social media for authors

Social Media for Writers & Authors: Full Tutorial Guides

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

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

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

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

Here’s how to do social media for writers:

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

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

Do writers need social media?

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

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

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

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

The difference with social media marketing (especially for authors)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What’s the best social media for writers?

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

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

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

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

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

Twitter for authors

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

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

HOW TO USE TWITTER FOR AUTHORS:

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

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

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

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

Posting frequency: several times a day, 7+

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

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

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

Examples:

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

social media for writers example

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

social media for authors twitter example

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

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

Instagram for writers

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

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

HOW TO USE INSTAGRAM FOR AUTHORS:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Example:

social media for authors instagram example

Facebook for writers

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

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

HOW TO USE FACEBOOK FOR AUTHORS:

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

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

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

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

Demographic: 79% ages 18-29

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

Posting frequency: 3 times per day max

Type of content that performs best: Images, videos

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

BONUS: Youtube for authors

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

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

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

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

HOW TO USE YOUTUBE FOR AUTHORS:

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

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

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

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

Demographic: 81% ages 15-25

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

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

Author platform growth on social media

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

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

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

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self-publishing

Self-Publishing in 2020: A Complete ACTIONABLE Guide

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

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

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

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

But don’t you actually want to sell books?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What is self-publishing?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What are the best self-publishing companies?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cost of Self-Publishing A Book

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

TOTAL COSTS: $850 – $3000+

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

#1 – Create a self-publishing plan

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

#3 – Mindmap your idea

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

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

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

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

mindmap example
mindmap for a book example

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

Then move on to the next step.

#4 – Create an outline for your book

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here’s how to actually complete a book:

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

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

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

#6 – Get an ISBN & Copyright your book

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

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

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

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

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

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

Book Outline Template Generator

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

Enter your information below to receive your free outline template!

Book Outline Template Generator

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

In the meantime, check out our Book Outline Challenge.

#7 – Decide where to print / distribute from

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

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

Amazon keeps everything on Amazon.

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

Amazon’s KDP Print —

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

Ease of use: 5/5

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

Retailers included: Just Amazon.

LEARN HOW TO USE IT: KDP Print Guide & Review

IngramSpark

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

Ease of use: 3.5/5

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

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

LEARN HOW TO USE IT: IngramSpark Guide Review

Draft2Digital —

Ease of use: 4.5/5

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

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

FULL REVIEW: Draft2Digital vs Smashwords

BookBaby

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

Ease of use: 4/5

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

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

LEARN MORE: Full BookBaby Review

Smashwords —

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

Ease of use: 3.5/5

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

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

FULL REVIEW: Draft2Digital vs Smashwords

#8 – Set up your Amazon Central profile and account

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

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

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

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

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

#9 – Set up your launch team

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

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

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

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

Here are a few steps for building your launch team:

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

#10 – Create a launch plan

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

#12 – Launch! And celebrate!

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

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

BE PROUD!

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

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Publishing Options: How & Where to Publish Your Book

In this day and age, there are a ton of book publishing options. With the rise of the self-publishing industry (and subsequent dip in traditional publishing), your options to publish are wide and far.

Here at Self-Publishing School, we understand the power of self-publishing, which is why we have our Become a Bestseller program, where we teach people how to maintain control and become a bestseller.

However, there are a ton of other options, and we wanted to make sure you had all the information possible in order to make the decision that’s best for you and your needs as an author.

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

Here are your book publishing options:

  1. Self-Publishing
  2. Traditional Publishing
  3. Hybrid Publisher
  4. Vanity Publisher

Self-Publishing vs Traditional Publishing

When thinking about your publishing options, there are two main avenues to take into consideration: self-publishing and traditional publishing.

We’ll go into more detail in each individual section below, but just know this is one of the biggest decisions you’ll have to decide on if you want to be an author.

The short overview is this:

  • Self-publishing gives you all creative control, is faster to publish, gives you full royalties, with more upfront investments
  • Traditional publishing takes a lot longer, no upfront investments, but you make a small fraction of royalties per book

We actually compiled a ton of data on self-publishing versus traditional publishing you can find in this free download here:

Publishing Options: Choosing the Best Type for YOU

Not everyone will be a good fit for all of these publishing options. You have to think about your goals as an author, what you want to make financially, and where you see yourself in the long-term—as well as how many books you want to publish and how frequently.

All of these are important to consider when making your decision, but we want to give you all the information so that decision is easier.

#1 – Self-Publishing

If self-publishing isn’t on your radar, you’re severely missing out on a huge opportunity. We truly believe this is the best publishing avenue for the large majority of people.

This is why Self-Publishing School started in the first place. Chandler Bolt (the founder and CEO) started this company because he had such a massive success with his first bestselling book.

Since, he’s published 5 other bestsellers, and he gave all his secrets for doing that away in our Become a Bestseller program.

Now, that being said, there are things to think about when it comes to self-publishing.

So what is self-publishing?

Self-publishing is when you have complete ownership and control of your book and its rights, and you can publish on any medium that allows for it (including Amazon publishing, Barnes & Noble, Nook, and more).

Difficulty to publish:

It’s very easy to self-publish a book. In fact, pretty much anyone with access to Amazon’s publishing platform can do it.

But that doesn’t mean everyone should, nor should you publish a book that’s not ready (or not of high quality), which is why we have our programs in the first place.

Timeframe to publish:

Our students publish in as little as 90 days with our process for going from blank page (yes, nothing written!) to a fully published book. You can take longer to publish, and many students in our Fundamentals of Fiction program often do take longer since fiction can be more extensive.

Creative control:

This is the best part! You have 100% of the creative control over everything from your book’s content to its title, cover, everything. Especially the rights to your book!

Marketing responsibility:

This is all on you—just like it is with traditional publishing, which you’ll learn more about down below. Thankfully, there are a ton of resources online to learn how to market a book, as well as our Sell More Books program to increase your book sales.

Royalty rate:

When publishing through Amazon, your royalty rate will be anywhere from 35% – 70% depending on your book’s retail price. SelfPublishing.com has a fantastic book royalties calculator right here that you can check out for a comparison as well.

Cost to publish:

Self-publishing has a higher upfront investment and cost to publish. These can range anywhere from $300 – $1200+ for high-quality editing, book cover design, and more.

But do keep in mind, you make a lot more in royalties back straight away.

Book production (cover design, editing, etc.):

This is all on you. From the cover design to the book editing (yes you have to get it edited if you want it to do well) all the way to the inside formatting is up to you.

Thankfully, there are resources to help you do all of this right, and we cover this entire process in our programs for our students, as we’ve seen this is one of the most difficult parts of self-publishing.

Questions to ask if you think self-publishing is right for you:

  • Do you need 100% creative control?
  • Do you have the ability to invest upfront for a higher royalty rate later?
  • Can you effectively market your book (even with help)?
  • Do you want to write and publish multiple books quickly?

If you answered yes to the above, self-publishing is likely your best option, and you can learn more about how to do that with our free training. Just click the image below!

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#2 – Traditional Publishing

Traditional publishing is what we grew up learning was “publishing”: You get an agent through querying your book, that agent pitches your story to publishers, they choose to buy your book from you, and it gets published a while later!

Let’s look at some details about this traditional publishing option.

Difficulty to publish:

Very high. The traditional publishing industry is really hard to get into. It’s not impossible, but it often takes writers years just to land an agent. And then they have to wait until their manuscript is bought, which isn’t guaranteed.

Many will say traditional produces “better” books or you’re a “better” writer if you publish traditionally, but that’s not true. All this proves is that you have a book idea that’s “hot” and “trending” in the market: remember, publishing houses are after one thing and that’s book sales. If it’ll sell, they’ll purchase it, which means unless it’s a trending topic or book idea, you likely won’t get a book deal.

Timeframe to publish:

If we start the timeline to publish after your agent sells your manuscript, meaning a publishing house has purchased your book rights, it can still take up to 2 years for your book to actually publish.

And this doesn’t take into consideration the time spent trying to get an agent and the time it takes your agent to sell your book. You’re looking at a 2-4 year time period unless you get very lucky or have traditional publishing connections.

Creative control:

You don’t really have much creative control with this publishing option.

Ultimately, the publisher buys your book rights for the idea, but this is subject to change based on what your editor sees as selling the most.

Unfortunately, this can be everything from the main characters, the title, the ending, and even major plot points. The upside is that publishers do know what sells, so this could give your book a better chance of “taking off.”

Just know that you’ll have to make sacrifices with creative control through traditional publishing.

Marketing responsibility:

This is on you! Unless you’re a “big name,” (and even then) you do the heavy lifting when it comes to marketing your book.

This is one of the biggest misconceptions about the traditinoal publishing industry. Many want to go with this publishing option because they think the publishing house will market their book, and they do, but only to a certain extent.

The bulk of the marketing is up to you, and this is increasingly more evident as book agents continue to ask about your author platform size as a decision criterion for representing you or not.

Royalty rate:

Many traditionally published authors can expect to make 10% – 12% and (very rarely) up to 15% royalties on their books. As you can see, this is significantly lower than self-publishing due to the publisher taking a big cut to pay for the editing, cover design, and everything that goes into it, as well as your agent taking a cut.

You do get an “advance” if you sign a book deal. This is a large sum of money, usually under $15,000 for new authors, that you have to make back in book sales before you actually get a royalty check.

Many traditionally published authors never see a royalty check because their books never sell more than their advance’s worth after publication.

Cost to publish:

Time. This is the real true cost of the traditional publishing option. If anyone tries to get you to pay them, this is not traditional publishing and is likely a hybrid or a vanity publisher (for the latter, RUN!).

Book production (cover design, editing, etc.):

This is all done in-house at the publisher. They have a cover made, editing completed, formatting finished, as well as book distribution—meaning getting your book in bookstores across the nation.

You can learn more about the main differences between self-publishing and traditional publishing by watching the video below:

Here are some questions to ask if you want to go with this publishing option:

  • Will you be okay with altering your story, characters, and plot?
  • Do you want to publish less frequently, at a book every one or two years?
  • Do you want to relinquish ownership over the cover design and more?
  • Will you be okay with a smaller royalty rate for your book?
  • Are you willing to spend a year or more querying just to find an agent?

If you answered yes to all of those, this avenue might be for you!

#3 – Hybrid Publisher

If you’re not sold on either self-publishing or traditional publishing, there is another option called hybrid publishing.

Hybrid publishing is just as it sounds: a combination of both self-publishing and traditional publishing. Most often a hybrid publisher will have specific criteria for authors they work with and will have the distribution opportunities self-publishing doesn’t (like nation-wide bookstores).

One distinguishing factor here: the author usually has to make some sort of investment in order to publish through them.

Difficulty to publish:

This depends entirely on the publisher’s rules and regulations for new authors. Most don’t just take anyone in off the street, which means it is more difficult than self-publishing, though usually not as much so as traditional.

Timeframe to publish:

This is another differentiating factor. Hybrid publishers vary so greatly that most of these will depend on the specific publishing house. However, you can expect an elongated path to publishing here as well.

Creative control:

Since the publisher in this case usually deals with the book cover, title, and such, your creative control is at more risk here. However, most of these publishing houses are more likely to work with you to come to an agreement whereas traditional publishing houses don’t give you much of a choice.

Marketing responsibility:

Again, as with any publishing option, marketing responsibilities fall to you, the author. Though because this is a hybrid publisher, you’ll have more exposure due to their distribution capabilities (which is a note to make sure this is included if you choose this option).

Royalty rate:

Since this also varies, all we have is an approximation range: you can expect roughly 40% – 60% in royalty rates depending on the deal you make. This is definitely higher than traditionally published authors make, but you’ll make less than self-publishing simply because the publisher will still get a cut.

Cost to publish:

Guess what, this one depends as well! Different hybrid publishers work on different models, which means their revenue will be earned differently. That said, some authors pay a large sum to work with hybrid publishers, as well as give up a chunk of their royalties.

Book production (cover design, editing, etc.):

This usually goes through the hybrid publisher, and the process is much like that of traditional publishing. This means you don’t have to worry about any of this and that you also don’t get to change or alter any of this.

#4 – Vanity Publisher

CAUTION!!

We wanted to include this in the options because it is an option you’ll see out there. However, it is not an option to consider.

It’s here so you can know what to look for when a vanity publisher is involved in order to AVOID one. We do not recommend this option.

We wrote a blog post all about vanity press scams here, what they are, and why you should avoid them at all costs.

In other words: you may see people who look like hybrid publishers but are not. Do not work with them!

So what type of publisher is Self-Publishing School?

None! We’re not a publishing option, we’re an online education school that teaches you how to successfully self-publish a book so you can save time, money, (and tears), while earning a steady income from your books.

