social media for authors

Social Media for Writers & Authors: Full Tutorial Guides

Nowadays, if you want to be successful with your book, you have to know how to use social media for writers.

Marketing is one thing all authors will need to know how to do, no matter if you want to self-publish a book or traditionally publish. That’s right! Even traditional publishers are now looking to your SOCIAL PLATFORM as a decision-maker for buying your book or not.

And no matter your goals as an author, whether you want to write fiction full-time or want to use your book to grow your business, social media is important.

We’ll not only cover which social platforms are most important for authors right now, but also where to find your audience, and what content actually performs the best on each app.

Here’s how to do social media for writers:

  1. Do writers need social media?
  2. The difference with social media marketing
  3. What’s the best social media for writers?
  4. Twitter for authors
  5. Instagram for writers
  6. Facebook for writers
  7. BONUS: Youtube for authors
  8. Author platform growth on social media

Learn How 100 People Have Published in the Last 60 Days!  Learn the exact step-by-step methods 100 of our students have used the last 60  days to publish their books--and how YOU can do it too, just as easily!   Start Here!  <https://selfpublishingschool.lpages.co/organic-eg-bab-how-100-people-have-finished-their-books-in-the-last-60-days/>

Do writers need social media?

Do you want to sell books? Do you want to make a career out of selling books?

Then yes, writers need social media. It’s for book marketing, and one of the most powerful types of marketing in this day and age.

This isn’t to say that you can’t sell books without social media. There are certainly people who do so, but unless you really know how to use ads or you get a lucky break and hit some charts in the rankings, (or are a student of our Sell More Books program where we teach those methods), your best bet for long-term success in writing is by building your author platform.

So while you don’t need social media, it increases your chances of long-term success exponentially.

The difference with social media marketing (especially for authors)

Social media is so different from “traditional” marketing methods. It’s not an email, it’s not a flyer in the mail or a commercial on TV, and it’s certainly not a radio ad.

What makes social media marketing different from other forms of marketing is that it’s personal.

It’s a person doing the marketing, very rarely a full brand speaking from behind a logo (though this does happen). With social media for writers, it’s certainly personal.

And this means that traditional methods of marketing a book are a bit different.

In fact, we’d say social media marketing is less about actually promoting your book and more about promoting your thoughts, ideas, and interests while keeping your book easily available.

This concept is a little confusing at first, but we’ll get into what this looks like with each social platform. But the main idea behind this principle is this:

If someone likes you and enjoys what you put out into the world, they’ll likely enjoy your books because of how much we place ourselves into them.

Yes, we even do this when writing a fiction novel. Our themes and messages come from within us, and when someone gets to know who you really are and likes that, they’ll probably like what you write about.

What’s the best social media for writers?

By and far, Twitter is extremely useful for anyone trying to have success as an author, especially as a self-published fiction author.

Does this mean it’s the best platform for you and your specific book? Not always.

While we recommend every writer be on Twitter, there may be other social platforms better suited for your audience. Meaning, certain people of varying ages and interests use different social platforms.

You’ll have to understand where your audience is if you want to operate on the best social media platform for you.

Thankfully, we cover those details below by going over the demographic of each platform (info by HootSuite) in detail so you can decide which will house your target audience, along with how you can connect with them.

Twitter for authors

As stated above, we believe all writers should be on Twitter. There is an extremely large fiction reading and writing community on Twitter, but it’s also really useful for nonfiction.

The struggle with a platform the size of Twitter (and really all of the ones we’ll cover below), is that they’re too big. It’s hard to find where your audience is. But that’s why we’ll also cover some useful hashtags to pay attention to.

HOW TO USE TWITTER FOR AUTHORS:

Each social platform is different. Depending on the people and its interface, different content will perform well.

For Twitter, it’s all about relateability. The posts that do the best are the one that speak to people directly, in a way they can relate to really well. It’s not really about you on Twitter, it’s about others.

So when you take to Twitter, remember that while it’s a social platform where you can divulge your own information, making all of your posts solely about you isn’t the right game here. We can save that for Instagram in a minute.

Demographic: 34% female, 66% male — 44% ages 18-24, 26% ages 30-49

Posting frequency: several times a day, 7+

Type of content that performs best: short relateable questions and statemetns

Hashtags to note: #amwriting, #writingcommunity, #WIP, #writerlife

Other hashtags for genre-specific depend on what you write and the niche (particularly for nonfiction, the examples above leave heavy for fiction users).

Examples:

Want to see a few author profiles on Twitter who are doing it really well? Here are some examples of social media for writers you can follow and emulate:

social media for writers example

The reason this bio is really successful is because this author’s book is available, but it’s not spammy or pushing people to buy. Another reason, is because her main bio is short, sweet, to the point, and also showcases her personality.

social media for authors twitter example

When it comes to sharing posts on social media, especially when “promoting” your book, it works best when the words come from others. We tend to not believe authors who say their book is great, because of COURSE they think that!

