How to Copyright a Book self-publishingschool

How to Copyright a Book

We’re going to look at something that petrifies most authors: how to copyright a book. Why is this scary topic worth delving into? Well, if you don’t copyright your work you could find yourself in this nightmare scenario:

While waiting for your flight, you step into the bookstore to kill some time. You pick a book off the bestsellers shelf, flip to a random page and start reading. All of a sudden you realize there’s something wrong. Every word on this page feels eerily familiar. You flip to another page, and sure enough, the dialogue between the characters is very similar to stuff you’ve written. In fact, certain parts are exactly the same word for word. Even the plot is the same as your literary work, except instead of the main character being a thirty-one-year-old lawyer named Blaine, he’s a thirty-one-year-old lawyer named Wayne…

Don’t let this be you. Copyright laws, copyright infringement, and the world of angry lawyers can be intimidating (alright…maybe the lawyers aren’t too angry and the situations aren’t that dramatic,) but it is important. As an author, it’s best to know what you can and can’t do in regards to copyrighting when self-publishing your own book.

(Even though we use the word book a lot in this article, everything we discuss also covers the kindle & e-book world.)

Let’s get started.


Self-Publishing School Is No Replacement For Your Attorney (As Much As We Would Like to Be.)

It’s Not Only About How to Copyright a Book…

Your Copyright Page.

A Note on Disclaimers.

What Rights Does Copyright Protection Grant You?

Plagiarism vs Copyright.

The 10 Most Common Questions.

Boring, Yet Cool Legal Terms You Should Know.

Wrapping Up.

Self-Publishing School Is No Replacement for Your Attorney (As Much as We Would Like to Be.)

Before we go on we need to include this disclaimer: as much as we’d like to one day be the one stop shop for everything to do with self-publishing, we are not a replacement for your attorney. Nothing we write here is a replacement for professional advice. We recommend talking to a lawyer when seeking legal advice.

However, with that disclaimer out of the way, we do want to make the topic of copyright as accessible as possible to authors. So we did our research and answered the most common questions authors ask when it comes to copyright protection.

It’s Not Only About How to Copyright a Book…

With the explosion of self-publishing, indie authors must be aware of what they can and can’t do when it comes to quoting, borrowing, and publishing artistic works from other authors. This post isn’t to “scare” you, but to give some insight into how you can protect yourself and your own original work from being misused or stolen.

In this post we will also look at the 10 most common questions authors ask when it comes to copyright concerns, for both their own works and when borrowing from other sources.

But first, it all begins with creating the copyright page in your book.

Your Copyright Page.

Open any book that may be sitting near your desk right now. What do you notice within the first few pages? The copyright page.

Whether the book is self-published or through a traditional publisher, there’s a copyright page inside and within the first few pages of every book. Typically, the copyright page will appear in your book right after the title page and just before the table of contents.

The main components to include in your book’s copyright page are:

  • The copyright notice. This has the little © copyright symbol or you can use the word “copyright.” So, it would look like this: ©2017 Jane Doe
  • The year of publication of the book
  • The name of the owner of the works, which is usually the author or publishing house name.
  • Ordering information
  • Reservation of rights
  • Copyright notice
  • Book editions
  • ISBN Number
  • Your website (you want them to find you, right?)
  • Credits to the book (cover designer, editor)
  • Disclaimer

Take a look at this example from Chandler Bolt’s book Published. The Proven Path from Blank Page to Published Author.


A Note on Disclaimers.

If you’re writing a book on personal health, success as an entrepreneur, providing financial advice—anything that readers could fail at—you should consider an extended disclaimer.

For example, if you give advice on earning a million dollars this year, and the reader ends up losing money, you could be blamed for their misfortune because of a promise you made. However, an extended disclaimer could have protected you.

Consider putting an extended disclaimer in your book that comes after the copyright jargon to protect your opinions, advice and information. In other words, tell readers that they are reading your book and applying your advice at their own risk.

Here are some examples of disclaimers.

Fiction Disclaimer:

The characters in this book are entirely fictional. Any resemblance to actual persons living or dead is entirely coincidental.

Nonfiction Disclaimer:

The advice and strategies found within may not be suitable for every situation. This work is sold with the understanding that neither the author nor the publisher are held responsible for the results accrued from the advice in this book.

For further examples of a book’s copyright page and disclaimers you can check out Kindlepreneur.

What Rights Does Copyright Protection Grant You?

When you copyright your work, your ideas aren’t protected, but the expression of your ideas or facts is. Otherwise Star-Trek & Star Wars (and many science fiction novels) would have needed the permission of John W. Campbell, Jr. to feature the ideas of warp drives and hyperspace travel. Or George Orwell would have infringed on the copyright of We‘s author Yevgeny Zamyatin, when he copied the plot and conclusion for 1984.

Idea recycling is not copyright infringement, but someone copying the style and words you use to express those ideas is.

As a copyright owner you possess the exclusive rights:

  • To produce copies or reproductions of the work
  • To import or export the work
  • To create derivative works
  • To perform or display the work publicly
  • To sell or cede these rights to others

Exclusive means that these rights are yours, and remain yours until you choose otherwise (for example when you grant a publishing company the right to print copies of your book), or the duration of your copyright expires. However,

  • If someone sells your work without your permission, then that’s copyright infringement.
  • If someone publishes your work without your permission, then that’s copyright infringement.
  • If someone acts out your work in the theater without your permission… you get the idea.

Plagiarism vs Copyright.

Don’t mistake copyright infringement for plagiarism. While they do seem and sound similar, and sometimes can occur at the same time, they are two different things. Plagiarism is when someone copies another’s original work without credit, trying to pass it off as their own. Copyright infringement covers a wider variety of cases, as copyright protects you from someone copying the expression of your ideas and passing it off as their own original work.

The 10 Most Common Questions.

With the massive expansion of self-publishing today, it is more important than ever for authors and artists who put their creative work out there to ensure they are fully protected.

When we borrow work from other authors, living or dead, we have to consider:

  1. What can I actually use?
  2. When is permission needed?

Here is the golden rule when it comes to copyright laws: Never assume that anything is free! Everything out there, including on the internet, has been created by someone.

Here are common questions authors have about protecting themselves, their works, and others they may have quoted in their books:

1. Do I have to register my book before it is copyrighted?

Your book (or e-book) is legally copyrighted as soon as it is written. This even holds for unpublished works. However, if you want to protect your material under the fullest extent of the law, register your book with the Federal Copyright Office. On the chance someone does attempt to pirate your book or portions of it, registering with the US Copyright Office will give you greater leverage if you need to take legal action. You will need to pay a small filing fee when registering.

2. How many words can I quote from another book or source?

There are no set rules on how much you can actually “borrow” from existing works. But, it’s best to exercise common sense here and keep it short. A general rule is to keep it under 300 words.

Paul Rapp, a lawyer specializing in intellectual property rights, says that “if the quote drives your narrative, if you are using an author’s quote in your argument, or if you are giving an opinion on an author’s quote, then it is considered fair use.”

What is fair use?

legal concept that allows the reproduction of copyrighted material for certain purposes without obtaining permission and without paying a fee or royalty. Purposes permitting the application of fair use generally include review, news reporting, teaching, or scholarly research.

If you use something published by someone else with the sole purpose of monetary gain, this doesn’t constitute fair use.

3. Can I write about real people?

Especially in works of nonfiction, real people are often mentioned to express an opinion or as an example to clarify a fact or opinion. Generally, you can use the names of real people as long as the material isn’t damaging to their reputation or libelous. Stick to the facts and write about what is true based on your research.