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book publishing programs

Book Publishing Programs: Top Picks & What to Look For

When you make the decision to write and publish a book, for whatever your unique reason is, like growing your business, establishing authority, or just wanting to make an impact, having the right program to assist you makes all the difference.

You can do it all by yourself. But the level of success you have will mostly depend on the strategies you implement.

And if you’ve never done this before, you’d want to work with someone who has to get it right.

That means you’re likely searching for the best publishing course or program to get you there.

We’ll cover some of the best publishing educational programs over a few different fields and certain publishing software programs, along with what you should look for in one to make it worth your time, investment, and effort.

NOTE: We cover everything in this blog post and much more about the writing,  marketing, and publishing process in ourVIP Self-Publishing Program. Learn more  by clicking here!

Here are book publishing programs to consider:

  1. Education – Self-Publishing School
  2. Education – Balboa Press
  3. Education – LuLu
  4. Education – Book Baby
  5. Education – Outskirts Press
  6. Software – Scrivener
  7. Software – Blurb
  8. Software – KDP Wizard
  9. Software – Press Books

What’s the difference between a book publishing program and a publisher?

A book publisher will basically do everything but write the book for you…including taking the majority of your royalty earnings.

On the other hand, a book publishing program that’s education-based, meant to teach you how to do it, shows you the process and allows you to keep all of your royalties.

If you’re looking for a publishing program like a software that helps you take your book from a document to a published piece of work, that’s a whole other set of needs you can learn about below.

What’s the difference between a publishing course and a publishing program?

Some people use the term “course” and “program” interchangeably but they’re actually very different.

A book publishing course is often pre-made or pre-recorded that you can go through in your own time without the assistance of its creators or support.

A book publishing program, on the other hand, often has the course plus other materials or assistance, like our Become a Bestseller program that has 1-on-1 coaching along with group coaching calls, a community, and more.

So the main difference is the level of content and assistance you get with each. A book publishing program will likely be more interactive with support and interaction whereas a course will likely only be online content with nothing else, unless it’s an in-person course like at a college.

Book publishing program for education or a book publishing software program?

You may be in both camps or you may just be in one. Are you looking for a computer software to help you publish? We’ll cover that here!

But we’ll also go into some book publishing programs that are actually education-based where you’ll learn the entire process, start to finish.

Click here to look over book publishing software.

Click here to learn more about book publishing programs that are educational.

What to Look for in a Book Publishing Program

Obviously you want to make sure you get what you need in order to publish a book successfully. But what we’ve learned through working with thousands of students is that most don’t exactly know what they should be looking for.

It’s one of those “you don’t know what you don’t know” situations, and we want to clear up a few things.

Here’s what you should look for in a book publishing program for education:

  • Ample support
  • A community of some sort
  • Thorough, up-to-date content
  • Lifetime access to the information
  • NO royalties taken (if you self-publish, you should never sign over royalties to a company with a publishing program–those are YOURS)

Here’s what to look for in a book publishing program software:

  • Ease of use
  • Editing capabilities
  • Outlining capabilities (for the writing–a “nice to have”)
  • Formatting capabilities
  • Access-anywhere features (like Google Docs)
  • Multiple document formats (.pdf, .png, .txt, .mobi, .azw,)
  • Low cost
  • Multi-device functionality (phone, tablet, laptop, desktop)
  • Great customer support
  • Auto-save feature (probably the most important!!!)

Book Writing & Publishing Programs

Are you looking for something that encompasses both writing and publishing all in one?

Since these two are so closely related, and you should often write the book to go along with your publishing plan, having a program with both can be even more beneficial.

Here are some book publishing programs that also cover the book writing process and how to write a great book (especially for self-published authors!).

Online Book Publishing Programs

Want to work on your book without having to go anywhere? There are a ton of book publishing programs online.

These mostly allow you to log in from home, work on it in your own time, and give you the flexibility most of us need to get something like writing a book done.

#1 – Self-Publishing School

That’s us! We’re actually a self-publishing education company, dedicated to teaching you how to write, market, and self-publish your book successfully.

Here are some program details:

  • Several self-publishing paths to take: including Nonfiction, Fiction, Specific Marketing, PR & Speaking for Authors, Course Building for Authors
  • 1-on-1 coaching with each program
  • Lifetime access to materials
  • Exclusive Mastermind Community Facebook group
  • Up to 4 additional free coaching calls within the community weekly–including 1 per week with Chandler himself
  • Expert interviews by industry experts in the Mastermind Community
  • From blank page to published author, and everything in between
  • Over $1000 in exclusive Self-Publishing School author discounts for services like editing, cover design, and more!

While we may be biased since this is our program, we truly believe it’s the best, and we continuously upgrade and improve our programs in order to ensure this by keeping track of industry trends, Amazon’s updates, and listening to the needs of our authors.

Check out the image below for a sneak peek of a portion of our program (we don’t share these often!):

Self-Publishing School Program Sneak Peek

Our specialty here is 1-on-1 coaching as well as a Bestseller status guarantee on Amazon (in as little as 90 days if you follow the program!), which increases exposure, boosts your book in Amazon’s rankings, and helps you sell more!

You can check out more about our baseline Become a Bestseller publishing program here.

Check out some of our student success stories to hear it from them!

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#2 – Balboa Press

If you’re searching for publishing options and programs, you’ll likely come across Balboa Press at some point.

This publishing program has several options, including “done for you” services that allow you to sit back and let someone else take care of the majority of the work, aside from the actual book topic and contents.

Below is a chart for their services along with price points.

Balboa Press Services & Prices

This publishing program has services from hardcover publishing to copyright information, social media setup guides, and more depending on the package you choose to go with.

Full Balboa Press Review

More Balboa Press Frist-Hand Experiences

#3 – LuLu

LuLu Press has been around for a while now, since 2002! While it’s not exclusive to just books, it’s a good option for those looking for a book publishing program that has several features.

In the image below, you can see the different options they have available to you, including printing, distribution, selling, and more.

Book Publishing Services from LuLu

While this is less of an educational platform and certainly not a course-like program, it does offer plenty of helpful blog posts to get you going.

However, it does lack the expertise of a more robust educational publishing program that can help you rank and sell more books.

Full LuLu Publishing Review

More LuLu First-Hand Experiences

#4 – Book Baby

BookBaby has a lot of options on their site. It may even be a little confusing as to what they do and how you can benefit from it, but we’ll break it down for you.

This book publishing program does a few main things for you:

  1. Prints books
  2. eBook services, including formatting and more
  3. Book design
  4. Editing
  5. Bookselling services

As you can see, this is a wide range of different options for the self-publishers out there. They have a lot of great reviews and also some complaints, as is the case with something this big.

Among the biggest complaints, however, is that if you want to make changes to your manuscript, you do have to pay a fee.

Image Courtesy of SelfPublishing.com

Pricing for BookBaby can be hard to find. We grabbed this information from SelfPublishing.com for you:

  • Express Package: $890
  • Complete Package: $1,790
  • Deluxe Package: $2,290

Full Book Baby Review

More BookBaby First-Hand Experiences

#5 – Outskirts Press

Outskirts Press has been around for a long time, another publishing company taking advantage of the self-publishing boom since 2002.

They offer a variety of services, including publishing, marketing, and book production assistance.

I had a hard time finding any prices for Outskirts Press and their website was a little hard to navigate, making me think I’d likely have to go through channels to get prices for what they offer, and even find everything they offer.

Below you’ll see a screenshot from their “All Publishing Packages” menu item in the “Publishing” dropdown menu item.

Outskirts Press Publishing Package Options

If you do some digging, you’ll be able to find the pricing for specific packages, ranging from marketing information to genre-specific “done for you” services, as you can see in the images below.

Outskirts Press “Marketing Discounted Bundle”
Outskirts Press “Spiritual Books” Publishing & Marketing Suite Price

As you can see, it looks like pricing for their services ranges widely, from a few hundred dollars to thousands, depending on what you’re looking for.

First-Hand Outskirts Press Experiences

Book Publishing Software Programs

On the other side of book publishing programs that are full of educational materials and “how-tos” are the software programs you can use to write, edit, format, and even upload to Amazon.

Let’s take a look at some of the best publishing programs out there.

#1 – Scrivener

If you’re starting to write a book but haven’t heard of Scrivener, I’d be surprised! This is one of the most popular writing softwares out there right now.

If you want to keep your writing highly organized, outline it effectively, and write directly inside the software, this is a great one for you.

We’ve got a video detailing a few of their features below:

#2 – Blurb

If you’re looking for more of a book formatting software, and not necessarily a writing one, BookWright by Blurb.

This publishing program boasts features like customizable templates, really high quality, and that it’s free! You can upload the content you need, add images, and formulate a layout that works for what you want.

If you head to their “Sell & Self-Publish” menu item, it’ll show you the various things you can do with this platform.

Check out the image below for a few ideas:

From what I could conjure, this service really does look free. Blurb doesn’t charge fees for using its platform for distribution. However, if you sell through the Blurb Bookstore, they’ll obviously take a cut of your royalties there, similarly to Amazon and other retailers.

Here’s another handy comparison chart on Blurb’s website that compares its services to other book publishing programs.

Blurb Publishing Services Comparison Chart

#3 – KDP Wizard

KDP Wizard is a publishing program that keeps all your KDP data, books, and information in a single place for you to keep track of it.

It saves data ranging from descriptions to reviews to categories, and more, all in one place.

You can see the pricing and plan options below:

KDP Wizard Pricing and Plan Options

While these are monthly subscriptions, you can actually get the entire thing for a lifetime for $699. So if you’re looking to be a career author, this might be an option worth considering.

#4 – Press Books

If you’re looking for a quick publishing program that allows you to upload, “click a few buttons,” and have a great looking book, Press Books allows for just that.

Here’s an image of their prices if you want the paid options:

Press Books Self-Publisher Program Options

As you can see, they’re pretty affordable and according to them, super easy to work with.

College Book Publishing Programs

There are more and more courses being developed at colleges for learning how to publish a book successfully. While you’re probably already aware of creative writing or journalism majors, book publishing programs are newer in terms of their content.

More and more, universities are including content surrounding self-publishing and the know-how surrounding this.

If you’re going to college or you want to and publishing is your focus, know that you can get the information you need with online programs, unless you want to end up at a traditional publishing house. In which case, it helps to have a degree in publishing.

Ultimately, the publishing program that’s best for you will meet your unique needs as an author or author-to-be.

NOTE: We cover everything in this blog post and much more about the writing,  marketing, and publishing process in ourVIP Self-Publishing Program. Learn more  by clicking here!

book deal

How to Get a Book Deal: The Complete Process

The only reason you’d need to learn how to get a book deal is if you’re pursuing traditional publishing, which means not self-publishing.

Book deals are when a traditional publishing company offers you a contract selling your book to them under certain conditions, like an advance, a specific royalty rate, and other requirements and specifications.

Ultimately, it means you’re going to be a traditionally published author!

But it typically takes a long time to land a book deal and if you’re writing a nonfiction book, it’s even longer with fewer chances you’ll be able to publish. Either way, our hopes are to detail the process for you so you really understand everything that goes into traditional publishing…

Everything that you could avoid if you were to self-publish a book (but that’s a topic for this blog post).

NOTE: We cover everything in this blog post and much more about the writing,  marketing, and publishing process in ourVIP Self-Publishing Program. Learn more  by clicking here!

Here’s how to get a book deal:

  1. Be sure you want a traditional book deal
  2. Write a book proposal
  3. Find an agent / query an agent
  4. Wait
  5. Get your agent!
  6. Get your proposal to publishing companies
  7. Wait
  8. Book deal offered
  9. Book deal acquired

Self-Publishing VS Traditional When it Comes to Book Deals

You only need a book deal if you’re traditionally publishing, so that’s what this blog post will follow. And while we self-publish books here at Self-Publishing School, we ensure to know and understand traditional publishing in order to better help our students (many of whom come to us after waiting years with no word on a book deal).

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Here are the main differences between traditional and self-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 do book deals work?

A book deal works by a writer querying an agent for representation, that agent pitching the project to traditional publishers, and publishers buying the rights to that book from the author.

There are a few main components of getting a book deal we’ll go over in this post:

  1. Creating a book worth buying
  2. Querying an agent for representation
  3. Your agent pitching your book to publishing companies
  4. The publishers either accepting or denying the proposal

This is a very simplified explanation, which we’ll explain in much further detail below.

How long does it take to get a book deal?

It can take anywhere from a few months to a few years to get a book deal, so it varies greatly. Because of the long process and subjectivity within the traditional publishing industry, there are many hands your proposal must “pass through” before you can get a book deal.

We actually recommend that if traditionally publishing is your end-goal, your dream, that you self-publish in order to build social proof that your books sell and in order to build an audience.

