best self publishing courses

The Best Self Publishing Courses: Top 5 Publishing Courses

The time has never been better to write and publish a book. If you are thinking of writing a book but are stressing out over all the steps to write, publish and launch to market, you should seriously consider enrolling in one of the best self-publishing courses available today.

There is a lot to know beyond writing a book. Not to say the writing part is easy, but you will have greater confidence in writing and publishing your book with connections to a support network walking you through the steps.

Now we will take an inside tour of each best self-publishing course, the benefits of each course, and the best online publishing program for you.

Here is a list of the best self-publishing courses we will cover:

  1. Self-Publishing vs Traditional
  2. How to Choose the Best Online Course for you
  3. Criteria to Choose the Best Self-publishing Course
  4. Self Publishing School with Chandler Bolt
  5. Authority Pub with Steve Scott and Barrie Davenport
  6. Self Publishing 101 with Mark Dawson
  7. Your First 10,000 Readers with Nick Stephenson
  8. Tribe Writers with Jeff Goins

Although all the best online courses here come highly recommended, the course content and purpose of each course varies depending on:

  • What you need as an author. Are you writing your first book? Scaling up your author platform to 6 figures a year?
  • Your budget. How much cash are you willing to invest in your self-publishing business?
  • Your expectations. What are you expecting by taking an online publishing program? A strong return on ROI? Can the course deliver on its promise?

If you’re a business owner looking to make a solid ROI and see how a book can help grow your business, just fill out the ROI calculator below.

But, before we dive into the best self-publishing courses on the market today, let me ask you this:

Depending how you responded to the above, this should give you an idea of what course to enroll in.

Every day, thousands of books are self-published through various publishing companies: Amazon KDP, Barnes and Noble Press, or Apple iBooks to name a few.

Thousands of authors—just like you—have a dream to see their books in print, on a bookshelf, or for sale online in the Amazon store, the largest ebook retailer in the world.

To get your book to the publishing stage takes a lot of work. If you are not familiar with everything needed to self publish a book, you could end up spending more money than planned or, unknowingly fall into the hands of a deceiving vanity press publisher that waits for new authors desperate to publish.

Don’t let haste or desperation lead you to a bad decision. Check out the best courses here and any questions, contact support through the course so you can be confident you’re making the right decision.

Why Self-Publish Instead of Traditional Publishing?

Here are 7 reasons to consider self-publishing your book instead of traditional publishing:

  1. Writing a book makes you an authority in your area of expertise.
  2. Self-publishing a book, or series of books, creates an additional income stream that could lead to you making a living from writing in 6 months to a year. Publishing your book through one of the big 5 trade publishers could take years.
  3. Self-publishing lets you build your own business at your pace with the freedom to make key business decisions.
  4. Potentially you can earn more because it is easier to scale up when you have control over marketing and book launch pacing.
  5. Tax breaks by forming your own business and working from home.
  6. Publish more, publish faster. This means the potential to earn more in a shorter amount of time and scale up your email list at a faster rate: The key point here is, it’s faster all around.
  7. 0 rejection letters. That’s right, you can never be rejected as a self-published author. 

Some of the big titles available today started out as self-published books before being picked up by a major publishing house.

Recognize any of these self-published books?

  • Fifty Shades of Grey—E.L.James
  • The Tale of Peter Rabbit—Beatrix Potter
  • The Martian—Andy Weir
  • The Shack by William P. Young
  • Eragon by Christopher Paolini
  • Swann’s Song by Marcel Proust
  • Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur
  • Switched by Amanda Hocking
  • Still Alice by Lisa Genova
  • The Celestine Prophecy by James Redfield
  • Hacker series by Meredith Wilder

So yes, self-publishing can be a great path to launch your writing career. You can work from home, set up a writer’s temporary workstation at your local Starbucks, or hunker down in a library hammering away at perennial bestseller after bestseller.

How Do I Choose the Best Online Course?

As a self-published author of 12+ books, I know firsthand what it is like to navigate through all the steps involved in writing a book. And writing the book can be the easy part!

Now, you might be thinking of just doing it yourself without any help from a self-publishing course. I did this too, and I made a lot of mistakes that could have been avoided had I invested in a course with a built-in blueprint.

This is why I have put together a solid list of the best self-publishing courses on the market today. Only the best made this list because I know what it is like to waste money on courses that went nowhere.

I have personally been inside each of these courses so I can share with you firsthand the pros and cons of each.

Why take a self-publishing course?

Good question. Take into account the marketing, networking, and getting the book ready for print. The steps are many and it is a big investment of your time and effort.

Do I need a course to write a book? Can’t I do this myself?

Yes, you can. But…

Publishing can be difficult with lots of moving parts. You start to feel like a juggler with too many balls in the air! And if you’re already spending the time to get it done, why not do it right.

That’s what we do here, and you can check out our bestselling Become a Bestseller program right here.

The good point of joining a course is, you are not alone. And, without support, a launch team to help launch your book, it is easy to make a lot of mistakes that could otherwise be avoided.

So, this is why we bring you this list of professional experts, each with years of book writing experience and marketing confidence, sharing with you the best strategies for writing, launching and selling more books. And yes, despite the flood of material out there these days, you can make money from self-publishing…if you do it right and learn from the best.

Making the Cut: The 7-Point Criteria for Choosing the Best Self Publishing Course

  1. The instructors for each course are multi-bestselling authors with the sales and platform to show it. They are trusted by the industry with solid reputations for being honest and driving their business with integrity.
  2. The course content is current and up to date. In an industry that is constantly changing, publishing courses can become outdated within a year. With the exception of the Tribe Writers, the courses here are updated regularly with additions and updates every few months. 
  3. Based on industry reviews and student satisfaction, the courses are praised and recommended by authors who have been through the programs.
  4. The strategies and business practices of the owners do not break any rules pertaining to Amazon’s rules and are morally sound.
  5. I have personally taken these courses and recommend each one.
  6. The material, content and overall course is professionally packaged and high quality.
  7. Support: When you run into trouble, you want to know that you can talk to someone and get everything sorted quickly and efficiently. No-fuss. 

Take note: Several courses are open for a limited time only at certain times of the year. The enrollment period is usually every three months, but this varies. 

Self Publishing School with Chandler Bolt

self-publishing-school

Self-published entrepreneur and bestselling author Chandler Bolt quit college back in 2014 and set out to write a book called The Productive Person. The book was hugely successful and Chandler soon set up an online course to help authors self publish their books…in just 90 days! 

Yes, the professionals at Self Publishing School are making big claims: You can go from blank page to published book in as little as 90 days. To date, close to 5000 authors have been through the course since it started in late 2014.

The online publishing course has been featured by INC 5000 as one of the 5000 fastest-growing private companies in America multiple years in a row.

With this comprehensive go-at-your-own-pace blueprint, the school has created an easy-to-follow system to take you from first time author to full-time author with three pillar courses available.

Breakdown of Course Content

When self-publishing school first started out they had a basic course for writing and publishing a book. There are a few different premium courses to choose from on the platform, including a full fiction course piloted by successful self-published fiction author RE Vance.

Become a Bestseller—Blank Page to Published Author and Everything Inbetween: From blank page to published author, write your book in 90 days with this course. There are 3 modules to walk you through the program with over 4 hours of video, bonus content and a preferred outsourcer list to assist with hiring professionals for all phases of the process, along with over $1,000 in exclusive Self-Publishing School student discounts and specials.

  • Mindmap / Outlining
  • Target Audience Deep-Dive
  • Writing Tips
  • Milestones to Track Your Progress
  • Done-For-You Cover Design & Formatting
  • Worldwide Distribution
  • Expert Interviews with Industry Experts
  • 1-on-1 Tailored Coaching for YOUR Book
A Peek Inside the Self-Publishing School Become a Bestseller Program
best-self-publishing-programs
Modules 3-5 out of 12 of Self-Publishing School’s Become a Bestseller Program

Fundamentals of Fiction & Story: For all the fiction writers looking to learn everything you need to in order to write a high-quality fiction book that actually sells! Fiction is a different game than non-fiction, and Self-Publishing School knows that, employing bestselling fiction coaches to work through plot, the craft of writing, and selling.

  • Writing, editing, and mindset
  • Launching your book
  • The business of writing
  • Milestones to Track Your Progress
  • Done-For-You Cover Design & Formatting
  • Memoir modules
  • Expert Interviews with Industry Experts
  • Worldwide Distribution
  • 1-on-1 Tailored Coaching for YOUR Book

Author Advantage Accelerator: This new program has all the goods! One-on-one action calls, group coaching calls, online training, and a myriad of other benefits listed below. Most often, these are business builders using their book to grow their business or those looking to make being an author their full-time job.

dfy-aaa
  • Done-For-You Cover Design & Formatting
  • Worldwide Distribution
  • Advanced Inner Circle Mastermind
  • Sell More Books Bootcamp
  • Global Book Promotion Package
  • Social Media Marketing Mastery
  • Done-For-You Author Website
  • Done-For-You Lead Magnet
  • Done-For-You Email Marketing package

Each program comes with its own customized, professional workbook. The best part of these courses is that you will be assigned a personal coach after being accepted into the program.

Course Details

Cost to Enroll: Speak to an SPS representative to discuss best course options and pricing, as each program price varies.

Availability: If you qualify and meet the program requirements, you can start right away.

Target Author: Writing your first book, advanced or pro authors, business owners or future business owners. SPS has courses to cover any level.

Enrollment Availability: Evergreen, any time.

Sound like something you want to do? Click here to schedule your FREE Breakthrough Session with a Publishing Success Strategist.

6 Reasons to Enroll with Self Publishing School

  • The one-on-one personal coaching that comes with each course. You will get the best results by working with a professional student success coach.
  • One hour clarity call with your coach to drill down into your book idea.
  • Up to 4 weekly live online mastermind group trainings & Q&A, one with Chandler Bolt himself
  • Customized workbook comes with each course
  • Mastermind Facebook Community of 2500+ active participants.
  • Multiple premium courses to meet your publishing goals

Self Publishing School has a long track record of successful students that have written, launched and turned their dreams of being published into a reality. The course is fast-paced and doesn’t waste time on details.

Authority Pub Academy With Steve Scott and Barrie Davenport

publishing courses

Steve Scott [also known as S.J. Scott] is one of the biggest names when it comes to self-publishing. He has been marketing online for a long time and when the eBook craze started back in 2011, Steve was one of the first authors that was in there doing it.

Steve Scott has published over 70 books and has been branded as the “Heavyweight of Self Publishing.” He runs the blog Develop Good Habits. Together with his writing partner Barrie Davenport [Live Bold and Bloom], Steve and Barrie created Authority Pub Academy.

With the combined talents of two bestselling authors, Authority Pub is everything you would expect it to be: A self publishing course that is focused on teaching authors to write and publish, not just a book, but focuses on building out an author platform.

self-publishing-courses

In today’s overwhelming jungle of books, with thousands being published daily, Steve Scott recognised the importance of turning your book platform into a brand and a book business.

This is the strength and focus of this course, and there is loads of videos, downloads and information taught from two authors that have been engaged in the self-publishing business from the beginning.

Breakdown of Course Content

Authority Pub Academy is made up of 6 modules:

  • Module 1: Setting the Author Mindset and Building a Writing Habit
  • Module 2: Niche Focus and Researching a Perennial Bestseller
  • Module 3: Outlining, Writing a First Draft and Editing
  • Module 4: Pre-Publishing and Setting Up Your Book in KDP
  • Module 5: Lead Magnets, Reviews and launch strategies
  • Module 6: Advanced marketing and Scaling Up Your Author Library

Authority Pub is a plethora of knowledge and both Steve and Barrie have learned everything through years of trial and error. Authority pub is a “one-stop resource to help writers streamline the whole process.”

Course Details

Cost to Enroll: $397 or 3 payments of $149

Availability: Anytime

Target Author: If you are just writing your first book, or already published and looking to scale up your author platform with more content and strategies that increase long term growth, Authority Pub is for you.

6 Reasons to Enroll with Authority Pub Academy:

  • Advanced supplementary materials includes WordPress blog setup mastery, Canva tutorial, email walkthrough using Aweber and Evernote tips for productive writing
  • Course content professionally delivered via high definition videos supported by quality downloads
  • Solid case studies and examples of writers who have made it work
  • Effective advanced marketing strategies to scale up your books
  • The course removes any guesswork and provides students with a clear roadmap
  • 30 day “try it, test it, apply it” money-back guarantee

Self Publishing 101 with Mark Dawson

publishing courses

I became interested in Mark Dawson’s platform as a big fan of his John Milton action series books and Isabella Rose thrillers. If you’re looking for a great read this weekend, I’d highly recommend these books.

As a traditionally published author who used to write for a big firm, Mark Dawson started self-publishing his action and thrillers and, to date, has sold over a million copies. Mark has published 25+ books, has three series in the works, and is constantly launching bestseller after bestseller. His monthly earnings in 2015, according to an interview in Forbes.com, Mark Dawson was being paid $450,000 a year for his works.

So, who better to learn the craft of self-publishing than an established author with both a library of successful bestsellers and the income to show it. This brings us to Self Publishing 101, Mark Dawson’s course for authors.

If you are new at self-publishing or have been publishing for a while, this course has something for everyone. You will learn the basics as well as advanced marketing strategies to scale up your author platform.

With Self Publishing 101, you’ll write, launch and market a quality book that sells. Although Mark Dawson is mainly a fiction author, the course can be customized for nonfiction writers. The same marketing strategies apply to both.

Breakdown of Course Content

Inside Self Publishing 101, the course is broken up into 8 modules that includes:

  • Build Your Platform
  • Pre-Publication
  • Amazon Exclusive or Go Wide
  • Go Wide
  • Generating Traffic
  • Advanced Teams & Launching
  • Getting Reviews

As additional bonuses, there is also a tech module that walks through how to build a website, lead magnets, email service providers, and formatting your book. 

The best part of this course is the system Mark teaches for email list building through an author website. Building an email list is critical to the success of any author, and Mark and his team have these bases covered.

Course Details

  • Cost to Enroll: $497 or 12 monthly payments of $49.00. Comes with a 30-day money back guarantee.
  • Availability: Closed after enrollment begins. Cycle is every 3-4 months.
  • Target Author: Beginner, intermediate and advanced authors looking to build a rock-solid fan base through email list building and advertising.

6 Reasons to Enroll with Self Publishing 101

  • Deep dive into the Amazon algorithm
  • Focuses on subscriber communication and building an email list
  • Bonus tech library with an introduction to using advanced apps and tools
  • Active Facebook group with high response time
  • Additional “Writing Copy for Facebook Ads” module
  • Reasonably priced course for the value it delivers 

Your First 10k Readers with Nick Stephenson

self publishing options

If you are looking for a comprehensive, in-depth, no-holds-barred course on marketing tactics, Nick Stephenson’s Your First 10,000 Readers is that course.

Created by a bestselling fiction author, Your First 10k Readers is a different beast from the other best courses listed here for one defining reason: It isn’t about writing your first book.

The course assumes you already have a book, or a library of books, and now you want to take what you’ve got and line it all up in order to grow your list to a 10k readership…and beyond. 

Your First 10k Readers is really better suited for the more seasoned author. It gets into the nitty-gritty of the Amazon algorithm, merchandising, keywords and niche marketing, email marketing, landing pages, giveaways, and what Nick calls “You’re secret sauce.”

So yeah, there’s a lot going on here.

Let’s take a look inside.

Breakdown of the Course Content

The course consists of 6 modules that you can work on at your own pace. The modules are:

  • Module 1: Rule the Retainers.

This includes Amazon Algorithms, Merchandising, Broad Reach VS KDP Select, and Pricing.

  • Module 2: Generate Endless Traffic.

This includes Keywords & Niches, Using Free Books, Smart Promotions, and The Author Dream Team

  • Module 3: Convert Traffic Into Fans

This includes Traffic Funnels, Optimize Your Website, Giveaways, and Events Marketing

  • Module 4: Build Engagement and Sell—Without Being “Salesy”

This module includes Why Readers Don’t Buy, Priming the sale, Scarcity, the Secret Sauce, Social Media Mastery, Getting Reviews, and Auto-Responders

  • Module 5: Launch Strategies

This module includes Launch Teams, Building Buzz, and Launch Day

  • Module 6: Facebook Advertising

This module includes Intro to Power Editor, How to Track Results With Pixels, and Ninja Tricks.

writing and publishing courses

In addition to the 6 core modules, there is also a wide range of bonus content that includes rock star author interviews, email swipe files, and tools of the trade bonus section.