4. Can I borrow lyrics from songs?

Stephen King often used song lyrics for his books including Christine and The Stand. He obtained permission for these works. Regarding Christine, King says, “Lyrics quotes in this book are assigned to the singer most commonly associated with them. This may offend the purist who feels that a song lyric belongs more to the writer than the singer.”

Song lyrics fall under strict copyright even if it is just a single line used. Try to get permission if you use a song. You can contact the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) or Broadcast Music, Inc. (BMI). Once you find the rights owner, you have to ask for permission through writing.

5. Do I need permission to borrow material from a book that is over 100 years old?

Once the copyright on a book or material has expired, or the author has been dead for seventy years, the work enters into the public domain and you can use it without permission or licensing. BUT this does vary country to country. You can check the terms of a work’s copyright in the US here.

6. Are authors liable for content used in a book?

Yup. Even with traditional publishing houses, the author is still responsible for the content written and used in the book. In fact, traditionally published authors usually have to sign a waiver that removes the publisher from any liability pertaining to the material the author used if the writer included that material without proper permission. And you already know, as a self-published author, you’re on your own.

7. If I use an inspirational quote from another writer or famous person, do I need permission?

You don’t need permission to use quotes in a book provided that you credit the person who created it and/or spoke the quote.

For example:

“Is all that we see or seem but a dream within a dream.” –Edgar Allan Poe

8. What is the best way to protect my work from being stolen?

Your work is copyrighted as soon as it is written. But you can register your work with the US copyright office. If you have a blog where you also post content, you need to have a Terms & Privacy disclaimer on your page. This would preferably be at the top where it is easy to see, although many writers and bloggers include this at the bottom of every page. You should also include your copyright on your blog that protects your content from being copied and pasted into another site without permission or recognition. If you don’t mind people copying your work online, but would like to be given credit, you can look into the creative commons license.

9. A royalty free stock photo means that I can use it for free and don’t have to get permission, right?

Wrong. Most stock photos have copyright, even if they appear in search engines and you can easily download or copy them. If you grab a photo off the net and think you can slap it on a book cover or use it for free in your book, think again. It’s recommended you purchase photos through sites such as Shutterstock or Depositphotos.

10. A friend told me I can save on the copyright fee and legally protect myself by mailing a copy of my work to myself. Is this true?

Simple answer: No. 

This is known as “poor man’s copyright”. It’s sometimes suggested as an alternative to intellectual property registration, for people who want to save the hassle and cost of registration. The argument being that if you ever find yourself in court protecting your rights, having mailed your work to yourself, you created a legal and public record that you had the work in your possession at a specified date, thus allowing you to claim the work as yours. This can be useful in certain countries for protecting intellectual property, for example with patents in the UK.

But does this work under U.S. copyright law? No.

Here’s what the federal copyright office has to say about this on their website: “The practice of sending a copy of your own work to yourself is sometimes called a ‘poor man’s copyright.’ There is no provision in the copyright law regarding any such type of protection, and it is not a substitute for registration.”

If you ever want to find yourself laughed at in a courtroom, it’s a neat trick. But if you want to legally protect your original work, then file your copyrighted work with

Boring, Yet Cool Legal Terms You Should Know.

I know, I know…we would rather write books, rake in the cash, and sign autographs than worry about technical legal jargon. But the more you know, the more time you can spend writing without wondering, “Is this legal?” Here are some legal terms to keep you informed on your rights as a self-publisher and protect your works:

Before you publish your next book, take a few minutes to read over this “brief” report from the United States Copyright Office. You can also check out this handy guideline for authors on what needs permission vs. what you can use without asking.

Wrapping Up.

A legally protected author is a profitable author (or at least they have the potential to be). The world of copyright can seem overwhelming at first, but as you’ve just read, there’s not much to it once it’s been broken down. As an author you only need to worry about two things: protecting your work and not infringing on the copyrights of others. If in doubt of whether you can use someone else’s work, ask permission, and make sure to register your copyright with

How to Write a Book

How to Write a Book: From Blank Page to Published Author in 90 Days

If you’ve ever tried to write a book, you know how it goes:

You stare at a blank page for 5 minutes, but it feels like hours. To combat boredom, you stand, stretch, and brew another pot of coffee. While you wait, you do some stretches, look outside and daydream about mowing the lawn. But then you stop yourself. You told yourself today is the day you’ll finally start writing your book.

You take your cup of coffee back to your desk. You now feel refreshed, you’re certain the words will flow and you’ll write that perfect book your audience will love. But first, you quickly check Facebook. You tell yourself you’ll only take five minutes…

The following week, a friend asks how your book is coming, and you think, “Book? What book?”

There are plenty of reasons why writing a book, whether fiction or nonfiction, puts most writers directly into procrastination mode. Maybe you’re just not sure how to get started. Perhaps spilling your guts onto the page for the world to see makes you want to run far away from the nearest computer. Or maybe you’re insecure about the quality of your writing, and you’re afraid of getting slammed by negative review after negative review.

Or even worse: what if once you do publish your book, nobody ever buys it and all that effort goes to waste?

How to Write a Book in 30 Days.

Take a deep breath (but no more coffee, you’ve had enough.) Remember that all authors have been exactly where you are right now. All successful writers—from William Shakespeare to Walt Whitman to Stephen King—began by staring at a blank page. You’re in illustrious company!

I’m here to help. This IS something you can do, you just need to know the steps to get there. You can—and will—write your book in 30 days. I’ve got you covered on all aspects of getting started. Read on and crush your fear of writing and publishing your book.

The More You Write, the Better You Get.

From the terror of the white screen to a completed book in 30 days—how is that even possible?

You’re probably thinking, “I’m not a good enough writer. I need to do_____ before I start writing.”

Well I’m here to tell you that:

  • You don’t need a creative writing class.
  • You don’t need a good writing mentor (though it does help).
  • You don’t need to read thousands of good books.

You only need one thing. You need a system.

Practice is not only how you get an entire book written. Practice is how you get a good book written.

As with anything we learn, writing is a skill. And as a skill it is to be honed over time, because it requires practice to master. Letting go of the idea that you’re not good enough will help you make the mindset switch from “I Can’t!” to “Let’s Get This Done!”

When it comes to good writing, the more you do it, the better you’ll get.

Purpose Driven Writing: What’s Your WHY?

Before you open your laptop and start daydreaming about which photographer should take your best-selling author headshot, or about getting interviewed on Oprah, you need to answer one question:

Why do you want to write a book?

It’s not enough to have an inspiring book idea. Before you put pen to paper, you need to know your purpose.

I won’t lie, writing a book is rewarding, but it requires hard work. It requires emotional labor, long nights (or early mornings), and facing a constant self-critical process that is unlike anything you’ve experienced before. Solidifying the purpose fueling your book will carry you through this difficult process, and ultimately, the publishing and marketing process.

Ok, you’re thinking—“Don’t worry, I know why I want to write a book. I want to write to feel important!” That’s an interesting thought, and feeling important may be a byproduct of becoming a published author.

However, feeling important isn’t the same as your purpose—your WHY. Feelings are fleeting, whereas a purpose is a deeper, intrinsic motivator which will keep you burning the midnight oil to power through Chapter 23 when the rush of feelings have long dissipated.

While thinking of your own purpose, you may consider why other published authors have taken the leap to write their own books:

  • Authority: To build credibility.
  • Money: For financial gain or business success.
  • Grow a network: To meet and connect with others in the industry.
  • Passion project: To share an empowering story for the greater good.