While you should not query a book that’s self-published, you can pitch a brand new book to an agent and provide details about your book sales, email list, and overall platform size, which can increase your chances of an agent taking interest in you.

This happened to an SPS friend, Hal Elrod. You can hear all about how he got foreign book deals from the success of his self-published book, The Miracle Morning, here.

More than ever, both agents and publishing companies are looking to your online platform/presence in order to determine if you’ll be a good “bet” to publish.

How much do you get for a book deal?

Most first-time authors with a traditional publishing company will get between $5,000 to $10,000 as an advance. While outliers do make much more, those cases are very far and very few between and their advance is often the result of a “bidding war” between publishers.

The more offers you get for your book, the bigger your advance. This only really happens if you have the next big book idea or series and your agent is very well connected.

But ultimately, your first advance likely won’t be enough to quit your job. You’ll usually have to keep a full-time job while finishing your book and waiting for publication.

How to Get a Book Deal: Step by Step

The time has come! Let’s get into the details about how to get a book deal, broken down step by step so you can ensure the best chance of getting published.

Remember, some of these steps may vary per agent, but the overall structure of the process is the same.

#1 – Be 100% sure of your publishing decision

Nowadays, the biggest publishing decision you’ll make is choosing self-publishing or traditional publishing.

The self-publishing industry is soaring, it’s growing, and it’s very lucrative for people now. It’s nothing like it was when it first started, where books were of poor quality and anyone with Microsoft Word uploaded ramblings they called a book.

Now, there are more great books than ever (especially by people who have the right process to follow to self-publish), and they’re rivaling traditional publishing.

So why would anyone want to traditionally publish then?

Well, there’s the lure of the NYT Bestsellers list, for one. As well as the “prestige” still connected to traditional publishing because of the fact that your book has to pass through several hands, making people think your book is “better” than others.

The above is the main reason people still want to traditionally publish.

But if you’re a business owner looking to grow your business with a book or a nonfiction writer in general, self-publishing is almost always the better route unless you’re famous, very highly known, or have a massive platform.

So before going through the work and time to traditionally publish, make sure it will really work for you.

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#2 – Write a killer book proposal

You want your book to sell, right?

Then you need to have something that will sell it. In this case, it’s a book proposal. This is what will convince the people with decision-making power to give your book a chance, to prove that it will sell.

You want a combination of your personality, writing skill, and a strong book description in this letter.

Here’s a great post about how to write a book proposal for the exact process.

#3 – Find a book agent / Query and agent

This is a really long, arduous path to traditional publishing that does take some luck and situational advantages into account.

The truth is that a lot of the time, knowing someone who knows someone who can get you in touch with an agent is the quickest way to find out. Otherwise, you’ll be left with the old fashioned method, which is somehow finding agents online, getting their contact info, and sending a query letter.

What’s a query letter?

A query letter is something a writer sends to literary magazines, literary agents, or other publications in order for them to request their full work. This query letter is essentially “selling” both you and your work so they’ll want to know more.

There’s a specific structure that works best for query letters in order to better sell your idea.

Here’s a basic structure of a query letter:

  1. Opening: Start with any credentials, awards, and more that would basically “qualify” you as someone worth taking a chance on.
  2. Tell then what you want them to take on. List the title, word count length, and book genre.
  3. Describe your book, but the main hook! What will set your book apart from something else? Make this concise and yes, you can include some spoilers here. Overall, you should communicate who the main character is, why we care about them, and what the overall plot is.
  4. Write a short bio with details like other published works, self-published books, what you do, maybe even a fun fact about you.
  5. Conclude the letter with some more details about if you have a series in mind, and any other requirements listed if there are guidelines for that specific agent available.
  6. Follow. The. Guidelines. You should do enough research about the agent to know if they have certain guidelines. Follow these. It only increases your chances.

If you want to increase your “luck” in terms of landing an agent, network. Figure out where these agents and editors are hanging out and make yourself available to connect with them.

Tips for networking to find an agent:

  • Go to writing conferences where editors frequent
  • Ask great questions at panels
  • Get on Twitter! So. Many. Agents.
  • Participate in writing-related hashtag games on Twitter
  • Embed yourself in the publishing world
  • Guest post on authority websites around writing and publishing (to increase credentials)

Ultimately, querying can be difficult and it’s all up to whether or not the agent is interested in your idea…or how well connected you are to people in the publishing world.

Example of a hashtag game on Twitter: #SlapDashSat, weekly themed writing sample

#4 – Wait…and wait…and wait some more

It’s a torturous part of the book deal process, but you do have to wait a while.

For the agent to check their email and get back to you.

For any agent to show interest.

And even for the agent to read your full manuscript if they requested it, which is something that may happen and is a great sign! It means they liked your query and book idea and want to see your overall writing abilities and how the story you told them about plays out.

While you’re waiting, work on your manuscript or start writing a new book!

#5 – An agent loved you, yay!

If you get an agent, congratulations!!! That is a very difficult step some writers never, ever get to. Many give up before this happens.

Having an agent means that you will most likely sell a book, but not necessarily the one you pitched to them. After you land the agent, the ball is in their court and now they get to do what they do best: their job, selling your book.

#6 – Push your proposal out via your agent

You do nothing right now, except maybe work on the second book (if this is a series) or move on to your next project.

Let your agent do their job, check in with them to see if they need anything, and keep doing what you have been and keep writing!

#7 – Wait and wait for a publisher to pick up your book

It’s a waiting game, like I said earlier. I’m not an agent and have not worked with an agent, so I don’t have all the details about how they go about selling your book, how long this takes, and what that process looks like.

But this is a great post all about what a literary agent does to actually sell your book.

The overall process is this: the book agent typically knows editors at publishing houses that specialize in the books they usually represent (which is also your book). They send these manuscripts off to them in order to gauge interest in the project based on market trends, current events, and what’s simply “hot” right now.

#8 – A deal has been offered!

If your book has interest from a publishing company, your literary agent will do the negotiating. This is another thing that comes in handy with an agent: they have the sales skills to get you the best deal.

And they will, because their pay comes as a result of your overall deal. The more you get, the more they get.

If your book has interest from more than one publishing house, a bidding war could commence! And this is great, because that’s how you get those massive, 7-figure advances.

#9 – Book deal acquired

Once you and your agent are good with the contract, you sign and BOOM, you now have a book deal!

After this, you’ll likely work with an editor, meet deadlines, and then wait until your book is up next in the publishing queue. This can take up to two or three years at times, depending on how much work the book will take to get publish-ready.

Usually, you’ll have to wait over one year minimum after you have a book deal in order for it to launch.

That’s how you get a book deal. Remember, it can take years to get a book deal for a single piece of work. Oftentimes, writers query a project while working on another project so if they don’t hear back, they can query another project.

This is one the longest processes for publishing a book and usually, publishers don’t take nonfiction books unless you have serious clout or backing.

So good luck, and let us know if you have any tips below in the comments!

NOTE: We cover everything in this blog post and much more about the writing,  marketing, and publishing process in ourVIP Self-Publishing Program. Learn more  by clicking here!

How to Write a Nonfiction Book: 6-Time Bestseller’s Guide

There’s a specific way you should learn how to write a nonfiction book if you want it to do well.

Whether you’re looking to write and publish a book to grow your business or if you just want to write a book to make an impact, doing it well the first time makes a major difference.

Imagine throwing a book together with no rhyme or reason…and then wondering why it isn’t selling. That won’t be your reality if you follow this system.

Here’s how to write a nonfiction book:

  1. Come up with your nonfiction book idea
  2. Do some market research
  3. Nail down your book’s target audience
  4. Mindmap and outline your nonfiction book
  5. Schedule book writing time
  6. Write a strong book introduction
  7. Write your nonfiction book in order
  8. Write your first draft straight through
  9. Do book research
  10. Self-edit your book
  11. Choose a nonfiction book title
  12. Send to betas for feedback
  13. Go through the production process or query agents

Writing a Nonfiction Book During COVID-19 Social Distancing / Quarantine

A quick word before we get into the good stuff.

My team and I have noticed an increase in people wanting to finally write the book they’ve been talking about for years while they’re being forced to stay home. While not everyone has this luxury, since some of you have kids and I can imagine that’s a hassle during a time like this, we did want to provide some resources for those of you looking for something to do during this crazy and tragic time.

So I’m giving away $50,000 worth of physical copies (3,000) of my bestselling book Published. for FREE–including shipping!

While it’s called Published., I include a deep dive into writing a nonfiction book that will actually sell and what you have to focus on upfront, before writing, in order to write a good one.

Click above or click right here to get your copy (unlimited PDFs and Audiobooks are available as well!).

Writing a Nonfiction Book for Beginners: Quick Tips

The biggest reason most people don’t write a book is because they think they’re not a good writer. But as a C- English student who used to hate writing…trust me, you can do it.

Even though I didn’t have the best English skills, I still wrote and published 6 bestselling books. That’s why I started Self-Publishing School and our Become a Bestseller program to begin with.

I figured out how to write a high quality book despite writing skills, and that’s what I want you to know: you don’t need to be a good writer to product a good book.

All you need is an idea…and we here at Self-Publishing School believe that everyone has a book in them. We just specialize in getting it out and published to its best form.

But in addition to that, I wanted to drop some other tips for beginners, those looking to start writing a book for the first time:

  • Don’t compare yourself
  • Don’t try to copy or recreate a popular book
  • Write about what you know, have experienced, and what people ask you about often
  • Be honest with yourself (and therefore, the readers)
  • Look to those with experience to go through this process correctly (think of: How vs Who…you always want to look for the Who to solve things)
  • Get some support from friends or family (our students usually make an accountability buddy in our exclusive Mastermind Community)
  • Commit to it, that’s one of the hardest parts

Ultimately, it’s a learning curve, but that’s why we have this content available on the blog, plus my free book writing and publishing training.

Template for Writing a Nonfiction Book

We actually have a book outline template generator created by one of our coaches who has written and published 30 books.

That’s right, she has a ton of experience and knows what she’s doing.

You can fill out the generator below and the template will be emailed to you right away. You will have to go do File > Make a copy in order to save this template for yourself, otherwise you can’t edit it since this is used for everyone needing a template.

Book Outline Template Generator

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

Enter your information below to receive your free outline template!

Book Outline Template Generator

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

In the meantime, check out our Book Outline Challenge.

How to Write a Nonfiction Book That Actually Sells

We’re finally to the great stuff! Let’s go through how to write a nonfiction book step by step.

I’ve been through this several times and am breaking it down to the essential steps only. Save some time and stick to these basic principles of writing a nonfiction book.

#1 – Choose your nonfiction book idea

If you’re here, you likely have a book idea…or maybe a few. This can be really difficult if you have more than one idea ready to go that you think is important.

Here’s what we tell our students in terms of choosing which book idea to tackle first:

  1. Write the one that will be the easiest for you
  2. Write the one that you can finish the quickest

It’s really that easy. That’s the best way to choose a book idea to go with if you’ve got too many or aren’t sure which should be done first.

But if you need to generate ideas, here are a few tips to come up with a book idea:

  • Use some writing prompts or check out this post on things to write about
  • Sit down with a sheet of paper and jot down subjects you consider yourself an authority on (you know a ton of accurate information)
  • Write down a few things people often ask you questions about (I originally wrote The Productive Person because many people wanted to know how I got so much done)
  • Think about the topics that make you talk a bunch during get-togethers/gatherings
  • What are you crazy passionate about?

This is a great start and you’ll likely even have a few ideas pop up as you read this. Make sure to write them down and choose the one that falls into the above two criteria I mentioned.

#2 – Do market research

One thing we do a little differently here at Self-Publishing School is teach our students how to ensure your book is hot in the market. While this isn’t necessarily “writing to market,” it does ensure you’ll bring in some income from it.

If you’re not worried about that, then this isn’t necessarily something you need to do, but we still recommend it to understand what books in your genre are doing as far as the cover, title, etc.

Here’s my process for market research for the book idea/s I’m planning to write:

  1. Go on Amazon
  2. Choose “Books” from the search dropdown departments
  3. Search for something in the range of what you want to write, keywords help (publishing, paleo recipes, mental health self-help, etc.)
  4. Take note and even save some titles/topics that are close to what you want to do
  5. To go deeper, click on a book that is close to what you want to write about
  6. Scroll down to”Product Details” section view the categories they’re ranking in under “Amazon Best Sellers Rank”

Repeat that exercise with various categories related to your idea.

The reason we do this is to see what’s working so you can build off of an already stable foundation.

Step 2
Step 6

#3 – Nail down your target audience

This is one of the most crucial steps for your book’s longevity. The more you can create a clear picture of who your avatar is, the better your book will perform and the better Amazon reviews you’ll get.