Course Details

  • Cost to Enroll: $597 or 12 monthly payments of $59.00. Comes with a 30-day money back guarantee.
  • Availability: Enrollment anytime.
  • Target Author: Intermediate and advanced authors needing advanced tactics to scale up author platform and build your publishing business into an empire

6 Reasons to Enroll with Your First 10k Readers

  • Membership includes author interviews with big industry authors Mark Dawson, Joanna Penn, Simon Whistler, Bryan Cohen, and Nick Loper
  • A powerhouse of book marketing tactics for both fiction and nonfiction authors
  • Video content is high quality, fast-paced and engaging
  • Comes with a highly-engaged private Facebook group
  • Includes a BONUS course “The 60-Day Author” for writers who haven’t published yet
  • Includes a members cheat sheet that breaks the course down into a comprehensive blueprint

Tribe Writers with Jeff Goins (Discontinued in 2021)

publishing courses

Jeff Goins is the best-selling author of five books including The Art of Work and Real Artists Don’t Starve. He is the owner of Goinswriter.com where he shares his thoughts on writing, life and creativity.

With a successful blog and five bestselling books, it isn’t any surprise that Jeff had a writing course to market to his raving fans of authors. All his current courses can be found here

Jeff’s Tribe Writers course was packed with material. With the formula presented in Tribe Writers, you as the author could create your own path to creativity. There were twelve steps of a tribe writer that allowed you to tailor fit the best plan while keeping your unique voice.

Tribe Writers was broken up into four individual modules:

  • Module 1: Honing Your Voice
  • Module 2: Establishing a Platform
  • Module 3: Expanding Your Reach
  • Module 4: Getting Published

In addition to the four modules, you also got:

  • Exclusive interviews with over a dozen authors, bloggers, and publishing experts
  • Access to the Tribe Writers community of 6000+ members
  • Conference calls to ask questions and get help
  • Downloadable PDF workbook that summarizes every lesson
  • Admission to a private Facebook group only for students

The modules took about 2 weeks to get through but you can move at your pace.

This course came with five additional bonuses to support you including You Are a Writer eBook + Audiobook and The Perfect Book Launch.

Where Jeff’s Tribe Writers was different from the other courses is, a strong emphasis on honing your ideas and creativity as a writer to create a unique brand. Unfortunately, this program is no longer for sale, although it was quite valuable when it was on the market.

Ready to Write and Publish Your Bestseller?

All of these courses are excellent in their own way. Depending on your budget and writing goals, you might choose one over the other. The best self-publishing course for you depends largely on your goals as an author.

Now that we have taken an in-depth look at the best self publishing courses for you to write your bestseller, you have a solid idea of what to expect from each course. The question is: Are you ready to start?

So now, make a choice. You have been sitting on this long enough. Your book won’t write itself and if you have written it already, take it to the next step of publication. To get a personalized plan for your book, talk to one of our publishing strategists today.

Your move.

Life is short.

Take action now.

It’s your time to write the next perennial bestseller!

self publishing companies

Self-Publishing Companies: Pros & Cons (+13 of the Best)

Working with self-publishing companies is not always what the authors want to do when they start writing a book.

It might not be clear to you yet (we’ll get to it), but you need some help self-publishing your book.

I get it. The concept might seem a little crazy right now. After all, it’s called self-publishing, not self-and-a-company-publishing.

But the thing is… You don’t know everything you need to in order to self-publish…

Okay, that’s not true. You don’t know everything you need in order to self-publish successfully.

Do you have what it takes to self-publish and actually achieve the level of success you desire?

The hard truth…is that the large majority of self-publishers out there don’t.

And you don’t have to anymore! When self-publishing first came about, people had to figure it out on their own. Our founder did exactly that, learned what worked well, and has taught thousands of authors how to do it for themselves.

But that’s just this self-publishing company.

In this read, we’re going to cover exactly how self-publishing companies can help you bridge the gap between the success you’re really after and what you can only do for yourself.

Here’s what you’ll learn about publishing companies:

  1. What self-publishing companies do
  2. Benefits of using a self-publishing company
  3. How you’ll keep your rights
  4. How much time you’ll save
  5. How much money you’ll make
  6. Staying accountable with a self-publishing company
  7. You can get 1-on-1 coaching
  8. You’ll make connections
  9. How you’ll create a bigger impact
  10. How you’ll gain more opportunities
  11. How your business will grow
  12. What are the best self-publishing companies?
  13. Self-publishing companies to avoid

What is a Self-Publishing Company?

A self-publishing company is a business dedicated to helping you achieve your desired level of success within your self-publishing journey.

They detail the process and streamline otherwise difficult avenues you might not be able to maneuver yourself.

But every self-publishing company is different.

Here at Self-Publishing School, our mission is to make the process as easy as possible for you while ensuring you do everything you can to succeed the right way.

Sure, you can throw your book online with a cover you created in Canva and call yourself a self-published author. But will that yield book sales? Will that give you the authority, recognition, and fulfillment you’re looking for?

To learn how we can help you create a high-quality book that sells more copies, book a call with our team.

How is a Self-Publishing Company Different than a Traditional Publishing House?

Self-publishing companies and traditional publishing houses are completely different in the sense that the former does not publish the book for you, but rather, we help you by providing necessary (crucial!) information about how to complete the process successfully.

Traditional publishing houses are where you first land an agent, and then they submit your manuscript, and they take care of the printing/editing/publishing – at the expense of your hard earned royalties, of course.

Here’s a table detailing the differences between self-publishing companies and traditional publishing.

What You GetSelf-PublishingTraditional Publishing
Sole control of your book's outcome
X
Sole control of your book's rightsX
Control over the story X
Control over the coverX
100% of royaltiesX
Editing includedX
Cover designX
MarketingXX
DeadlinesX

Why Use a Self-Publishing Company?

After all, you want to do this yourself, right? Self-publish. But like I mentioned before, knowing how to self-publish and knowing how to self-publish successfully are two different things.

Do you know the best method for actually writing your book?

Do you know exactly how to craft your subtitle and book description to maximize sales?

Do you know the best book launch process for getting your book with the coveted orange “Bestseller” banner (that also increases your book’s ranking and sales!)?

There is far more to self-publishing than simply hitting “publish” on Amazon, and without the right process, your book might end up as one of those stereotypical self-published books that sells 3 copies – to family members.

And that’s why you use a self-publishing company. Someone else has already done the research, the work, and has the experience to guide you through the process. A company like Self-Publishing School can not only educate you on the process, we can even take care of certain book production services for you (like cover design, formatting, and more).

If you’re someone who wants to see real book sales and achieve other goals, like growing a business or becoming a full-time author, then a self-publishing company will help.

What You Can Expect with a Self-Publishing Company

What does working with a self-publishing company look like?

While not all self-publishing companies are the same or provide the same type of information and training for you, it’s important to understand what you’ll take away from working with one.

This is what you can expect when working with a company that helps you self-publish.

#1 – You keep all rights to your book

Unlike traditional publishing houses, you actually get to keep all the rights to your books.

What does this mean?

Self-publishing means that, when you publish, you are the sole owner of the book and all of its contents. It’s copyrighted under your name and the self-publishing companies will not have any of their information inside of the book (unless you want to thank them for everything they’ve helped you with).

This is a major benefit because with self-publishing companies, you can keep the book in print for however long you want.

On the flip side, traditional publishing houses can choose when to pull your book from shelves and simply no longer print or sell it. And since you no longer own the rights, you can’t self-publish that book unless you buy the rights back (which some publishing houses don’t even offer you the option of).

#2 – You’ll save time

Time is our most valuable asset. It’s the one thing in our lives we can never get back no matter what.

Unless you’re a secret time traveler and have uncovered the secrets of bending and warping time (and if you are, PLEASE SHARE), you have to treat time like it’s precious.

One of the biggest perks of using self-publishing companies to help you get your book published is the simple fact that they tell you what needs to be done, when, and how.

Not only will you save time actually writing the book (assuming the company gives you instructions on how to write faster, like we do here at Self-Publishing School), but you won’t have to go through the hours upon hours of research in order to get it right.

And, you don’t have to waste time making mistakes and adjusting them.

#3 – You keep 100% of royalties

Everything you earn, you keep. Now, there may be self-publishing companies out there who require a percentage of your royalties, since they helped you, but here at Self-Publishing School we don’t believe in that.

After all, you did the work. You put forth the time and effort. This is your book. Therefore, you keep what you actually earn.

Aside from what Amazon takes for allowing you to use their platform, 100% of your profit is yours to keep.

This is much different than traditional publishing houses in the sense that through them, you’re only pocketing about 10% of royalties (and sometimes even less).

#4 – You’re kept accountable

The hardship is in the name itself: self-publishing.

It’s a very lonely process if you don’t have anyone else going through it with you. And we all know how much easier it is to stay on track when we have someone else rooting for (or hollering at) us.

Many self-publishing companies have some sort of progress tracking, coaching, or community to help keep you motivated and working to achieve your dream.

How we do that here at Self-Publishing School is through all three of those methods, including a Facebook Mastermind Community with hundreds of dedicated current and past students ready to help.

self publishing companies

#5 – You get coached by experts

At least here at Self-Publishing School, you do. Not all programs have this perk, and boy is it a perk.

Our coaches are all experts in their field. You get one-on-one coaching that allows you to take personalized tips and put them to use in your own publishing journey.

Since coaches have been exactly where you are and have come out on top, and maintained book sales themselves, you get a leg up on anyone else doing this without that help.

Again, not all self-publishing companies offer this service to their students, but if they do, it can help you understand a side of the industry you likely wouldn’t get to see otherwise.

#6 – You make connections

This is particularly true for programs that include access to a community of some sort.

You never know who you’ll get to know, like, and befriend. These are all like-minded people who are after the same things as you.

You can make dear friends, get even more advice when needed, and maintain a sense of purpose when you’re constantly fed motivation from them.

#7 – You create a bigger impact with your book

What’s the reason you’re self-publishing. Why do you really want to get your book out into the world?

I’m willing to bet it has something meaningful to you. You want to help others, share information, or show the world a theme or message that’s important to you.

By using one of the self-publishing companies out there, you’re able to create a bigger impact with your book.

How?

Because you will write it better, market it smarter, and sell more. And after all, that’s the point. Right? You want to get as many eyes on it as you possibly can.

#8 – You gain more opportunities

Because your book will do better than it would if you didn’t have that outside help, you gain many more opportunities.

Becoming a published author places you as an authority in any field you’re writing in. Not only does this help your business grow, if that’s your goal, but it also helps you sell more books through new and better opportunities than you’d have otherwise.

Take these students of ours for example:

publishing companies

After publishing their books, they have been either contacted or pursued speaking engagements on their own along with other opportunities to grow their book and platform.

#9 – Your business will grow

Leveraging your book to grow your business is one of the best methods out there.

Chandler Bolt, you know him—the guy who built this 8 figure business from his first bestselling book—swears by it.

But he’s not the only expert out there who agrees.

Ryan Deiss, CEO of DigitalMarketer, also uses a book to grow his business. You can check out how he does so in the video above, but the point remains: self-publishing is a perfect way to grow your business.

And if that’s your goal, then you want to make sure you’re self-publishing for success. Otherwise, your book won’t make nearly as big of an impact on your business, which is why working with a self-publishing company can help.

#10 – You have a repeatable, successful process

Many of our students write multiple books with our program – not just one.

As one of our favorite author says, if you write one book and you enjoy it, you will write another book.

self-publishing companies

The most successful self-published authors out there are those who write more than one book. Not only do they maintain a steady stream of passive income this way, but since they have a reliable, repeatable process, it makes it easy for them to publish multiple.

So long as the self-publishing company you’re working with has lifetime access (like we do), you can hop on and go through the system every time you want to.

Plus, imagine how nice it would feel to say, “Yes, I’m a published author of multiple books.” Has a nice ring to it, don’t you think?

What Are the Best Self-Publishing Companies?

If you’re looking for the best self-publishing companies, here are 11 worth checking out, according to our friends at SelfPublishing.com. 

  1. Kindle Direct Publishing. One of the world’s biggest self-publishing retailers. The easiest way to access Amazon’s many customers.
  2. Barnes & Noble Press. A great option for self-publishers looking to enjoy good retail rates and Barnes & Noble’s print-on-demand service.
  3. Kobo. A retailer with wide international reach. Kobo accounts for around a quarter of all Canadian eBook sales.
  4. Apple Books. Choose Apple’s book retail platform to access the lucrative market of Mac owners.
  5. Reedsy. Use Reedsy to find excellent service providers for your self-published book. Also offers useful educational resources for self-publishers.
  6. Lulu. Lulu has its own online retail and distribution channels as well as a range of author services. Check out a guide to Lulu here.
  7. IngramSpark. Offering wide-reaching distribution channels for your book as well as print-on-demand capabilities. You can learn more about IngramSpark here.
  8. PublishDrive. If you’re looking for an alternative book distribution channel, PublishDrive offers you the option of paying a monthly subscription fee that allows you to keep 100% of your sales revenue.
  9. Draft2Digital. A convenient option for self-publishers looking to use Draft2Digital’s powerful book formatting capabilities as well as International Book Links. 
  10. SmashWords. One of the earliest book aggregators. SmashWords grants your book access to some of the biggest retailers out there, and also provides powerful reporting capabilities. 
  11. StreetLib. A wide-reaching international distributor with dashboard options supporting multiple languages.
  12. Luminare Press. Offers professional, personal, and affordable services to ensure authors get a book that they can be proud of.
  13. Self-Publishing School: Us! We truly believe we’re the best out there, and we continously strive to improve our coaching, group coaching, online programs, and overall services. Take a look at our Become a Bestseller program here (one of 7 total programs we have) to learn more.

Red Flags to Look for in Self-Publishing Companies

Not all self-publishing companies are created equal. Unfortunately, there are some self-publishing companies who only want your money and don’t want to see you succeed.

These are some red flags to keep a lookout for when researching self-publishing companies to help you get your book out there.

what are the self publishing companies to avoid

#1 – They take a cut of your royalties

Why even self-publish if you don’t actually get to keep your hard earned money?

This won’t necessarily mean that self-publishing company is a scam or fraudulent in any way. However, it is something to think about and be wary of.

You want to make sure you’re actually benefiting fairly for your book’s success. So working with a company that allows you to keep every cent is essential.

Related: SelfPublishing.com’s Book Royalties Calculator

#2 – They make you sign over your book rights

As mentioned earlier, traditional publishing houses technically “purchase” your book from you. It’s why you get that nice big (usually not big, though) advance.

However, self-publishing companies should not require this. Since you are self-publishing, all of the rights should remains 100% yours.

#3 – They maintain creative control

Obviously, self-publishing companies are meant to help you.

That being said, they can certainly offer advice on your book title, subtitle, cover, and even contents, but they should never demand something of your book in order for you to continue with their program.

#4 – Unrealistic expectations

Self-publishing is a varied game. No two authors can expect the exact same outcome and your results largely vary on how much you’re willing to work and how well you’re following their program.

However, self-publishing companies also shouldn’t guarantee crazy expectations—especially without having the proof to back it up.

Guarantees of making $10,000 in the first month are often unfounded. Look for company promises that you feel good about actually being able to achieve them.

#5 – There are a large number of complaints online

Not every self-publishing company can meet everyone’s expectations. Not every single review will be positive – and that’s understandable.

What you do want to look out for is a large number of negative reviews, complaints, or claims of fraud or scams. These are certainly something to be wary of, but make sure you research some positives as well.

Your Next Step

If you found value in this article and think Self-Publishing School may be a good fit for you, book a call with one of our Publishing Strategists and let’s work on an individualized plan to help you take the next step with your book. We now offer Done-For-You services that may relieve some of the headache and burden in trying to self-publish your book (like cover design, book formatting, keyword and categories, worldwide distribution, etc.).

SPS 145: What I’ve Learned Talking To 4,657+ Aspiring Authors with Matt Emmorey (Becoming an Author-ity Figure)

What if you could distill down the key takeaways from conversations with over 4,657 authors and aspiring authors? Matt Emmorey is here to do just that. Matt is the author of  Where The Rubber Meets The Road, a book about getting more with less effort. The story also revolves around him living in a van for a year and all of the life lessons he’s learned along the way. He is also the host of the Authority Figures podcast, which features success stories from bestselling authors on how they reached the top. 

Matt is also a resource specialist at SPS who has had over 30,000 calls. Today, we dive into Matt’s story and why he wrote his book. We learn what he would do differently if he had it to do over. We dive into how his book is a mix of storytelling and self-help. Matt shares a lot of wisdom from his experiences and his author conversations. Such as, we aren’t going to get permission to tell our story. 

We talk about the number one challenge that aspiring authors face. How it’s okay to get help, and you don’t have to be a perfectionist. It also doesn’t’ have to take ten years to write a book. We also talk about what keeps many aspiring authors from getting started. We also talk about coachability and common traits that successful authors have. Matt shares advice and talks about his new podcast. We also talk about how you can have a conversation with Matt and get a free copy of my book by reviewing the Authority Figures Podcast. 