Authority, money, networking, and passion may resonate with you; one of those might be your purpose. Or, your purpose may be something completely independent from this list. There are no wrong or right purposes for writing a book. Your WHY will be unique to you.

Sandra Bass Joines, a member of the Self-Publishing School community, wrote on Facebook about finding the WHY behind her book, and how it helped to fuel her creative process.

Sandra writes:

Having just gone through a pretty nasty spine surgery, I decided to write about that topic, although I questioned what I had to offer. After struggling through mind mapping and outlining and writing about 10,000 words, I still did not know why I was writing the darn book.

I am a person who needs to know not only the what but also the why, how, when, where… all of it. Drove my teachers and parents crazy. Sitting in the waiting room before a follow-up appointment with my surgeon, I overheard two women talking. It was apparent that both of the women were recovering from surgery. One woman had legs and feet that pretty much resembled those of an alligator. She was telling the other woman how she had asked her husband to put lotion on her feet and legs, but he never got around to it, and she was so tired of not being able to do things for herself. The other woman agreed.

Having discovered a method of putting lotion on my feet and legs without bending and therefore preventing pain, I asked the women if I could share something with them. So, sitting in the waiting room, I began to show these two women my method. Soon, there were others who were standing around. When I saw the surgeon, he smiled and said that he understood I was conducting classes in his waiting room.

Well, the light went off. I could help people. I could write a book. I could share how I prepared my home and found efficient ways to take care of myself that helped relieve my caregivers of their duties and reduced my pain and stress.

I went home, tossed my 10,000 words and started over. I had a why to my what. I had a purpose. And I think that is the secret. If there is a purpose, there is a book.

Now, I have a book that has been through the formatting stage and it is almost ready to start its life, and I feel it will actually help many people.

SPS [Self-Publishing School] works. It is an awesome program. My comments to you new folks, find your why and follow the program. The rest will come. Best of luck to all of you.

Once you’ve honed in on your WHY and your purpose, let your purpose help focus your writing. By keeping your purpose at the forefront of your creative process, you’ll make the writing process quicker and smoother than you thought possible.


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Excuses Be Gone.

You’ve figured out your WHY and articulated your unique purpose for your book. And right on cue, something is going to begin: your excuses.

When there’s nothing standing in your way, it’s sadly typical to start letting excuses become the obstacle to your success. It’s perfectly natural, and it’s part of being human.

But you can overcome it.

It’s worthwhile to spend a little time addressing some common excuses many of us make to prevent us from writing. Once you’ve cleared out the cobwebs and smashed those mental roadblocks, you’ll be better prepared for the writing process ahead. Getting your mind ready is one of the first steps to producing valuable work.

Excuse #1: I don’t know what to write.

You have a story. In fact, you may be pleasantly surprised to find as you write that you have more than one story and you’re having a tough time narrowing down the content.

Your first book should be about a topic you’re comfortable with. You can literally write a book about anything, so go with what you know. Start by brainstorming and let your thoughts run free.

Excuse #2: I don’t have enough time.

Today, we’re all busy. Writing a book takes less time than you think. Find an hour a day you devote to something mindless—social media, video games, internet, or TV—and start writing.

And if you don’t have an hour, try 30 minutes. Even 5 minutes 3 times a day can be a source of massive productivity. Think about it. The average person can type 60 words a minute. 60 words x 5 minutes = 300 words. Do that 3 times a day and you’ll produce close to 1000 words a day.

You’ll amaze yourself at how an hour per day adds up to something productive!

Excuse #3: Good writers spend all their free time reading.

You might actually need to cut down on reading, at least temporarily, in order to give yourself time to write.

Besides, you don’t need to be a literary connoisseur to write. Your writing style is your own. As you write, you’ll find your natural voice, in fact, trying to emulate another’s style or tone will stifle your own process.

Excuse #4: I’m not an expert.

According to Google, the definition of an expert is “a person who has a comprehensive and authoritative knowledge of, or skill, in a particular area.” An expert can also simply be someone who knows more about a subject than someone else.

Do you know a lot about a certain topic? Congrats, per the above definition, you’re an expert!

Excuse #5: The first draft must be perfect.

A draft is a work-in-progress, and the goal is simply to get it on paper. A draft will have mistakes and that’s okay—that’s what the editing process is for.

As Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg said, “Done is better than perfect.” If it works for a multi-billion-dollar company, it should work for your first self-published book.

Don’t get me wrong, as I’ve already said, writing is hard work. But shedding these excuses should help get you into a positive frame of mind for the writing process.

Once you’ve got the right mindset to write, it’s time to start thinking and planning about how to carry out the physical process of writing your book.

Setting the Stage: Get Ready to Write.

The day is here, the day that sets you on the path to becoming a published author. How exciting!

We’ve talked about the WHY and obliterated your excuses. It’s time to start your prep work. Before words make it onto the page, you need to focus on three prep elements: planning, time, and environment.

Plan When You’ll Write.

Without a plan, it’s too easy to let your book writing goals get pushed to the background, eventually fading into the soft mist of someday. Don’t let your book end up in the graveyard of dreams. In order to realize your end goal, you need actionable steps to follow. Here are three things you can do to create your own customized book writing plan:

  1. Plan writing sessions using your calendar
  2. Choose the time of day you plan to write
  3. Set a schedule for your book-writing project

1. Plan writing sessions using your calendar.

Assess what’s going on in your life in the next 30 days, then block out when you can write, and when you can’t. It’s common for new writers to set unrealistic time goals, which in turn generates stress when it’s impossible to meet those arbitrary deadlines. Avoid this and stay realistic. Thirty minutes (or even 5 minutes) spent writing is better than nothing, so resolve to make it happen and find the time.

Look at Laura Bennett, a Self-Publishing School student. She was working full-time, running a business, and working on her Master’s degree—busier than most people—yet she found the time to write her book Live Your Dream: How to Cut the Crap and Prioritize Your Purpose in two months! If Laura could make it happen, then writing your book is certainly an attainable dream.

2. Choose the time of day you plan to write.

You might decide to get up early and write before the obligations of your day crowd out your writing time. But if you’d win the gold medal in the Olympic Sport of snooze-button slapping, then choose a different time or make sure you get to bed earlier so you’re fresh in the morning.

If your evenings are free, but your brain is mush and you’re only good for sinking deep into the couch cushions, then choose a different time or rearrange your schedule so you aren’t so burned out in the evenings.

Alternatively, you can grab some time on your lunch break, or sneak small blocks of time into your workday, such as when you’re transitioning between activities, or waiting for a meeting to start.

Whatever time of day is convenient for you, stick with it so that it becomes a predictable part of your day. This will establish a writing habit.

3. Set a deadline for your book-writing project.

Setting an end date forces you to stay on schedule and keep the forward momentum going. How do you choose a deadline when you have no idea how long the book-writing process will take? Writing a book takes far less time than you might think!

Self-Publishing School recommends writing until you hit a daily word count of 500-1,000 words. As long as you commit to one hour (or less!) each day, you should be able to reach that goal. After 30 days of daily writing sessions, you will have completed a 30,000-word draft. Consistency is key. Small, consistent actions towards writing your book is how it comes to life.

If that schedule doesn’t work, then commit to a time period and a daily word count which does. It’s okay if that’s 15 minutes per day. The ultimate goal is your rear end in the writing seat for that allocated period of time each day.

