

#2: Use grammar checkers.

 

You’ll be surprised how many errors your brain couldn’t catch. Grammar checker’s correction shouldn’t be taken as the final word. Word we got on the street is that it falters many times, so think well before you accept any correction from any. Otherwise, you may undo your edits. To be safe, check out a word’s grammar rule, punctuation rules, word usage, etc. before you accept corrections you doubt.

 

Grammarly is the grammar checker I use. It has a free version, which comes in handy for me. Download it here: http://grammarly.com

 

#3: Read it out loud.

 

This supersedes all grammar checkers on the planet. Once you read an awkward sentence, your brain will immediately flag it. It sounds crazy but that’s the fact.

 

Find a private place where you can read without any interruptions and read out loud. If you can’t do that, use text-to-speech software. I use NaturalReader, which you can download here: http://naturalreader.com

 

By this time, all errors in your book would have evaporated, save for the ones you overlooked because you’re familiar with it.

 

I’ll advise you to find a critique partner, someone you’ll swap manuscript with. He/she will be able to see errors you can’t see and so will you see errors he/she didn’t see.

 

At most, you can hire someone to proofread your book on Fiverr or oDesk.

Can (and Should) You Design Your Book Cover?

 

Writers popularly debate whether you should design your cover yourself or hire a professional cover designer. While some agree that, yes, you can design it yourself, a whole bunch of writers disagree.

 

But there’s a lot of gray areas on this issue, isn’t there? What if you can design your cover? What if you have PhotoShop ninja skills? What if you’re just starting out and don’t have the money? What if self-publishing is just your hobby?

 

Unanswered questions seem to have expanded the gray area.

 

Looking at it more closely, you’ll notice that writers who design their book covers tend to do other writing tasks themselves, like formatting their books, figuring out the technical problem of their author platform, and so on.

On the flipside, you’ll discover that writers who outsource their cover design and book formatting tend to outsource other tasks, too. They may not have time. They may have scaled up a bit. They may just be interested in writing their next book. But they outsource a lot. And it works for them all the time. How come?

 

First question…

 

Why do writers who outsource sell more books, make more books, and become more popular than those who didn’t?

 

Well, it’s not as if all DIY writers are writing in obscurity. But few get to scale up than those who just focus on writing only. It’s called the Pareto Principle.

 

Eighty percent of what you do results in twenty percent of your achievement while twenty percent of what you do results in eighty percent of your achievement.

 

Those writers understand this principle to the letter. That’s why they don’t even mind learning how to do it themselves. They write more books, write blogs, do podcasts, attend conferences and book signings, and still have time for themselves. They can’t do everything themselves and finish everything themselves, even if there are 48 hours a day.

 

So, it’s high time you got your priorities straight. If you plan to make a living writing, you’ll need to hire professionals to help you.

 

What if I can design my book cover? I have PhotoShop ninja skills.

 

You mean you would probably say the same thing for your car, wouldn’t you? Yes, no one’s going to stop you because you’re in control. That’s self-publishing.

 

But you’re going to pay with something: your time.

 

Let’s do some maths here. Suppose you’ve written two books and when you published the third, sales continue to shoot up. Maybe they are soimething like this below:

 

 

Suppose this happens in six weeks; that would be a book per two weeks. If you decide to do every other thing yourself, it could move up to a book per three weeks.

 

So, let’s calculate how many sales you would have lost if you try to do it yourself. The first instance is when you have published three books in six weeks. The total number of sales according to the above table would be 67 copies.

 

In the second instance, the total number of sales would be 22 copies.

 

If you had sticked to the latter, you’d have lost:

 

67 copies – 22 copies = 45 copies.

 

Writers who outsource understand this, and they strive to follow it everyday. They know the impact that 45 copies would have as compared to the 22 copies they’ve sold.

 

So, do you have ninja skills? You have to sacrifice something. You either get less done or work your ass off.

 

This is what I mean. Suppose you would work five hours a day to publish a book per two weeks, then you would have to do less if you slash an hour out of it for designing your cover. Or you could add an hour to your typical workday and bump it up to 6 hours. Choose one.

 

What if I’m just starting out?

 

Even if you’re just starting out, you’ll still have to sacrifice something. If you want to learn how to do it yourself, you’ll invest time. If you don’t want to do it yourself, you’ll pay someone else to do it.

 

If you’re just starting out, I advise you to pay for a cover design first. There are ways you can make it easier.

 

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Find or buy a stock photo or cover art. Cover art are rampant on the internet these days, but almost all of them come with a watermark or copyright licence. Only few are free and, yes, you don’t want to use them, especially if you’re writing fiction.

 

You can buy stock photos at:

http://123rf.com

http://shuttershock.com

http://pixabay.com

 

Also, you can find old paintaings at http://devianart.com or search the creative commons at http://creativecommons.org

 

*
p<>{color:#000;}. Pay someone on Fiverr or oDesk to put it together. This doesn’t cost more than $5 most times.

 

If you add all your expenses together, you’ll probably be $20 poorer. Suppose you spend $20 and sell 45 copies at $2 royalty each. That’s $90, which is more than double of your expenses.

 

I don’t have money to hire a professional cover designer. How do I learn how to design my cover myself?

 

Remember, if you want to achieve more, you should be spending your time doing productive things. But as you’ve chosen to learn how to DIY, it’s my job to point you to where you can learn faster.

 

How to design your book cover in MS Word: [+ http://www.thecreativepenn.com/2013/10/20/book-cover-design-ms-word/+]

 

This tutorial takes you step-by-step on how to design your cover on MS Word. You’ll probably think you can’t use the popular Word to design your cover, but actually, you can.