Retweeting praise for your book is one of the best ways to share proof and get others interested.

Instagram for writers

Instagram is one of those social media platforms you really have to mess with to get right. Meaning, some people can find great success with one strategy, and that same strategy won’t work for you—even if you do everything the same!

Part of this is because of the story feature, and that you have to actually put yourself out there on Instagram. While it does have a somewhat negative reputation for being “fake,” people do congregate here for connection and to follow people’s lives closely.

HOW TO USE INSTAGRAM FOR AUTHORS:

As mentioned, Instagram has more to do with daily life/lifestyle than it does only branded content. That, and memes. Yes! The meme culture has shifted somewhat away from Facebook and is everpresent on Instagram’s platform.

So what works here then? Relatable memes, intimate stories where you show up with energy, and “pretty” images on your main feed.

Remember that you’ll have to find out what works for YOU here. Does your audience wants to see more of you? Of what you’re reading? Of your book-writing process?

Demographic: 52% female, 48% male — 67% ages 18-29

Posting frequency: at least once per day on your main feed, several times on your story

Type of content that performs best: Stories! Getting on your story and showing you, your real face, your real life. On your main feed, aestheticlaly appealing images of your book, you, and your life will do best.

Hashtags to note: #amwriting, #writerlife, #writersofIG, #writersofinstagram, #bookrelease

Example:

social media for authors instagram example

Facebook for writers

Facebook’s seemingly everchanging interface has increasingly frustrated people. In truth, Facebook is dying as a means of self-promotion unless you pay for ads on their platform.

That being said, there are strategies that still work for Facebook for authors.

HOW TO USE FACEBOOK FOR AUTHORS:

Determine if you want to use a personal profile (not recommended), a page, or a group.

The main differences here are that a profile allows friends, a page allows for likes (and your stuff shows up on their feed like a profile’s would), and a group allows for a specific place for members to post and collaborate.

For writers, we usually recommend a page. But, if you are looking to build a brand, or maybe even an exclusive “club” for your readers, a group will get far better engagement than anything else. Facebook has continued to deprioritized page’s content, while boosting group posts.

It all depends on what your goals are as an author, and if your audience is even hanging out on Facebook.

Demographic: 79% ages 18-29

*Note on this: while this number reflects those who have Facebook, personal insights tell us the most active group of users is above 40-years-old.*

Posting frequency: 3 times per day max

Type of content that performs best: Images, videos

Hashtags to note: While Facebook has hashtag capabilities, they’re not really used to nearly the same extent as Twitter and Instagram

BONUS: Youtube for authors

Youtube isn’t for everyone. We’ll go ahead and say that right now. Not everyone has the presence for it, and not everyone will even like this style of platform building.

However, if it is something you’ve considered and need a push to start, it can be very lucrative as a secondary form of income, as long as a massive means of marketing your book—especially if you start “making it big” and gaining a lot of subscribers.

Our Youtube channel has over 40,000 subscribers and has grown immensely over the last year. We’ve seen this success first-hand, but we’re not the only ones.

There are several self-published authors who have used Youtube to quit their full-time jobs and pursue writing and creating videos.

HOW TO USE YOUTUBE FOR AUTHORS:

The first thing to think about here is what type of content you can post about, and what audience that will bring in. Many writers post videos with advice for writing books and publishing.

Others take the route of being on “Booktube,” where they read and post book reviews for other readers.

Each has their own pros and cons, but the bottom line with Youtube is that you have to be authentic, be something different (which can even simply come out in your own personality), and be consistent. One of the biggest common factors of success on Youtube is that people didn’t give up—they kept doing it through even a couple years of very slow growth.

If you are someone who’s not writing fiction and you’re looking to create awareness for a nonficion or a book to grow your business, the topics you talk about should be related to your book.

Demographic: 81% ages 15-25

Posting frequency: two times per week, 1 time per week at a minimum if you want sustained growth and engagement

Type of content that performs best: videos, helpful tips, how-tos, relevant updates, reviews, etc.

Author platform growth on social media

By far the best tip we can give you is to be consistent. With social media, it really is all about showing up regularly with content your audience wants to see, whatever that may be.

And secondly, don’t be afriad to iterate and try new things. If memes aren’t working for you, try being more real and personal. If your Twitter one-liners just aren’t working, try asking more questions and creating polls.

The people who gravitate to your social platform will respond differently to content that might “work” elsewhere. Find what works for you, be generous in how you give content, and make your book easily available. If people like you, they’ll search for how to consume more of your goodies—you don’t really have to push to promote your book on social media.

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laif babin

SPS 071: Extreme Ownership, The Dichotomy of Book Publishing, And Using Publicity To Help Sell 2.5M+ Copies with Leif Babin

Today, joining me is Leif Babin. Leif is a former U.S. Navy SEAL officer, co-author of #1 New York Times bestseller Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy SEALs Lead and Win, and co-founder of Echelon Front, where he serves as President, COO, leadership instructor, speaker, and strategic advisor. In this episode, we will chat with Leif about how he launched one of the most successful books ever published.