Share the end date of your first completed draft with others so you have extrinsic motivation to keep moving toward that finish line. It’s a good idea to choose an editor for your book (before you finish your first draft) and schedule when you’ll have the completed first draft of the manuscript in that person’s hands. That way, if you’re tempted to flake out and put off a writing session, that looming deadline can help keep you going.

Create Your Writing Environment.

The “best” writing environment is going to be personal to you. We all work well in different settings, so with that in mind, consider these general guidelines to boost your productivity.

  1. Minimize distractions. Laundry, kids, the dog that wants to go for a walk, email—nope, not during your writing time. Focus on your writing, and the rest can wait. Some like to escape to a coffee shop because the buzz from the crowd and the caffeine keeps their fingers flying across the keyboard.
  2. Choose a comfortable work space. Once your tush is planted firmly in your seat, you don’t want your physical discomfort to detract from your creativity. Pick a spot that’s not so comfortable you’ll fall asleep, but comfy enough to keep you typing for the duration of your allotted writing time.
  3. Pick your favorite background noise. Find your happy ambient background. Whether that’s total silence or Pandora’s Party Music, we each know what background noise keeps us focused. Consider some meditation music with binaural beats to get you in the zone. Again, some people find heaven while writing at a coffee shop, while others find the chatter distracting.

You might need to experiment to find the writing environment that allows you to focus and write freely. Bottom line: Find the writing environment that makes you comfortable and go with it. Once you find the best creative process for you, you’ll even look forward to writing!

Strategic Writing Methods.

Now we’re on to the actual writing (finally!) Without further ado, let’s look at four detailed strategies to make writing your book as productive and painless as possible!

1. The Mind Map Method: From Brain Dump to Book.

First, create a mind map—basically, a brain dump—on your book’s topic. Start your mind map by writing your intended topic in the center of a blank sheet of paper. From there, use lines and words to draw as many connections from that one topic as you can. Your mind map gives you the benefits of writing in free-form and creating structure from all the connections you make.

Once you’ve exhausted the number of topics in your mind map, it’s time to outline. Use the ideas and connections generated in your mind map to create a clear outline for your writing, chapter by chapter.

And finally, start writing. It’s that simple!

This method works if you’re the sort that likes to plan ahead. It may also appeal if you’re not tech-savvy, as the “old-fashioned” free-hand mapping concept might allow more creative freedom than if you were behind a keyboard. The ultimate outcome of using this method is the generation of lots of topics and free-form thoughts.

2. The Sticky Note Method: Collect Your Thoughts.

Instead of using the mind mapping structure, this method uses sticky notes to form an outline. For about a week, carry around sticky notes and write down anything and everything that crosses your mind regarding possible book topics.

When the week is up, organize all of your sticky notes into sections and themes. Then, organize these themes into the patterns that would make sense in the context of chapters of your book. You can then elaborate in areas where you notice missing pieces to the puzzle, and use all of the material you’ve gathered and organized to create an outline.

This method may be helpful if you’re struggling with the notion of committing to writing a whole book, since it lets you break down the process into manageable pieces. The ultimate outcome of using this method is deeper thinking, clarity, and concise organization of thoughts and patterns.

3. The Speaker Method: Write a Book Without Actually Writing.

This method gives you two options to start your outline process: either mind map or use sticky notes. Once you’ve organized these thoughts into an outline, you’ll then use a transcription app or device to record your spoken words to create your book draft.

This method works if you’re a strong speaker, and you prefer speaking to writing. The ultimate outcome is that you can create your book draft as quickly as possible, with no actual writing on your part. Writing a book without writing—clever!

4. The Transcription Method: Record, Then Write.

The first step to this method is to organize your brainstorming and outline using, again, either mind mapping or sticky notes. Then you’ll speak your first draft aloud into a recording app or device, which you’ll then transcribe into writing. This differs from “The Speaker” method because, instead of using an app or service to transcribe your words, you’re the one transcribing and typing the written draft.

Why would you bother taking that extra step? For those of us who have tons of ideas but can’t winnow them down or organize them cohesively by speaking alone, this method can help us get the words out, and then decide what to toss once we hear it played back.

This is also a method to consider if you’re struggling with having stagnant writing and need a fresh way to spice things up.

Pick the strategic method that speaks to you and your process, and get started on that book!

Overcoming Writing Challenges: Solutions to Common Problems.

It’s not a matter of if, but when, you’ll face adversity during your book writing process. Most commonly, writers struggle with getting a manuscript finished in a reasonable length of time; or they’re making no progress whatsoever when faced with a dreadful case of writer’s block. Here are cures for both issues.

How to Write Faster.

Writing faster means getting to publication—and to profits—that much sooner. Try these pro tips to maximize your daily word count.

  • Flex your writing muscles each day. The more you work, the more efficient you’ll get. Create your writing routine and stick to it!
  • If you get stuck on a particular section and stop making progress, find a different part of the book that appeals to you today and write that section.
  • Planning and research can be necessary—or a method of procrastination. Limit your prep work to a reasonable timeframe so it won’t preclude you from writing. Use a timer if it helps you stay on track.
  • A partner to hold you accountable to the goals you’ve set for yourself can keep you on track. Set up weekly meetings to review work and cheer each other on.

How to Beat Writer’s Block.

Writer’s block can rear its ugly head in many ways. For some, being blocked means no words at all, while for others, it means trying to nail down a functional draft in the midst of a tornado of swirling ideas. Most of the time, writer’s block is a symptom of a paralyzing fear of others’ opinions.

The harsh reality is, if you write, at some point you’ll be on a first-name basis with a bout of the block. The only way to deal with it is to beat it. Here are eight methods I’ve found personally useful to defeat writer’s block.

  1. Circle back to your mind map or outline and see if there’s useful info that sparks fresh inspiration. Sometimes it just takes looking back at the bigger picture to remind you where you’re going with your draft.
  2. Change up the physical way you’re writing; sometimes a simple shift can boost creativity. If you use a laptop, put pen to pad. Try some new music, a new location, or new beverage to sip at your desk.
  3. If you find you start writing slowly and warm up as time goes on, allow adequate time during your writing sessions to get the creative juices flowing.
  4. Review what you wrote the day prior to refresh your memory.
  5. Talk it out. Sometimes a quick conversation with yourself is enough to work through writer’s block. Or call a friend and bounce some ideas off them if you’re truly stuck.
  6. Remember that what you’re writing doesn’t need to be perfect—you’re writing a first draft. If you have a case of perfectionist syndrome, tell yourself it’s okay to write something you’ll think is terrible. Making something good is what second drafts and the editing process is for. “Done is better than perfect.”
  7. Go for a walk. You might be surprised at how a walk outside, or a brief bit of exercise, helps refresh and recharge your creative juices.
  8. Read another author who has a style you like. Read their book for 10 minutes and then start typing, holding their voice in your head.

Now that you know ways to work around common writing challenges, there’s no excuse for throwing in the towel when the going gets tough. Keep pushing forward and you’ll be printing out the last page of your book before you know it.

Keep Going: You’re Almost There!

Now you know not only how to get started writing your book, but how to complete your book project in a mere 30 days! Remember to keep your WHY at the forefront of your mind, and you’ll be able to crush any and all obstacles that get in your way. If any of the common challenges or obstacles we’ve mentioned rear their ugly head, you’ll know how to deal with them. With just a little bit of time and a lot of determination, you are on your way to officially calling yourself an author.

how to get isbn

How to Get an ISBN: Cracking the Code for Self-Publishers

In the early days of World War 2, the Japanese military sent messages back and forth. The Allies needed to crack their intricate numbering system to get an edge in the war and turn the tables. But how did they crack this complex system? MI6 recruited a young mathematician named Gordon Foster to work as a codebreaker at Bletchley Park, where he scanned millions of numbers looking for patterns in the code.