This is something that’s really special about our programs. Every one of them has 1-on-1 coaching with a highly experienced bestseller, and they go through a big deep dive on your target audience, before you even start your outline with us.

Ultimately, you want to get to the point where, when you’re writing your book, you’re speaking to one person: your ideal audience member.

This helps the book be concise, highly targetted so it will be received better by people who need it, and those who do read it will review it highly because it’s made for them.

But how do you nail down your target audience details when writing a nonfiction book?

Check out these steps:

  1. How old are they?
  2. What do they do for fun?
  3. What’s their financial status?
  4. Are they aware of their problem?
  5. What have they done already to try to solve the problem that didn’t work?
  6. Where have they been looking for help with this problem?
  7. What type of style do they have?
  8. What’s their vocabulary like?
  9. What will their name be for your own reference?

These questions can help you get started so you know exactly who you’re writing for, what type of writing/style they respond to, and what problems and objections you’ll have to face when writing your nonfiction book.

#4 – Mindmap and outline your nonfiction book

Mindmap first, then outline.

That’s the system we follow and it’s by far the best because when your mindmap is complete, you can just pull over each topic into an orderly outline like one you (hopefully) downloaded earlier.

You can learn how to mindmap a book right here, and download your free printable mindmap here.

When it comes to this tactic, you have to sit down with no distractions and jot down everything and anything you can think of in your mindmap. Go nuts! This is not the time for thoughts like, “is this necessary here?” No.

The idea is to get out every piece of knowledge you have on the main topic that’s in the middle of your mindmap.

Then when that’s done, move on to filling out your outline in order of what topics you think should go in what order. Once your book outline is done, it’s (mostly) smooth sailing from there.

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#5 – Schedule time to write your book

If you don’t put it on the calendar somewhere, it probably won’t get done.

Writing a nonfiction book isn’t something you can just shrug at and say, “I’ll get to it when I get to it,” because you and I both know there are a million things that could get in the way of that—like watching Tiger Kind on Netflix.

But if you give it space in your calendar, you’re announcing to you and everyone else that it’s a priority, it’s something you’re committed to.

Check out this great video about building a writing habit if you want to get this down better:

#6 – Write a strong book introduction

We actually have a blog post completely dedicated to this topic you can check out here: how to write an introduction for a book.

But we’ll also go over the main details here as well, so you can get started right away. You can also download our book outline template if you haven’t already, which has an introduction detailed and outlined (developed by one of our coaches who has 30 self-published books).

Really what you’re doing with a book introduction is selling your book. It’s more in line with copywriting than anything else. Copywriting meaning salesmanship in writing.

Which is what you need your introduction to be. Otherwise, why would they buy the book? Why else would they read the whole thing?

Now onto your introduction…

  1. Identify the problem you’re going to solve
  2. Present the solution you have to that problem
  3. Reassert your credibility and why you can solve this
  4. Show them the benefits of solving this issue
  5. Give your reader proof as to how and why this works
  6. Give them a huge promise, a major, bold promise
  7. Warn them against waiting to start/reading
  8. Prompt them to start the first chapter (if someone’s only peeking at the Amazon “Look Inside” this can prompt them to buy!)

Check out this video I filmed for y’all for more details:

#7 – Write your nonfiction book in order

Once you know the order you’ll keep your book in from the outline, write it exactly in that order. This is really important because there needs to be a sense of progression and cohesiveness overall.

If your book reads like it skips around, people will be put off by the lack of consistency in the style.

That’s why we always recommend writing it in order and not just writing whatever you want first. Trust us on this one.

It seems simple but being able to mention previous parts of the book for reference is super important for refreshing a reader’s memory and pulling them back into that same frame of mind.

#8 – Write the first draft straight through

This means no stopping to research or edit. Nope. We write our drafts completely through because this is the fastest way to make sure your draft gets done.

What we’ve found that the biggest obstacle between someone who has a book idea and someone who becomes an author is finishing that first draft.

Too many writers get caught up in making the first draft perfect and when it’s not (because it’s a first draft) they throw in the towel. Don’t be that person.

Don’t be someone who just wanted to write a book…be the person who did, and then published it successfully.

If you have places where you need to do some factual research, put the letters TK in place of data you need, and move on. You can later do a Command/Ctrl+F in order to search each of these places and provide the right information.

#9 – Do nonfiction book research

After you completed your draft and put that TK in place of research, do a Command/Ctrl+F and search those letters.

You’ll find all the areas of research you need to complete and you can go through in order, same as you did when writing. This is the best way to do research because you’ll only spend time finding exactly what you need to find instead of spending hours digging through information for stuff to “pull” into your book.

Research should be used to confirm and validate your own experiences, not as a starting point for you to start writing. It comes off as much more authentic and authoritative this way.

#10 – Self-edit your book

You’ll both love and have this part. Going back over your first draft can be a little emotionally troubling because you’ll want it to be perfect the first time.

It can feel like a setback but this is why we self-edit!

First, you got out what you needed to. Now, you chisel away the excess, sharpen the message, and drill your solution home. This is the part where you make everything merge together.

We have a full blog post on how to self-edit your book you can read to learn more about the process and what specifically you should be looking for.

#11 – Choose a nonfiction book title

You might be wondering why this is so far down on the list. Most people come up with the title before they even write…don’t they?

If they do, it’s likely not a fitting title. When students go through our Become a Bestseller program, they’re most shocked by this because our coaches instruct them to not title their book until they’re finished and have edited it.

The main reason for this is because so much can change from your idea to your outline to the finished product itself. So instead of trying to fit your book to a title that just might not work, write the book and then craft a compelling title that will actually encompass and sell the book’s content.

Here are our overall tips for choosing a book title:

  • Make your title searchable
  • Make it clear and concise: your reader should know exactly what they’re getting
  • Write 5-10 main titles and then narrow it down to your favorite 5
  • Push those out for feedback in writing groups or to your friends/family. Our students often post polls for feedback in our exclusive Mastermind Community for upwards of 25 responses.
  • Craft your subtitle only after you have the main title
  • Make sure this goes deeper into what content your book will cover, using keywords people search is also highly encouraged
  • Here’s an example of what a strong title would be – The Mental Health Mindshift: How to Take Control of Your Mental Health, Manage it Easily, & Shift Your Point of View

Do you have any special tactics for coming up with great titles? Drop a comment below with your own process!

Here’s another great video overview of the process with more tips:

#12 – Send to betas for feedback (optional)

Not all books need this and it’s certainly more important for fiction than a nonfiction book. However, if you have a few weeks to spare, it can help uplevel your book significantly.

What you really want here is a group of people who fit your target audience who can read through your book and answer questions and give feedback about it.

This helps you see your book through the eyes of a “fresh” reader because as much as we wish we could, we just can’t read our book as if we’ve never seen its contents before.

Making sure it all makes sense, is clear, and there isn’t any confusion goes a long way to producing a high-quality book.

#13 – Go through the production process or query agents

I won’t detail the process from editing to cover design to formatting for those of you looking to self-publish a book, since this is mainly about how to write the book.

But here are our best resources covering the production process:

If you’re self-publishing, you’ll have to go through all of these yourself before publishing.

If you’re someone who wants to go the traditional route, you’d bypass this stage, write a book blurb and synopsis, and then query agents until you land one (this could take months to years).

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 you 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.

Why take an online publishing course?

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.

NOTE: We cover everything in this blog post and much more about the writing,  marketing, and publishing process in ourVIP Self-Publishing Program. Learn more  by clicking here!

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 you business, just fill out the ROI calculator below.

Book Launch ROI Business Calculator

Just input your core offer product or service average order value to see just how much you can scale your business in the next 6 months, 1 year, and 3 years by writing and self-publishing a high quality book with Self-Publishing School!

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 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 to just do 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 first hand 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 mistakes 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. 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

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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.

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 course creator 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 now four 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 an outsourcer rolodex to assist with hiring professionals for all phases of the book production along with over $1,000 in exclusive Self-Publishing School student discounts and specials.

  • Mindmap / Outlining
  • Target Audience Deep-Dive
  • Writing
  • Book Production Instructions/Guides
  • Marketing and Publishing
  • Expert Interviews with Industry Experts
  • Milestones to Track Your Progress
  • 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 a bestselling fiction coach to work through plot, the craft of writing, and selling.

  • Writing, editing, and mindset
  • Launching your book
  • The business of writing
  • Children’s book module
  • Memoir module
  • Expert Interviews with Industry Experts
  • Milestones to Track Your Progress
  • 1-on-1 Tailored Coaching for YOUR Book

Sell More Books: For authors that have already published a book and are focusing on book marketing and promotion to achieve sales results. 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.

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  • Launch Strategies
  • Email Marketing Strategies
  • Foundation Strategies
  • Author Brand Strategies
  • Advanced Marketing Strategies
  • Expert Interviews with Industry Experts
  • Milestones to Track Your Progress
  • 1-on-1 Tailored Coaching for YOUR Book

Course Building for Authors: Building a course from your book? This premium course is made specially for those authors ready to take their platform to the next level.

  • Plan & Develop Your Course
  • Create and Upload Your Course
  • Market and Sell Your Course
  • Expert Interviews with Industry Experts
  • Milestones to Track Your Progress
  • 1-on-1 Tailored Coaching for YOUR Book

Each course 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 meet the course 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: If you qualify for access to the course, you will speak to a self-publishing representative who will set you up with the best course to meet your publishing goals.

Sound like something you want to do? Click here to schedule your FREE 1-hour Breakthrough Sessions with a Publishing Success Strategist.

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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.
  • 4 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 as 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: $597 or 2 payments of $348

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

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 has a writing course to market to his raving fans of authors: Tribe Writers

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

Tribe Writers is 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 get:

  • Exclusive interviews with over a dozen authors, bloggers, and publishing experts
  • Access to the Tribe Writers community of 6000+ members
  • Live 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 take about 2 weeks to get through but you can move at your pace.

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

Where Jeff’s Tribe Writers is different from the other courses is, a strong emphasis on honing your ideas and creativity as a writer to create a unique brand. There is a strong foundation for support and networking with hundreds of other authors.

Best 6 Reasons to Enroll with Tribe Writers

  • Loaded with tools to help get you started
  • Community of writers to help you when you get stuck
  • Lots of valuable content and expert interviews included
  • Designed to show you how to find your voice and audience
  • Monthly conference calls to keep you on track
  • “12 steps of a Tribe Writer” that clearly outlines the expectations of the course.

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.

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 write your book?

The best writing course you decide depends largely on your goals as a writer.

Are you writing one book only and need a step by step process to guide you through to published author? Self Publishing School could be a match. Keep in mind they do have additional courses for marketing and business including Sell More Books and Course Building for Authors.

Do you want to build a solid library of books and focus on your author platform? Authority Pub Academy could be your best match. Let Steve Scott and Barrie Davenport guide you towards your success of being a multiple bestselling author.

Do you want to learn the essence of email list building, creating an author website and setting up landing pages that convert readers into subscribers? Self Publishing 101 could be the best choice to make.

Need more advanced marketing tools from one of the best in the business? Your First 10k Readers is the path you might consider, and…

Interested in a course that focuses on honing your creative writing talent while showing you how to connect with your unique voice? Tribe Writers with Jeff could be the best option.

Or, you might decide you need two courses and combine together for maximum impact. Self Publishing School can show you how to go from blank page to published author in 90 days. But Nick Stephenson’s course can teach you the more advanced analytics and how to really build out an online book business.

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 level.

Your move.

Life is short.

Take action now.

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

NOTE: We cover everything in this blog post and much more about the writing,  marketing, and publishing process in ourVIP Self-Publishing Program. Learn more  by clicking here!

write an author bio

How to Write an Author Bio Examples & Tips to SELL

Your author bio matters. As much as we wish we could write up a few words about our lives and just stick it up for the world to see, there’s a lot more to it than that.

How you write our author bio can change the way potential readers and those who’ve already purchased view you and your platform.

It can also impact whether or not they buy another of your books, if you publish multiple.

But knowing the best way to write your author bio and how to make it speak to your readers in a specific way is the key…and we’ll cover just that for you, with examples.

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

Here’s how to write an author bio:

  1. Author bio formatting
  2. Know your readers
  3. Include your background
  4. Stay factual in your author bio
  5. Use your personality in your author bio
  6. Include awards and such
  7. Get personal
  8. Learn from author bio examples
  9. Keep learning about author bios

Your Author Bio & YOU Do Matter

If you’re looking for a deep-dive on your author bios and the self-publishing industry as a whole, your best bet is to check out this video.

Not only will you learn a lot you didn’t know about self-publishing a book as a whole, but you’ll learn why these small details are so important.