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A graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, Leif served thirteen years in the Navy. During his last tour, Leif served as Operations Officer and Executive Officer, was again deployed to Iraq for a second time with Special Operations Task Force. He is the proud recipient of the Silver Star, two Bronze Stars, and a Purple Heart. Upon his active duty departure, Leif co-founded Echelon Front, a premier leadership consulting company that helps others build their own high-performance winning teams.

Leif served with Jocko Williams, another author, in sustained combat regions as Navy SEALS. They talked and realized there was a real need for leadership training in companies. “Everything we learned in combat applied to any team in any organization and any situation.” As they started working with companies, many of their clients and followers were looking for a reference manual. “We wanted to get the message out about leadership from Navy SEALS that can humbly speak about this, reflect well on the SEAL teams, and pass these lessons onto others.”

“We launched the Echelon company in 2012, and our book was published in 2015.”

He had talked with people and found out he didn’t want to go with a ghostwriter because once they had given over their story, they completely lost control of the end product. Leif notes two examples of fallen servicemen who were written about as “bravados.” However, in reality, they were two humble men who gave their lives for our country.

On writing their story, “We didn’t want to write a memoir, we wanted to write something that talked about leadership lessons learned and gave the application of those leadership lessons learned so that people could take and implement them in their professional and personal lives.”

Listen in to find out how Leif and Jocko decided to tell their story when they co-authored their book, why you shouldn’t let your ego get in the way, and how Leif and Jocko marketed their book.

Show Notes

  • [03:38] How Leif decided to write his book and his process of creating Extreme Ownership.
  • [07:34] His experience shopping for a literary agent and sending out their proposal.
  • [10:30] Why Leif decided to write this book himself instead of hiring a ghostwriter.
  • [13:51] The daunting process of pitching publishing houses.
  • [18:33] Co-author process pros and cons for Jocko and Leif.
  • [21:43] How the two authors were able to keep each other’s voice when editing the other’s manuscript.
  • [23:25] Marketing their book and how many months before their sales started to climb.
  • [27:01] When Leif decided to send an advanced copy of the manuscript to the press.
  • [30:26] Publicity elements authors want to consider when marketing their book. 
  • [31:46] When did their book make an impact for their business?
  • [34:34] Why Leif feels it’s more important to be an Amazon Best Seller than be on the New York Times Best Seller list.
  • [35:01] How his book has increased and expanded his business.
  • [43:48] Stories of readers loving the concept of dichotomy.
  • [46:56] Leif’s advice to upcoming authors. 

Links and Resources

self-publishing

Self-Publishing in 2020: A Complete ACTIONABLE Guide

Don’t you agree that there’s almost too much information online about how to self-publish a book? So much that it can be really hard to actually determine what’ll be helpful to YOU?

We get it. We’re in the space every day, and we have to say…not all the advice you read will work.

Much of it is outdated in this everchanging space and doesn’t help you self-publish on Amazon in a way that actually brings you SUCCESS.

There’s far more to self-publishing a book than simply uploading it on Amazon and hitting “publish.” You can absolutely do that.

But don’t you actually want to sell books?

No matter what your goals are, to grow your business with a book, become a full-time fiction author, or simply to publish a memoir or self-help book to create an impact, we here at Self-Publishing School know what works.

We’re in the weeds with hundreds of students every week, learning, growing, and even expanding our program’s content to ensure it’s up-to-date.

And you know what? We want to give you a full, complete guide right here…for FREE. Nothing. Because we believe in you and the story you want to tell, no matter what it is.

WARNING: This blog post will be lengthy, and will cover topics not JUST related to uploading your book and self-publishing it on Amazon. Because again, there is MORE TO IT than just that. So focus, even bookmark this page, prepare to take some notes, and know that it’s possible for you to do 🙂

If you want to skip over some important points and JUST get down to the how-to list, click here.

Here’s how to self-publish a book for success:

  1. What is self-publishing?
  2. Is it a good idea to self-publish?
  3. What are the best self-publishing companies?
  4. Cost of self-publishing a book
  5. The BEST way to self-publish a book
    1. Create a self-publishing plan
    2. Choose the right book idea
    3. Mindmap your idea
    4. Outlines your book
    5. Write & produce your self-published book
    6. Get an ISBN & Copyright
    7. Decide where to print & distribute
    8. Set up your Amazon Central profile
    9. Set up your launch team
    10. Create a launch plan
    11. Upload your book to KDP to self-publish
    12. Launch!

Learn How 100 People Have Published in the Last 60 Days!  Learn the exact step-by-step methods 100 of our students have used the last 60  days to publish their books--and how YOU can do it too, just as easily!   Start Here!  <https://selfpublishingschool.lpages.co/organic-eg-bab-how-100-people-have-finished-their-books-in-the-last-60-days/>

What is self-publishing?