Decades later, when the book industry needed a standardized tracking programme in order to coordinate the increasing number of titles being published each year, Gordon Foster was approached by WH Smith, a British retailer, to write a report on how to create such a system.

This report led to the 9-digit standard book number which went live in the UK in 1967, and eventually led to the ISBN system used worldwide. Several years later this turned into a 10-digit numbering system when a policy was needed for new editions and variations. Then, in 2007, the ISBN switched to a 13-digit format and is now the standard used everywhere.

ISBN stands for “International Standard Book Number” and, before it was implemented in 1967, the method and system for cataloging, ordering, organizing, and locating a specific book was a chaotic mess.

Today, to get your book into a bookstore, a library, or almost any book distribution channel on the planet, you need an ISBN.

But how does this long string of numbers on the back of books work? How do you get it? If you’re a self-publisher, do you need an ISBN? Why would you need one?

These are all questions answered in this article. It’s a mammoth of a post and will get quite technical at certain points. If you just want to know if you should get an ISBN as a self-publisher, and where to get it, feel free to skip these sections.

With that disclaimer, let’s unweave the intricate web of ISBNs and how they work in the publishing industry.

Image uploaded from iOS 1

How To Read an ISBN: What do the Numbers Stand For?

As of 2007, the ISBN is a 13-digit number. This came about in part because of the large volume of eBooks now being published every year. Knowing how to break down and interpret these 13 digits aren’t of much use and interest to most book readers, but for publishers and distributors it’s a necessity. If you want to publish lots of books under your own publishing name then it’s something you may want to pay attention to. You can tell a lot about a book and its author by reading the ISBN number.

The 13 digit ISBN number helps:

  • Identify the specific title
  • Identify the author
  • Identify the type of book they are buying
  • Identify the physical properties of that particular book
  • Identify the geographical location of the publisher

Let’s break it down and look at what all these numbers mean.

ISBN Breakdown

Here is the ISBN for a particular book:


You’ll notice this sequence is divided into 5 number combinations. But the first three digits “978” indicates that this string of numbers is for an ISBN. if we remove these digits we have:


First is the initial digit, in this case: 3

The 3 is the language group identifier which here indicates German. For English speaking countries a 0 or 1 is used. Numbers for language identification generally range from 1-5.

Here is a list of the most common Group identifiers:

0 or 1 for English

2 for  French

3 for German

4 for Japan

5 for Russian

7 for People’s Republic of China

It’s worth mentioning that the rarer the language, the longer the number identifier will be. For example, Indonesia is 602 whereas Turkey is 9944. You can reference the complete list at the International ISBN Agency.

Next is “16”. This is the “publisher code,” and it identifies the publisher on any book that has this number. This number can be as long as 9 digits.

“148410” — This six digit series represents the title of the book. The publisher assigns this to a specific book or edition of the book, such as a hardcover version or paperback. This could be a single digit or stretch to multiple digits.

“0” is the last digit and is known as the “check digit”. This number is mathematically calculated as a fixed digit. This is always a single digit. This number indicates that the rest of the ISBN numbers have been scanned and is calculated based on the other digits in the code.

The ISBN and Barcode

The ISBN is usually found above the barcode on the back of the book, so it’s reasonable to assume they’re the same thing, right?

Except, they’re not. The barcode isn’t the same as the ISBN.

This is an important distinction because:

  • When you purchase an ISBN you don’t automatically get a barcode
  • The barcode of your book can change, while your ISBN can remain the same.

We’ve already discussed what data the ISBN carries, however the barcode includes extra information such as the book’s fixed price and the currency it’s being sold in. Barcodes are a necessary element of your book as they allow for most retailers and distributors to scan your ISBN for retail and inventory reasons.

The standard barcode is known as the EAN (European Article Number) barcode, and your barcode must be in this format to sell your book in bookstores.

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(Breakdown of the typical EAN barcode on the back of a book by Publisher Services)

Reading a barcode: If you look at the picture of a standard barcode, you’ll notice two barcodes side by side. The barcode that appears on the left is the EAN generated from the ISBN number. The other number appearing on the right is a 5-digit add-on, called an EAN-5, that contains the price of the book. The first digit is a 5, and is a must for scanners to read. The 4-digits after the five indicates the price of the book.

For example, if the number reads 52995, this means the price of the book is set at $29.95. If the price of the book changes, a new barcode must be used, though the ISBN wouldn’t change. This would only be replaced by a new ISBN if the book is published as a new edition or as a new version.

To buy a barcode you must first purchase an ISBN. You can buy your barcodes at Bowker and they even offer a barcode-ISBN combo:

  • 1 barcode + 1 ISBN is $150.
  • 1 barcode + 10 ISBNs is $320.

The Difference between ASIN and ISBN

If you’ve used Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) program you’ve probably come across an ASIN. ASIN numbers are used by Amazon to manage and identify the products they are selling on their site. It’s a 10-character alphanumeric unique identifier that’s assigned by and its partners. You can find this on your book page. In your browser, the Amazon ASIN will be after the product’s name and “dp”. The next place to find this is in your book or product details area of your book page.

However, an ASIN is not the same as an ISBN. You can only use it with Amazon. If you want to sell through other platforms or in brick and mortar stores, you’re going to need an ISBN.

Reasons Self-Publishers Need an ISBN

And now we come to the most pressing question on your mind: do you need an ISBN?

If you want to publish and sell your eBook on Amazon, then the quick answer is no, it isn’t necessary. Amazon will assign your eBook an ASIN number which will be used to identify and track your title.

However, that’s only with Amazon, and only with eBooks.

If you want your readers to get a hold of a print version of your book, then you’re going to need an ISBN. This might be important if you have a brick and mortar marketing strategy, or if you want your book to be accessible through libraries (more on this later), or if you’re looking to deal with wholesalers or other online retailers.

Here’s a simple rule of thumb: if you want to sell your book by means other than as an ebook on Amazon, then you’ll need an ISBN.

Should You Get a Free or a Paid ISBN?

You might have noticed that self-published authors can get assigned a free ISBN by Createspace, the On-Demand publishing company owned by Amazon. You can also get an ISBN when dealing with a whole host of On-Demand or self publishing companies, like Draft2Digital, Smashwords or IngramSpark. If you can get a free or cheap ISBN with them, then what’s the use in paying for your own one?

Here’s the problem: most of the time, you can only use those free ISBNs with the channels those companies distribute through.

Let’s say you get a free ISBN with Draft2Digital, but then you notice that there are some retail channels you can access through Smashwords that you can’t with Draft2Digital. You can’t use the Draft2Digital ISBN with Smashwords. Smashwords will only let you use your own ISBN or an ISBN they assign to you. So what do you do?

You get a free ISBN with Smashwords.

And now you have two ISBNs for the same book. Same book title, same book format, but two ISBNs.

You then hear of some exclusive channels you can get through eBookPartnership. The only wrinkle? You need an ISBN and they won’t take your Smashwords’ or Draft2Digital’s ISBN. So you sign up for their free ISBN instead.

Now you have three ISBNs for the same book. This problem can repeat itself again and again as you discover more ways to distribute your book. Sometimes you’ll have to pay for the ISBN, sometimes you won’t. But it leads to you having several ISBNs, all from different publishers, for the same book.

