Self-Publishing: 5 Ideas To Write A Book TODAY

Self-Publishing: 5 Ideas To Write A Book TODAY

You want to write a book. It’s been on your To Do list for a couple of years. What if you could start writing today? You can. Self-publishing makes writing a book simple. Write, and publish.

Worried about how to format and upload your book?

Write a book, and publish it yourself

When I’m chatting with a new writing student and ask him about his biggest challenge in publishing a book, he tells me he doesn’t know how to publish it. My response is: “Did you know that you can simply upload a Word doc to Amazon, and let them do the formatting for you? You’ve created many Word docs. Your book is basically just another Word doc.”

Before you get to upload your book however, you need to write it. Here are some ideas which will get you started — today.

1. What’s on your mind? Find out

Inspiration happens while you’re writing.

Chances are that you’ve had dozens of moments in which you were inspired to write a book about (insert a topic here.) You thought, when reading a newspaper, or listening to a friend, or watching TV — “I could write a book about that.”

Perhaps you made a note.

Then you forgot about it.

Grab a timer, and set it for five minutes.

Write this phrase: I could write a book about…

Then keep writing for five minutes. Stop when the timer sounds.

I’ve given this simple exercise to dozens of students. Many of them did find a topic — or a glimmer of the plot, for the fiction writers — that got them started writing a book.

2. Check Amazon to see what’s selling. What’s popular?

I love Amazon. I spend far too much time (and money) there. I can always kid myself that I’m “researching” while I browse the Amazon book store.

Here’s a fact for you. No matter how old or young you are, or how much education you have, or don’t have, you have experiences and insights which can help others.

Not a nonfiction author? OK — if you’re writing fiction, you have a thousand stories locked in your mind.

Browse Amazon, then do the timer exercise we discussed above.

3. Got a blog? Turn a blog post into a book

I know… I’m always nagging you to blog, right? If you know me at all, I know you’re rolling your eyes because I’m urging blogging onto you again.

Let’s assume you have a blog.

Your blog is your enthusiasms, AND your experiences. Both of which are worth money. So go back to your very first blog post, and read your posts. All of them if you have under 50, if you have several hundred or thousands, check which posts got the most traction. Which of your posts was shared most often?

Any blog can be a goldmine of book ideas.

4. Turn an email message or a Facebook post into a book

In any week, I’ll write dozens of email messages in response to student and reader questions. If you’re a blogger, or answer questions as part of your job, you have a wonderful resource. You know what people want to know.

That’s immensely valuable. I’ve trained myself to go back at the end of the day, to look at all the questions I’ve answered. If I think something is particularly valuable for many people, rather than just one person, I copy the message into Evernote.

Although I’ve never used any of those messages as the seed for a book, I know many bloggers who have. Someone asked them just the right questions about their blog’s topic — weight loss, or online business, stress and burnout, branding — and they used that topic for a book.

5. Use the immense power of magazines: they do the research for you

I’m a big fan of magazines.com. I’ve suggested that website as a source of ideas to my students many times. My theory about why magazine covers are so inspiring is this: they help writers to see their ideas in terms of the audience.

Beginning writers especially find it a real challenge to target an audience. Most beginners write a book, and then go hunting for the audience. That’s exactly backwards. Start with the audience.

At magazines.com, that targeting is done for you. Many thousands of dollars of research goes into every magazine. You can see the results of that research on the cover — the cover is a magazine’s advertisement. It needs to instantly stand out, and be instantly be appealing to their audience.

Kill performance anxiety: just start writing

Every book you’ll ever write has challenges, and most of those challenges are easily overcome. You may never find the “perfect” bestselling topic or genre for you. By perfect, I mean that the book is easy to write — the words flow from your fingertips — and moreover, the book sells thousands of copies.

In around 40 years of writing, I’ve occasionally had a flash of pure inspiration. I got an idea, sat down to write the book, and finished it in a week or two. While pleasant, you can’t count on those flashes.