Self-publishing is when you publish a book without a publishing house first buying your book’s rights and producing the book for you. With self-publishing, you maintain 100% creative control as well as 100% of the royalties.

We have a handy self-publishing vs traditional publishing blog posts that really dives into specific differences you can check out. But really, self-publishing is all independent.

While traditional publishing requires writing a manuscript, querying, landing an agent, agent selling to the publishing house, and ultimately, you only writing and editing based on what your editor wants, only to receive 8-10% royalties AFTER printing costs and AFTER your advance gets earned-out.

There’s really no wonder we believe, in today’s world, self-publishing is the superior option.

But hey, you can decide for yourself after reading through this post 😉

Is it a good idea to self-publish a book?

The best way to publish a book is dependent on what your own unique goals are. Some people will find great success in self-publishing while others are better suited for traditional publishing.

Ultimately, unless you have a good amount of experience as well as connections in the traditional publishing world, this route will be difficult, and you may not ever get published.

With self-publishing, anyone can do it. Anyone can get on Amazon and upload a book. HOWEVER, not everyone can do it well in order to succeed.

There are thousands and thousands of authors making full-time income and MORE from self-publishing. Those people have figured it out. Some of these people are our very own coaches here at Self-Publishing School, teaching our students what it truly takes.

Others, have done the work and have spent years honing their craft and series’ in order to see success.

So ultimately, you have to ask a couple of questions in order to determine if self-publishing is a good idea for you:

  1. Do you want to maintain creative control and tell the story the way YOU want, with a cover that YOU want, and keep 100% of the royalties?
  2. Do you want to simply write and let others dictate the rest?
  3. Do you want to market your own books? SPOILER: this is required for BOTH publishing avenues.
  4. Are you serious about this?

No matter which way you choose to publish, you have to do the work. You have to do the book marketing. You have to commit, set writing goals, and work toward it.

What are the best self-publishing companies?

There are a couple of different ways to look at what “self-publishing companiesmeans.

You have retailers to publish, like Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, iBooks, and more. You also have aggregators like IngramSpark, Lulu, Bookbaby, and more that print your book and distribute it TO the retailers.

And then you also have self-publishing education companies, who teach you the ropes about how to self-publish the right way, with resources to help you get there.

The latter is what Self-Publishing School is. So of COURSE we’ll put ourselves at the top of this list, because we truly believe it’s the smartest and best way to self-publish.

Why not take the guidance from those most experienced? But because we want you to make the best choice for your needs, we’ll cover the other types as well.

Here are some of the best self-publishing companies you can work with:

  1. Self-Publishing School (That’s us!): An education company with 1-on-1 coaching, a private and exclusive Mastermind Community, and an entire digital course you keep access to for LIFE, all dedicated to helping you not only write a high-quality book, but also publish it for increased visibility and that coveted “Bestseller” banner. Learn more about our various programs for various types of authors-to-be here!
  2. Amazon, Kobo, B&N, iBooks: These are retailers, places readers can go to purchase your book and have it shipped to them. Amazon is by far the largest of them, however, you should aim to self-publish across all mediums to increase buyers.
  3. IngramSpark, Draft2Digital, Smashworlds, Lulu: Through these companies, you can have your book printed and distributed to the retailers listed above (and more). Amazon also prints its own books. So you could go exclusively with Amazon. But Amzon doesn’t publish hardback covers, like IngramSpark does. Do some research, and check out some reviews to choose where to print yours from.

When you self-publish a book, you’ll use a variety of these types. You can go it alone and simply upload with Amazon, using KDP Print (their book printers), or you can learn what it REALLY takes to do this successfully, and potentially work with us.

Cost of Self-Publishing A Book

Since you don’t have a massive publishing company backing you, there are expenses you’ll incur on your journey to self-publish a book.

Most are very mild, but they may seem like a large chunk of change to invest in your book (really, your success).

Thankfully, there are ways to cut costs. Our students have discounts through book designers, formatters, editors, and other book production services they’d have to pay full price elsewhere.

It’s likely that you can cut self-publishing costs by opting for freelancers or even checking out Reedsy’s resources to find someone to work with.

That being said, we have an entire post about how much it costs to self-publish, so we’ll keep it brief here.

Here’s how much it costs to self-publish a book:

  • Writing: free, but costs time
  • Editing: $200 – $2,000+ (this depends on word count)
  • Cover Design: $300 – $500 average (this is IMPORTANT!)
  • ISBN & Copyright: $100 – $400 (depending on country and number of ISBNs you choose to purchase)
  • Interior Formatting: $150 – $300 (depends on internal design)
  • Proof Copies: $50
  • Launch Team Goodies *Optional*: $100+ (signed copies, posters, etc.)
  • Self-Publishing Resources to Succeed *Optional*: $500 – $5,000+ (education companies)

TOTAL COSTS: $850 – $3000+

DON’T LET THESE NUMBERS DISSUADE YOU! You can save up while writing your book (which takes a good chunk of time). Just be prepared to invest in this if you want to be successful.