Can you picture how unprofessional that looks to a bookstore? Wouldn’t it have been easier to start off by buying your own ISBN? Wouldn’t that make you look more professional?

On top of this, each of those free ISBNs identify the self publishing company as a publisher. It’s the equivalent of using your business email address as or instead of (assuming you’re named Matt). Not only does this make you look unprofessional, but there are some stores that will refuse to stock your book on this basis. If you have a CreateSpace ISBN, there are a number of bookstores that will refuse to carry your book.

All of these issues can be sidestepped by simply purchasing your own ISBN through Bowker.

If You’re Publishing An eBook, Don’t Ignore Libraries

We briefly mentioned that if you want to stock your book in libraries you’ll need an ISBN. However, that might be the furthest thing from your mind. You might have decided to focus purely on eBook publishing and what part do libraries play in eBooks?

A big one.

Libraries are becoming more important to the distribution of eBooks. Overdrive are the largest supplier to schools and libraries in the world (serving more than 30,000), and they circulated more than 105 million eBooks in 2014, a 33% increase from their previous year. They also supply to retail stores globally, making $100 million in sales in 2013.

And guess what you need to be able to partner with Overdrive? Yup. An ISBN.

How do I get an ISBN?

Hopefully you’re convinced that if you want to look professional in the industry and be able to access all distribution channels, you need your own ISBN.

But how do you get one?

ISBNs are free in many countries, provided either by the government or a publicly administered branch. However, in the US and the UK, ISBNs are administered by Bowker and Nielsen respectively, and require you to pay.

If you’re located outside the USA you can find out your local ISBN Agency here. While ISBNs are assigned locally, you can use them internationally.

If you live in the USA, you have to get an ISBN through, run by Bowker, the only company that is authorized to administer the ISBN program in the United States. You can purchase ISBNs as a single unit or in bulk of 10, 100 or 1000.

How to Register Your Book and ISBN

As soon as you purchase your ISBN through Bowker, or the International equivalent in your local area, and you publish your book, you should register here at Bowkerlink. This is an automated tool that will add your book to Bowker’s Books In Print and Global Books In Print. I recommend you download the free PDF “ISBN Guides: Title Set Up & Registration” with step-by-step instructions on setting up your title.

How Many ISBNs To Get

So how many ISBNs should you get?

First off let’s clarify a few common mistakes:

  • You can only use an ISBN once. The ISBN is a unique number for that particular book, and can be assigned once, and only once, to that title. It can’t be used with any other book in the future, even second versions of the same book.
  • You don’t need an ISBN to sell in each individual country. ISBNs are international, they are just assigned locally. A US based publisher can purchase their ISBN through Bowker, but can stock their book worldwide using that ISBN.
  • You need an ISBN for every specific format of the book, and any new versions. Want to sell your book in print, as an eBook, and also as an audiobook? That’s great, however you need a different ISBN for each one. If you want to publish a revised and updated version you’ll also need a new ISBN. (This doesn’t cover fixing some typos and errors).
  • If you create a series of books you can’t use the same ISBN for them. You can use the same ISSN, however. Many fiction and nonfiction authors, have an ISSN number assigned to their book series. ISSN stands for International Standard Series Number, and can be purchased from the Library of Congress. However, each book in the series will need its own ISBN.

We mentioned that in the USA you can buy ISBNs as a single unit, a bulk of 10, 100 or 1000. Here are the prices:

Number of ISBNs You Get Price
1 $125
10 $295
100 $575
1000 $1500

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First off, it rarely makes sense to purchase a single ISBN. A single ISBN would cost you $125, but a bulk of 10 only costs $295. Meaning if you purchased 10, each ISBN would cost you $29.50, a 76% discount.

Buying a single ISBN might seem feasible if you only want to publish one title, but remember that you need an ISBN for each format. So if you want to publish your book as an audiobook, you’d need a brand new ISBN for that. As well as needing different ISBNs for your eBook and print versions.

Not to mention that you’ll need an ISBN for any future books you publish, perhaps as sequels to your book.

We recommend that if your serious in making book sales you purchase at least a bulk of 10 ISBNs. That gives you 3 ISBNs to use for publishing as an eBook, in print, and as an audiobook. You can keep the remainder for books you publish in the future.

Wrapping It Up

Now that you have a very good idea how to buy and use ISBNs for your own books, all the best on setting this up. If you want to be recognized as a publisher and have your books available to a larger global audience by registering through Bowker, consider investing in your own ISBNs. Think of it as buying a piece of property: You own it and it is registered in your name.

For more information, you can find out anything you want to know by visiting the official Bowker page or at

Here’s a simple actionable checklist for ISBNs.

To buy an ISBN for your next book, here is what you should do:

  1. Go to the website
  2. Under the ISBN drop down tab, click on ISBNs—Buy Here. You can select 1, 10 or 100. For a bulk purchase, go to “Buying ISBNs in Bulk” and you can contact Bowker directly to discuss your options.
  3. Once you have your ISBN assigned, you can then use it everywhere that requires your ISBN number.
  4. At Createspace, under the “Setup” channel, you can choose to have Createspace assign you an ISBN. When you buy your own ISBN at Bowker, just put in the 13-digit number and Createspace will use this in your paperback.
  5. If you publish your paperback through KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing), you can fill in your number in the “Paperback Content” section of your book when you log into your bookshelf. If you choose to have Createspace assign you an ISBN, KDP will ask for your 13-digit number if you are transferring your physical version over to KDP.
  6. Register your ISBN here at Bowker as soon as your book is ready for sale. Download the free ISBN Guides: Title Set Up & Registration step-by-step guide.

Helpful Links & Resources

These links appeared throughout the post but here they are for easy access.

International ISBN Agency by Bowker

Bowkerlink Publisher Access System

Bowker Identifier Services

U.S. Copyright Office

ISBN Set Up Guide

ISBN Guides: Basic Information

How to Self Publish a Book

How to Self Publish a Book in 2018

Historically, if you wanted to publish a book, you needed an agent to get a traditional publisher to look at your manuscript. In fact, many publishing companies won’t even open a manuscript if it doesn’t come through an agent. What’s worse is that even if they do open it, it’s still unlikely that your book will be published and sold in bookstores!

Is there a better method?

Yes! In fact, there is another way for your book to not only be published, but to even become a bestseller! This method has led to the success of many authors, and is changing the book and traditional publishing industry.

It’s called, self-publishing.

Personally speaking, I’ve self-published 6 bestselling non-fiction books on Amazon, sold tens of thousands of copies, and continue to collect thousands per month in royalty checks. The success of my books has been directly responsible for the strong performance of my business, which has grown to over 7 figures in less than 2 years.

Five years ago, in order to achieve this level of publishing success, you would have needed to be extremely lucky to even land an agent who would attempt to find you a deal at one of the “Big 5” publishing houses.

This is no longer the case. Not only do you no longer need one of the “Big 5” companies to publish your book, now self-published authors are actively turning down offers from publishing companies!

So If you are trying to publish your book and are having no luck landing a publisher, self-publishing could be the best option for you.

Because many writers get overwhelmed with the abundance of information about the self-publishing process, I’ve created a step-by-step comprehensive self-publishing guide that will walk you through on the beginning steps on how to write your book all the way to self-publishing it on Amazon’s Kindle (KDP) Network.