Show Highlights

  • [02:29] Matt shares why he wrote his book, Where The Rubber Meets The Road. He lived in a van for a year, and it turned out to be a total failure. 
  • [03:22] He wrote the book in order to take his story back and have it count for something.
  • [05:12] If Matt could launch again, he would build a list of purchasers and continue having a conversation with them. He missed out on opportunities. 
  • [08:10] Matt fell victim to an apartment rental scam and ended up moving back in with his mom for a while.
  • [10:26] His book is a mix of storytelling and self-help. 
  • [11:08] We aren’t going to get permission to share our experiences. 
  • [13:11] The number one challenge that aspiring authors Matt spoke with face is not having a process for writing and completing the book. Some people have been working on their books for years. Know what to do every day and dive in. 
  • [15:47] Doubt is what keeps most people from getting started. You can’t hurdle all of the obstacles at once. 
  • [17:59] Common traits with successful authors include coachability and lack of attachment to the outcome. 
  • [20:07] Go deeper and look at the real reason why you’re doing it. At surface level, it may be money. Going deeper, it’s having more time with your family. Something of value is a much more efficient fuel source. Aim at heaven.
  • [22:08] Advice for aspiring authors: Don’t try to make your book perfect. Don’t obsess over perfection. Publish and make room to continue to write more books.
  • [24:04] The Authority Figures Podcast is Matt sharing conversations talking to people who are doing something that they love. It’s also cool to see people build a business by a book. 
  • [26:49] The podcast is for people who love learning about random things and listening to cool stories. It’s also for people who want to write a book.
  • [28:06] to the Authority Figures podcast and get a free copy of Published.: The Proven Path From Blank Page To 10,000 Copies Sold go to PublishedBook.com/free to get that. 
  • [28:44] Parting advice: Life can be almost effortless if you have the right people in your corner showing you what to do. Getting help does not diminish your accomplishments.
  • [29:35] Book a call with Matt if you’re serious about writing a book or need to make progress.  

Links and Resources

what makes a good book cover

What Makes a Good Book Cover: 5 Simple Tips to Make a Book Cover That Sells

Do you know what makes a good book cover?

You should…if you ever want to maintain consistent sales of your book.

Ok, so here’s the deal. What I am just about to tell you might sound controversial. It might even sound downright ridiculous.

You could even get offended.

But bear with me for a while. Just hear me out…because what I really want for you is to sell more books, and your book cover is one of the most important factors playing into that reality, even though we’ve all been told not to judge a book by its cover.

The reality of publishing is…

Everyone does anyways.

Set Your Book Up to SELL

Book Cover Design Checklist

Download your FREE book cover design checklist to boost the quality of your book to its very best. Hit the button to claim yours.

Here’s what makes for a good book cover:

  1. Focusing on the big picture
  2. Strong composition
  3. An intriguing focal point
  4. Clear title and subtitles
  5. Keep it simple

Why does a good book cover matter?

The book cover exists to serve one – and only ONE – purpose. And that purpose is to sell your book. Everything else is details. 

Shocked? Offended? About to pick that nearby glass of water and smash it on my head? Just hold it for a few minutes. 

I understand how we creatives hate the four-letter words starting with an S. Sell? Sale? Sold!?

But it’s true. If you haven’t read Robert Kiyosaki’s Rich Dad Poor Dad yet, I urge you to get a copy and read.

Robert Kiyosaki was once being interviewed by this bright young journalist. She had a real flair for writing. She asked Robert if he had any advice for her. And guess what Robert told her. “Go take a sales course”, he said.

The young lady was shocked. She sat there silently for a few minutes, staring at Robert Kiyosaki in disbelief. And then she spoke. She told him she had spent all her life writing and studying. She held master’s degrees in literature and journalism.

And she had worked so hard all her life, so that she won’t have to “stoop so low” as learning to sell!

Robert explained how she was a far superior writer than Robert could ever hope to be, but Robert was still a best-selling author, while she wasn’t. She could write the best book ever written by a human being, but it wouldn’t matter if nobody read it. 

And that is why you need to “SELL.”

Makes sense? I hope it does because as I mentioned above, your book’s cover is one of the most important pieces of becoming a successful author.

https://youtu.be/667FnPwss3g

What makes for a good book cover?

I have been on that side of the fence where creatives hate the concept of selling or marketing. And I have been on that side for the longest time. But the sooner you get yourself comfortable with these words and concepts, the better. 

The best way to start is by understanding how important it is to invest in a good book cover design, and knowing what makes a good one. Knowing the basics is still really important whether you plan on hiring a Self-Publishing School professional designer or another professional cover designer.

And why should you even listen to me? Well, I have a bachelor’s degree in marketing.

After my bachelors, I spent nearly ten years convincing myself and the world that I am an artist.

And you know the funniest part? All of my creative buddies and peers were in the same situation.

And that is when I decided I needed to learn what I had shunned for the longest time. I needed to learn to sell. We founded Dastaan Online. And the first business that needed our help was our own. We started publishing a literary magazine called Dastaan World.

Writers, artists, photographers, even those who write poetry along with readers flocked to us. I decided to design covers for every story we published. And our contributors loved them!

My covers might well be beautiful, and thought-provoking and sublime and what not. But that is all secondary. They keep coming to me, because my covers help them sell their books. 

Every other quality of a good book cover can be indented as a subcategory or explanation of this one point.

The book cover is there to promote your book, and ultimately sell it.

Now, the next big question is, what makes for a good book cover that achieves this goal?

#1 – Focus On the Big Picture

The book cover needs to draw the viewer into the story. Even if you are writing non-fiction. You are a writer, so you know there is always a story. 

The cover needs to show what the book is about, without giving all of it away, much like the book title but with visuals.

This example from Self-Publishing School’s coach Michelle Gano shows just how this technique works in her book, Sibling Magic.

siblingmagic

The idea is to get your reader to open the book. Once they open the book, your magic as a writer will not let them put it down before reading it to the end.

But to catch in your spiderweb of literary magic, you need to use bait. And that is what your cover needs to do for you. It needs to play on the human emotions of intrigue and curiosity. 

So think about the big picture of what your book cover should represent.

Ask yourself these questions when figuring out your book cover:

  • Does your idea represent your story or message?
  • Does it illicit intrigue?
  • Does it stand out from other books in your category?

#2 – Create a Strong Composition

This is where is start to get into the wizardry that is graphic design and illustration.

Composition is one of the most fundamental skills required of anyone working with visuals. And as with all fundamentals, the composition takes a lifetime to master, at least!

This is why it’s advised to hire a book cover designer instead of creating the cover yourself in programs like Canva or Photoshop.

But if you have some experience and want to go for it, here are some guidelines on composition:

  • Use the rule of thirds
  • Symmetry is your friend
  • Use texture and patterns to add non-distracting details
  • Use high and low angles
  • Combine several composition tips into one for full-effect (but not ALL of them)

But you can start off with a few interesting guidelines or you can simply hire a book editor who’s experienced in the field of composition.

Related: Check out “Every Arm Outstretched”, by Phil Halton. It’s a good example of image composition in book covers!

#3 – Develop a Clear Focal Point

Every composition, every piece of deliberately designed visual communication, needs a focal point. The easiest way to find your focal point is to ask yourself (or, preferably, a friend) where your eye goes first on this piece.

Whether it’s the title, your author byline, a figure in the artwork, some specific abstract shape, your focal point is what grabs your attention and catches your eye the first.

And it’s not accidental.

In this example by Self-Publishing School’s Omer Redden, you can see that the focal point of his book Life Doc is very clearly and intentionally the eye-catching title.

how to make a good book cover

There’s a whole science behind this elusive art called composition. It is this magic skill that dictates where a viewer is going to look, and in what order. 

You can have multiple focal points, but they should not compete with each other. They grab your viewer’s attention in the order you have designed them. Primary, secondary, tertiary and so on.

This dance of attention depends on what story you want to plant in their head. This story will make them open your book and eventually decide to buy it. 

#4 – Title, Subtitle and Their Relatives

Please don’t make the mistake of thinking your cover is completely at your designer’s mercy. No. You are the writer. And you play the key role in determining how well your cover performs.

How? The book title!

When trying to come up with a book title idea, ask yourself this: Will it pull your reader from across the store? Or the webpage? It should be compelling. It should be visible and readable.

AND it should be strengthened further by any additional visual elements on your cover. 

Self-Publishing School coach Scott Allan’s book Undefeated is a great example of this. Here you can see his title plays an integral role in the cover design as a whole, with a very telling message with the torn reveal of “un” in “undefeated”

good book cover title

Your title, and any subtitles and taglines are going to play a pivotal role in selling your book. So get your inner Don Draper out when crafting your cover copy!

#5 – Keep It Simple

And finally, I like to keep my covers simple. And I personally tend to like covers that are simple and minimalistic.

good book cover

Although my covers may sometimes look complex because of all the digitally painted and photo-manipulated detail, the ideas and composition must remain simple. It all goes in favor of the focal point and our intention to just say enough that will compel our viewer to buy the book. 

Overly complex covers usually give a very blatant impression of desperation, where the designer didn’t exactly know what to put in.

And hence, they put everything they could think of in there. Not cool. Don’t do this. Keep it simple!

So when you decide to finally lock down your book cover, remember to keep it simple stupid. Keep the big picture of your story in mind.

Make your viewers focus on the key selling points of your book.

Where can you find a professional cover designer?

If you feel stumped about your book cover design, book a call with our team and see how we can handle the cover design and other book production services for you. As a student of Self-Publishing School, we can craft the cover for you, or direct you to a preferred list of cover designers who already check the boxes of this list.

Unless you’re a professional graphic designer, we highly recommend you hire a professional, whether us or someone else. A good book cover is essential to drawing readers to your book.

Need some help? Grab our easy checklist!

Set Your Book Up to SELL

Book Cover Design Checklist

Download your FREE book cover design checklist to boost the quality of your book to its very best. Hit the button to claim yours.

how to write dialogue

How to Write Dialogue: Formatting, Examples, & Tips

Learning how to write dialogue can be tough for some without the right guidance.

This is why we started Fundamentals of Fiction & Story in the first place. We wanted to give writers the skills and knowledge they needed to take an idea and turn it into a bestselling novel (and even potentially a full-time career).

But unless you plan on writing a textbook, you must learn how to properly create dialogue—and use it correctly because yes, there is a wrong way to present dialogue (and we’ll get into that later).

Without effective dialogue, even the best plot or book ideas will fall flat. Your efforts for successfully publishing a book that reads well will be ineffective. Writing well is the cornerstone of marketing your book. Ultimately, your reader’s reviews of your book will hold weight.

Because if the dialogue is bad… Readers will put the book down (because the dialogue is often what readers pay the most attention to).

But if you’re not sure how to write dialogue in a way that is not onlynatural but also works as a catalyst within your book, the process of writing a book can be even more daunting than it already is.

6-LESSON Fiction & Memoir Writing Handbook including

How To Write Dialogue
Activity Guide [Printable]

Learn how to write better dialogue. Dialogue writing examples, dialogue writing format guide, dialogue writing activity, PLUS 100 words to replace “said”. Start writing better dialogue NOW!

Where should we send it?

You can’t write a book without dialogue—and you can’t write a good book without good dialogue (even if you’re writing a nonfiction book!).

In this post, we’ll cover everything you need to know about how to write dialogue, including dialogue format, dialogue punctuation, examples of dialogue with grammar, and common dialogue mistakes to avoid.

We’ll also cover, in detail, how to write realistic dialogue.

Here’s what to know about writing dialogue:

  1. Dialogue Rules
  2. Format & Punctuation
  3. Examples
  4. Tips for Dialogue
  5. Say the dialogue out loud
  6. Cut small talk when writing dialogue
  7. Keep your dialogue brief and impactful
  8. Give each character a unique voice
  9. Add world-appropriate slang
  10. Be consistent with the characters’ voices
  11. Remember who they’re speaking to
  12. Avoid long dialogue paragraphs
  13. Cut out greetings
  14. Show who your character is
  15. Mistakes to avoid

*click to jump to that section

Ready to learn what makes great dialogue? Let’s get started.

Basic Dialogue Rules All Writers Should Follow

Before we get into the actual formatting and styles of writing dialogue (along with some tips for making sure it’s good dialogue), let’s go over some of the common and universal rules for writing dialogue in any book genre.

Here are the main rules for writing dialogue:

  1. Each speaker gets a new paragraph. Every time someone speaks, you show this by creating a new paragraph. Yes, even if your characters are only saying one word, they get new paragraphs.
  2. Each paragraph is indented. The only exception for this is if it’s the start of a chapter or after a scene break, where the first line is never indented, including with dialogue.
  3. Punctuation for what’s said goes inside the quotation marks. Any time the punctuation is a part of the person speaking, they go inside the quotes so the reader knows how the dialogue is said.
  4. Long speeches with several paragraphs don’t have end quotations. You’ll see more on this below, but overall, if one character is speaking for so long they have separate paragraphs, the quotation marks on the end are removed, but you start the next paragraph with them.
  5. Use single quotes if the person speaking is quoting someone else. If you have a character who says, “Man, don’t you love it when girls say, ‘I’m fine’?”, the single quotes indicate what someone else says.
  6. Skip the small talk and focus on important information only. Unless that small talk is relevant for character development, skip it and get to the point, this isn’t real life and will actually feel more fake if you have too much.

Dialogue Punctuation and Format

When it comes to book formatting, dialogue is one of the most difficult to get right.

It’s not that it’s especially complicated, but there are many different types of dialogue and many different types of punctuation (including when to use a comma, quotes, and even em dashes) needed in order to properly format it.

Therefore, it’s easy to get confused or forget which format you should use for which line of dialogue.

The basics for the format of dialogue is that each time a new person speaks, it’s a new paragraph with quotes around what they said.

In order to fully understand how to format dialogue, you have to know how to punctuate it properly, depending on the form you’re using.

The one thing most writers get wrong when they’re first starting out is proper dialogue format.

Sure, you could leave that up to the editor, but the more work for your editor, the more expensive they’ll be.

Plus, it’s important that, as serious writers and future authors, you know how to punctuate dialogue no matter what.

That also means editors will be able to focus on more complex edits instead of just punctuation.

Dialogue punctuation is complex and takes some time to learn, understand, and master.

While we go into more depth with dialogue in our Fundamentals of Fiction program, here are some dialogue examples of each and how you would punctuate them.

Dialogue Example 1: Single Line

Single lines of dialogue are among the easiest to write and remember. The punctuation for this dialogue is simple:

The quotations go on the outside of both the words and end-of-dialogue punctuation (in this case a period, but it’s the same for a comma, question mark, or exclamation point).

Example:

“You really shouldn’t have done that.”

how to write dialogue example

No matter what other punctuation you have, whether it’s a question mark or exclamation point, it will go on the inside of the quotations.

Dialogue Example 2: Single line with a dialogue tag

In this case, “tag” means dialogue tag.

A dialogue tag is anything that indicates which character spoke and describes how they spoke.

Here are some common examples of dialogue tags:

  • He said
  • She whispered
  • They bellowed
  • He hollered
  • They sniped
  • She huffed
  • He cooed
  • They responded

In the example below, you can see that the dialogue tag goes on the outside of the quotations, while the comma goes on the inside.

Example:

“You really shouldn’t have done that,” he whispered.

dialogue tag example

This is the case with any dialogue tags that are used. You can also see how this dialogue formatting works with different types of sentences and different dialogue tags.

Note that the tag, when following a comma within the quotation marks, is lowercase, as it’s a part of the overall sentence.

Dialogue Example 3: Questions

Because a question mark seems like the end of a sentence, it’s easy for most writers to get the format for questions when writing dialogue wrong.

But it’s actually pretty easy. Essentially, a question mark will be treated as a comma or period. What changes the formatting most is what follows the dialogue.

Example:

“Are you sure we have to leave that early?” she wondered aloud.

Here are some examples of writing questions in dialogue:

  • “Will you ever stop being a child?” she asked.
  • “What about that man over there?” he whispered, pointing in a old gentleman’s direction. “Doesn’t he look odd too?”
  • “What’s the big deal, anyway?” she huffed.
writing dialogue question example

In this example above, you can see that if there is a dialogue tag, the question mark will act as a comma and you will then lowercase the first word in the dialogue tag (unless it’s a person’s name).

However, if there is simply an action after the question, the question mark acts as a period and you will then capitalize the first word in the next sentence.

Dialogue Example 4: Dialogue Tag, then single line

When it comes to formatting dialogue tags before your character speaks, it’s essentially the same as when they come after, except backward.

As you can see in the example above, the dialogue tag is in front, followed by a comma outside of the quotations. Then the quotations appear when the sentence starts with that sentence’s punctuation inside the quotations at the end.

Example:

He finally said, “Fine. Let’s just go for it.”

Here are a few more examples of this type of dialogue, as it’s very common:

  • They hung their head and mumbled, “It’s fine if you don’t want me to come.”
  • She huffed, “Well that’s just great, isn’t it?”
  • He drew in a long breath and spoke, “I’m just not sure what to do anymore.”
how to write dialogue punctuation example

Dialogue Example 5: Body language description

There are a couple of different types of body language dialogue formats to learn.

Variation 1:

This is when the actions your character is taking come between lines of dialogue but after a sentence is complete. In real life, this would indicate someone pausing to complete the action.

Example:

“I don’t see what the big deal is.” She tossed a braid over her shoulder. “It’s not like she cared anyway.”