Also keep in mind, this is to produce a HIGH quality book. Which is the entire purpose of finding success in self-publishing a book. You have to be able to compete with traditionally published books, which are backed by massive budgets.

You can stick to the low-end of these costs and NOT opt for a developmental edit, which is one of the most expensive components.

But ultimately: do NOT skip at least a copy edit and do NOT skimp on the book cover. The book cover design…is the most important in today’s world of visually stimulating content.

What is the best way to self-publish a book successfully?

As the leading experts in this industry, we here at Self-Publishing School know we have the best way to self-publish.

It’s about more than just how to upload your book onto Amazon. And most people forget this. Most people who want to succeed in self-publishing a book, at least.

So we’re breaking down the best way to self-publish a book for maximum SUCCESS, from start-to-finish.

#1 – Create a self-publishing plan

You want to do this the right way, yes? And skip over the crap that’s not useful or the stuff that won’t really make a difference?

Good. Then you need a plan so you understand what it really takes to succeed. We don’t mess around here at Self-Publishing School.

So this includes putting together a timeline—or at the very least, a to-do list—of all the steps you’ll need to accomplish in order to self-publish your book.

You can even just jot down notes from this blog post in the order they’re here, since we’re handing you the ultimate blueprint for self-publishing in this blog post.

Our recommendation? Get a calendar, get an author planner (we actually have a GREAT one with author-specific prompts here).

Here’s how to plan to self-publish a book:

  1. Give yourself 1 full day for ideation (if you don’t have a book idea yet)
  2. 2 – 3 days for mindmapping
  3. 1 day for outlining (planning a novel may take longer)
  4. 3 – 8 months for drafting (this depends on your type of book. Fiction will lean months-long, nonfiction can be done in 90 days with the right system) but SCHEDULE writing days.
  5. 1 month for self-editing, revising, or beta readers
  6. 1 – 2 months for a hired book editor (book this out as early as you can so you’re not waiting forever on this!)
  7. 1 month for cover design (can be done along with hired editor)
  8. 2 weeks for formatting (can be done AFTER the final book edit)
  9. 1 week for ordering author copies + any time for revisions in formatting here
  10. 1 week for uploading, creating your Amazon description
  11. 3 weeks for launch team initiatives (can be done while cover is being done, etc. so long as you have a PDF copy they can read)
  12. 1 week for the full launch!
  13. At least 1 full day of celebration (far more preferred 🎉 🎊)

This seems overwhelming, and that’s because doing this process well takes time, planning, and focus.

#2 – Choose the right book idea to self-publish

Now’s the time to determine if you want to write whatever type of book you want OR if you want to write-to-market in order to build a full-time writing career.

Both are equally as lucrative if you know how to do them well.

But ultimately, you have to decide which avenue to take, and this will help you develop a plan for book ideas you want to write.

Here at Self-Publishing School, we teach our Become a Bestseller and Fundamentals of Fiction students to choose their first book idea based on a few key criteria:

  1. Which will be the easiest to write?
  2. Which do you have the most passion for?
  3. What can you write and publish the fastest?
  4. Which idea has the most need in the market?

Now, obviously the above questions are for those of you who have many ideas already. But what about if you don’t have a full, developed idea just yet?

Here are some tips if you don’t know what to write about yet:

  • Do you want to write a nonfiction book or write a novel?
  • If nonfiction: what do you know the most about? What do people often tell you you should write about? What do you find yourself explaining over and over (for example: I often get asked “how’d you turn out successful?” from those who know my upbringing–this would be a great topic for nonfiction).
  • If fiction: start with some writing prompts. Try the “what if” strategy: what if a character in a certain town comes across a certain oddity?

Let your mind wander, come up with a book idea you think is GREAT, and dive into the rest of the self-publishing process.

#3 – Mindmap your idea

Have you heard of a mindmap? This is a powerful tool we use here at Self-Publishing School to help our students when they “don’t know where to even start” when they have an idea.

It allows you to get ALL your ideas out so you can better organize in the next step.

A mindmap is what you create when you start with a blank sheet of paper, and in the middle you draw a circle with the main topic of your book, or the main plot.

Then, you draw branches from this for other main elements, where you create more branches to fill out those ideas. It’s hard to describe in words, so here are some examples:

mindmap example
mindmap for a book example

A mindmap is the space to dump ALL of your ideas, no matter if they’ll make the final book outline or not. Anything you can think of, the more, the merrier.

Then move on to the next step.

#4 – Create an outline for your book

Outlining a book can be really fun, and really difficult at the same time. It’s when you’ll finally put your ideas in the order you want them to appear in the book itself.

You trim the fat. You add the details. You have a clear blueprint for writing your book.