Choose a book idea, and start writing… today. 🙂

Resources to build your writing career

Watch for free contests, writing news and tips on the blog’s Facebook page.

Need help with your writing? Visit our online store, or check our our ebooks for writers.

Master Fiction Writing: Craft A Novel in 31 Days

Master Fiction Writing: Craft A Novel in 31 Days

$4.99
Author:
Series: Selling Writer Strategies, Book 4
Genre: Writing
Tag: writing fiction
You want to write a novel. Perhaps you can't get started. Or maybe you got started, and then you stopped.You need a plan, broken down into easy steps. This program began as a 30-day challenge which I organized for readers in 2010. Hundreds of writers joined the challenge and completed it. They wrote novels. More info →

Self-Publishing: 5 Essential Tips To Sell More Books Via Your Blog

Self-Publishing: 5 Essential Tips To Sell More Books Via Your Blog

You’re a self-publishing author. You have a blog. You wonder why your blog isn’t helping you to sell more books. You’re starting to think that blogging is a colossal waste of your time and energy.

It’s not, I promise you. Blogging can help you to sell more books, more consistently.

The self-publishing author has one concern: sell more books

“I want to sell more books!” I hear this plaintive wail over and over again. Not only from my writing students, but also from blog readers.

However, when I click over to the author’s blog, nine times out of ten my immediate reaction is… You could have fooled me.

Yes, there are a couple of books in the blog’s sidebar, but little else. Often these books aren’t even linked to the product page on Amazon, or anywhere else.

Look at:

  • Your sidebar;
  • Your blog’s footer;
  • Pages on your blog;
  • If you have a self-hosted WordPress blog, install MyBookTable.

You need to ensure that your blog’s real estate offers lots of opportunities for you to promote your books, AND for readers to EASILY BUY THEM. Getting a visitor to your blog is a huge accomplishment, please don’t waste website visits.

Now let’s look at some tips.

1. Create campaigns for each of your books: and target specifically

A huge challenge authors have when they want to sell more books is a lack of understanding of their book’s audiences.

Each of your books (ebooks too, of course), whether nonfiction or fiction has a specific audience. Often, there’ll be more than one audience. To sell more books, you’ll need to create a marketing campaign for each book, and for each of the audiences for that book.

For example, here’s one of my books, the Easy Write Process.

Let’s say I wanted to create a campaign to sell more copies.

I’d start by thinking about the audiences for that book, by listing possibilities. Audiences might include:

  • Bloggers, who need to write a lot;
  • Social media marketers, ditto;
  • New writers of both fiction and nonfiction;
  • Established writers of fiction, and nonfiction…

Without breaking your brain, I’m SURE that YOU could come up with at least two audiences for your book.

Your next step is to choose ONE of those audiences, and create a mini marketing campaign. Just a small one, so that you get an understanding of the marketing process.

Your campaign could include:

  • Ten blog posts;
  • 30 social media mentions over the next month;
  • Two online press releases;
  • 20 blog comments over the next month…

Your campaign can include anything you like. What you include is completely up to you. It’s vital however that you do know what your campaign will entail, how much time it will take you, and that you schedule your time.

If you’re already selling books, you can hire someone to do some of this work for you. That said, you can’t just toss all this into someone’s lap — YOU need to know, and create, a specific brief for each promotional venue.

You’re thinking that this will take time?

Yes, indeed it will. Looking on the bright side — each blog post you write increase your reach, so it’s well worth doing. Today, there’s a lot of competition for attention online, so to sell more books, you need to plan, and act.

2. Discover the power of social media (it’s not an instant fix)

Social media — Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest et al — is a big challenge for authors. Not because social media is hard, or boring, but because authors imagine that there’s an instant fix. Craft ten tweets, sell ten books.

It doesn’t exactly work that way… 😉

On social media, you need to build followers, as well as promote. That means that you can’t just promote your own stuff. You need to engage, and post others’ stuff as well as your own.

I suggest to my students that they schedule a few minutes every day, to post on ONE social media network, just to build awareness and build followers. Then your social media account is primed and ready for you use in your campaigns (see our first tip.)