Here’s what this dialogue example looks like:

  • “Are you sure we should go this weekend?” She shoved the curtain aside, sneering at the greying clouds. “It could be a mess out there.”
  • “What’s the big deal, anyway?” He yanked the sheet from the envelope. “It’s not like you cared for her all that much.”
  • “Let’s go to the moon!” She twirled, her pale pink dress lifting around her. “We could make it, I know we could.”

Below is a detailed explanation of how you would format this type of dialogue:

how to write dialogue format

Variation 2:

With this dialogue formatting, it’s different because this is when a character does something while they are speaking, instead of pausing like in variation 1. The action happens in the middle of a sentence and has to be formatted as such.

Example:

“I don’t see what”—she tossed a braid over her shoulder—”the big deal is.”

Here are some dialogue examples of this formatting:

  • “It’s really just”—he rubbed his hand over his stubble—”the most frustrating thing I can think of.”
  • “If you’re not going to”—she grabbed his face—”at least listen to me, I don’t see the point in even trying.”

You can see the proper formatting for this dialogue below:

how to write dialogue em dash

You would use this to help build a clearer image and communicate the scene to match how it is in your head.

This is also the case when characters have inner thoughts within their dialogue, as seen in the second example in variation 2.

Dialogue Example 6: Single line getting cut off

Something that happens in real life (sometimes an irritatingly large amount) is getting cut off or interrupted when you’re speaking.

This typically happens when someone either doesn’t care what you’re talking about or when two people are in an argument and end up speaking over one another.

Example:

“Are you crazy—”

“Do not call me crazy.”

how to write dialogue cut off

You can see in this example that you place an Em Dash (—) right at the end of the sentence, followed by the quotation marks.

You’ll treat this format of dialogue much like example 1, a single line of dialogue.

Dialogue Example 7: Dialogue tag in the middle of a line

Another common type of dialogue. This is essentially a mix of a single line with a dialogue tag.

Example:

“You really shouldn’t have done that,” she murmured. “That will get you in a lot of trouble.”

writing dialogue

Mostly, you will use this type in order to indicate who is talking if there are more than two and in order to keep the focus on the dialogue itself and not the character’s actions.

Dialogue Example 8: Paragraphs of dialogue

There are certain situations that call for a single character to speak for a long time. However, grammatically, not all of what they say will belong in the same paragraph.

Example: single speaker

“It’s not that I don’t think you should have done that. Not exactly.

“Actually, I think it might be a great thing for you to have done. I’m just worried about what will happen next and how that will impact everyone else.”

how to write dialogue paragraph

For writing dialogue paragraphs, you want to leave the quotations off the end of the paragraph and begin the next paragraph with them in order to indicate that the same person is just telling a long story.

[NOTE: These dialogue rules apply to American English. Other parts of the world may use different dialogue formatting, including single quotations and more.]

How to Create Dialogue That’s Realistic and Effective

Great dialogue is hard to get right. For something we do and hear every day, knowing what to make your characters say in order to move the plot forward and increase intrigue isn’t easy.

But that’s why we’ve broken it down into easy steps for writing dialogue for you.

Here are some of the best tips for writing dialogue that feels real but is also effective for moving your story forward.

#1 – Say it out loud first

One of the easiest and best ways to see if your dialogue sounds realistic is to read it out loud, especially if you are writing a genre that would benefit from such an approach.

Hearing what someone is supposed to say (since your readers will imagine them speaking out loud) will allow you to determine if it sounds real or fake.

One thing to keep in mind is that sometimes your dialogue will sound a little “cheesy” to you. Since written dialogue is a little different and more purposeful than what we hear in our day-to-day lives, you might think it sounds a little dramatic—and that’s okay. It just can’t be unrealistic.

But that’s okay! Dialogue should have more “weight” than what you say in real life.

Even so, it has to sound like something someone would actually say. If you feel yourself cringing a little or you can’t imagine a real person saying it, you might have to do some editing.

Ask these questions when reading your dialogue out loud to yourself:

  1. Would someone actually say this in real life?
  2. Does it move the plot forward or develop a character?
  3. Is it easy to say or do you fumble over the sentence?
  4. Do you pause in certain areas where you haven’t written commas? (Note: if this happens, put in some commas so the readers interpret it how you hear it!)

Extra dialogue tip: Record yourself reading your dialogue in what you imagine your characters to sound like and play it back to yourself. This can help you pinpoint which words or phrases sound off.

#2 – Get rid of the small talk

Your readers don’t care about what your characters had for dinner last night—unless that dinner had been poisoned and is now seeping into their bloodstream, impacting their immediate danger.

Talking about the weather or your character’s pet or anything trivial will read as boring and unnecessary.

This also slows down your novel’s pacing.

One exception may be if your characters are stalling in order to avoid talking about something that is major and impactful to the plot. When it’s used as a literary device to set the mood or tone of a scene, it’s acceptable.

#3 – Keep it brief and impactful

Dialogue in books is not meant to read in the way we actually speak—not full conversations, at least. If it did, each book would be exceptionally longer, due in part to the fact that humans often say a lot of pointless things.

When it comes to writing dialogue in your book, you have to keep it briefer and more poignant than in real life.

A great way to get to the meat of the dialogue is to cut out everything that doesn’t immediately impact the scene.

A quick, “Hey, how’s it going?” isn’t necessary unless the other character’s state is vital to the scene. This, however, doesn’t include if your character is meeting someone for the first time, obviously. Again, focus on writing the scene in a way that informs the dialogue.

Essentially, anything that does not further develop your character, the plot, or any subplots should be cut.

#4 – Give each character a unique way of speaking

I’m sure you’ve noticed by now, but not everyone speaks in the same way. We all have a specific “flow” to our sentences and we all have favorite words we prefer to use.

This is actually a big part of character development in your novel.

For example, maybe people will use “perhaps” or “maybe” but not often both in equal amounts. This is a very small detail, but it does a long way in developing the characters and giving them their own voice.

Another way you can do this is with sentence structure.

Does your character speak in short, chopped sentences? Or do they eloquently describe their point of view in long-winded, crafted sentences that ebb and flow with their tone of voice?

Do they use a lot of analogies and metaphors when explaining things or is this character extremely literal and gets right to the point?

This difference is very important. Your readers should be able to tell the difference between characters based on their sentences and diction. It ultimately comes down to your chops as an author when it comes to writing styles and your ability to use it to bring your characters alive.

A reasonable exception to this would be pairs or groups of close people. Meaning, if your main character’s best friend speaks similarly to them, that’s okay. As humans, we subconsciously pick up on the speech patterns of those closest to us – those we speak to regularly (like when we use similar slang in our friend group that others may not use).

#5 – Add world-appropriate slang

A major part of the dialogue that often gets overlooked is the slang.

Even in our own world, new slang is developed every day and sometimes, the words might seem crazy or even confusing.

Take the term “fleek” for example. This word looks like it would be a herd of some sort of animal.

But in fact, it’s a word being “on point” or “sharp.”

The point is, creating unique slang for your world can add to the dialogue and tell you more about the characters who use it, not to mention build your world effortlessly.

Here’s an example of slang from Jenna Moreci’s, EVE: The Awakening. This book is set in the near future and so Moreci had to create slang fitting for the time:

#6 – Be consistent with characters’ voices

It wouldn’t make sense for your character to flop the way they speak unless they’re talking to someone specific (which we cover in the next tip).

The main idea is that if one character speaks in choppy sentences, it should remain that way unless the moment changes to something that would require something more elegant.

At the same time, you want to make sure your characters are using consistent language.

Like in the tips in #4, if they use a specific word more frequently, make sure they use that word whenever they should in order to maintain a consistent voice.

#7 – Think about who they’re speaking to

You don’t speak in the same way around every single person.

Your voice and style change depending on who you’re chatting with. For example, you’re going to talk differently to your mom than you would to your best friend.

While it’s important to be consistent with your character’s style and voice, it’s also crucial to think about the who when it comes to their dialogue and adjust accordingly.

#8 – Keep long speech paragraphs to a minimum

Rarely do people speak for a very long time uninterrupted. It might be important for your character to say something lengthy but remember to at least split it up with body language and other means of giving your reader a break.

These can feel very long-winded and end up slowing down the pacing of your book, which can be great if you use them for this purpose.

One way to break up long paragraphs if one person is speaking for a while (like when they’re telling a story of sorts) is to add in the other characters’ body language reactions.

But if you’re trying to move your plot along at a steady rate, avoid long speech paragraphs.

#9 – Cut the hellos and goodbyes

Greetings are absolutely necessary in real life. In your book? Not so much.

Your readers know enough to assume there was a greeting of some sort. In addition, these aren’t usually pivotal parts of your book and therefore, aren’t necessary to have.

An exchange like this will bore your readers to death:

“Hey, Charlie!”

“What’s up, dude?”

“Not much, how are you doing?”

“I’m fine, you know. Same old, same old.”

“Ah, I feel ya. Anything new in your world?”

“Not really, to tell you the truth.”

Cutting these will help speed up your pacing as well as keep the dialogue to the must-speak information.

#10 – Show who your character is

One of the best methods of character development is dialogue.

Think about it: how do we learn about new people when we meet them? Through what they say.

You could meet someone entirely new and based on the exchange, you actually learn a lot about who they are and how they operate in life.

You discover if they’re shy, bold, blunt, or kind-hearted and soft-spoken.

Your dialogue should do the very same for your characters.

Here’s an example of what this would look like:

She let stray strands fall in front of her face as she looked down and scuffed something sticky on the sidewalk.Do you really think so?” Her voice was soft, her eyes still fixed on the ground instead of the new guy standing in front of her.

This example shows you what the character looks like in a specific situation and therefore, we gather facts about what she’s like.

For one, she’s shy—as much is seen by her avoiding eye contact even as she speaks.

Common Dialogue Mistakes to Avoid

We all make mistakes. But if you want to become a published author (or just write a great book), you can’t make these major ones within your book’s dialogue.

#1 – Using the person’s name repeatedly

It’s tempting to make your characters call each other’s names often. However, this isn’t how we talk in real life.

Unless we’re trying to get their attention or are emphasizing (or warning!) a point, we don’t say their name.

How not to write dialogue:

  “Rebecca, I really needed you and you weren’t there.”

  “I’m sorry, Ashley. I was just busy with school and work.”

  “Okay, but that’s not a good excuse Rebecca.”

  “You’re right, Ashley. It’s not.”

#2 – Info-dumping through dialogue

It’s perfectly okay to have some characters explain certain elements your readers won’t understand. However, it gets very boring and unrealistic when that’s all they do.

Your world should unfold gradually to the reader through showing and not telling.

In the case of dialogue, this worldbuilding is all “tell” and no show. And this works sometimes, especially if a character is telling another character about something they don’t yet know.

Just keep this to a minimum and use other methods of worldbuilding to show your readers the world you’ve created.

#3 – Avoid repetitive dialogue tags

There’s nothing quite as annoying as reading dialogue tags over and over…and over again.

It’s a surefire way to bore your readers and make them want to set the book down with no plans to pick it back up in the immediate future.

How not to write dialogue with tags:

  “I really needed you and you weren’t there,” Ashley said.

  “I’m sorry. I was just busy with school and work,” Rebecca replied.

  “Okay, but that’s not a good excuse,” she huffed.

“You’re right. It’s not,” Rebecca whispered.

#4 – Avoid repetitive dialogue styles

This means that if you have the same dialogue format for a few lines, you need to change it up because otherwise, it will be very boring to your readers.

You can see in the point above, using only dialogue tags at the end is very boring. The same applies for repeated other types as well.

For example, read through each of these and you can get a feel for the monotony you want to avoid within the repeated formats.

Bad Dialogue Example 1:  Dialogue tags in the front

  He spoke. “You’re one of the oddest people I know.”

  She replied, “Is that necessarily a bad thing?”

   He smiled. “I didn’t say it was a bad thing at all.”

  She laughed. “Good.

Bad Dialogue Example 2: Action within the dialogue

   “I’m just not sure”—she grabbed a handful of seeds— “that you’re taking this seriously.”

   “What?” He weaved between the overgrown plants, pushing them aside. “Why would you think that?”

   “Because you—” she plunged her finger into the pot with soil— “just ignore the important stuff unless it’s important to you only.”

  “That’s ridiculous.” He craned his neck around a calla lily. “That’s not true.”

Bad Dialogue Example 3: Tags in the middle

  “I really wish you would just talk to me,” Ada said. “This silent treatment isn’t helping anyone.”

  “It’s helping me,” he said. “Or does that not matter to you?”

  “Of course it matters to me,” she replied. “It’s just not solving the problem.”

  “I don’t think anything can solve this problem,” he murmured. “It’s permanent.”

How to fix this: whenever you’re writing dialogue, switch the type of formatting you use in order to make it look and sound better. The more enjoyable it is to read, the more readers will become invested.

One exception is when you have two characters going back and forth very quickly. In this case, a few lines of dialogue only, with no tags or anything, is acceptable.

Fixing Dialogue Example: Variation is Key

  “I’m just not sure”—she grabbed a handful of seeds— “that you’re taking this seriously.”

   He weaved between the overgrown plants, pushing them aside.“Why would you think that?”

   “Because…you just ignore the important stuff unless it’s important to you only.”

 “That’s ridiculous.”

   “No.” She plunged her finger into the pot with soil, dropping in a few seeds. “It’s true.”


Much like with anything that has rules, there are always exceptions.

The most important part of these rules is knowing them.

Once you know the rules and why they’re there, you can break with purpose – instead of doing so on accident.

Want To Learn More About Self-Publishing School and our Book Coaches and Book-Writing Courses?

If you have additional questions or need additional resources, book a call with our Resource Team.

Our team can give you extra resources to help you on your author journey, learn about your book and your book goals.

If you’re interested in learning more about how Self-Publishing School can help you write, publish, and market your books (or sell more books if you’re published already), our Resource Team can also schedule a call with one of our Publishing Success Strategists for you.

Your Success Strategist will ask questions about your book to understand if you’re a good fit for our programs and explain what we offer at Self-Publishing School. You’ll learn about our tailored courses, writing groups, mastermind community, and our amazing book coaches.

With one of the highest success rates in the industry (for an online school plus coaching and accountability program), we want to make sure that you are paired with the right coach and program for your book, or we’ll recommend other resources for you.

Curious, but not ready to book a call yet? No problem!

Grab a copy of Published. below to get the definitive guide on “how to write a book” PLUS get access to the audiobook, advanced trainings, and additional resources to help you write your book!

Happy writing!

get published book

How to Start Writing A Book: 7 Simple Steps to Start TODAY

Deciding to start writing a book is intimidating, especially if you’re a beginner.

When you’re not sure how to start writing a book, it can paralyze you. The fear of rejection and failure.

What if nobody reads it?

What if your writing is terrible?

Who are you to think you can write a book?

These thoughts are so common. For many, they’re the default, actually, but then how can so many people be publishing despite them? How do so many new authors face their fears?

It takes some grit to write a book, but we know that every person is capable of making it happen, even if you’ve never written before, and we have the tools to help you.

Acknowledgement Page, Copyright Page, & More!

25-page Non-Fiction Book Outline Template

Wanna know “how to write a book?” Start with a simple outline! Finish your book FASTER by downloading this FREE template that’s pre-formatted, easy to use, and you can fill-in-the-blank!

Where should we send it?

Beginning the process of writing a book and presenting it to a worldwide audience is very exciting but also a little scary—especially if you mess it up and end up making a fool of yourself.

It’s a fear we all have, trust me…

You have amazing book ideas that you want to share with the world, and you’re more motivated than ever to educate your readers about them! No matter what the genre, your book could be one that changes someone’s life.

This is how you can start writing a book today:

  1. Start by setting up your writing environment
  2. Develop a writing habit to start
  3. Create a book outline to start writing
  4. Focus on writing your book ONLY
  5. Maintain your focus at the start
  6. Schedule book writing time
  7. Deal with writing distractions
  8. Start writing your book!

Once you begin, you may realize that writing a book is hard work. There are many obstacles that can prevent you from writing and can create stress leading to anxiety.

For example, you may find yourself in front of a blank page unable to type and thinking of stressful questions like:

  • “How do I even start writing a book?”
  • “Do I need to blog first?”
  • “Should I start without an outline”?

Writing a book shouldn’t be this hard!

But many get overwhelmed because they lack a writing process.

And we can help you with that.

But first things first, if you want to learn how to start writing a novel (fiction), click on that link to go to a blog post that will help much more with that book genre. This post will primarily deal with nonfiction writing.

https://youtu.be/z0fxIXLuRL4

How do you start writing a book for the first time?

This might be hard at first but really, you can write a book even if you’re not the best writer. Chandler Bolt (the man who started Self-Publishing School) was a C- English student and still wrote and published 6 bestselling books. Some of what you need is basic writing skills, but most of what gets books sold is marketing them successfully.

The truth is that if you’re brand new to this, guidance will be the most important thing. Having someone tell you what to do and what works best will help you be the most successful and learn the most during this process.

Learning from someone who has “been there, done that” will help tremendously. That alone will give you most of the knowledge you need to get it done.