 

How to design your book cover in MS Word (YouTube): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nxrhP8wOg_0

 

Unlike the tutorial on TheCreativePenn, this tutorial takes you into the world of practically designing your book cover in Word.

 

So, are you saying that I can design my book covers myself?

 

Yes. And. No.

 

Yes, because you can if you want to. But you’ll sacrifice something for it. It may be writing your next book faster, publishing more books, anything.

 

No, because you have to hire a professional to help you design your cover if you’re thinking of the long run. Right after your book title, your cover is what people see next. Sometimes, they see the cover before the title, so you have to put in more effort.

 

On the flipside, if self-publishing a book is your hobby, then you’re free to design the cover yourself.

 

Good luck with it.

Formatting is for the Geeks and Nerds

 

You have just finished editing and proofreading your book. Now it’s waiting to be transformed into a book form.

 

Should you do it like your cover? Should you rather outsource it? Should you put in some work as you did for your book cover, finding cover arts and stock photos?

 

Well, it depends.

 

If your work is probably short and you know how to format books, you should do it yourself, however, if time permits. If your work is longer, even if you know what you’re doing, I’ll advise you to hire someone to do it. But even if your work is short or long, and you know nothing about formatting your books, you should hire someone to do it for you without a second thought.

 

You know geeks and nerds, right? They’re the brilliant students, always associated with science and study, and obssessed with technology. They’re the first to enter Physics class and the last to leave. They rarely socialize and they could hack Government systems if they have the determination.

 

Why did I say formatting is for them? Shouldn’t non-geeks try to format their books, too? Can’t non-geeks format their books?

 

Yes, everybody can try his or her hands on formatting a book. In fact, everybody can learn how to format a book. But I said formatting is only meant for them because they’re obssessed with it.

 

They don’t look at technology from a business perspective. They want to have control, even if they don’t know what they’re doing.

 

As I said earlier:

 

*
p<>{color:#000;}. If your work is short and you know what you’re doing, you can format your book if you can spare the time.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. If your work is longer, even if you know what you’re doing, I’d advise you to hire someone to format it for you.

*
p<>{color:#000;}. If your work is longer and you don’t know how to format it, don’t think twice before you hire a professional formatter.

 

But I’m a geek and I have the time.

 

Fine. Here are some tutorials for you:

 

YouTube tutorial on formatting ebook: [+ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=utnP8dLCdE4&feature=youtube_gdata_player+]

 

How to publish an ebook that sells like gangbuster: [+ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xa3C4n6ZGVw&feature=youtube_gdata_player+]

 

Formatting your document for Print-on-Demand: [+ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7FzvtxK686c&feature=youtube_gdata_player+]

 

 

Final Words

 

If you have followed this book from the beginning, you’re no more a beginner in self-publishing. You’re now a step ahead of many writers.

 

This book has streamlined all the process to the necessary ones, so that you won’t have to repeat someone else’s mistake or walk in circles.

 

Hi, I’m Abraham Adekunle. I stumbled upon the self-publishing a few years ago and I’ve been trying my best to learn how to do more by doing less.

 

Come join me as I continue learning how to write a book and self-publish it.

 

To kickstart your book writing process, I have a checklist for you. It contains all the steps you have to take in a streamlined manner as I’ve explained in this book.

 

Download the checklist here.

 

 

Got any suggestion, comment, or feedback? Send an email to abraham@writewithabraham.com

 


Self Publish Your Book

Do You Want to Learn How to Write and Self-Publish Your Book Even if You Know Nothing About It?We’re living in the best of all time where writing and self-publishing favors authors the most. Think about it:Writers used to work their ass off on their manuscript, pile up rejection letters and wait for years before being published, and wait another couple of months before the book is finally out.And what do they get? Stipend! Many never got their book rights back. Almost all writers received less than 20% royalty from publishers. Yet, the Big 6 would price the book way too high and even release the hardcover before the electronic and paperback version.But you know what, everything changed when self-publishing a better way surfaced. You can now self-publish your book faster, earn higher royalties, and keep your rights.Gamechanger, eh? There’s just one problem:Once you opt for self-publishing, you forgo what publishers used to offer free. Now, no more free cover design; no more professional line and copyedit; no more professional proofreading and formatting for your books.So, you’re left with two options: dance to the publishers’ tune and accept their conditions; or self-publish, earn higher, keep your rights, and do everything yourself.That, is the real problem, not self-publishing. You have to worry about everything. From writing to designing your book cover, to getting it into online and offline stores.Self-publishing isn’t a get-rich-quick scheme. In fact, you’re likely to publish a mediocre work if you do it yourself.But what about the newbies, the upcoming writers, and those without platform and audience? They can learn as they do it more.If you’re a writer, and self-publishing scares you, then this is the book you need.In Self-publish Your Book, I take you from choosing ideas that’ll appeal to an audience to publishing your book on Amazon Kindle. If you’re just starting out or still yet to know how to write and publish that book inside you, this is the book you need.Inside, you’ll learn:How to choose ideas for your book (both fiction and nonfiction.)How to plan, research, and outline your book to speed up the process.How to write your first draft faster, even if it’s your first time.The self-editing and proofreading technique that’ll make your writing 100% powerful.If you can (and should) design (or outsource) your book covers.The personality formatting fits.How to publish on online ebook stores.Feeling clueless? No need to again. Just scroll up and click the orange buy button. Download your copy today.

  • Author: Abe A.
  • Published: 2016-07-14 12:20:11
  • Words: 7799
Self Publish Your Book Self Publish Your Book