3. Use social media to make more contacts: use other people’s audiences

You have a bunch of followers on social media.

Now it’s time to expand your reach, by using other people’s audiences.

Start by promoting the content of the people into whose audiences you’d like to tap. Comment on their blog posts. Mention them in your own blog posts.

Then, when you’ve done that for a while, suggest a collaboration.

This takes time. You won’t be able to do it in your first few campaigns. Much depends your audience — grow it, so that it’s appealing to others.

4. Be prepared to make an effort: WRITE and sell

This is a huge challenge for many authors. It’s hard to keep writing your books, AND to market them at the same time. It’s a challenge for everyone, but if you want to sell more books, you’ll need to do it.

Create campaigns, and follow your campaigns.

5. Set ONE major goal: build your mailing list

The bigger your mailing list, the more books you will sell.

Building that list however, takes time.

Expect that it will take time, and that you’ll need to build your mailing list one reader at a time.

When an author tells me: “yes, but I only have five people on my list”, I congratulate them, because:

  • They have a mailing list;
  • They know it’s important; and…
  • They can grow their list to ten people, then 100, then 500 and then 5,000.

The more people you have on your list, the easier it is to grow that list — and “the more people” proviso applies to everything.

The more readers you have, the more books you will sell

All of the above tips will help you to get readers, and sell more books.

The more readers you have, the more you will get. Success breeds success.

Everyone starts at zero. I often suggest to authors that your first five followers on your blog, or on a social media account, or on your mailing list, are the hardest. It gets easier. 🙂

If you’ve read this far, please take the next step: spend five minutes creating a campaign, and start selling more books. You can do it. 🙂

Resources to build your writing career

Watch for free contests, writing news and tips on the blog’s Facebook page.

Need help with your writing? Visit our online store, or check our our ebooks for writers.

Write Fast, Write Well: How To Be Prolific, and Sell – Powerful tips to increase your writing income

Write Fast, Write Well: How To Be Prolific, and Sell – Powerful tips to increase your writing income

$4.99
What If You Were Twice As Successful, Or Even THREE Times More Successful Than You Are Today? There's No Ceiling On A Writer's Income... You Just Need To Be Prolific. More info →
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Your Easiest Self-Publishing Strategy: 5 Tips

Your Easiest Self-Publishing Strategy: 5 Tips

Do you find self-publishing a challenge? Many writers do. I’ve been working with three writers who’ve been traditionally published, helping them to adjust to our brave new self-publishing world.

These three authors know how to write books. However, they’re intimidated at the idea of becoming publishers of their own books, so I created a mini-challenge for them: write a book in a week, and publish it. Yes, all in a week. (I gave the challenge as a writing exercise on the Fab Freelance Writing Facebook page.)

Write short and publish fast: the easiest self-publishing strategy

Traditional publishing tends to be slow. From memory, the last time I was commissioned to write a book by a traditional publisher, it took around 18 months for the book to hit bookstores. Believe it or not, that was FAST. (Giggle.) It seems unbelievable to me now, but back in the day it wasn’t unusual for a book to take three years from the initial idea to publication day.

Self-publishing is very different from traditional publishing, and to give authors confidence I challenge them to write and self-publish a short story, or a short nonfiction book, of between 5,000 and 10,000 words, in a week.

Now let’s look at our tips.

1. Think “short”, and write your blurb FIRST

The key to writing short and publishing fast is to choose something you know well. It cuts down on the research. If you’re writing a short story, choose a genre you know and love. For me, that’s the mystery genre.

Similarly, if you’re writing nonfiction, write about what you know. It can be anything, from how to bake cookies to how to sell on eBay. Once you’ve chosen a nonfiction topic, choose a slant. Your “slant” is your angle; your point of view, or opinion. For example, if you’re writing about cookies, your slant could be baking perfect chocolate chip cookies, from scratch.