If you like the idea of having a bestselling coach walk you through each step of the process from idea to book outline to ordering proof copies to a completely published book, check out our revamped and updated (2022) Become a Bestseller program here.

But you can also get started right here with these steps for starting to write a book.

How to Start to Write a Book Step-by-Step

If you’re feeling demotivated when it comes to starting your book, you’re not alone. Writing can still be one of the hardest parts for most authors even if they have been writing for a long time!

Fortunately, there are some extremely effective techniques for how to start writing a book and stay motivated.

We’ll cover what you can put into action to assure you show up with a game plan to get your thoughts out of your head, down on paper, and into the minds of your readers.

Ready to start your journey to becoming a bestselling author? Let’s go!

How to Start Writing a Book for Beginners

Believe it or not, writing a book isn’t as difficult as it’s made to seem. At least, getting started isn’t. Maybe it’s because we’ve successfully coached 1000s of new authors on the process.

We have a complete guide that will cover best practices to start writing a book asap – even today if you sit down and put your pen to paper, so to speak.

#1 – Start by setting Up Your Book Writing Environment

One of the most important things to remember if you want to start writing a book is designing a writing space that allows your creativity to flourish unhindered.

Create an environment that is designed to help you stay focused.

Whether you prefer noisy environments or absolute solitude, it’s up to you to determine which will get you into the writer’s flow.

What you want to avoid is a super messy environment, even if you think you work well in those types of spaces (like the one featured below).

start writing a book environment

If anything can distract you from writing, it’s not worth it.

Here are a few ideas to create your ideal space for writing:

  • Have collections of inspiration. Decorate your work area with inspiring quotes or pictures that house references to deep work.
  • Unclutter your space. Create an uncluttered open space to help organize not only what you need, but also your thoughts.
  • Be Flexible. Your creative space doesn’t need to be one spot, it can be anywhere. Even your favorite authors have discovered their best ideas in the most unexpected places.
  • Buy a calendar: Your book will get written faster if you have set goals for the week/day. The best way to manage this is by scheduling your time on a calendar. Schedule every hour that you commit to your author business. What gets scheduled, gets done.
  • Create a music playlist for inspiration: Many authors can write to the sound of their favorite tunes. Is there anything that gets you working faster? Do you write better with deeper focus when listening to rock music or classical? Set up several playlists that you can use to get into the flow of writing.
  • Try Multiple Locations. You won’t know how creative you can be if you don’t try different spots to write. Maybe writing from your bed is your ideal creative space. What about working in a noisy cafe? Change up your location frequently particularly if you feel creatively spent.

Here are some more tips for starting your book and putting together your writing environment:

How to Start Writing TipExecution
Minimize Distractions
- isolate yourself from family/friends/even the family dog
- remind everyone it's YOUR time
- Turn your phone off
- Close ALL web browsers
- Close your email
Get Comfortable- invest in a GOOD chair
- or resort to using a stand-up desk for more energy
- fill the area with motivational quotes
- make sure you're physically comfortable for the next 30 minutes or an hour
Choose Beneficial Background Noise- turn off all sounds if it distracts you
- turn on lyric-less music to help you concentrate
- choose energizing music to help you focus

#2 – Start to Write a Book by Developing a Writing Habit

The number one reason authors fail to publish a book is they never finish the book they intend to publish. Why?

Because they didn’t form a good writing habit.

Feeling overwhelmed when writing a book is natural, but you must remember that this journey always begins with the first page. And in order to write your first page, you must take action.

For example, schedule your writing time daily so that you can stick to a solid writing routine that will allow you to make real progress.

schedule your writing habit

This is why having a writing habit will develop your writer’s flow.

But before you can start your habit, you’ll want to know how much you need to write during each session in order to stay on track for your writing goals.

For example, want to write a book to grow your business?

You’ll need about 40,000 words and roughly 134 pages.

If you wrote 10,000 words a month, you’d be complete in 4 months.

If you scheduled yourself to write 3 days a week, for a goal of 10,000 words a month, you’d need to write 833 words per session. That’s pretty easy with talk-to-text tools!

Want to know the number for your specific genre or book goal? Check out our Word/Page Count Calculator here!

Your writing habit can start small. Don’t overwhelm yourself thinking that you must write your every thought on the page. You can start with a few paragraphs, a sentence, or even just a word.

The purpose of this exercise is to commit to your writing session every day until it has become second nature.

https://youtu.be/IAFJwTxsJ4E

#3 – Create an Outline Before You Start Writing

A clear book outline provides clarity and direction to your story. It is also the roadmap for your book that keeps you on track and ensures you have all your ideas organized in a natural flow. And that’s not even to mention that it helps you write a lot faster, too.

There are many types of outlines you can use here.

We highly recommend starting with the mindmap outline and then moving to the sticky note method, as our students find it the most helpful.

When you get stuck or suffer writer’s block, you can always go back to your outline to find what comes next regardless of whether the book is 100 pages or 300 pages long. It will help you see the overall picture.

If you’re not sure how to outline a book, we’ve got a handy video right here for you to learn:

https://youtu.be/kieAfi3hLEY

Before you write, spend some time creating your outline with these steps:

#1 – Brainstorm: List every thought and story idea you want in your book by creating a mind map.

#2 – Organize: Combine all related ideas together.

#3 – Order: Arrange ideas into subsections from general to specific.

#4 – Label: Create main and subheadings that will eventually be your chapters.

We also recommend learning the plot or book structure for your specific type of book. Here’s some extra help with that:

#4 – Work on ONLY Writing

One challenge many authors experience is taking on multiple new projects when they should be focused on one because their minds are full of amazing book ideas.

Although enticing, the division of attention can spread your energy thin producing bad writing or worse, failure to complete your book.

But don’t worry. We’ve all experienced shiny new book idea syndrome before!

There’s only one clear solution to this problem: Cut the clutter and focus on one project until it’s finished.

Be fully committed to starting your book by doing the following:

  • Create an action plan that breaks down the entire project into realistic portions to complete.
  • Set hard deadlines for each and every phase of your book.
  • Learn to say “NO” to any additional projects no matter how intriguing they appear.

ACTION STEP: Create an action plan and commit to it. Learn to be selfish and practice saying “NO” often. It’s better to complete one book and get it right than to write two books with poor results.

Acknowledgement Page, Copyright Page, & More!

25-page Non-Fiction Book Outline Template

Wanna know “how to write a book?” Start with a simple outline! Finish your book FASTER by downloading this FREE template that’s pre-formatted, easy to use, and you can fill-in-the-blank!

Where should we send it?

#5 – Maintain Your Focus

Once you get into the flow of starting your book, you want to remain focused through the duration of your writing session. Any break to your concentration can set you back 20-30 minutes and disrupt your flow.

We become less efficient when we are distracted, and it can end up taking twice as long to complete our writing.

Thankfully, there are very effective techniques that can help you remain centered and in the moment.

Leave the distractions behind by doing the following:

  • Create a writing schedule.  Schedule your writing for the same time each day. This conditioning will develop your writing habit until it becomes as natural as knowing when to brush your teeth.
  • Use the Pomodoro Technique. This is a time management strategy that breaks down work into intervals separated by short breaks. With a clock ticking, you will less likely be distracted by email or social media.
  • Turn off your phone. Your phone is the most addicting device that steals your precious attention. Don’t let it take that from you, turn it off. If you don’t want to turn it off, then download a writing software or app that limits distractions.
  • Have a Task Management app. Task Manager apps, like Todoist, helps you organize your tasks by their time and priority, so you know exactly what to do in what order the next day.
  • Disconnect from the Internet. Want to ensure you don’t get distracted by email notifications, Facebook notifications, etc.? Disconnect your computer from the Internet and enjoy distraction-free writing time.

ACTION STEP: Experiment with each of these productivity techniques and optimize your writer’s flow. By becoming a productivity expert, you will easily double your output and complete your book in no time.

#6 – Schedule Your Writing Time

Jerry Seinfeld is one of the most popular comedians of all time, and he attributes his success to his unbelievably strong writing habits. In the early days of his career, Seinfeld was asked how he managed to have such great content.

He said, “The way to be a better comic is to create better jokes, and the way to create better jokes was to write every day.”

write every day

Seinfeld used the “Calendar Method”, otherwise known as the “Don’t Break the Chain” method, and it worked like this:

  1. Get yourself a calendar, and hang it on the wall.
  2. For each day you write, draw an X on the calendar for that day. By the end of the week, you should have a row of Xs at the end.
  3. If you miss a day, start over and see how long you can go before breaking the chain.

If you can keep this chain going, you will write your book faster than you can imagine.

ACTION STEP: Buy yourself a calendar and get started on the “Calendar Method!” Being held accountable will keep you motivated and not “Break the Chain.”

#7 – Start by Dealing With Writing Distractions First

Distractions can hinder you and your desire to start writing a book.

Resistance is a common obstacle that has the ability to distract us for too long. It’s a form of fear that intimidates you from writing and can throw you off your writer’s flow.

Not only do you have the distractions of everyday life, but if someone in your life has qualms with you spending time to write, it can be extra difficult to concentrate and just write.

Everyone has encountered this awful feeling, but it doesn’t have to defeat you.

Here are a few ways to deal with resistance:

  • Read morning affirmations. Affirmations are powerful snippets of positive words that set the tone and atmosphere for writing. An affirmation could be a quote from a writer, a motivational speech from a public figure, or an inspirational video.
  • Free Flow for 10 Minutes. Julia Cameron, the bestselling author of The Artist’s Way, called these morning pages, and its purpose is to clear your mind of all the anxiety and junk rolling around in your head onto a piece of paper. Write anything. You don’t have to edit, publish, or have a word count, it’s simply a 10-minute exercise to clear out heavy thoughts and prepare you for a more productive day. This is best done with pen and paper instead of typing into a document with your digital device.
  • Exercise. Exercising is not only good for your health but will help keep you mentally sharp. Working out will increase the blood flow to the brain which will sharpen your awareness and give you the energy you need to tackle your book.

ACTION STEP: Create a resistance plan! Figure out which methods best filter out the negative noise and get you to prepared to write.

What to do Next

If you want to become a published author, you must take ownership of your writing habits.

By following these strategies, you can have a completed book within months and be on your way to becoming a successful writer.

Acknowledgement Page, Copyright Page, & More!

25-page Non-Fiction Book Outline Template

Wanna know “how to write a book?” Start with a simple outline! Finish your book FASTER by downloading this FREE template that’s pre-formatted, easy to use, and you can fill-in-the-blank!

Where should we send it?

publishing-options

How to Publish a Book in 2022: A Step-by-Step Guide

Historically, if you wanted to know how 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…

Which makes learning how to publish a book way more difficult.

Not to mention the fact that going through all that work to just land an agent isn’t necessary if you want to publish a book.

What’s worse is even if they do open it, it’s still unlikely that your book will be published and sold in bookstores!

*Cue the groans and grumbles of irritation*

So is there a better method?

Yes! It’s called self-publishing, and as a 6-time bestselling author who’s broken down my system in our Become a Bestseller program, I’m here to go over how to publish a book.

Here’s how to publish a book step-by-step:

  1. Decide Why You Want to Publish a Book
  2. Write Your Book
  3. Get Feedback Before Publishing Your Book
  4. Choose a Book Title
  5. Hire a Great Book Editor
  6. Design a Book Cover that Converts
  7. Create Your Kindle Direct Publishing Account
  8. Format and Upload your Book
  9. Self-Publish Your Book
  10. Price Your Book
  11. Form a Launch Team
  12. Get Reviews
  13. Celebrate Publishing a Book!

Acknowledgement Page, Copyright Page, & More!

25-page Non-Fiction Book Outline Template

Wanna know “how to write a book?” Start with a simple outline! Finish your book FASTER by downloading this FREE template that’s pre-formatted, easy to use, and you can fill-in-the-blank!

Where should we send it?

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.

What is Self-Publishing?

Self-publishing is the act of independently publishing your book on a platform like Amazon without the need of a traditional publishing house.

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. To hear another self-published author’s success story, check out the podcast with Pat Flynn below.

https://open.spotify.com/episode/1px8zUxC6Ecsa6hKqdZmUg

Self-publishing a book is done with these steps:

  • Write a book you’re proud of
  • Decide which self-publishing platform to use
  • Get your book edited, a cover designed, and it formatted
  • Upload your manuscript and accompanying assets
  • Hit “Publish” when you’re ready
  • Your book is self-published!

It’s really that easy.

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.

How can I publish my first book?

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.

Better yet, making the decision to learn how to navigate the self-publishing world the right way can save you countless wasted hours.

Whether you want to do it yourself or work with one of the many self-publishing companies out there, we can help.

[Pssst! Want to see some of our students’ published books? Check out the SPS library here!]

What’s the Difference Between Self-Publishing and Traditional Publishing?

It’s easy to look at these two publishing routes and get confused. Why would someone self-publish a book when there are companies dedicated to doing it for you? There are actually many reasons.

What is the difference between self-publishing vs traditional publishing?

Self-publishing is a completely independent route with no barriers to entry whereas traditional publishing involves the acts of querying, landing an agent, and getting approved by a publishing house.

Check out the video above for more details on choosing self-publishing or traditional publishing.

What You GetSelf-PublishingTraditional Publishing
Sole control of your book's outcome
X
Sole control of your book's rightsX
Control over the story X
Control over the coverX
100% of royaltiesX
Editing includedX
Cover designX
MarketingXX
DeadlinesX

How Much Does it Cost to Publish a Book?

Pricing to publish a book varies greatly depending on its length, production costs, and the retail price you set. This article from The Write Life outlines four case studies of publishing costs from self-published authors.

How much does it normally cost to publish a book?

That being said, it’s important to be prepared when it comes to how much you’ll actually pay to self-publish a book.

There are a number of factors that contribute to how much it costs to self-publish a book:

  • The length of your book (this impacts printing costs)
  • Getting your book edited
  • The book cover design
  • Any promotional ads/materials you want to utilize
  • Another surprising, lesser-known cost I cover in the video below

How to Publish a Book in 2022

So many writers get overwhelmed with the abundance of information about the self-publishing process, what it’ll cost, how to do it right, how to come up with a good book idea, and more.

I’ve created a step-by-step comprehensive self-publishing guide that will walk you through the beginning steps of how to write your book all the way to how to self-publish it on Amazon’s Kindle (KDP) Network.

Let’s get started so you can get started!

#1 – Decide Why You Want to Learn How to Publish 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 you’re doing it for the right reasons).

This is a huge step that’s largely responsible for our Become a Bestseller students who write and publish so quickly.

Here are some questions for you to decide why you want to publish a book:

  • Are you an entrepreneur or freelancer with a new business trying to get a leg up on your competition by publishing a book?
  • Are you a writer looking to boost your profile so you can land higher-paying writing jobs?
  • 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?
  • Do you have a larger number of book ideas or prompts you need to start writing?

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 – Write Your Book

If you’ve ever tried to start writing 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 fact, coming up with a book idea in general can be very tricky. But in order to start writing your book, you must develop a writing process.

Here’s are some effective ways to write a book worth self-publishing:

  • 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.
  • Get an accountability partner. You can hold each other accountable to write and finish your by your “draft done” date.
  • Build your writing environment. Yes, this can be a blanket for if you choose to use “build” literally or you can simply find an area where your head is clear, there are no distractions, and where you can write in peace.

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

#3 – Get Feedback on Your Book Before Publishing

When writing your book, it’s important to get as much feedback as early in the process as possible.

It’s essential to get this feedback in order to improve your writing.

Everything from creative writing to factual, non-fiction works needs feedback in order to produce a polished publication.

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.

Writing tips can come from anywhere and the best usually come from those reading your book for the first time.

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, like in the example below.

publishing a book feedback

Giving your book to one (or more) “beta readers” before giving it to an editor and self-publishing can also cut down on the time and cost of paying a professional editor.

You can also use a piece of writing software like Grammarly or the Hemingway Editor so you can learn as you write!

Action Plan:

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

#4 – Choose 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. This is because experts state that a clear promise or a guarantee of results will further intrigue your readers.

It’s certainly what’s made our Become a Bestseller students so successful during their launches.

book title checklist

Here are some questions to consider when creating your memorable book 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?
  • Is it short enough to read in a thumbnail image on Amazon?
  • Does it elicit an emotional response?

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.

#5 – Hire a Great Book Editor

Hiring a great book editor can mean the difference between becoming a bestselling author, or self-publishing a mediocre book. Therefore, it’s important to take as much time as necessary during this stage of the process.

To find an editor for your book, begin with your personal network.

Do you personally know any qualified editors?

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. But be careful and always check references and portfolios of work.

As a Self-Publishing School student, we will also provide you with a Rolodex of approved and vetted book editors who all do a great job, as you can see in the example below.

how to publish a book choosing editor

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 who’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 – Design 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 that your book cover design is what readers see first and will immediately determine whether they want to read your book or not.

“Don’t judge a book by its cover” simply doesn’t apply to actual book covers, as much as we wish it did.

book cover ideas

The hard truth is that everyone judges a book by its cover whether they realize it 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. With our new done-for-you cover design services, we can actually handle your book’s design in-house. You can click here to book a call with our team and find out more about these done-for-you services.