This step is also completely up to you. Different people outline in different ways.

Here’s a brief overview of only a few of the various methods to choose from (we suggest watching this video for more tangible examples):

  • Sticky Note Method: This is when you find a blank wall or large poster and use small sticky notes to write your main plot point or book elements and then arrange them in the order you want to write them.
  • Skeletal Method: This one is like what you may have written in school. You start with the main point as a title (chapter title maybe), then the next bullet can be the overarching idea, and then beneath that, you’ll have the supporting details or events you want to write about.
  • Basic Bullet Points: For this method, it is as it’s named. You start at the top and create bullet points for all the events you want to happen and write about. After this is complete from start to finish, draw lines to separate chapters.
  • Snowflake Method: This method involves starting small and broadening the outline. You start with one sentence of what will happen, expand this into a full paragraph, and then multiple for each chapter of your book.

#5 – Complete the book you’ll self-publish

This includes the entire writing-to-finished-product process, and we’ll outline this in just a moment below. But just know that this is the longest and most difficult part of self-publishing.

Yes, the actual self-publishing part isn’t as difficult as creating and maintaining the discipline to finish your first draft, self-edit, revise, hire an editor (YES, you need one), format the book, have the cover designed…I think you get the point.

Getting the first draft done is the most difficult part for most of our students. So let’s break down what this looks like, along with the other steps mentioned above to complete book production.

Here’s how to actually complete a book:

  1. Start writing, and follow our outline IN ORDER
  2. Maintain a writing schedule to finish your book
  3. Once the first draft is complete, let it “rest” for a week or so
  4. Book an editor (do this now, they usually have waitlists and you can do the next step while you wait. Plus, it’ll give you a deadline 🙂)
  5. Self-edit the book chapter by chapter, rewrite, and make any changes
  6. OPTIONAL BUT SUGGESTED: After you have it the best it can be, send it to beta readers or critique partners for feedback (DO THIS BEFORE SENDING IT TO AN EDITOR)
  7. Book a formatter and cover designer (some services have packages that include both)
  8. Perform book edits from the editor (really take their feedback to heart. It’s easy to be offended or not want to listen, but if they’re qualified they DO know best) and set up launch team and marketing goals while you wait to get it back
  9. Send to the formatter when it’s 100% edited
  10. Get your ISBN and copyright your book
  11. Work with the cover designer on tweaks (they’ll also need the barcode, ISBN, etc.)
  12. Order proof copies and review, adjust if needed
  13. DONE 🎉

This process is extensive and what our students truly get a lot out of our programs, since each of these steps is thoroughly outlined with video tutorials. But, we’ll still cover a few more points below.

We do have blog posts and/or videos for many of the steps above if you want more details. Just do a quick search in the bar at the top (or click the three bars to see search if you’re on mobile), or head to our Youtube channel and check them out.

#6 – Get an ISBN & Copyright your book

Amazon provides a free ISBN if you choose to use this. However, keep in mind that with an Amazon ISBN, you cannot sell your book on other retailers (like B&N, Kobo, iBooks, etc.) with that same ISBN.

For this reason, we always recommend our students buy their own (and get a package of them if you plan to publish more than one book).

Here are the quick steps to get an ISBN number & copyright your book all in one step, bundled at Bowker.com (or you can click that highlighted text to read a full blog post):

  1. Go to myidentifiers.com
  2. First, make an account (you need this to check out)
  3. At the top right, under “Register and copyright your book” hit “CopyrightsNow!”
  4. On the right, select which package option you’d like and add it to your cart–we suggest the 1 ISBN and Copyright, but if you plan to publish more than one book soon, choose another
  5. Click “go to cart” from the pop-up screen
  6. Click “checkout”
  7. Follow the process to check out

This process is pretty painless, but it does cost $184 USD for 1 copyright and 1 ISBN. These are essential costs.

If you want to add a copyright paragraph into your book, we have an actual book outline template you can use for those opening pages. Just choose fiction or nonfiction, fill out your details, and check your inbox for DIRECTIONS for how to use and access.

Book Outline Template Generator

Choose your book type to receive a "fill-in-the-blank" book outline template you can use to plan your book.

Enter your information below to receive your free outline template!

Book Outline Template Generator

Thanks for submitting! Check your email for your book outline template.

In the meantime, check out our Book Outline Challenge.

#7 – Decide where to print / distribute from

There are a growing number of options for where to get your book printed and distributed from. For self-publishing a book, Amazon is a typical go-to, but KDP print has some limitations that can move your attention elsewhere.

Why do you want to go with someone besides Amazon to self-publish a book? Because you can get your book into other online retailers, like B&N, Kobo, iBooks, and many more.

Amazon keeps everything on Amazon.

Here are the main print/distributors and their differences in self-publishing:

Amazon’s KDP Print —

This is Amazon’s own printing press, which used to be CreateSpace. It was acquired by Amazon so they could serve self-publishers on their platform all in one place.