It’s the first stepping stone to truly understanding what makes a successful author.

The other steps take quite a bit more time…unless you have a solid system to teach you the way. We help save our authors tons of time, even after some have wasted years, by showing them how to write and publish a book in as little as 90 days. Check out what we can do for you and your author career here.

What is an author bio?

An author bio is a paragraph or so about you, your credentials, your hobbies, and other information you wish to share with readers.

It’s how readers get to know you beyond the pages of your book. While your books are a great way to introduce yourself, an author bio can set you apart, bring in more fans, and even sell more books if you know how to write it correctly.

That’s what we’ll teach you here today.

How to Write an Author Bio That’s Impactful

So you’ve finished your draft and are ready to tackle the next steps of putting it out there in the world. (Promise me that you’re not procrastinating by reading this blog! If you are, get back to writing right now!)

The first step is to figure how who you want to be perceived, how you want to brand yourself, is in your author bio.

This is the blurb that will go on your Amazon author page, your Book Bub author profile, your Goodreads page, your author web page, on the back of your book and so forth. It’s a really important little piece of work that you want to get right!

While your book cover design is the most important tool when marketing a book, your author bio is easily number two. This is where you convince your audience why you are the best person to tell them about the matter at hand.

It’s a place to connect with your readers and build your legitimacy.

You’ll want to stay factual while interesting. You want to make yourself approachable and toot your own horn, just a little bit.

Here are some tips to master these.

#1 – Author Bio Formatting

Although you are writing the author bio, it still needs to be written in the third person no matter how quirky it is. In other words, avoid using “I” as your sentence subject but utilize your name or last name instead.

Additionally, you’ll have many drafts and varieties of this author bio. You’ll want to change it up depending on the application.

You may have a punchier version on your website while your bio for that speaking engagement session at a writing conference that you’re leading (and we’re confident that will happen for you!) will be more serious.

Today, we’re working on the basic draft that you can tweak as needed.

Remember to keep the bio short, less than 300 words. It seems that three sentences is a well-tested length (more on this later). Your author bio is not an entire list of every single award you’ve won or your life story.

Even if you did win the “Young Writer’s” award in middle school, unless you’re still in middle school, this little known fact probably doesn’t deserve to be on the back of your book.

Feel free to have a “full accolades” section on your author website where you can list every single thing you’ve ever done, won or written.

Your mom will be super proud of this list but readers browsing Amazon don’t need to get into the major details.

Here’s how to format an author bio wrapped up:

  • Use third-person POV when writing it
  • Keep it under 300 words
  • Add relevant/recent achievements
  • Minimize the number of sentences within those 300 words.

And remember: an author bio longer than 300 words or so will take up too much space and become an oversell.

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#2 – Know Your Readers

Your bio is an extension of your book.

Write it for your audience. Keep the same writing style and connect this text to your subject matter.

If you wrote a book on productivity, a lengthy sentence about your lazy vacations doing nothing is not relevant and in fact, can persuade readers to avoid your books because they’ll think you to be uncredible.

Here are a few tips for getting to know your audience:

  • Interact with your readers on social platforms
  • Listen intently to the feedback during the beta reading process
  • Run your author bio by a group for feedback and adjustments
  • Ask people close to you if the bio embodies your personality and is accurate

#3 – Include Your Background

In order to sell yourself to new readers, you will want to include your pertinent background. If you happen to have other books, do include their titles and how many languages they have have been translated into or how many countries they’ve been sold in.

List your related education and memberships. Any higher education beyond college is usually noteworthy too.

Keep your lists short though. Only list three books, for instance, and a couple of memberships. A list of ten books, three degrees, and five memberships will only be skimmed by potential book buyers at the very best.

A huge list like this will become white noise so only include the most important and interesting stuff.

Your fanboys and girls (and your mom’s friends) will look to your aforementioned author website for more info and you can keep the tidy, complete list there.

#4 – Stay Factual

Statements like, “has always dreamed of writing a book,” while certainly may be true, are hard to back up and aren’t going to help sell your book.

Stick to the facts and to what you can prove. 

Another reason for this is if you claim achievements that aren’t true or invalid, there will always be someone there to point it out in an attempt to cut you down.

This can reduce your credibility, and therefore, readers’ trust in you.

#5 – Use your personality

One of the best things about being an author is that you get to put your personality, views of the world, values, and more into your writing.

What some don’t understand about authors is: if a reader likes you, they’re very likely to enjoy what you write, because your essence bleeds into the pages.

Being able to showcase this with your personality can do worlds for your readers connecting with you and wanting to read your book out of curiosity if nothing else.

Here are a few tips to add personality to your author bio:

  • Exaggerate your tone just a little in order for it to be more evident
  • Be goofy and creative with how you describe yourself (See Jenna Moreci’s example in #11)
  • Have fun with it!
  • Throw a joke in your bio

#6 – Include an achievement or award

In addition to your backlist of books, your awards, and education, you’ll want your readers to know any higher-profile stuff you have going on.

Be sure to cover your awards, your following, and any big deal author interviews or features.

Again, if any of these this happened decades ago, it may not be relevant. But if you have a quarter-million followers on Twitter or on your blog, this will sell your authority (and yeah, a quarter-million sounds better than 250,000 but are the same number!).

If your writing has been nominated for awards but didn’t make the cut, that is often fitting for an author bio too. “Award-nominated” anything is pretty cool!

#7 – Get personal in your author bio

Provide a bit of personal information to connect with your audience. The reason for this is if a reader sees something they have in common with you, it’s an automatic bond and gives them more of a reason to buy.

It’s standard for authors to share where they live and what their family make-up is.

A few non-divisive hobbies and interests are also often included. If you have experiences that are related, such as extensive travel or extreme situations, they may relevant to share as well.

Again, know your audience and choose wisely. Maybe (terribly) you were part of a cult as a child?

That’s really interesting but unless you’re sharing this story in the book or proves your authority on the subject at hand, skip including it in your author bio!

Bonus Author Bio Tip: Keep these bits broad enough to include a larger number of people. For example, if you play the flute, simply mention that you’ve been playing an instrument for however many years as this is more inclusive, and there’s a higher chance of others connecting with you.

#8 – Author Bio Example – Chandler Bolt

We all known and love Chandler Bolt, Self Publishing School Founder. We wouldn’t be here learning about writing without his hard work and book writing methods. Chandler’s author bio on the back of his book Published is only three sentences long but packs in a lot of authority building, states facts plus toots his horn a bit.

These three sentences along with the killer book cover art work well to sell Chandler’s mastery of book publishing.

author bio example chandler bolt

Chandler’s Amazon Author Page is another version of his author bio. Here, Chandler gets really personal stating that his birth was almost miscarried!

He also gives some background about his entrepreneurial experience and awards.

#9 – Author Bio Example – Joanna Penn

Joanna Penn is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling thriller and nonfiction author who also writes under the pen names of JF Penn and Penny Appleton.

She’s written and self-published nearly 30 books so she really knows what she’s doing. On her Book Bub author page, Joanna’s short bio is only (surprise!) three sentences.

author bio example joanna penn

It concisely tells potential readers a short version of her accolades and narrows down her writing style quickly. Then it tells us where she lives and one of her favorite drinks.

On her own website, The Creative Penn, Joanna provides a different three-sentence version of her short bio and then gets into the details about all her books, the many awards and best-selling experience she’s had plus where she lives and her favorite wine (a different drink mentioned here!)! Joanna’s short bio on her page is three sentences and shoves in a ton of accolades into a small space.

Joanna Penn author bio example

#10 – Author Bio Example – Amy Twigg

SPS alumni, Amy Twiggs, wrote her first book the Self Publishing School way and can now call herself a best selling author among her many other accomplishments (and there are many!).

Within her first book in the Flippin’ Awesome Series, Flippin’ Awesome Gymnast: 5 Tools to Crush Fear & Increase Confidence for Gymnasts (Volume 1), Amy uses the last page to tell her audience more about herself in her author bio.

Here she tells about her family, her gymnastic prowess as well as her authority and love of athletic mental training. T

his all builds strong authority for her book and brand.

On her Goodreads page about the same book, she sells the book by telling prospective readers that she’s been where they are and know “what it feels like to try your best and to fail.

author bio example amy twiggs

I also know how it feels to work hard to achieve your goals.” She sells her wisdom and experience. Note that it is the norm to write in the first person on Goodreads but this is a big rule breaker everywhere else.

All of these examples have variations of author bios written in just a slightly different way for different applications. They all say very similar things about the same person.

#11 – Author Bio Example – Jenna Moreci

If you haven’t heard of this full-time self-published author and Youtuber, that’s surprising!

Not only does Moreci have ample experience when it comes to self-publishing, but she’s also among one of the best examples of how to market your book effectively, including how she’s written her author bio.

Here’s an example of her Amazon author page with her bio:

Notice how Moreci keeps it short, brief, but very clear with who she is, what she writes, and even has enough personal information to let readers into her life at an appropriate level.

If we take a look at her personal author website’s “about” page, we’ll see she has something similar, but with a few more additions, including her books and more.

author bio jenna moreci

In this example, Jenna has also doused us with her personality, giving us insight into how she operates and therefore, the tone of some of her books.

More Ideas for Writing an Author Bio

Know the very essence of your book and find keywords that your readers may search for to find your book. When crafting your author bio, use these keywords that search engines can catch. 

Although it may be irrelative in some bio spaces, add links to any free giveaways (we’ve got some ideas on that here..) on your website, your newsletter, social media or whatever web presence you have. 

Also, feel free to add a call to action where applicable.

Final Author Bio Thoughts

Remember that there is no perfect bio, and there are no two alike. Although these are all good ideas, it’s not an exact formula. Your author bio will be unique and will change as you write more books and gain more accolades (because we know you will!). 

Now tell me the truth. Is your book really done? We can help you finish your manuscript and really make use of this carefully crafted author bio! Schedule a webinar with Chandler today to get started!

Do you have more author bio tips to share with our writing community? Do you think bios should be longer than three sentences or do you like this standard size?

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how to get an isbn

How to Get an ISBN: A Quick Step-by-Step & More

Knowing how to get an ISBN as a self-published author is crucial.

Since you can’t publish without an ISBN, we’re helping you learn how in order to publish the right way and why you even need an ISBN number in the first place.

But you don’t have to even worry about an ISBN number if you don’t have a book ready to publish, right? And it won’t even matter if you don’t publish that book the right way

False. Becoming an author is about more than just the book, it’s about the business as well, and we’ll break down a very important part of that.

If you’re ready to get to the point and get your ISBN, here is the step-by-step breakdown of how to get an ISBN.

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

Here’s what to know about an ISBN as an author:

  1. What does ISBN stand for?
  2. What is an ISBN number used for?
  3. How much does an ISBN cost?
  4. What is the purpose of an ISBN?
  5. How to get an ISBN
  6. How long does it take to get an ISBN number?
  7. How to register your book and ISBN
  8. How many ISBNs to get
  9. Do ISBNs expire?
  10. How to read an ISBN with examples
  11. Where is the ISBN number on books?
  12. ISBN search
  13. How to read a barcode
  14. The difference between ASIN and ISBN
  15. Do I need an ISBN?
  16. How to buy an ISBN
  17. Should you buy your own ISBN number?
  18. Libraries and ISBNs
  19. ISBN resources to make it easier

What Does ISBN Stand For?

ISBN stands for International Standard Book Number and is a 13-digit code used to uniquely identify your book amongst the millions out there.

What Is an ISBN Number Used For?

Essentially, an ISBN number, or International Standard Book Number, is a regulated 10- or 13-digit identification number which allows libraries, publishers, and book dealers to locate and identify specific books.

But where did these ISBN numbers even start and why do we have them?

In the early days of World War 2, the Japanese military sent messages back and forth and the Allies needed to crack their intricate numbering system to get an edge in the war and turn the tables.

But how did they crack this complex system?

MI6 recruited a young mathematician named Gordon Foster to work as a codebreaker at Bletchley Park, where he scanned millions of numbers looking for patterns in the code.

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

This report led to the 9-digit standard book number which went live in the UK in 1967 and eventually led to the ISBN system used worldwide.

Several years later, this turned into a 10-digit numbering system when a policy was needed for new editions and variations. Then, in 2007, the ISBN switched to a 13-digit format and is now the standard used everywhere.

How Much Does an ISBN Cost?

ISBNs cost about $125 for one number in the US. However, if you purchase more than one at a time, this cost could be lowered.

Warning: Amazon may grant you a free ISBN for your first book, but this can ONLY be used on KDP for distribution to Amazon and can’t be used for self-publishing services elsewhere.

Due to this, we always recommend purchasing a new one despite Amazon’s free ISBN.