What makes a good book cover?

  • Simplistic styling. Too much going on will make readers unable to figure out what your book is about. Keep the cover minimalistic and it will convert more readers.
  • Professionally designed. Book cover designers know how to create book covers that convert. They have industry knowledge and have studied what works and what doesn’t.
  • Clear title and subtitle. The title on your cover does matter. The easier it is to read, the better. This allows your readers to clearly see what your book is about as they scroll through Amazon or other book retailers.
  • A design style that fits your intended audience. If you’re writing a faith-based book intended for an audience of faith, having an overly dark, devilish cover doesn’t make sense.

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 – Create Your Kindle Direct Self-Publishing Account

Amazon has a self-publishing service called Kindle Direct Publishing where you can create and manage your Kindle eBook, paperback, hardcover, and audiobooks.

It’s the best way to learn how to publish a book and start selling quickly, and I’ve used it for all my self-published books.

I highly recommend it for all new self-publishers!

self publish with kdp

Amazon also acquired the well-known book printing company CreateSpace and they’re now merged as one. This means you can now offer print books to your audience, including paperbacks and hardcovers.

Here’s how to set up your KDP account on Amazon:

  1. Visit https://kdp.amazon.com 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 figure out how to publish your book within minutes and soon have it appear worldwide!

Book Patch, Ingram Spark, and Lulu also offer printing services for more custom-style books.

#8 – Format Your Self-Published Book

We can also handle the formatting of your book in-house. If that’s something that interests you, book a call to find out more. 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 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.

Also, keep in mind that formatting will look different for fiction versus nonfiction books.

Typically, nonfiction books don’t have an indent between paragraphs but instead, they have spaces whereas fiction books are indented with each new paragraph.

Below are formatting examples from Jenna Moreci’s The Savior’s Champion and my book, Published.

how to publish a book fiction vs nonfiction

Just be sure you hire someone who knows how to format your specific book genre.

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-Publish Your Book

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

This is how to upload your book on KDP:

  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 on Amazon 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. We can also help you with this in some of our core offer programs.

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.

build an author profile

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.

Afterward, you should be ready to publish your book! Just click “save & publish” in the book editing screen!

Is it free to publish a book on Amazon?

Yes, it is free to publish your book on Amazon. The company instead makes its money by taking a slice of your sales.

#10 – Price 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 – Form a Launch Team

Your launch team is the group of people who are dedicated to helping make your book successful.

They 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!

Here’s a video detailing how to use a launch team effectively:

To find quality candidates, here’s a 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?
  • Do you have a genuine interest in my book and its genre?

Action Plan:

Create an application with questions that align with your thought process. Try to be open-minded with those who think outside the box – they may be the perfect candidates that can get your book to become a bestseller.

#12 – Get Reviews

Ultimately, you want to get as many eyeballs and readers of your book as possible. One of the best ways to do that is by getting reviews. It’s not enough to learn how to publish a book and be done with it. You still have to take action even after your official launch.

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 help you maximize exposure of your book:

  • Share content from your book as blog posts across social media
  • Submit reviews on Amazon (ensuring they don’t make the mistakes in the video below)
  • 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! There are even websites that help you with rankings, such as Kindle Ranker. Make sure to have a look at that!

Action Plan:

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 Learning How to Self-Publish a Book!

Publishing a book is a huge milestone. So celebrate it! Reward yourself!

And then, get back to work. Publishing is just the beginning. It will open up doors you never imagined were possible. Or maybe you imagined them, but you doubted that they were possible.

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 your journey.

what a book can do for you

What to Do Now

Now that you’ve learned how to publish a book, it’s time to take action and bring yourself one step closer to your goals and dreams.

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 a step-by-step system to follow to take action. The book outline template below can certainly help.

You can also book a call with our team to find out how we can help you take the next step with your book!


CHAT WITH OUR TEAM
how to publish a book on amazon

Amazon Self Publishing: 9 Steps for First-Timers [VIDEO]

Amazon self-publishing is on the rise. With it being the #1 retailer for books worldwide, that makes sense.

But if you wind up making some errors in publishing on Amazon…let’s just say your results as an author will be less than satisfactory.

After all, the self-publishing industry is pretty sensitive to those making mistakes.

But Amazon self-publishing is the best option to self-publish and we’ve made it even easier for you with this guide for doing it with Kindle Direct Publishing.

You no longer need to go through painstaking efforts to land a book deal, which locks you into unrealistic deadlines and cuts you out of most of your much-deserved earnings.

You can now have complete control of your book – and its revenues – by self-publishing using Amazon’s KDP platform.

But many writers get overwhelmed by the abundance of information about self-publishing. It can be intimidating for first-time publishers. We get it – we were just like you!

So to ease some anxiety and uncertainty, we created this step-by-step comprehensive self-publishing guide for you to follow in order to get your book published on Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing Network. And if you’d like someone to handle all of these steps for you, you can book a call with our team to discuss how we can help you.

Acknowledgement Page, Copyright Page, & More!

25-page Non-Fiction Book Outline Template

Wanna know “how to write a book?” Start with a simple outline! Finish your book FASTER by downloading this FREE template that’s pre-formatted, easy to use, and you can fill-in-the-blank!

Where should we send it?

Here is your full guide to publishing a book on Amazon:

  1. How does Amazon self publishing work? (And why it’s the best option)
  2. Creating a Kindle Direct Publishing Account
  3. Crafting Your Book Title & Subtitle
  4. Writing Your Book Description
  5. Choosing the Right Keywords
  6. Selecting the Right Categories
  7. Uploading Your Manuscript
  8. Creating a Book Cover
  9. Pricing Your Book
  10. How Much Does it Cost to Publish on Amazon?

Let’s get started!

How Does Amazon Self Publishing Work (And Why it’s the Best Option)

Traditional publishing is on the way out.

This has been the reality for some time now and for good reason.

While traditional publishing had its time and was once the only option for publishing a book, the new system of self-publishing levels the playing field. When done right, self-published authors can make more money, retain all their rights, and leverage their books in more ways than ever before.

Though traditional publishing is still a viable option for some, Amazon self-publishing is the best option and here’s why:

  • Over 70% of books are sold on Amazon
  • 310 million book buyers through Amazon last year
  • Those buyers accounted for over $178 billion in sales
  • It’s easier and faster with Amazon self-publishing

There are major differences between traditional vs self-publishing with the majority of authors opting to take their talents to Amazon instead of through one of the Big 5 publishing houses.

Check out the video below to see why you should consider it too.

In the next few paragraphs, you learn step-by-step how to self-publish on Amazon.

[Pssst! Want to see some of our students’ self-published books? Check out the SPS library here!]

Your Complete Guide for Publishing a Book on Amazon (Through KDP)

Sure, anyone can technically self-publish on Amazon, but that doesn’t mean it will do well and actually sell. You have to know the specifics, from setting up your KDP account to the pricing of your Kindle eBook.

If done correctly, you can expect a successful launch, and with multiple books published this way, you may even make a living writing books.

Here are our steps for Amazon self-publishing.

https://youtu.be/ejQQhHKIMYg

#1 – Create a Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) Account

Before you can get started with Amazon publishing, you first have to have an account set up with them.

Here’s how to set up your Kindle Direct Publishing account:

  1. Go to https://kdp.amazon.com and register with either your Amazon account or with your email address.
  2. Next, click “Update” in your account information and fill in your tax information. It’s important to note that you need to complete your tax information BEFORE you can publish your first book. So don’t skip this step!
  3. Once your tax information is complete, click “Finished” and return to the main page.
  4. Your profile is complete!

With your KDP account setup, proceed to setting up the details of your book, as seen in the areas below.

how to set up a KDP account to publish on Amazon

#2 – Choose a Book Title and Subtitle

In your Kindle Direct Publishing profile, you need to fill in the title and subtitle of your book. While a subtitle is optional, having a good subtitle is something you should definitely consider to bring in more views and create stronger intrigue and help people find your book when searching.

Here are a couple tips to crafting a great book title:

  • Use a Book Hook: Your book hook should speak to the reader in a unique voice that grabs their attention and feeds into what they are looking for.
  • List the Benefits: Your potential readers want to know what they will get from reading your book. One technique is to deliver the benefits in the subtitle, providing enough tantalizing information to further attract readers.

Think about what you would be attracted to in a book title. Keep it simple, clear, and unique. Research the title you want to use and make sure it hasn’t been scooped up by a high-performing book already.

You don’t want to make competition for yourself.

#3 – Write Your Book Description for Amazon

You need a powerful book description in order for potential buyers to read what it’s about. Amazon self publishing requires more signals than you’d initially realize. Even though the cover and subtitle should do a great job of this, we all want more information when it comes to putting money toward something.

Here’s what people notice first when seeing a new book:

  1. Title
  2. Cover
  3. Book Description

A description is essentially a short written narrative that illustrates what your book is about. It should be written like a sales page to capture the interest of your reader. Amazon is very sensitive to showing visitors relevant books based on their previous actions.

This is crucial because the description, in many cases, is the final factor that determines whether the reader will read your book or not. That, and great Amazon reviews.

When done correctly, a well-written book description can practically sell a book on its own.

Here are some strategies to help craft your perfect description:

  • Make your first sentence as enticing as possible
  • Write your description like a sales page or advertisement, not a dry summary of your book
  • Have the description feel personal and empathetic
  • Detail the benefits your reader will gain by reading your book

Here’s a great example of a full book description on Amazon:

Published.BookDescriptionNotes

You can find more amazing description examples with these books:

Spend some time crafting your eye-catching book description. It will make your book stand out to your readers and motivate them to purchase your book.

For the best results, we recommend using the Free Amazon Book Description Tool from Kindlepreneur.

This is also a great video about how to write an Amazon book description to get sales:

https://youtu.be/LiJMfK-cTW8

#4 – Choose Your Amazon Keywords

If you want your book to show up in Amazon and Google search engines, you’ll need the right mix of keywords. Since Amazon allows only seven keywords per book, keyword selection requires strategy.

But what are keywords exactly?

Keywords are specific words or phrases used to describe your book. If someone was looking for a book on your topic, they might type one of those keywords into Amazon or Google in order to find it. Amazon self publishing is all about becoming relevant in the niche you need to be. This not only gets you the type of readers you want, it also helps tremendously to have the correct visibility.

For example, if your book is about perseverance, you might find keywords like this useful:

  • how to have perseverance
  • what is perseverance
  • perseverance examples
  • persevering
  • persevering when it’s hard

These are all phrases or words people looking to better themselves with perseverance would type into search engines in order to find what they’re looking for, like in the image below.

amazon self publishing keyword examples

Amazon Keyword Research Tools

  • Publisher Rocket: This is a great tool for comparing Google search results to Amazon. It gives you a competitive score from 1-99, keyword results from both Google and Amazon, and how much money other books are making. You can check out this Publisher Rocket Review.
  • KW Finder: This tool gives an analytical view of the keyword popularity using a competitive ranking. You can search for five keywords for free per day.
  • Amazon’s Autofill Function: Take advantage of Amazon’s search box to find good keywords. Amazon’s suggestions are based on search history so you want to search for words that are high in demand with little competition.
  • Google Search: Google is still the King of search, you can easily check to see if there are authors ranking in search results. You’ll want to understand the best angle even outside of Amazon.

Make a list of possible keywords for your book, then leverage the tools above to test your keywords. Putting in the time to get keywords right will have your book rank higher and appear more frequently to readers.

#5 – Select Your Amazon Categories

Amazon provides a collection of categories and subcategories to choose from. Like keyword selecting, your goal is to look for trending areas that don’t have tons of competition.

If you visit your book page, these categories will appear partway down the page, displaying the rank like in the image example below.

publishing on amazon - choosing categories

These categories are what you will rank as a bestseller in, which is why you want to make sure you pick fitting categories that are specific, but also not super competitive. You want to stand out. That said, these do have to match the intent of the book you wrote.

You can also check the rankings of the top three books on the first page of each category.

Amazon sales ranking measures how well a product is selling compared to its competitors. All books that are ranked 2,000 or less are considered to be highly purchased products in that particular category.

Here are a few tips when publishing on Amazon in order to rank in more categories:

  1. Research your competitors’ keywords
  2. Choose trending categories with lower competition
  3. Acquire additional categories by contacting Amazon and asking for keyword placement

Unless you have an established author platform with significant downloads and reviews, try to aim for categories with books that rank between 10,000-30,000.

Do you want to know how to rank for ten categories? Check out our blog post that details how to get approved for more categories on Amazon.

We also did a fantastic podcast episode with Dave Chesson of Kindlepreneur (and the creator of Publisher Rocket) to teach you how to find the best categories for you. Check it out below:

#6 – Upload Your Manuscript to Amazon

First, you have to make sure your manuscript is in the right format to be uploaded to Amazon. Usually, your formatter will do this for you, but if you’re not sure or have self-formatted your book, these are Amazon’s recommended formats for uploading your manuscript:

Here’s how to upload your book to Amazon for publishing:

  1. In your Kindle Direct Publishing account, go to “Your Bookshelf”.
  2. Locate and click on “Kindle eBook Actions” next to the title of your book.
  3. Locate and click on “Edit eBook Content”.
  4. Click on “Upload eBook manuscript”.
  5. Upload your manuscript file on your computer.
  6. Upload complete!

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

You can upload the manuscript as many times as you want and the new version will override the existing.

It’s important to check how your book looks using the “Look Inside” feature once the book is live on Amazon. This feature is often the first thing your prospective readers will click on when checking out your book.

If the formatting is off here, it can deter readers from picking up your book. Take this extra step to make sure your formatting looks good here too or consider hiring a professional ebook formatter to ensure it looks good.

#7 – Create Your Book Cover

When it comes to publishing a successful book on Amazon, having a perfect book cover design is one of the most important aspects to get right. Contrary to what we were told growing up, people do, in fact, judge a book by its cover. It’s actually one of the biggest deterrents.

Your cover is exactly how your book will be judged at first glance.

Make sure that your cover is created professionally and that it will stand apart from the rest of the books in your genre or category. With our new done-for-you cover design services, we can actually handle your book’s design for you. You can click here to book a call with our team and find out more about these done-for-you services.

You can find cover creators on freelancing sites such as:

Prices will depend on the level of service, but these sites will give you plenty of amazing graphic designers to choose from! It’s a great investment that will make your book stand out perfectly.

Depending on what program they’re in, Self-Publishing School students can have the cover designed for them or receive a list of qualified, trusted book cover designers they can work with directly in order to get a worthy cover.

Make sure to do your research regarding what type of book cover does best in your genre. If you write fantasy books, for example, it will be a lot different than writing a memoir or even historical fiction.

#8 – Price Your Book

A question often asked is: “How should I be pricing my book after the initial launch is over?”

This is up to the author, but generally, the best range to have your book priced is between $2.99 to $9.99.

The royalty payments vary depending on the country, but you can learn more on KDP Select pricing page.

One popular strategy for beginners is to price your book at $2.99 and gradually increase it by $1 per week. At some point, your sales will begin to dip. And while that’s normally a negative statistic, for this case, it confidently tells you the perfect price of your book that guarantees a profit.

Here are the 4 main pricing strategies to consider in order to be competitive and sell books:

  • Know the price of your competitors. Compare the list price of your book to the books around you and determine if you would be able to sell your book for a higher price.
  • Know the size of your followers. Famous authors can charge a lot for their books because they have a big following. Your book should be priced lower to encourage new readers to buy your work, if you’re not in this category.
  • Determine price based on the size of your book. Size does matter when it comes to books. Don’t charge $20 for a 75-page book. Customers will immediately be turned off by the lack of content at that price point.
  • Measure price based on reviews. Reviews carry a big weight on influence, and is social proof that your book has been read and well received. Therefore, a book with more reviews (1000+ reviews) can be priced higher compared to a book with fewer reviews (30+ reviews).

You can get legitimate and honest book reviews from:

How much does it cost to publish a book on Amazon?

Nothing! It’s free to publish a book on Amazon through their online Kindle Direct Publishing platform. You pay no upfront costs, but Amazon will take a portion of your book’s earnings to print, leaving you with 60% royalties after the book print price, which is why authors are making more now than ever before.

If you set your book’s price to $17.99 on Amazon, there will be a $.85 printing fee for 100 pages, plus $.012 for each additional page. You will make 60% of the list price, and the printing fee will be subtracted from that to give you your total amount of earnings:

$17.99 x .60 = $10.79 royalties per book

Subtract the printing cost from your royalty rate to get our take home pay (based on a 300-page book):

$10.79 – $3.25 = $7.54 take-home per book

So while you don’t pay anything to publish through Amazon, they do still charge for the book’s printing costs.

Amazon Self Publishing Summed Up

If you want to self-publish on the biggest online retailer, you’ll need to understand how they work. SPS understands this well and coaches our students well in the Become A Bestseller program. Experiment with these strategies to pinpoint the price for your book, it will drive long-term success.

The book outline template below can help you get a jumpstart on formatting correctly.