Once you’ve chosen your genre, or topic and slant, write the blurb — the book description. In traditional publishing, the blurb is the back cover copy. In self-publishing, as we’ve said, it’s the book description.

In addition, find keywords. Amazon gives you seven keywords. Explore Amazon to find your seven.

Look on your blurb as your book’s outline. It may change, that’s fine. Writing your blurb before you start writing your book ensures that you’ll actually publish. Self-publishers tend to find blurbs and keywords challenging. Get it done now, before you start writing, so you won’t procrastinate when it’s time to publish.

2. Buy (or create) a cover image before you start writing

I never feel that a book is “real” until I have a cover for it.

For short ebooks, paying $500 for a great cover is pointless. Buy a premade cover (search on Google, you’ll find many designers selling premade covers.) Reasonably competent? Design your own. Alternatively, for the simplest option, choose to use Amazon’s Cover Designer when you upload to Amazon.

3. Write your ebook in three days: schedule the time

Can you write 5,000 words in three days?

Of course you can. Just schedule the time. Even on my worst days, I can manage 1,000 words an hour. If you’re a new author, it may take you longer. That’s OK — schedule your time.

4. Edit fast — slash, add, and then revise: keep your blurb in mind

Words done? Kudos to you. 🙂

Now it’s time for revision and editing.

I’ve written about editing your writing here.

Pay attention to your blurb while you’re editing. You may need to change your blurb, that’s fine — after writing your draft, you have a much clearer idea of what your book is about.

Slash away everything that’s not needed. Then add content. Next, read through what you have. I use Scrivener, which makes it easy to compile a book into MOBI (Amazon) format, and read it as a reader will.

A common question I receive is: “do I need an editor?” For longer books, yes. For shorter books, edit it yourself. I know it’s challenging; you’ll get better with practice.

5. Publish to KDP Select: it’s not ideal, but why not?

You’re all done. You’ve written and edited your book.

Your book matches your blurb, and your cover is done.

Publication time… 🙂

I wrote about ebook sales here. Since September, many authors are finding that their numbers are down. To counteract this, they’re removing their books from KDP Select because it gives Amazon an exclusive, and makes their ebooks available for free to Kindle Unlimited (KU) subscribers. All those KU readers tend to cannibalize sales.

Here’s what I suggest. Publish to KDP Select. Even if you make no sales, you’ll make a little money with KU’s pages read, and KU definitely helps your visibility, so you’ll sell more ebooks overall. Ditto if you’re a new author.

These days, many authors are pulling their books from KDP Select, and are “going wide” — that is, publishing on several ebook retailers. For short ebooks however, unless you have a real reason not to opt for KDP Select, I suggest enrolling your ebooks there. It eliminates hassles.

You can always change your mind and remove your books in three months if you’re not happy. 🙂

Self-publishing is easy. Paradoxically, it’s amazingly complex too

The days when you could publish an ebook, and make hundreds or thousands of dollars a month have gone, for most authors. These days, you need to promote your ebooks.

That said, I’ve found a tendency among my students and other authors to over-compensate on the marketing side. They spend so much time fiddling with their Facebook advertising and finding new venues to promote that their writing suffers.

Self-publishing is easy, and amazingly complex at the same time.

Everything starts with writing, however. So write an ebook and publish it, in a week. You’ll learn a lot about yourself, and about self-publishing. You may even make a little money. Have fun. 🙂

Resources to build your writing career

Watch for free contests, writing news and tips on the blog’s Facebook page.

Need help with your writing? Visit our online store, or check our our ebooks for writers.

Master Fiction Writing: Craft A Novel in 31 Days

Master Fiction Writing: Craft A Novel in 31 Days

$4.99
Author:
Series: Selling Writer Strategies, Book 4
Genre: Writing
Tag: writing fiction
You want to write a novel. Perhaps you can't get started. Or maybe you got started, and then you stopped.You need a plan, broken down into easy steps. This program began as a 30-day challenge which I organized for readers in 2010. Hundreds of writers joined the challenge and completed it. They wrote novels. More info →