Ease of use: 5/5

Cost to publish: $.85 flat fee per book over 108 pages + $.12 per page (for a 300-page book, Amazon would take $4.45 in printing costs out of your retail price)

Retailers included: Just Amazon.

LEARN HOW TO USE IT: KDP Print Guide & Review

IngramSpark

IngramSpark is one of the most popular book aggregators out there because they include hardcover in their printing options, where Amazon’s KDP Print does not. Many find this to be more appealing and a higher benefit.

Ease of use: 3.5/5

Cost to publish: $25 – $49, with a $25 per book edit fee, plus handling fees per book. You can see a breakdown of the costs here in the review linked below.

Retailers included: They have global distribution, you can read the full list here.

LEARN HOW TO USE IT: IngramSpark Guide Review

Draft2Digital —

Ease of use: 4.5/5

Cost to publish: They take 10% of the retail price of a book for a sale. (if you price your book at $14.99, they will receive about $1.50 per sale)

Retailers included: Amazon, Apple Books, Barnes & Noble, Kobo (including Kobo Plus), Tolino, OverDrive, Bibliotheca, Scribd, 24Symbols, Baker & Taylor, Hoopla

FULL REVIEW: Draft2Digital vs Smashwords

BookBaby

This is another distributor that’s been around for a little while. They have a flat fee for using their service, plus a royalty rate for you. Their services range from book printing to distribution to even ad management serivces. However, in all honesty, you can get the same level of service with a higher royalty rate elsewhere, but you may find they work best for you!

Ease of use: 4/5

Cost to publish: You pay $99 – $399 depending on distribution choices, but only KEEP between 11% – 20% of your royalties. PLUS, there are fees for editing your books.

Retailers included: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, BAM!, BookShop, Baker & Taylor, Ingram, Powells

LEARN MORE: Full BookBaby Review

Smashwords —

Smashwords was one of the first alternative options for self-publishers, that made sure authors could get their books distributed to other online retailers other than Amazon.

Ease of use: 3.5/5

Cost to publish: You can make 70% – 80% royalties from retail price, while Smashwords keeps the rest

Retailers included: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, BAM!, BookShop, Baker & Taylor, Ingram, Powells, Blio, Hive, Overdrive, Tolino, Scribd, Odilo, Apple iBooks, and more

FULL REVIEW: Draft2Digital vs Smashwords

#8 – Set up your Amazon Central profile and account

Your Amazon profile does matter. It can help people find you, and you can optimize it in order to sell more books as well grow your author platform.

And best yet? It’s free! You can create one and it’s the space all of your books will be hosted on Amazon’s platform.

Here’s how to make your Amazon Author Central account to self-publish your book:

  1. Log in here
  2. Follow the prompts to set up your page
  3. You’ll receive a confirmation email to finish setting up your account

If you want a more comprehensive guide to Amazon’s Author Central page, click here.

#9 – Set up your launch team

It’s time to start building your launch team! This is such an exciting time, because self-publishing your book is getting REAL!

If you’re not sure what a launch team (or street team) is, it’s a group of people who are dedicated to reading your book, writing a review on the platforms you want, and helping your self-publishing journey become a success.

Overall a launch team helps you build hype and market your book before and during your launch.

When you build your launch team, you’ll want to find people who are actually interested in your book. Yes, friends and family can certainly help, but tapping into the market you WANT to sell to can be more effective.

Here are a few steps for building your launch team:

  1. Create a social post, email, or announce it anywhere else you see fit
  2. Offer a FREE version of your book (a PDF copy is usually fine) to get people to sign up
  3. If you have an email list or a website, use a form to capture their information for use later
  4. Create a Facebook Group or a Discord or something equivalent where you can communicate with the launch team all at once in a singular location
  5. Set up a list of tasks, challenges, or other initiatives to ensure your launch team is invested in helping you market the book
  6. Set them up for success by clearly communicated and listing DATES you expect things completed by
  7. HAVE FUN!! This team is here to help you succeed! Be kind and treat them well.

#10 – Create a launch plan

This highly coincides with the previous step on building a launch team and creating a plan for THEM. Ultimately, to self-publish a book successfully, you should also set up an effective launch plan.

We have a book launch checklist available to download here to help you get started on this.

We also have an entire blog post dedicated to running a book launch, which we think should be a topic on its own. Check it out right here and keep this page open to come back to.

#11 – Upload your book to KDP to self-publish

There are many steps in this process. You’ll have to have your cover, your manuscript file formatted effectively, and more.

Typically, it can take a few days for Amazon to approve your book being uploaded.

For a step-by-step guide here, we wanted to point your toward the experts over at SelfPublishing.com for a complete set up, with all the information you could need to get this right.

Read how to upload your book to KDP to self-publish here.

#12 – Launch! And celebrate!

Once you set your date and click “publish,” THE CELEBRATION BEGINS!!