Remember, you can also book a call with our team to find out how we can do all these steps for you and ultimately get you published on Amazon!


CHAT WITH OUR TEAM

Acknowledgement Page, Copyright Page, & More!

25-page Non-Fiction Book Outline Template

Wanna know “how to write a book?” Start with a simple outline! Finish your book FASTER by downloading this FREE template that’s pre-formatted, easy to use, and you can fill-in-the-blank!

Where should we send it?

SPS 144: Start Writing Your Book TODAY with Morgan Gist MacDonald

Morgan Gist MacDonald is the founder of Paper Raven Books. She’s also the author of Start Writing Your Book Today: A step-by-step plan to write your nonfiction book, from first draft to finished manuscript and a longtime SPS partner. She started as a student, and now she’s doing amazing things in the publishing space. We will talk about how to get discovered as an author, get more reviews, and build a readership. 

We get to learn how Morgan’s business evolved and SPS’s role in that evolution. She launched her book in June of the same year she joined SPS. Her passion for writing and business knowledge allowed her to create a publishing business. We also talk about the marketing part of selling her book, what sold the most copies, and how other authors discovered it. We also talk about optimizing for Amazon. 

Morgan shares the strategy of freebies for promoting a new launch, and giving something away to get subscribers, and then asking for a review. We also learn how Morgan’s book helped grow her business. Her current momentum and interview opportunities were built off of the book. We talk about funnels and the many benefits of having a book. We also talk about why people should start writing their book today and many more great tips. 

Show Highlights

  • [01:40] Morgan was a freelance writing coach who wanted to grow her business. She found Chandler in 2015 and joined SPS. She ended up launching her book the same year. This was the beginning of an entirely new business.
  • [03:11] The book brought in clients, and she started hiring editors. She was basically implementing SPS for other people.
  • [05:34] She always enjoyed writing and decided that was what she was going to do. Her passion for writing slowly took off. 
  • [07:41] Writing is always on the side. There is no magical writing time. Start writing your book today.
  • [08:30] The most difficult part of writing the book was deciding the scope of the book. She created a mind map and outline.
  • [09:50] Morgan began with no platform. She used her book to begin her platform. Optimizing her book for Amazon has moved the needle the most. 
  • [11:00] She also does a quarterly relaunch of her book. Fresh downloads with a paid promotion always bumps up the sales. 
  • [13:21] We also talk about the disadvantages of expecting to make a profit off of your launch. Go free for discoverability.
  • [19:28] It’s an advantage for authors to sell directly to their readers. This makes an email list more important than ever. You could break a book into three parts or a trilogy. You need to think about reviews and readers. 
  • [21:29] Morgan shares how her book has helped grow her business.
  • [24:20] Book funnels give you an opportunity to ask for an address and a phone number. 
  • [25:09] Why you should start writing your book today. It proves something to yourself, and it really helps clarify your message and your audience. 
  • [27:58] Parting advice: Let go of perfection and give it your best shot. Write that book!

Links and Resources

book writing software

Best Book Writing Software: Paid, Free, Grammar, & Productivity [RATED]

Writing and publishing book successfully requires something major.

It requires the right attitude, a powerful book idea, some solid writing prompts, and the best writing software out there.

(Not to mention a bulletproof roadmap to writing a bestselling book).

And we know which writing software is best for you – and more importantly, why it matters.

With the best writing tools, you can write faster and more effectively. You’ll be more focused, with fewer distractions, and you can actually learn a thing or two from some of them—like Grammarly.

And just as importantly, you’ll have an easier time keeping your outline, notes, book ideas or writing prompts, and even those writing exercises organized.

But even if you have all the best ideas and an imagination that won’t quit, you can’t do either without the right book writing software.

I mean, you could, but it just makes this already arduous process even harder. No thanks.

You’ll have to make some choices.

Nowadays, authors have so many options when looking for the best book writing software (which is why we created the quiz below–to cut down on decision-making and wasted time!).

Here are the best writing software programs:

  1. Paid Writing Software
  2. Free Writing Software
  3. Grammar Writing Software
  4. Distraction-Free Productivity Software

Let’s get started by comparing the 3 book writing software “giants,” and then I’ll share some less well-known tools that might help improve your writing process even more.

Which book writing software features are right for you?

I’m not trying to sell you on any particular book writing software in this article. Instead, my goal is to give you an idea of what’s out there so you can weigh the options for yourself in order to aid in your specific process.

Who knows—you may even discover a brand-new writing and publishing tool you absolutely love.

In the end, the truth is that there are many great writing tools out there. It isn’t really a question of which tool is BEST. What it comes down to is: which tool works best with YOUR book writing process?

There are 11 things to consider when deciding which program to use for your book:

  1. How easy is it to format text the way you want?
  2. Does it have templates available?
  3. How many?
  4. How much does it cost?
  5. Is the program simple & easy to use?
  6. Does it offer any extra features or other bells & whistles?
  7. How about a distraction-free writing experience?
  8. Is the program user-friendly?
  9. Can you access your files no matter where you are?
  10. How easy is it to collaborate with editors & team members?
  11. Is there distribution capabilities when it’s time to publish?
https://youtu.be/pLZBlx2dbyE

The Best Book Writing Softwares for Authors: Paid, Free, Grammar, & Productivity

Not all writing software is created equally. We’ve found that different writers, writing different things, have many different needs. So we’ve broken down the best software for writers using four categories: paid, free, software for grammar, and productivity software to cut down on distractions.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Through this post, you’ll see overall key features, drawbacks, and pricing, along with a “TECH LEVEL” for each, which is rated out of 5, with 5 being a high tech knowledge needed to easily navigate and a 1 being so easy that your 80-year-old grandmother who has never used a computer would be able to use it (there aren’t any 1s, but you get the idea). You’ll also see a “BEST FOR” that will suggest the type of person who would best benefit from each writing software.

Ultimately, we suggest taking this quick assessment that can determine the software best for you, but you can also self-select based on our findings.

Here are the overall criteria you can expect for each writing software below:

SOFTWARE NAME:
BEST FOR:
TYPE:
TECH LEVEL:
PRICING:

You’ll also see a link to get started with that software below each summary box. Let’s get started with your paid options, which will ultimately be best for serious writers.

Paid Book Writing Software

There used to be a time where paying for a writing software just seemed silly. The thing is, writers have been paying to write on something for a while. If you think there weren’t snooty writers who were picky about their typewriters pre-computers, you’d be wrong.

That said, paid writing softwares cost money for a reason. They’re just typically better, with more capabilities, conveniences, and other features that are worth the money to help you writer a better book faster.

These are the paid writing-specific softwares we recommend that are Self-Publishing School tried and true.

#1 – NovelPad

NovelPad is a semi-new writing software (launched in 2020) that has been making the rounds in the writing community. It’s best for writers, as it has character boards, scene tracking, and more, but someone writing a nonfiction book can still benefit from its features.

Among some of the best features is the goal-tracking section, where you can set monthly writing goals, create sprints, and track how much total progress you’ve made and how many total minutes you’ve put into your book. This feature also dynamically updates your goals per day, so if you don’t hit your goal word count one day, the daily goals for the rest of the month will automatically update to keep you on track.

Also notable about NovelPad is the customer service and responsiveness. When you join NovelPad, you may be invited to join a Discord group for the software, which has a Writing Room where you can connect with other authors, along with a Bug Tracker and Suggestions room where you can drop notes and ideas directly to the creators and software developers.

Since I started using this, a feature I recommended only a month ago has been added (unlimited color picker for the scene markers).

Where this writing software really soars above others is in its simplicity of use. You do not have to be super tech-savvy in order to navigate and begin use immediately, whereas this is more difficult with software like Scrivener.

Highly recommend this software for several reasons, you can see more features and pricing below.

Key Features:

  • Chapter by chapter layout / outline
  • Character boards for profiles
  • Character tracking (you can jump to all sections where a character’s name appears)
  • Scene-tracking by color with a board-view
  • Settings/Locations board
  • Advanced dynamic writing goal tracker
  • Intuitive user interface that’s really easy to learn
  • Discord community
  • Customer support and response is top notch
  • Auto-saving feature
  • Multi-device syncing / login
  • Grammar suggestions and highlights
  • Can save up to 100 novels
  • Offline mode
  • Direct export to Word, PDF, and Markdown
  • Import from Word function
  • Font, theme, and other customization options
  • Full-screen writing mode to minimize distractions
  • Writing looks like how it would appear in a real book/kindle
  • Write in-scene only or write within your full manuscript

Drawbacks:

  • No folder features to store books in a series
  • No image capability for the character boards (though this is incoming)
  • No comments or collaboration features (YET! Incoming, currently in testing)
  • It’s not an app, but an in-browser software (can be a pro or a con for some people)
https://youtu.be/ldnh8F273vs

SOFTWARE NAME: NovelPad
BEST FOR: Fiction Writers
TYPE: Story Mapping & Word Processor
TECH LEVEL: 2 / 5
PRICING: $8 monthly or $60 annually (with a 14-day free trial)

Click here to get started with NovelPad.

#2 – Scrivener

You just learned that Microsoft Word is the most widely used word processor in the world. But does that mean it’s the best book writing software?

Think about it this way. The fact that Word is so prevalent means that it has to cater to all sorts of users—students, businesspeople, writers, teachers, marketers, lawyers, the list goes on and on and on.

But Scrivener was created for one type of person only:

Writers.

And if you’re a writer, chances are you’ve heard of Scrivener. A lot of writers absolutely love this program, with its advanced features and distraction-free writing experience.

In short, Scrivener gives you an insane amount of flexibility for writing, formatting, and organizing your book for self-publishing.

Because Scrivener was designed for writers, it’s super easy to lay out scenes, move content around, and outline your story, article, or manuscript.

Instead of keeping all your content in one big file, Scrivener allows you to create multiple sub-files to make it easier to organize and outline your project.

But as awesome as Scrivener is, it’s not perfect.

And the biggest downside to using Scrivener is the steep learning curve involved. You aren’t going to master this program overnight.

But if you’re serious about your writing career, then investing the time to learn this specific writing tool will be worth it. You’ll save time and energy in the long run.

And if you want to learn how to use Scrivener as quickly & easily as possible, we can help! Here’s a full Scrivener tutorial so you can easily maneuver this program.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=9&v=qbKOAVKe50c

Key Features:

  • Outlining with a corkboard / index-card style board
  • Outline with a folder and list style sidebar
  • Full-manuscript writing & scene-specific writing
  • Plotting timeline
  • Import from other software (Word, OpenOffice, PDF)
  • Template creation (for plots, characters, planning)
  • Screenwriting capabilities
  • Nonfiction tools / library for research
  • Side-by-side document view
  • Full-screen mode to minimize distractions
  • Minimal progress tracking
  • Printing and exporting (including epub and kindle versions)
  • “Snapshots” allows you to keep a section before rewriting in case you want to go back
  • App use on multiple devices: Mac, Windows, IOS

Drawbacks:

  • It’s not very intuitive at all, and is very hard to learn before being able to use its features
  • Has been known to have auto-save errors (and people lose their work)
  • Customer support does not have many reviews

SOFTWARE NAME: Scrivener
BEST FOR: Fiction Writers
TYPE: Story Mapping & Word Processor
TECH LEVEL: 5 / 5
PRICING: $49 for download, $19 additional for IOS – 30-day free trial

Click here to get started with Scrivener.

#3 – Plottr

Plottr was created by an author for authors, specifically fiction. The overall bonus of this software (and what people tend to like most) is the plotlines timeline feature that allows you to track the various plotlines, which chapters they appear in, and with colors (image below).

This software also has various templates you can use to get started on your story’s structure to keep it in line with industry standards. This can be really handy for those who aren’t as well-versed in novel structures or are beginners when it comes to writing fiction novels.

Plottr is an app, and can be used across multiple devices (so long as you pay for more than 1 device). This can be a big pro for people who prefer to work on apps and not in a browser, to minimize distractions.

However, the user interface of Plottr is definitely behind the curve when it comes to intuitive design that’s easy to use. It doesn’t seem to be easily organized and can take longer to understand how it all works together and how to use it effectively.

Click here to read a full Plottr review.

Plottr writing software example

Key Features:

  • App available for Mac or PC
  • Scene cards
  • Unlimited plotlines
  • Story filters
  • Tracking details based on POV, character goals, and more
  • Customized templates for story planning
  • Colors for plotlines and scenes 
  • Scene stacking
  • Outline view
  • Timeline view
  • Character boards with image options
  • Plotline tracking for overall and secondary plots
  • Backups & autosave

Drawbacks:

  • It’s a little out-dated in appearance
  • Clunky user interface that’s not very intuitive
  • You can’t really see your book in full-written form, it’s by scene
  • Export for Microsoft Word and Scrivener only

SOFTWARE NAME: Plottr
BEST FOR: Fiction Writers
TYPE: Story Mapping & Word Processor
TECH LEVEL: 4 / 5
PRICING: $25 annually or $99 lifetime for 1 device (more options for multiple devices) – 14-day free trial

Click here to get started with Plottr.

#4 – Atticus

This newly released writing software by Dave Chesson over at Kindlepreneur is a simple writing software that also has formatting capabilities. No need to download your book from one software just to upload it to another for formatting!

The interface is super simple with this writing software, with a left sidebar to house your front matter, body (the chapter-by-chapter outline and writing), and then backmatter.

The formatting section of this software is a huge win, especially for self-published authors who do most of this stuff themselves (or who outsource it). It allows for “themes” for some pre-loaded design features for chapter headings, font type, and more, while also allowing you to choose other formatting setting, like how to begin a new scene (indents or all caps sentence) and other small details that can make formatting so much easier for new authors.

Overall, this is much more of formatting software than it is a true writing software due to its limited features to assist in the writing process. If you really don’t need anything extensive when it comes to plotting, characters, or other fiction-specific capabilities, Atticus may be a great tool for you, particularly for nonfiction writers who like to churn out books quickly and on a budget (since you can format yourself).

This tool is a bit pricier in terms of writing softwares, but due to its formatting function, it’s competitively priced against formatting softwares like Vellum.

You can check out a full, comprehensive Atticus review here.

https://youtu.be/L13DsnLgwrU

Key Features:

  • Organized, simple interface
  • Formatting section
  • Book goal tracking visible on-screen at all times
  • Easy outline visible at all times
  • Upload document from Word
  • Book cover uploading feature
  • “Projects” grouping that can be used for series
  • Pen name organizing feature
  • Formatted preview feature
  • Several single-click formatting design options
  • Custom theme creation
  • Auto save
  • Manual backup function to secure servers
  • Spell check
  • Offline use
  • External collaboration / commenting functions

Drawbacks:

  • No character planning or mapping
  • Very minimal outline features
  • No place for notes or other ideas
  • Software for formatting more than writing/creating

SOFTWARE NAME: Atticus
BEST FOR: Nonfiction Self-Publishers
TYPE: Word Processor & Formatting
TECH LEVEL: 3 / 5
PRICING: $147 (no free trial, 30-day money back guarantee)

Click here to get started with Atticus.

#5 – Microsoft Word

Before any other writing tools came along, Microsoft Word was the only option available. Everyone used it.

Today, even though there are many other word processors out there, Word is still the most widely used book writing software in the U.S. Millions of people continue to use it for their writing needs.

And it’s easy to see why. Word has a lot going for it!

It’s been around a long time. It’s trusted, reliable, and gets the job done well.

It also provides a relatively distraction-free writing experience; much better than working on Google Docs in your browser, for example, where you’re only an errant mouse-click away from the entire internet.

If you just need to wake up in the morning and meet your word-count goals by keeping your head down and getting those words pounded out onto the page, then Word is an obvious choice of book writing software. No fuss, no muss. It’s about as simple as it gets and can help you finish your draft easily.

Word also offers some simple organization.

While writing your chapters, changing the chapter’s heading (seen in the example below) allows easy navigation as your book progresses further and further.

screenshot of writing software MS Word

Using headers, you can organize your book into chapters—and then you can navigate through them quickly using the Navigation pane:

instructions for using Microsoft Word

In order to view your navigation pane in outline-format click:

View > Navigation Pane (it’s a box to check) > select the bullet/outline tab within the navigation pane (seen above).

You can also create your own free book writing template using Word. And if you start writing your book in Word and don’t begin with the correct formatting, it’s pretty easy to clean up your formatting to make it “book ready” with a few simple steps.

If you’re a Word user and you’ve got your own system in place for writing books, then perhaps you need to look no further.

But as a writing tool, Word does have some downsides.

For starters, it doesn’t always play well with Macs. If you use a Mac, then Word might cause you a lot of frustration with crashes and formatting.

Word is also pretty vanilla. That’s part of its appeal, sure, but it also means Word lacks some of the more advanced features you get with other programs like Scrivener and Google Docs.

For example, Scrivener offers more advanced outlining functionality. And Google Docs makes it easier to share and collaborate on your files.

All in all, Word is a solid contender for best book writing software. But there are many other choices out there.