This guide will cover:

  1. Deciding Why You Want to Write a Book
  2. Writing Your Book
  3. Getting Feedback on Your Book
  4. Choosing a Book Title
  5. Hiring a Great Book Editor
  6. Designing a Book Cover that Converts
  7. Creating Your Kindle Direct Publishing Account
  8. Formatting and Uploading your Book
  9. Self-Publishing Your Book
  10. Pricing Your Book
  11. Forming a Launch Team
  12. Maximizing Book Launch Exposure
  13. Celebrate!

Let’s begin.

1. Deciding Why You Want To Write A Book

What you need to decide first when self-publishing a book, is WHY you want to write a book. I encourage going through this brainstorming process as it’s the only way to ensure that you’re 100% committed to writing a book (and doing it for the right reasons).

Here are some questions for you to consider:

  • Are you an entrepreneur or freelancer with a new business trying to get a leg up on your competition by publishing a book?
  • Do you want to leverage your skills and knowledge to become a paid speaker or coach?
  • Do you have a well established business and you want to write a book to diversify your income streams and land speaking engagements?
  • Or do you already have a successful story, and want to build an asset that will share the knowledge and skills you’ve gained over decades of experience?

Action Plan: Come up with at least 10 valid reasons why you want to write a book. Use the questions above as a starting guide to brainstorm.

2. Writing Your Book

If you’ve ever tried to write a book, you might have had moments where you’ve stared at a blank page for hours with nothing to show for it Feeling frustrated, you resort to procrastinating and get nothing done! This is normal, writing a book is hard work.

In order to start writing your book, you must develop a writing process.

Here’s are some effective ways to develop the writing process:

  • Buy a calendar. The best way to have your book complete is to have a calendar that schedules your goals per day/week.
  • Create an outline. An outline is like a map of your book that provides direction to your story. It keeps you on track and ensures that your ideas are organized.
  • Develop a writing habit. Condition yourself to write at the same time every day. With this practice, it will soon become a habit that will make writing a book automatic.

To learn more tips on how to write, here’s a tutorial video of the simple process I use to write over 1500 words per hour:

Action Plan: Create a resistance plan! Figure out which methods best filter out negative noise to get you into the writing process.

3. Getting Feedback on Your Book

When writing your book, it’s important to get as much feedback as early in the process as possible. As writers, it’s all too easy to retreat into your cave for a long period of time, spend countless hours writing what you think is the perfect first draft, only to find that a) your draft doesn’t make sense to anyone else or b) no one else is as interested in the topic as you originally thought.

Not only can a fresh set of eyes on your book help you catch typos and grammatical errors, but a new perspective can give you ideas for tightening up your story and making the theme more clear. Giving your book to one (or more) “beta readers” before giving it to an editor can also cut down on the time and cost of paying a professional editor.

Action Plan: Reach out to a few friends who could provide good feedback, and ask them if they’ll be willing to read a chapter or two (or the whole book!) as you finish writing.

4. Choosing a Book Title

Contrary to popular belief, you should never decide on a book title until after you are done writing your first draft. This is because choosing a book title first often results in you “writing yourself into a corner” because you’re trying so hard to align your story to the title of the book instead of writing what needs to be written.

Don’t make this more complicated than it needs to be.

The key to choosing a perfect title is: the simpler the title, the better. As you’re brainstorming ideas, always remember to keep it simple. Your title should also be clear on what your readers will receive by reading your book because experts state that a clear promise or a guarantee of results will further intrigue your readers.

Here are some questions to consider when creating your memorable title:

  • Is your title going to teach a high demand skill?
  • Can your title impact someone’s life?
  • Can your book solve a very difficult problem?

Action Plan: Once you’ve narrowed down your book titles, send out an email to your friends and family or put a poll up to your audience asking what title they’d prefer. You could also ask a community of other authors what they think. To learn more about book titles, check out our article on Book Title Ideas.

5. Hiring a Great Book Editor

Hiring a great editor can mean the difference between writing a bestseller, or a mediocre book. Therefore, it’s important to take as much time as necessary on this stage of the process.

To find an editor for your book, begin with your personal network. Do you personally know any English teachers or others in the editorial field? Start there. If you don’t, then do you know someone who knows an editor?

If you don’t have any luck finding an editor within your personal network, don’t worry! Depending on your budget, you can either hire a professional book editor, or hire a more budget-friendly editor from Upwork. Self-Publishing School also has a Rolodex of approved and vetted book editors who all do a great job.

No matter how you find your editor, make sure you’re a good fit before committing to the full book by paying them a small sum ($25 or so) to edit a few pages or a chapter of your book. Make sure the editor is interested in the subject matter, that they can get your whole book edited in 3.5 weeks or less including back-and-forth revisions, and that their edits are both accurate and make sense to you. If you don’t feel you’re a good fit following a sample edit, then let that $25 go, and find an editor that’s going to work out rather than sinking more money into a relationship that might be a mistake.

Whatever you do, don’t give up during the editorial process! If one editor isn’t working out for you or meeting your needs, find another.

Action Plan: Find a friend or professional editor who can make sure your book is error-free, and start working with them sooner rather than later!

6. Designing a Book Cover that Converts

When it comes to self-publishing, a high quality book cover is one of the most important elements that will get your book to convert into sales! The reason is because your cover design is what readers see first and will immediately determine whether they want to read your book or not.

So you must make sure that it is created professionally and that it will stand apart from the rest of the books in your genre or category.

You can find amazing book cover designers on freelancing sites such as:

Prices will vary depending on what type of service you want, but the end result will be well worth the spend.

Action Plan: Find a book designer with any of these sites and your book will stand apart from the rest of its competition!

7. Creating Your Kindle Direct Publishing Account

Amazon has a self-publishing service called Kindle Direct Publishing where you can create and manage your Kindle eBook, paperback, and audio books. You can even link it with CreateSpace to offer print books to your audience. It’s the best way to start selling books quickly, and I’ve used it for all my self-published books. I highly recommend it for all new self-publishers!

Setting up your KDP account is very simple! Start by following these steps:

  1. Visit and create an account with either your existing Amazon account or your email address.
  2. Next, you must complete your tax information. You will not be able to submit your published book if you do not complete this step.
  3. Once your tax information is complete, hit “Finished” and your account is complete!

Action Plan: Follow these steps to create your KDP account! With this platform, you can publish your book within minutes and soon have it appear worldwide!

8. Formatting Your Self-Published Book

If you’re on a budget, there are plenty of resources online that can tell you how to format your book yourself for free. You can start by looking at Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) forums where there are plenty of discussions on book formatting. You can also use KDP’s free resources to help format your book. Formatting can be a frustrating experience for the uninitiated though, so if you have a few bucks to spare, you might consider paying someone to help you.

Here are 5 book formatting mistakes to avoid.

If you want to pay for formatting, Liber Writer is a low-cost, effective option for converting a Microsoft Word file to Amazon’s Kindle format. If $60 is too much, you can also find people on Fiverr to format your book for Kindle.

Action Plan: Make sure your book is formatted properly by using the free online resource above, or hiring someone who can handle the formatting process for you.

9. Self-Publishing Your Book

When you feel confident your book is ready for the public, you can create a KDP account and upload your book.

  1. On the KDP mainpage, locate and click on “Your Bookshelf”.
  2. Locate and click on “Kindle eBook Actions”.
  3. Then, locate and click on “Edit eBook Content”.
  4. Finally, click on “Upload eBook Manuscript”, and upload your manuscript file from your computer.

Amazon also allows you to select 7 keywords or keyword phrases to make sure your intended audience can find your book when searching on Amazon. It’s highly recommended you also select two different categories your book might fit into so you can reach a broader audience. To select keywords and categories, look at other best-selling books in your niche and notice what keywords and categories those authors chose.