Here are a few tips for buying an ISBN:

  • If you publish physical copies through IngramSpark, you get your ISBN for only $85
  • Buying your ISBNs in bulk can save you money if you intend to publish more than one book
  • Amazon issues you an ISBN for “free,” but you have to list Amazon as a publisher along with other limitations
  • If you’re in Canada or South African, it’s possible to get an ISBN issued through your government
  • Australians pay about $40 for an ISBN
  • UK residents will pay somewhere around 89 pounds for an ISBN

Here’s a table of the ISBN prices and what you can expect to pay:

Number of ISBNsCost
1$125
10$295
100$575

What Is the Purpose of an ISBN Number?

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

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

But the process can be really confusing for new authors. There are a number of questions you might be asking yourself about ISBN numbers:

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

These are all questions answered in this article.

Let’s unweave the intricate web of how to get an ISBN and how they work in the publishing industry.

how to get an isbn number

How to Get an ISBN

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

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

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

How Long Does It Take to Get an ISBN Number?

You will receive your ISBN number five business days after Bowker receives your non-priority application. Choosing priority processing reduces the time to two business days, or you can get your ISBN within 24 business hours if you choose express processing.

How to Register Your Book and ISBN Number

As soon as you purchase your ISBN through Bowker or the International equivalent in your local area, and you publish your book, you should register here at Bowkerlink.

This is an automated tool that will add your book to Bowker’s Books In Print and Global Books In Print.

I recommend you download the free PDF “ISBN Guides: Title Set Up & Registration” with step-by-step instructions on setting up your title.

How Many ISBN Numbers to Get

So how many ISBNs should you get?

First off let’s clarify a few common mistakes:

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

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

Number of ISBNsCost
1$125
10$295
100$575

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

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

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

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

Do ISBNs Expire?

No, ISBN numbers never expire or go bad. In fact, if you have one from a long time ago, you can simply reconstruct it for use.

But what if my old ISBN is really old and only has 10 digits?

That’s not a problem, either. With this handy tool from Bowker, you can convert the ISBN easily and immediately.

The Book Designer also has a great resource for learning how to reconstruct an ISBN if you finally decided to write and self-publish the book you’ve been thinking about since you bought the ISBN.

How to Read an ISBN Number with an Example

As of 2007, the ISBN is a 13-digit number. This came about in part because of the large volume of eBooks now being published every year.

Knowing how to break down and interpret these 13 digits aren’t of much use and interest to most book readers, but for publishers and distributors, it’s a necessity.

If you want to publish lots of books under your own publishing name then it’s something you may want to pay attention to. You can tell a lot about a book and its author by reading the ISBN number.

The 13 digit ISBN number helps:

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

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

isbn number example

Here is the ISBN for a particular book:

978-3-16-148410-0

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

3-16-148410-0

First is the initial digit, in this case: 3

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

Here is a list of the most common Group identifiers:

0 or 1 for English

2 for French

3 for German

4 for Japan

5 for Russian

7 for People’s Republic of China

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

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

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

“0” is the last digit and is known as the “check digit”. This number is mathematically calculated as a fixed digit. This is always a single digit.

This number indicates that the rest of the ISBN numbers have been scanned and is calculated based on the other digits in the code.

Where Is the ISBN Number on books?

The ISBN is usually found above the barcode on the back of the book. However, they’re not the same.

The barcode is much different than the ISBN number.

This is an important distinction because:

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

We’ve already discussed what data the ISBN carries, however, the barcode includes extra information such as the book’s fixed price and the currency it’s being sold in.

Barcodes are a necessary element of your book as they allow for most retailers and distributors to scan your ISBN for retail and inventory reasons.

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

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

If you want to look up the ISBN of any book out there, you can do so easily by visiting the website ISBNSearch.org.

where to get isbn

You’ll be greeted with a screen like the one above where you will be prompted to type in the ISBN, author name, or book title.

After hitting “search,” you will have a list of books matching your searched items with the both the 13-digit ISBN and the 10-digit, like in the example below.

isbn example

How to Read a Barcode

If you look at the picture of a standard barcode, you’ll notice two barcodes side by side. The barcode that appears on the left is the EAN generated from the ISBN number.

The other number appearing on the right is a 5-digit add-on, called an EAN-5, that contains the price of the book. The first digit is a 5 and is a must for scanners to read. The 4-digits after the five indicates the price of the book.

For example, if the number reads 52995, this means the price of the book is set at $29.95. If the price of the book changes, a new barcode must be used, though the ISBN wouldn’t change.

This would only be replaced by a new ISBN number if the book is published as a new edition or as a new version.

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

  • 1 barcode + 1 ISBN is $150.
  • 1 barcode + 10 ISBNs is $320.
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The Difference Between ASIN and ISBN

If you’ve used Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) program you’ve probably come across an ASIN. ASIN numbers are used by Amazon to manage and identify the products they are selling on their site. It’s a 10-character alphanumeric unique identifier that’s assigned by Amazon.com and its partners.

You can find this on your book page. In your browser, the Amazon ASIN will be after the product’s name and “dp”. The next place to find this is in your book or product details area of your book page.

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

Do I Need an ISBN?

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

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

If you want your readers to get a hold of a print version of your book, then you’re going to need an ISBN.

This might be important if you have a brick and mortar marketing strategy, or if you want your book to be accessible through libraries (more on this later), or if you’re looking to deal with wholesalers or other online retailers.

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

How Do You Buy an ISBN Number?

You might not even have to buy your ISBN number because of services offered to self-published authors. You can get assigned a free ISBN by Createspace, the On-Demand publishing company that has now merged with Amazon.

You can also get an ISBN when dealing with a whole host of On-Demand or self-publishing companies, like Draft2Digital, Smashwords or IngramSpark, and even Lulu.

If you can get a free or cheap ISBN with them, then what’s the use in paying for your own one?

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

Let’s say you get a free ISBN with Draft2Digital, but then you notice that there are some retail channels you can access through Smashwords that you can’t with Draft2Digital.

You can’t use the Draft2Digital ISBN with Smashwords.

Smashwords will only let you use your own ISBN or an ISBN they assign to you. So what do you do?

You get a free ISBN with Smashwords.

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

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

Now you have three ISBNs for the same book.

Should You Buy Your Own ISBN Number?

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

Can you picture how unprofessional that looks to a bookstore?

Wouldn’t it have been easier to start off by buying your own ISBN? Wouldn’t that make you look more professional?

On top of this, each of those free ISBNs identifies the self-publishing company as a publisher. It’s the equivalent of using your business email address as [email protected] or [email protected] instead of [email protected] (assuming you’re named Matt).

Not only does this make you look unprofessional, but there are some stores that will refuse to stock your book on this basis. If you have a CreateSpace ISBN, there are a number of bookstores that will refuse to carry your book.

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

Libraries and ISBN Numbers

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

A big one.

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

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

How to Get an ISBN Final Steps

Now that you have a very good idea how to buy and use ISBNs for your own books, all the best on setting this up. If you want to be recognized as a publisher and have your books available to a larger global audience by registering through Bowker, consider investing in your own ISBN numbers.

Think of it as buying a piece of property: You own it and it is registered in your name.

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

Here’s a simple actionable checklist for ISBNs.

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

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

ISBN Links & Resources

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

International ISBN Agency

https://www.isbn-international.org

ISBN.org by Bowker

https://www.isbn.org/faqs_general_questions

Bowkerlink Publisher Access System

https://commerce.bowker.com/corrections/common/home.asp

Bowker Identifier Services

https://www.myidentifiers.com

U.S. Copyright Office

https://www.copyright.gov

ISBN Set Up Guide

ISBN Guides: Basic Information

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book marketing

How to Market a Book: 2020 Book Marketing Strategies to SELL

Just because you wrote a new book doesn’t mean that your book is guaranteed to sell.

Harsh? Maybe. But it’s true. And here at Self-Publishing School, you first have to learn the truth before taking action.

Even if your book is the next Great American Novel, it won’t be a success if it doesn’t get into the collective conscious of the public. 

This is why you need good book marketing tactics to back it up.

We actually teach a ton of pre-launch and post book launch marketing plans in our programs here at Self-Publishing School. You can check those products out right here.

Here are the book marketing strategies we cover:

  1. Book marketing for authors during Covid-19
  2. Social media marketing strategies
  3. Use a launch team for book marketing
  4. Pricing your book effectively
  5. Build a website to market your book
  6. Grow your email list
  7. Influencer outreach for book promotion
  8. Apply for BookBub
  9. Land interviews on podcasts
  10. Reach book clubs
  11. Write another book

Book Marketing for Authors During the Covid-19 Pandemic

We wanted to add this section at the top in light of everything happening with the Coronavirus sweeping the world.

With so many shut-downs and quarantines, Amazon has decided to cut down production considerably—and this includes paperback books.

For self-published authors, this is a huge problem. After all, some of you make a living from your book. So we wanted to offer you a few pieces of advice that we’re also sharing with our paying students at this time.

Here are some tips for book marketing during the Covid-19 Pandemic:

  • Switch to an ebook-first marketing plan (switch marketing images to ebooks, talk about the ebooks, make ebooks top-of-mind so more buy those versus physical copies)
  • Promote that your paperbacks are on other websites (Barnes and Noble, etc.) instead of sending them right to Amazon
  • Have any collaborators or those who sell your book via an affiliate link with Amazon switch to a different distributor or an ebook link for the time being
  • Reduce your ebook price or run a special to get the word out
  • Connect the current events to your story or message (it’s a GREAT time for dystopian authors and those with work-from-home material)
  • Offer a free PDF for anyone who buys a paperback (so they can start reading right away, waiting until their physical copy arrives)
  • Run a special that donates a % of the profits toward families in need during this time
  • Make sure that while still promoting, you’re aware of others’ struggles and hardships during this time. Be sensitive with your messaging.

This is a crazy situation for all of us and all we can hope to do is tweak our lives to fit the current times, and this includes self-published authors impacted by Amazon’s change.

Book Marketing for Self-Published Authors

Marketing takes planning, organization, and consistent action; it’s hard work. But the good news is that marketing is also about fostering connections and relationships, which can be rewarding to you and your fan base.

And since you’re the one who knows your book from cover to cover, your backstory, your reasons for writing it, and who your ideal reader is, it’s your duty to put a plan in place to best connect with your intended audience and share your story.

We know, we know…you’ve put a ton of effort into writing, editing, and getting your book ready for publication that the thought of adding another layer of “work” is not the most appealing idea.

But realize that if you launch your book without a marketing plan, FAR fewer people will read it.

It will hamper the success of the book you’re working on now, as well as others you plan on publishing in the future. So if you dream of becoming a New York Times bestselling author, or if you want your book to help you reach other lifestyle goals, a book marketing strategy is your essential key to success.

Book Profit Calculator for a Marketing Plan

If you want to know why you have to market your book, the profits will explain it.

If you want to make a living writing your books, it’s important to understand exactly what that means.

In order to earn a living writing your books, understanding how many books you need to sell and what you’ll bring home for each is vital.

Check out this book profit calculator in order to know how much you need to market in order to become a full-time self-published author.

STEP 1

Enter Your Information Below To Calculate Your Potential Book Sales

STEP 2

Want to receive personalized tips on how to sell more books right in your inbox?

CONGRATULATIONS!
Here's What You'd Earn:

Your profit per book:

In 3 months, you'll make:

In 6 months, you'll make:

In 1 year, you'll make:

How to Market a Book on Social Media

Having a quick overview of exactly what you can do and how much time and effort each will take can help you better plan for your book marketing plan.

Here are our recommended book marketing strategies and what you need for each.

Book Marketing PlatformWhat to do
Twitter- use appropriate hashtags
- post relatable tweets to increase shares
- engage by liking and replying to others
- search common hashtags to find your audience
Instagram- use appropriate hashtags
- post photos related to the content of your book
- engage by liking and replying to others
- ask questions in photos to increase engagement
- search common hashtags to find your audience
Facebook- create a page for yourself or your book
- post video content
- go Live to answer questions or discuss your book
- post blog posts supporting your topic/ideas/book
Pinterest- create pins linking back to your website
- repin content related to your genre
- create appropriate boards for your content
- optimize pins with keywords
- join group boards
- connect with others who pin similar ideas
LinkedIn- great for business-related topics
- share insights/stats
- share blog posts supporting your ideas/topics
- connect with leaders in your industry
Personal Website- create a website
- maintain a blog with posts about your main topic
- use this to create an email list
- keep this updated regularly

Free Book Marketing Plan

Having seen and been involved in so many book launches ourselves, we know what works and what doesn’t when it comes to book marketing.

We’ll walk you through a play-by-play of exactly what you need to do so that your readers can find your book and buy it.