It’s a huge milestone to write a book. Let alone go through the process of editing, cover design, formatting, and actually self-publishing it.

BE PROUD!

And let us know how it went in the comments below!

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SPS 070: Keywords, Categories, & Using Amazon SEO + Publisher Rocket to Sell More Books with Dave Chesson

Today, joining me is Dave Chesson. He is a full-time entrepreneur, stay at home dad, author of 7 books, and software creator. Dave built his business starting in 2014 and is now making a six-figure income every year.

“What we are talking about today is what you need to do when someone types something into the search box, they show your book over somebody else’s.” Discoverability is key to selling your book on Amazon. “If Amazon does not choose to show your book, no matter what, you won’t make sales unless you find the person and point them to your book.”

Dave has dyslexia and isn’t a good writer. “For me to overcome my lack of Hemmingway capabilities, I understood the core principle that if people want something and they can’t find it, but you have the answer, then you don’t have to be Hemmingway to be the person that solves their problem.”

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BISAC code – Book Industry Subjects Codes list are sent to retailers as part of your book’s metadata. They are also used as the subject or genre codes. Intended to guide shelving, categorization, merchandising, and marketing efforts, these codes signal to potential buyers, retailers, distributors, and search engines what your book is about. BISAC will tell the buyer the primary genre, topic, and theme which relate to your book.

“Knowing which categories to choose, finding the ones that give you the best chance to be a best-seller, are extremely important.” There are three times you want to use Publisher Rocket: before you write your book, while you’re writing your book, and last, when you go to publish.

Listen in to find out how you can validate your book idea before you start writing, choose the best categories for your book, and write a book using Publisher Rocket. Learn how to find out the best keyword phrases to add to your Amazon search, run Amazon ads, and make sure your keywords fit your book content.

Show Notes

  • [02:29] Why SEO is important when you want to sell more books. 
  • [04:26] How Publisher Rocket sells more books. 
  • [06:40] Validating your book idea before you start writing a book with Publisher Rocket.
  • [08:02] Learn how to use BISAC code when marketing your book. 
  • [09:48] Using Publisher Rocket to validate a book idea and set up for success.
  • [13:16] Discovering kindle keywords to get your book found on Amazon.  
  • [17:05] Questions to ask when researching keywords. 
  • [18:06] Why it’s important to make sure your keywords fit your book.
  • [20:26] Two ways that categories help with your book. 
  • [23:31] How to set up and run Amazon ads.
  • [27:30] Biggest mistakes people make with Amazon ads.

Links and Resources

SPS 069: How A Former Circus Performer Unlocked The Author Advantage & Grew A 7-Figure Editing Business with Qat Wanders

Today, joining me is Qat Wanders, an author, editor, and speaker, and a successful self-publishing school student. She has published numerous books in both the fiction and non-fiction categories. We are going to dive into her story and how she used books to build her seven-figure business.

She found the traditional publishing route very time-consuming and painful. Qat decided she wanted to move to self-publishing.

Dealing with severe chronic pain and looking to work from home. “I was doing freelance writing and editing, then I stumbled across a webinar from Self-Publishing School and signed up for it immediately.” She signed up for SPS intending to get her first book self-published.

“Days after I joined, my dad called me and told me he had three months to live.” Her dad’s dying wish was to hold her book in his hands, and he wanted to see her become a bestseller. She decided to switch from her memoir to writing a book about yoga. Qat had her book published in 29 days. Her book became a bestseller, and her dad held the book in his hands a week before he passed away.

Qat’s daughter was eight when she came up with a fiction storyline, which she helped her daughter, Ora, turn into a published book. Her final book was a 400-page fantasy novel. However, the process was long; her daughter published, and her book became a big success at school, with her teachers and her social media following. Her advice to parents when helping your child write a book, “Be encouraging. There’s a fine line between encouraging and nagging.”

“I’d say my writing has improved the more I learn. Because the more you edit, the more you learn.” She is very familiar with the genres of the books she has coming out, which gives her specific areas to focus on while editing.

Listen in to find out how Qat set up her business after her book launch, why she moved from traditional publishing to a circus entertainer, and why you should stop double spacing in between your sentences.

Show Notes

  • [02:03] How Qat found Self-Publishing School and started her journey. 
  • [04:04] Her process of self-publishing. 
  • [07:14] The most challenging aspect of publishing her first book.
  • [11:06] Her rewarding work helping her daughter to write and publish books.
  • [15:16] Be encouraging and persistent with your encouragement when your child writes a book.
  • [16:24] How she moved from launching a book to retaining clients.
  • [18:05] Business details of Qat’s coaching program. 
  • [23:57] Her advice on how to build a business quickly.
  • [28:40] How she writes her books differently now that she has edited her own books.
  • [30:45] What authors should look for in a good editor and what should they expect to pay?
  • [34:08] How to find a good editor.
  • [37:49] Her biggest takeaway from Author’s Advantage Live

Links and Resources