Key Features:

  • Simple word processor
  • Outline available
  • Collaboration and commenting features
  • Shapes, boxes, and image addition easily
  • Easier to use for  non tech-savvy writers
  • Endless documentation for problem-solving online

Drawbacks:

  • Not necessarily for books-specifically, so it’s missing plotting, character features
  • You have to send and save versions to use collaboration functions

SOFTWARE NAME: Microsoft Word
BEST FOR: Begginer Writers
TYPE: Word Processor
TECH LEVEL: 2 /5
PRICING: Free with some laptops, $79.99 if purchase separately

Click here to get started with Microsoft Word.

Free Book Writing Software

Not everyone can afford to go all-in on writing their books, and it’s not always necessary. While paid writing software options allow for additional features and support, you can still write an incredible book with the various free ones out there.

Here, we’ll cover the 4 best free writing software (with other free options listed in the Distraction-Free Productivity section below).

#1 – Google Docs

We’ve looked at the appealing simplicity of Word and the in-depth power of Scrivener, but there’s another book writing software that more and more people are starting to use for various reasons:

Google Docs.

Essentially, Google Docs is a stripped-down version of Word that you can only use online. It’s a simple, yet effective writing tool.

The beauty of this program (and Google Drive in general) comes in the ability to share content, files, and documents among your team. You can easily communicate via comments, for example:

This program keeps a complete history of all changes made to a document, so if you accidentally delete something you wanted to keep, simply click the link at the top of the screen that says, “All changes saved in drive.”

That will bring up the version history, where you can review all the changes that have been made to your book file and revert to a previous version if you so choose.

Google Docs doesn’t require any installation and can be accessed anywhere via your browser, or an app on your phone.

(Anyone who has ever lost a draft of a book understands how valuable this feature is!)

Plus you can access your work when you move from one location or another—no carrying a laptop or thumb drive around with you. When you share a book draft with others, like test readers or your editor, they can comment directly on the draft using the built-in comment functionality.

Out of the “big 3” book writing software tools, Google Docs is probably the least sophisticated when it comes to formatting and outlining tools. But it makes up for that with easy collaboration, sharing, and online access.

Key Features:

  • Auto save
  • Sync across many devices
  • Visible outline on left sidebar option
  • Commenting/suggesting and editing features
  • Spellcheck and compatible with grammar softwares (grammarly)
  • Offline mode available
  • Speak-to-text capabilities
  • Easy to organize and save drafts in folders

Drawbacks:

  • Purely for writing or editing
  • No plotting or character assets
  • No tracking or progress updates
  • Can’t easily see word count

SOFTWARE NAME: Google Docs
BEST FOR: Writing Collaboration & Editing
TYPE: Word Processor
TECH LEVEL: 2 / 5
PRICING: Free

Click here to get started with Google Docs.

#2 – Notion

Notion is technically not solely a writing app, but it has capabilities to outline, writer, and house details inside the app. This is actually an app that feels like a combination of Google Docs meshed with a tasking system, folders, calendars/boards, and more.

Using this app as more than JUSt a writing software is typical. Personally, I use this to track finances, ideas for businesses, grocery list, and various book ideas as they come up.

So keep that in mind as you read these features—it’s not solely made for books but can be used that way. We’ve actually create both fiction and nonfiction book templates you can use in your very own Notion account—just click here to grab one of those.

That being said, there are a ton of features wrapped up in Notion, too many to even count out, and it’s really customizable if you’re someone who can get a handle on new tech quickly. You’ll be able to create your own frameworks for your outline, notes, and character profiles that you can save as templates for more books.

Ultimately, this is great for someone who wants their writing software within another they can use frequently for other purposes, as well as someone who is more tech-savvy and wants to really customize their book writing process.

notion book writing
notion character template

Key Features:

  • Easy to create your own version of an outline
  • Several different functions that can be used for characters, plotting, outlining
  • Access across all devices
  • Offline mode
  • Auto save
  • External sharing via link with commenting
  • Folders organized by favorites and emojis
  • Calendars, charts, boards for tracking
  • Board-style chapter and scene breakdowns available
  • Customized experience you dictate in full

Drawbacks:

  • It does take a while to understand all the features
  • Not solely for book-writing, so lacking built in features for that
  • You have to make your own book templates to reuse

SOFTWARE NAME: Notion
BEST FOR: Advanced Writers & Planners
TYPE: Notes, Tasks, & Writing
TECH LEVEL: 4 / 5
PRICING: Free for a personal account (upgrades for teams or unlimited personal)

Click here to get started with Notion free.

#3 – Evernote

Evernote is a note-taking app. It’s a great way to keep track of your thoughts—like brainstorming ideas, outlining chapters, and jotting down inspiration when it strikes.

The mobile app is particularly useful for capturing new ideas when they strike, since most people have their phone with them 24/7.

Evernote as a writing software is comparable to Notion in that it’s not meant solely for writing, but has many functionalities that can aid the writing process as a whole.

While you can use Evernote to write content—I’ve used it for writing blogs and other small sections of books—you wouldn’t want to use it as your main word processor. Its functionality is a bit too limited.

While Evernote has been around for a little while, they seem to always be expanding on their features, making it one of the best writing softwares out there.

But as a way of keeping track of ideas, it’s a great find.

evernote on mobile

Key Features:

  • Syncing across multiple devices (if you pay for multi)
  • Auto save
  • Easily searchable
  • Template creation
  • Several templates available to use
  • Document scanning and uploading for notes/ideas
  • Create tasks to keep you on-pace with writing goals

Drawbacks:

  • No writing-specific functions
  • You have to tailor notes and functions for your writing preferences
  • Free account has minimal monthly uploads (60MB)
  • Offline mode only available for paid

SOFTWARE NAME: Evernote
BEST FOR: Advanced Writers & Planners
TYPE: Notes, Tasks, & Writing
TECH LEVEL: 3.5 / 5
PRICING: Free for 2 devices, upgraded versions available with more features

Click here to get started with Evernote.

#4 – OpenOffice

You may know of this software, you may not. Essentially, it’s a free version of a word processor much like Word or Pages. If you don’t have Word on your computer and can’t afford to buy it, this is a great alternative that’ll get the job done.

The capabilities are pretty limited with Open Office but if you really only need the basics and don’t want to spend any money, this is the perfect writing software for you.

Here’s what this book writing software looks like:

a bank new page on Open Office

Key Features:

  • Simple interface
  • Word processor with spell check 
  • Accessible to almost anyone
  • You can write your book all in a single document
  • Exporting options 

Drawbacks:

  • You can’t easily adjust the file type
  • Only OpenOffice users can collaborate in-document
  • Doesn’t have book-specific features for plotting or characters, etc.
  • It has an older-looking interface (can be a pro to some people)

SOFTWARE NAME: Open Office
BEST FOR: Beginner Writers
TYPE: Word Processor
TECH LEVEL: 2 / 5
PRICING: Free

Click here to get started with OpenOffice.

Grammar Writing Software

Not all writers need the assistance of grammar-specific writing software. That being said, it is always helpful to keep an eye on your writing quality as a writer.

Some of software listed below can be used with other word processors, while others are meant for you to use as a word processor and grammar checker all in one.

#1 – Grammarly

If you haven’t heard of this editing software, you’ve been living under a rock. It has taken over as one of the most versatile simple editing software and for a good reason.

We have a Grammarly review that covers all the features and functions but essentially, this is a browser extension you can download and it automatically corrects your grammar and spelling in whichever online medium you’re writing on.

This writing software is perfect if you need to brush up on your grammar or are looking for an easy way to sound professional in written emails as well.

https://youtu.be/2CHfwz_JRNs

Key Features:

  • Compatible on Chrome, Google Docs, Word
  • Grammar, spelling,  punctuation
  • Conciseness 
  • Tone detection
  • Fluency [premium feature]
  • Compelling vocabulation [premium feature]
  • Confident, politeness, formality writing [premium feature]
  • Available on Apps, desktop, and several browsers
  • Available on Apple and Android products
  • Offers alternative choices for corrections

Drawbacks:

  • The best features are only available for premium users
  • Sometimes the suggestions pop up and get stuck on screen
  • Doesn’t overall help you better your writing

SOFTWARE NAME: Grammarly
BEST FOR: Grammar & Editing
TYPE: Grammar Software
TECH LEVEL: 1.5 / 5
PRICING: Free version, paid upgrade with additional features starting at $12/month

Click here to get started with Grammarly.

#2 – Hemingway Editor

Simply paste your writing into the editor and scroll through. You’ll notice that the program highlights certain words & passages—like long, hard-to-read sentences, passive verbs, and phrases with simpler alternatives.

It’s basically your own personal editor rolled into a writing software.

What I love about this tool is how easy it is to use. Everything is color-coded and super easy to understand, so you can see at a glance where your writing could use a little elbow grease.

https://youtu.be/sHNmRI4FYfw

Here’s an example of what it looks like:

hemingway editor app

Key Features:

  • Passive voice notes
  • Simplifier for complex sentences
  • Desktop app available for 
  • Word count tracker
  • Tells you the readability level
  • Basic and simple to use
  • Writing mode and editing mode
  • Offline mode [paid feature only]
  • PDF exports [paid feature only]
  • Publish directly to WordPress or elsewhere [paid feature only]

Drawbacks:

  • You have to type within the tool to receive corrections
  • It doesn’t actually provide alternative options for corrections
  • Doesn’t appear to be an export function from web use

SOFTWARE NAME: Hemingway Editor
BEST FOR: Grammar & Editing
TYPE: Grammar Software
TECH LEVEL: 2 / 5
PRICING: $19.99 for the desktp app

Click here to get started with Hemingway App.

#3 – ProWritingAid

This writing software is truly a writing software that’s actually designed to improve your writing over time. You can upload your writing from your computer or simply copy and paste it into ProWritingAid’s editor and it will almost immediately populate corrections for your writing.

There are a number of different criteria it uses to correct your writing, including the classic grammar and spelling, readability by grade level, and sentence variety. Where it differs is in passive voice corrections, pacing indications, dialogue tags, and a really unique “emotional telling” feature that helps you learn to show and not tell in writing.

One thing to keep in mind, as with any other grammar or writing-improvement software is that it will highlight grammatical errors within dialogue as well. But, if that’s how you’ve developed your character to speak, keep those nuances. The last thing you want is for every character to speak the same way.

You can read a full review of ProWritingAid here.

prowritingaid writing software example

Key Features:

  • Grammar and spelling
  • Writing style
  • Sentence length correcting
  • Readability grade
  • Sentence variety
  • Passive voice correction
  • Complex paragraphs
  • Pacing indications
  • Glue Index (reading clarity)
  • Emotion-telling (show vs telling)
  • Dialogue tags – including with adverbs
  • Weak adverbs
  • Add-ins (accessible on): Email, Word, Chrome, FireFox, Safari, Scrivener, Google Docs
  • Has a desktop app 
  • Can upload from saved file

Drawbacks:

  • Free account only allows up to 500 words edited at a time
  • Only seems to export as a Word docx. File
  • Website loading can be very slow

SOFTWARE NAME: ProWritingAid
BEST FOR: Grammar & Editing
TYPE: Grammar Software
TECH LEVEL: 3 / 5
PRICING: $20 per month, $79 per year, or a one-time fee of $399 for lifetime access (14-day money-back guarantee)

Click here to get started with ProWritingAid.

Distraction-Free Productivity Writing Software

You may not need the grammar help. You may not even need help plotting or developing your characters. What you may need as a writer more than anything, is something to keep you focused and productive.

We’ve put together a list of the top 3 software we recommend to help writers limit distractions and write more.

#1 – Freedom App

Freedom isn’t technically a writing tool, but it sure can help improve your writing. It’s a productivity app designed to help eliminate distractions by blocking certain websites – something more than beneficial for those of us who get sidetracked easily.

For example: let’s say you have a tendency to get distracted by social media sites. All you have to do us start a Freedom session that blocks all your social media sites—and then you won’t be able to visit them even if you wanted to.

Here’s what it looks like when you schedule a session:

freedom software to reduce distractions screenshot

Notice that you have a lot of options. You can schedule one-time sessions (starting now or later), or you can set up recurring sessions (for example, to block distracting sites every day when it’s time to write).

When you try to visit a site that’s being blocked, you’ll get this message:

example of being free from Instagram using Freedom

This is a really liberating tool. Once you know you don’t have the option of visiting those distracting sites, you’ll find it easier to keep focused on your writing and you’ll be able to get a lot more done.

Key Features:

  • Block certain websites from use
  • Block internet access
  • Sync across all devices
  • Versions for any and all operating systems
  • Scheduling blocks for various days and times
  • Browser extensions
  • Ambient noise to help concentration
  • Session-history and tracking
  • Regular updates to keep up with operating system updates
  • Simple user interface that’s easy to navigate

Drawbacks:

  • Would need to pair with a writing processor for writing benefit

SOFTWARE NAME: Freedom App
BEST FOR: Limiting Distractions
TYPE: Distraction-Free
TECH LEVEL: 2 / 5
PRICING: $8.99 per month or $39.96 per year OR one-time fee of $159.99 for lifetime access (free trial available)

Click here to get started with Freedom.

#2 – FocusWriter

FocusWriter is a word processor for writers that’s intended to eliminate distractions to help you get your book written quicker. It’s a basic, lightweight writing tool that was designed to be completely free of progress inhibiting distractions.

In its fullscreen mode, there are no toolbars or additional windows, just a background and your text so that you can concentrate solely on writing your draft.

FocusWriter also allows you to choose what your screen looks like, as seen in the example below.

You can customize the image in the background to suit your project to help inspire your writing.

It’s simple and effective. If you need a lot of features, it probably won’t work for you. But if simplicity is your thing, then you may have found your perfect free writing tool.

screenshot of focus writer

Key Features:

  • Full screen mode to eliminate distractions
  • Simple, easy to use interface
  • Customizable background to inspire
  • Easy to use for non tech-savvy people

Drawbacks:

  • No outlining function
  • No plotting or character functions
  • Really is only a word processor and nothing else
  • No commenting or collaboration features
  • Only available for Windows

SOFTWARE NAME: FocusWriter
BEST FOR: Beginner Writers
TYPE: Word Processor
TECH LEVEL: 2 / 5
PRICING: Free

Click here to use FocusWriter on your Windows computer.

#3 – PauseFor

If you’re someone who needs incentive to stay off your phone (and actually write), this is a perfect writing software.

Technically, it’s not for writing. PauseFor is a productivity app designed to motivate you to stay off your phone. That means you can get more writing done by spending less time scrolling through Twitter or whatever your social medial of choice is.

How?

PauseFor is designed for YOU to set a time, and then not pick up your phone until that time is done.

But what’s the incentive?

The longer you stay off your phone and the more sessions you complete successfully, the more you’ll have to DONATE. That’s right. You can be a philanthropist AND a writer at the same time.

Simply set your time, don’t touch your phone, and collect your Kin. When you a certain amount, you get to choose where the donations go.

Key Features:

  • Donations based on minutes “paused”
  • Set time to block for not using your device
  • IOS and Android
  • Ability to “level up” and unlock further accesses
  • Free, worldwide
  • Donation-tracking to see your impact
  • Pause for up to 24 hours

Drawbacks:

  • Would need to pair with a writing processor for writing benefit
  • Only available for mobile devices (not for laptop/desktop use)

SOFTWARE NAME: PauseFor
BEST FOR: Time Blocking & Philanthropy
TYPE: Distraction-Free
TECH LEVEL: 1.5 / 5
PRICING: Free

Click here to get started with PauseFor.

How Much Does Book Writing Software Programs Cost?

I would recommend not worrying too much about the cost of these programs. After all, dropping $100 or less on a program is not that big a deal if it is going to help improve your writing for years to come.

That said, I know you work hard for your money—and you want to get the best deal you can!

Here is a breakdown of the most recent prices for all of the tools in this article along with their comparative features:

WRITING SOFTWARE – COST

NovelPad – $8 monthly / $60 annually

Scrivener – $49 download / $19 extra for IOS

Plottr – $25 annually / $99 lifetime for 1 device

Atticus – $147

Microsoft Word – $79.99

Google Docs – Free

Notion – Free with upgrades

Evernote – Free with upgrades

Open Office – Free

Grammarly – Free, $12 monthly

Hemingway Editor – $19.99

ProWritingAid – $20 monthly / $79 annually / $399 lifetime

Freedom App – $8.99 monthly / $39.96 annually / $159.99 lifetime

Focus Writer – Free

Pause For – Free

What’s Your Favorite Book Writing Software?

Take some time to check out each of these tools if you aren’t already using them. Stay focused on crafting your next book and stick with the book writing software that gives you the best results in terms of saving you money, time, and frustration.

Keep writing. Keep it simple. Best of all, enjoy the creative process!

Now that you have these awesome tools at your disposal, what is your favorite writing tool? What best suits your needs as an author? Can you speed up the writing process with any particular tool?

Want A Personalized Writing Software Recommendation Based on Your Writing Style and Needs?

Check out our Sofware Assessment below, to get a recommendation just for you!

BONUS: Check out this Self-Publishing School review from SelfPublishing.com!