We’ve broken this guide down into three main sections for learning book marketing:

  1. Pre-Launch: Building Your Book Marketing Launch Team
  2. Pricing Your Book for Maximum Sales
  3. Post-Launch: 8 Strategies for Selling More Books

Let’s get started!

Pre-Launch: Build Your Book Marketing Launch Team

The first step of preparing for your book launch, and the marketing behind it, is to build your launch team or street team, as it’s also commonly referred to.

What is a launch team?

The ideal launch team, also known as a “street team,” is a dedicated, hand-selected group eager to make your launch successful. If you use your team’s talent and communicate well, there’s nothing your launch team can’t accomplish!

This video does a great job of detailing what a launch team is and exactly what they do:

 

#1 – Launch Team Size

The first step is to determine the projected size of your book marketing launch team based on the size of your audience.

Your audience is anyone interested in you, your book, and your product.

They could be five of your lifelong friends, members of your community, big organizations you’re connected to, social media followers, email subscribers, anyone who might be interested in what you’re sharing.

If you have a smaller following, we suggest you aim for a launch team of 10-50. Those with hundreds in their network can aim for 100-250 team members.

How to Find a Launch Team

If you don’t have much of a following right now, start by looking at your personal inner circle— your family, your close friends—then branch out to their connections, families, and colleagues.

You can reach out to peers from college, your volunteer work, or even your first job. You may even consider parents at your child’s school, fellow dog owners, or members of your yoga class.

Even though you may not know these people well, they are a part of your network, and you may be pleasantly surprised to discover that they’re inspired by your book and would be eager to share it.

Once you’ve completed this exercise, you should have an initial list of potential launch team members!

#2 – Recruit Quality People for Your Launch Team

Now that you’ve determined your potential recruitment pool, the second step is to initiate contact and gauge their interest level.

The most important lesson to consider about your book marketing launch team is that QUALITY trumps QUANTITY.

One top-quality, dedicated team member trumps a handful of mediocre ones.

To begin recruitment for your launch team, create a simple questionnaire process that describes your book, your expectations of the team, and questions asking:

  • Why are you interested in supporting my book?
  • What part of my book speaks to you?
  • What specialized skills can you contribute?
  • What’s your available time commitment?
  • Who are influential people you can reach out to?
  • Why would these influential people be interested?

To sweeten the recruitment deal, feel free to offer a free signed copy of your book or an inclusion in the “acknowledgments” section. You can easily do this through email, or through online forms like Typeform.

#3 – Record a Welcome Video

Take the time to record a warm welcome video for your new supporters! In your video, first, congratulate your team for being selected and express gratitude for their help.

Then, detail your expectations, your unique mission for writing your book, and why you want to share it with as many people as you can!

This welcome video will help you create a more personal connection with your book launch team, and show them a bit more about why you’re creating it and what message you’re trying to convey.

Be sure to send it to everyone who completes your questionnaire!

market a book

#4 – Establish a Communication Style

Here’s the secret to a successful book marketing launch team: Effective communication.

Communicate with your team regularly to keep them focused on weekly tasks, progress, and innovative ideas by doing the following:

  • Strive to send one email per week preceding launch then increase it to three or more during launch week.
  • Use a Facebook group to engage, share ideas, and post feedback. Set the tone by posting “Dos and Don’ts” to keep conversations focused and positive.
  • Boost morale and build rapport by sharing inspiring quotes, gifts, and goofy photos to keep energy high and build vital connections.

No matter which mode of communication you’re using, remember people like to be treated well.

Always make sure your team knows how grateful you are to them and their dedication!

#5 – Book Marketing Launch Team Assignments

You can’t just build up a catalog of supporters and not use them, though. You have to give them small assignments to help you with launching and the book marketing process in general.

It might feel weird telling people to help you, but don’t worry about it!

They’re here because they want to support your project, and as long as you’re gracious and ask nicely, they’ll be happy to support your work.

Facebook Groups will be the most effective way to dole out weekly team assignments.

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

  • Share snippets of content from your book across social media
  • Submit reviews on Amazon
  • Add their reviews to Goodreads
  • Share a book review on their YouTube channel
  • Record a testimonial for your book
  • Buy extra copies to give to their friends
  • Give you more marketing ideas!

#6 – Utilize Talents

Your team members will have a different variety of skills and talents, and it’s your job to effectively manage your team by assigning work based on their strengths.

To identify your team’s talents, write a post during the introductory week and say the following:

“If you have any special talents or connections you’d like to lend towards my book launch, please comment on this post and let me know. I’m looking for ways to help spread my book’s message to a wider audience.”

#7 – Have Fun and Say “Thank You!”

Your launch team will commit weeks of their time, energy, and talent, so make sure you thank each and every person for their contribution!

Ensure that each person on your team feels valued and appreciated for their efforts.

And most importantly, let them know how to get your book for free (or at least at a deep discount)!

Which brings us to…

How to Price Your Book

One of the most important factors in how successful your book launch is will be how you price it.

To find out how to price your book for success, we recommend reading Book Launch.

But for the sake of this article, here are some of Self-Publishing School’s biggest secrets that will get your book to soar up the Amazon’s charts:

  • If you have a sizable audience, we recommend launching your book for $0.99, and then increasing the price to $2.99 or higher after about a week.
  • For first-time authors, we recommend Amazon’s Free Book Promotions for your book launch.

Although you won’t get paid by putting your book out for free, realize that it will be featured on another author’s page which instantaneously increases your exposure and recognition.

Once the free promotion has ended, switch your book’s price to $0.99 for the following week, then slowly increase the price by $1 per week until sales stagnate.

Post-Launch: 8 Book Marketing Strategies for Selling More Books

All marketing—no matter which market or industry—is fundamentally about people and making connections.

Part of pitching your book will be figuring out how your book relates to your readers and how they will benefit from it.

Now that your book is out in the wild, you want to get as many people to it as possible. Here are the eight best strategies for doing just that.

#1 – Build Your Book Website

Can you imagine if you came home one day and your house was…missing?

Well, that is what an author’s life can be like without a website to post fresh content.

You’ll always be missing a home where you can park your books. Many authors think they don’t need a website because they can promote their books through social media or the author platform on Amazon.

Sorry, not exactly.

There is a huge difference. Having an author website is the difference between renting or buying a piece of property. When you rent, you are living in someone else’s space.

It doesn’t belong to you and they can cancel your lease at any time. Maintaining your own website on a hosted server with your domain name is the same as having that piece of real estate.

You can customize your site your way, publish your own content, and you are always in complete control of how it looks and what gets published.

When it comes to book marketing with your own website, the sky’s the limit. You can:

    – Publish your book’s landing page on your site.
    – Post blogs about your upcoming book
    – Create a countdown timer for the book’s release date.
    – Set up an affiliate link to your Amazon page so you get commissions on book sales Include sample chapters from your book
    – Link to video clips about the book on your website
    – Communicate directly with your email subscribers about new releases or your current blog post

    And you can also set up a Google Alert so you can be notified about where your name and your book show up online.

    If someone gives you good feedback or a stellar review, reach out and thank them and ask them to link back to your book’s website.

    Action Step:

    If your book doesn’t already have a website, get one started! To set up your website and personal blog on a paid server, you can try Bluehost or Godaddy and use WordPress for building your site.

    #2 – Build Your Email List

    There is a saying going around that says: “the money is in the list.” Why? It’s simple. A list of followers who are in love with your writing will be the first to line up when you have a new product to sell.

    These people are essentially your customers.

    Your email list is yours. It doesn’t belong to Amazon or social media. You control what you want to say, how you say it, and when. Imagine if every time you had a new book ready to launch, hundreds or thousands of people were waiting for it so they could get it first.

    If you are serious about your book marketing your current project and all future ones as well, building your list should be a top priority. Nothing else comes close.

    Although building a list takes time, in the long run it is the easiest way to market.

    These are the true fans that will get the word out and be the first to leave verified reviews after buying your new release at the special price of 0.99. But that is just the beginning.

    You can continue to build your list by including a reader magnet at the front and back of your book. Get people hooked on your brand and then keep them there by writing your next book, and then, including them in your next launch.

    As your book reaches more people, and you get more signups, your marketing capacity grows…exponentially.

    Action Step:

    If you haven’t started on your list building, go to an email management system such as Mailchimp or AWeber and sign up for an account. Then get building and start to funnel your fans into your books today.

    #3 – Reach Out to Influencers

    When it comes to book promoting, nothing can have a bigger impact on your book than influencers through book endorsements.

    Even Gary Vaynerchuk, one of the most influential and knowledgable people in the marketing game, thinks so.

    What is an influencer?

    Influencers can be podcasters, bloggers, or authors with strong email lists. It’s someone with an established platform that can get you noticed if they notice you.

    An influencer is someone who has a lot of promotional weight and can spread the word about your book to thousands of people with just a brief mention to their email list, on their blog, or by sharing on social media, for example.

    Influencers have a long reach. What you can do is identify the influencers in your niche and reach out to them. Tell them who you are and ask if they can help to promote your latest book.

    A lot of the time, they’ll want a free copy to read and review. You can also offer to support their future endeavors as a way of giving back.

    Influencers can have a major impact on your exposure as an author, so try to set up interviews in your hometown or reach out to someone online and offer to do an interview so you can deliver value to their target audience.

    Guest post blogging on an influencer’s blog or website is another way to market your book.

    For example, if you wrote a book on recipes for Italian food, you could try connecting with people in the Italian cooking niche.

    They may have a blog, podcast, or a webinar on which you want to appear.

    And if you want to make sure you sound professional during the interview, you can check out some of the best podcast microphones to use.

    Action Step:

    Identify at least one influencer in your market and reach out to that person. Tell them who you are and what you do. Get on their podcast or get interviewed. Exposure to fans in your niche will have a big influence on book sales.

    #4 – Leverage Two Social Media Platforms

    Social media is a powerful way to promote your book to potential readers. We can engage with thousands of people just by hitting a few buttons.

    But with social media sites, the big scare is the amount of time we can get sucked into trying to do everything. If you try to connect with everyone, you’ll match up with nobody.

    When promoting and marketing your book, you can’t be everywhere doing all things at once.

    That is why we recommend you choose two social media sites to work with and post your content regularly on these two sites.

    For example, you can have a YouTube channel and post weekly videos covering a wide range of topics centering around your book. After a few months, you could build up a library of content that will bring in the right audience, engage with new subscribers, and even create a course out of your videos.

    Here’s an example of Youtube content from a writer currently working on her first fiction novel. She created a Youtube channel to engage fellow writers, who are also readers:

    book marketing youtube example

    By creating a Youtube channel and giving advice about writing, she’s appealing to writers while also advertising that she is also a writer and has a book in progress.

    Switching gears to Facebook, you can promote your book or blog using Facebook ads that drive new readers to your Facebook page or your book’s website.

    You could also post popular quotes or snippets of material from your upcoming book. With Twitter, you can post multiple times a day with brief quotes or messages under 280 characters. Twitter has proven to be a powerful platform for authors when it comes time to promote and market a book.

    And if your book is more business-focused, you may find that LinkedIn works best for you, since it allows you to connect with new readers on a more professional platform.

    We recommend choosing two social media platforms and focusing on consistent engagement. This will keep your book’s appearance fresh and invite new people in to check out your work.

    Using Specific Hashtags to Grow on Social Media

    In the writing community, there are a number of very popular hashtags authors and writers use to connect with each other.

    Why make connections with other authors? Because almost every other is also a reader!

    Here are some of the top hashtags you can use on each platform:

    Twitter

    • #amwriting (as in, “I am writing”)
    • #writerslife
    • #fantasywriter, #scifiwriter, #contemporarywriter, etc.
    • #writerprobs, #writerproblems

    Instagram

    • #amwriting (as in, “I am writing”)
    • #writerslife
    • #fantasywriter, #scifiwriter, #contemporarywriter, etc.
    • #writerprobs, #writerproblems
    • #writersofig, #writersofinstagram, #writersofinsta

    Facebook

    • #amwriting (as in, “I am writing”)
    • #writerslife
    • #fantasywriter, #scifiwriter, #contemporarywriter, etc.
    • #writerprobs, #writerproblems

    Action Step:

    Choose two social media platforms and commit to publishing content regularly. If you only want to focus on one, master it, and then move to another that is perfectly fine! It is better to do one thing and get it right then do two things poorly.

    #5 – Get on Bookbub

    Bookbub is the cream of the crop when it comes to promoting and marketing your book. In fact, you should submit your book for promotion as either free or for 99 cents right after your book launch.

    Bookbub has a massive following and can get your book delivered to thousands of readers. It really is the “Big One” when it comes to book marketing.

    The cost isn’t cheap and can run you anywhere from $200 to $2,000 for a promo, depending on the genre, category, and the price of your book.