Once Amazon finishes uploading your file, a confirmation message will be sent and you can preview the uploaded file to check for any errors.

Create your Amazon author central account after uploading your book. Include a bio, photo, and link to your website or blog to help you stand out among authors. After a few more steps, you’ll be ready to publish your book, at which time you’ll click “save & publish” in your KDP book dashboard.

Afterwards, you should be ready to publish your book, at which you’ll click “save & publish” in the book editing screen!

Action Plan: Follow these steps to upload your book. You are allowed to upload your manuscript as many times as you want with each upload overriding the previous.

10. Pricing Your Book

One of the most important decisions when it comes to self-publishing a book is how to price it. The most common question I get from new writers is, “How much should my book cost?”

To answer this, my general rule of thumb is to have your book priced is between $2.99 to $5.99.

To be more specific, when beginning a launch, I would begin by pricing the book at $0.99 for the launch period. Then I would set the price to 2.99, and I would moderately increase the price by $1 every week and measure how well the new price performs. Once you see a sales dip, that will determine the exact price of your book that will guarantee book sales.

Action Plan: Find the perfect price by using this strategy that will attract your readers and best drive long term success.

11. Forming a Launch Team

Your launch team is the group of people who are dedicated to helping make your book successful. should be a passionate group of individuals who are eager to make your book launch successful. Remember, one highly skilled team member is better than a group of mediocre ones!

To find quality candidates, here’s an questionnaire you can use to assess applicants and see if they’re qualified to market your book:

  • Why do you want to support my book?
  • What goals are you trying to reach with this project?
  • How would you market this book?
  • Which influencers would you reach out to and why?

Action Plan: Create an application with questions that align to your thought process. Try to be open-minded with those who think outside the box – they maybe the perfect candidates that can get your book to become a bestseller. To learn more about book marketing, check out our article on How to Skyrocket Sales of Your Book.

12. Maximizing Book Launch Exposure

As soon as your book goes live on Amazon, be sure to leverage your launch team and your audience to help you market your book! It may be odd to ask your fans for help, but your fans are there to support your project and want to see you succeed. You might be surprised how willing they’ll be to help you if you just ask!

Here are some marketing initiatives you can assign your team and audience to do:

  • Share content from your book as blog posts across social media
  • Submit reviews on Amazon
  • Help build your book’s website
  • Reach out to influencers for a future guest post or podcast feature
  • Share a book review on their YouTube channel
  • Buy extra copies to gift their friends

The additional exposure generated from your launch team and audience will help push your book up Amazon’s rankings, which will drive more sales!

Action Step: Create your book marketing launch plan using these methods. Measure each of these methods to see which will best get your book in the hands of new readers and convert into sales.

13. Celebrate! (Now, decide what’s next)

Publishing a book is just the beginning. Depending on your goals for your book, self publishing can get you more customers, free publicity, and establish you as an expert in your niche. This can help you land speaking gigs and build a business within your area of expertise. Your book sales can also help fund your lifestyle with passive income.

Dream big about what you want your book to do for you. When you have a vision for where you want your book to take you, it will be easier to take advantage of opportunities as they arise. Getting clear on what you want will also help you to be more effective when expanding your network along on your journey.

So there you have it…that’s how to self publish a book. If self publishing a bestseller is something you want to do, and you’re serious about changing your life and your business for the better by getting your book out there in the world, then you need to watch this free 4 part video training series, where I walk through the exact steps I’ve taken to write, publish, and market 6 of my own best-selling books (and how I’ve helped 1,000’s of students do the same).

Like what you read and want to learn more? We’re holding a FREE online workshop where Chandler is revealing the exact tactics and strategies he used to write and publish 6 bestselling books in a row… and use them to build a 7-figure business in less than 2 years. Click here to save your spot now!

book launch

SPS 041: Using Books to Drive Product Launches with Danny Iny

There needs to be a driving force behind product launches. Danny Iny has found that using books is the perfect driver. Danny is the founder of Mirasee, the host of the Business Reimagined Podcast, and bestselling author of multiple books including Engagement from Scratch!, The Audience Revolution, and Teach and Grow Rich. He is also the creator of the Audience Business Masterclass and Course Builder’s Laboratory which has graduated over 5000 value driven entrepreneurs.

Danny is on top of his game, and a great friend of mine. He doesn’t lose sight of the importance of impact and making a difference in people’s lives. Today, we talk about mistakes Danny made with his very first book. The tactics he used to write and market his official first book, and the importance of creating value for everyone you are involved with from readers to customers and collaborators.

You can find Danny here:
@DannyIny on Twitter
Books by Danny Iny
Danny Iny on LinkedIn
Engagement from Scratch!
The Audience Revolution
Teach and Grow Rich
Audience Business Masterclass
Course Builder’s Laboratory
Business Reimagined Podcast

Show Notes
[01:37] Danny’s actual first book was a book about writing published in 2006. It’ a self-published book and Danny knew nothing about marketing. The lesson learned from this book was that he needed to learn about marketing.
[03:13] In 2011, he published Engagement from Scratch! this was a compilation book about building engagement with your audience.
[04:00] This book was about building an audience when you don’t have one. This book put Danny on the map and grew his initial audience.
[05:36] His co-authors were people who had an audience and reach that he worked hard to build a relationship with. These people are rock stars now and it helped Danny build his reach.
[06:40] Danny was guest posting everywhere. His pitch invited people to contribute a chapter.
[10:32] When asking present what is in it for them and be honest about it.
[11:27] His strategy was to glean knowledge and get extra promotion from his guest authors for the book. He also sent each co-author two or three copies.
[13:03] Measuring up against expectations of people who help you out.
[14:40] The large amount of people who get a book deal and then don’t deliver.
[15:17] With self-published books, you can control everything.
[16:32] How giving away free books actually boosted sales and helped Danny’s career.
[18:13] Having a book support team of people with an audience.
[20:01] If people download a book from your website, you can reach out to them. Danny told his list he was available for podcast interviews.
[23:59] Using the book itself as part of the prelaunch process.
[25:04] People look at things differently when they are learning as opposed to being sold to.
[25:54] The importance of delivering real value and information in a way that people are receptive to it.
[26:41] How a real book can be powerful. Educate the market and help readers accomplish something meaningful.
[28:04] More people will optin in for a download rather than a video. The pages of your book determine how much people will read.
[31:49] Properly resourced projects tend to do well.
[32:52] The book should be great, but your offer is the core of what you are doing.
[34:43] Structure of a launch. First video helps people to see an opportunity that wasn’t there before. Second video helping them to see that it is possible for them. Overcome objections. Third video show what life can be like after the journey.
[36:52] 1 star reviews can be frustrating, just accept it and move on.
[38:35] Books as a long term play. It leads into a launch or an evergreen offer. A book is part of your body and work. The more you create the more visible it is. Create great stuff and write a great book.
[40:25] When cool things happen it is not a surprise. Writing something great will attract a higher caliber or better fit of students or customers.
[42:29] Think about why you want to write and publish a book. Don’t have things that are just steps in the ladder.

Links and Resources:
Mitch Joel
Guy Kawasaki
Seth Godin
Self-Publishing Summit
@DannyIny on Twitter
Books by Danny Iny
Danny Iny on LinkedIn
Engagement from Scratch!
The Audience Revolution
Teach and Grow Rich
Audience Business Masterclass
Course Builder’s Laboratory
Business Reimagined Podcast