    But is it worth it? Yes. Definitely.

    For example, if you are running a promo for 99 cents in general nonfiction, you could potentially sell, on average, 2,000 copies of your book. Not only will you make a profit, but this could bring in hundreds of subscribers and leads to your email list.

    From there you can upsell readers on your other books or even a course if you have one.

    Action Step:

    Go here for Bookbub submission requirements. You can also check out the pricing here and submit your book here.

    #6 – Interviews and Podcasts

    A local radio or podcast interview can introduce you to new readers. While this may sound intimidating, you can pull this off like a pro with a little preparation.

    Look to local colleges, podcast hosts, or local radio stations for interview opportunities

    (Pro Tip: Hosts love to interview up-and-coming authors, so you may be surprised at the many offers that come your way when you reach out).

    Reach out, let them know a little bit about your book and why it might be interesting to their audience, and include a free sample of it so they can see if you’d be a good fit.

    If you have a press release describing what your book is about, feel free to include that as well to give them more context.

    Then be sure that when you go on, you present a great story about your book and get their listeners excited to read it!

    Action Step:

    What are three podcasts or radio shows you could go on to talk about your book? Find their contact info and reach out with a pitch about having you on.

    #7 – Book Clubs

    Local book clubs are another goldmine of new readers; you already know they like books! Find and connect with these groups.

    You can offer to attend a meet-and-greet and hand out copies of your free signed book. You can also get your book listed in Facebook Groups and other groups dedicated to readers.

    There are also paid lists, such as Buck Books, that can reach tens to hundreds of thousands of readers. Book Launch also teaches what lists are out there, and which ones are the best to use.

    Action Step:

    Are there any book clubs you could join? Look on Facebook for groups that would be a good fit for your book.

    #8 – Write Another Book

    Publishing another book is great for brand building. In fact, it’s much harder to market just one book unless it is a ground-breaking phenomenal masterpiece.

    Your book may be great, but you can compound that greatness by writing more books, preferably in a series.

    With every new book you put out there, you increase the chances of your work getting recognized by influencers and people online who are hanging out in all the places you can target for promotion and sharing.

    marketing a book
write introduction

How to Write an Introduction for a Book: Complete Outline/Template

To learn more about how to craft the perfect book introduction, join me on this FREE webinar where he explains how to write a winning intro for your book quickly.

“There’s no second chance to make a first impression.”

Not only does this apply to meeting your future in-laws, but it also applies to readers’ first impressions of your book.

Alright…maybe not their first impression of your book, that comes from your book cover and title.

However, their second-first impression is going to be formed while reading your book’s introduction.

And if you want them to keep reading and get the most out of your book, there’s a specific way to craft your introduction in order to do that.

Here’s how to write an introduction for a book:

  1. Identify the problem for your introduction
  2. Present the solution in your introduction
  3. Assert your credibility
  4. Show the benefits in your book introduction
  5. Give proof
  6. Make a (big) promise
  7. Warn against waiting
  8. Prompt them to read

It’s easy to think an introduction isn’t important because so many people skip them, but did you know your book’s introduction is actually a vital sales tool if you’re a non-fiction author?

That’s why we’re here to teach you how to write a book introduction that will actually boost book sales.

But first, let’s talk about why it’s so important.

How to Write a Book Introduction

You’re about to learn about the most wonderful page in your book to boost sales. It’s going to be your secret weapon to stand out from the competition.

Amazon offers customers a chance to give your book a sneak peek before purchase. It’s called the Look Inside feature, and when shoppers click on it, they’re treated to a free preview of your book introduction.

This means you’ve been given the opportunity to grab their attention and make them reach for their wallets.

This is why, if you’re writing a nonfiction book, your introduction is crucial to your book’s ultimate success. Readers will pick up your story and make a decision about you as an author and your book based on those first few paragraphs.

And we’re about to show you how to do just that with a complete 8-step process. But first, head over to our book outline generator to grab your template–including an introduction outline!

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

book introduction secret

What’s the Difference Between a Book Introduction and a Preface or Foreword?

Before you write an introduction and dive in on writing the rest of your book, you first have to check if what you’re writing is actually an introduction.

If you aren’t careful it might be a preface or a foreword instead, and these are different than an introduction.

While this difference might not seem like much to you, mislabeling this section will signal your book as an amateur piece of work to your reader, harming your brand and sales in the long run.

Who would want to read a book (or many) from someone who can’t get even the introduction right?

So, what are the differences between an introduction, preface, and a foreword? Where do you use them? Can you use several of them? We’ll go through these questions in detail.

What is a preface?

A preface discusses how the book came about, the scope of the book, why the book was written, its limitations, and any acknowledgments the author or editor has.

Though they may initially seem the same, and serve the same purpose, a preface is different from an introduction. The author and/or editor of a book can write a preface, but no-one else can.

What it doesn’t do is talk about the meat of the book. It doesn’t go into the subject matter, the point of view, or arguments that the book presents.

The purpose of a preface is to let the reader know how you came to write the book.

Without delving into the book matter, it gives the author a chance to talk to the reader and let them know your story, why you decided to write this book, why the world needs this book right now (helpful if you’re writing about something that’s been written about several times before, such as the hundredth biography of a famous figure,) where you got your information from, and why you are the best author to write this book.

If you have several editions of your book, your preface is also where you discuss why there is a new edition, and what’s different from the old edition.

An author’s preface requires tact; you can’t be too self-promotional.

You have to address your selling points indirectly. This is why it’s best to have an editor’s preface or to have someone else write a foreword.

What is a foreword?

According to the Chicago Manual of Style, a foreword is written by someone other than the author or editor and is usually someone with authority to lend credibility to your book, with their name appearing at the end.

Think of a foreword as a letter of recommendation that someone with credibility writes for your book.

It’s usually by someone the reader will respect, and the foreword will contain reasons for why the reader should read the book. There are fewer rules for a foreword than a preface.

For instance, it can talk about the subject matter if desired. However, forewords tend to be short – usually one or two pages.

Many non-fiction book deals wouldn’t have happened if it wasn’t for the foreword. Publishers are less likely to offer a major advance to first-time authors as they are untested. However, this becomes a different story if they can secure a foreword from someone of influence, (known as foreword deals in the industry.) 

John Romaniello (with his co-author Adam Bornstein) was able to get an advance of more than $1,000,000 for his first book, Man 2.0: Engineering the Alpha, a practically unheard of amount for a first-time author.

How did this happen? John credits securing Arnold Schwarzenegger to pen the foreword as a factor that helped.

What is a book introduction?

An introduction differs from a preface and a foreword because it’s written by the author and does talk about the subject matter.

A book introduction can include everything that would be in a preface: how the book came about, the scope of the book, why the book was written etc.

However, an introduction also supplements the subject matter of the book.

Whether by presenting a point of view the reader should take, outlining to the reader what is to come, or by teasing the writer’s conclusions.

What’s the purpose of a preface, foreword, and introduction?

Each one of these exists to sell your book in the opening pages. They exist to hook a reader who flips to the beginning of the book and gives clear reasons as to why they should read on to the end.

A potential reader or buyer will judge whether your main argument, point of view, or tone of voice is worth reading on your introduction, preface, or foreword.

If someone they admire recommends your book in the foreword, they’ll sit up and listen.

If your preface reveals some main sources that have never told their story before, they’ll be curious to read more. If your introduction shows that you’re a great writer and you know what you’re talking about, they’ll give you a chance by reading more.

Since we’re dealing with non-fiction, we haven’t discussed prologues or epilogues, though they have the same purpose; to hook the reader and sell them on why to read on.

Where do they go?

So, do you only have to choose one for your book? No.

Your book can have all three if you want, though you don’t want to go too overboard, as your reader might end up skipping it anyway, or might feel like you’re trying too hard.

Getting a foreword can be a lot of hard work if you don’t have the network or credibility to get an influencer to write one for you. And if your reader ends up skipping it, it’ll be a waste of your time.

But if you want to have all three, this is the correct formatting of where they appear in your book, (relevant sections are highlighted in bold. We provided a comprehensive overview of a book’s matter for reference:)

Front Matter

(Each point gets at least its own page.)

  • Half title page (Sometimes called the bastard title, it’s a page that has nothing but the title. No subtitle or author name.)
  • Blank page (Or “Also by the author…”)
  • Title page
  • Copyright page
  • Dedication (Optional.)
  • Epigraph (Quote, or poem that highlights the theme of the book. Can be before main text. Optional.)
  • Table of contents
  • Book quote (optional: A quote chosen by the author based on the subject matter of the book.)
  • List of illustrations, tables or maps (Optional.)
  • Foreword (Optional.)
  • Preface (Optional. Editor’s preface comes before author’s preface if you have both. If you have a separate preface for a new edition of the book it comes before the old preface.)
  • Abbreviations (Optional. Or in back matter.)
  • Chronology (Optional. Or in back matter.)

Main Body

  • Introduction (Optional.)
  • Prologue (Optional. Not applicable to non-fiction.)
  • Epigraph (or after the dedication and before the table of contents. Optional.)
  • Another half-title (Optional.)
  • Main text
  • Epilogue (Optional. Not applicable to non-fiction.)
  • Afterword (Optional.)
  • Conclusion

Back Matter

(These are all optional.)

  • Acknowledgments
  • Appendix
  • Chronology (Or in the front matter.)
  • Abbreviations (Or in the front matter.)
  • Glossary
  • Bibliography
  • List of contributors
  • Illustration credits
  • Index
  • Errata
  • Colophon (Optional brief statement by the publishers on the book’s production, where it was printed etc.)
  • Authors or Editor’s bio
  • Invitation to review the book [Usually found in eBook formats asking readers to consider a review if they liked the book]

Don’t panic if your book doesn’t have up to half of these sections. Many of them are not necessary unless you are writing for a higher education audience.

What matters is knowing where your foreword, preface, and/or your introduction needs to go in your book.

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How Your Book Introduction Will Help You Sell Books

Your book introduction serves two goals. Think of your first 1,000 words as the foundation for the rest of your book’s chapters.

Writing your introduction is going to be a useful exercise to help you distill down your ideas and to succinctly encapsulate the message of your great work into a few, short paragraphs.

The second goal of your introduction is to act as a sales pitch to intrigue readers so they’ll buy your book.

It’s intimidating, yes, and a lot of pressure is riding on just a few paragraphs. This is why writing your book introduction can be one of your first major stumbling blocks as an author.

That’s why we’re here to help you overcome this significant hurdle so you can continue merrily on the path toward your finished manuscript, and ultimately higher sales of your book once it is published.

How to an Introduction for a Book in 8 Clear Steps

Self-Publishing School created a roadmap, much like we did for mind mapping and outlining, to nail down that book introduction—and also to jumpstart your writing process for the rest of your chapters.

As we go through these 8 steps to writing your book introduction, we’re going to use the example of a book called How to Get College Scholarships.

As you read, take notes, and insert your own book’s topic into your thinking and note-taking process.

#1 – Identify the Problem

Don’t dance around the problem. What’s the problem your book promises to solve? State the problem clearly for your readers from the outset. Be straight-forward, unambiguous, and concise when you identify the issue that readers hope you can solve for them.

Don’t try to be all things to all people—you want readers to know the specific problem your book will solve for them.

Using our example of How to Get College Scholarships, the problem is simple: college is expensive, and scholarships seem out of reach for most high school students.

If you’re not quote sure of the problem you’re solving, it’s likely your target audience is unclear and that means the rest of your book will be unclear.

In our Become a Bestseller program (and all of them, really), you get 1-on-1 tailored coaching with a bestselling author about how to nail your target audience and craft an introduction meant to hook them.

#2 – Present the Solution

Now that you’ve identified the problem readers are struggling with, you’re going to make their day by telling them you’re going to share the solution in your book.

You’ve helped them with a problem AND you’ve revealed that your book holds the solution on the first page. Your book’s going to be a winner!

Directional phrases such as, “In this book, I am going to show you …” or “This book is going to solve your problem by …”

Thinking back to our example, some solutions we’d present in our book would be teaching readers how to write a good essay so you can stand out from the competition, and how to find and apply for the top scholarships.

#3 – Assert Your Credibility

Now that you’ve presented a problem and posted a solution, your next step is to convince your readers that you, the author, are qualified to help solve their problem.

You need to build your credibility and provide readers with a reason to trust you and follow your advice.

Ask yourself these three questions:

  • Why should people trust you?
  • How do you know about this topic?
  • What unique experience have you had with this topic?
  • Why are you passionate about writing this book?

Sharing your own struggles and how you overcame them is the first step to building rapport with your readers

#4 – Show Them the Benefits

How will your book improve your readers’ current circumstances? Now’s the time to really sell them on how reading your book is going to change their life for the better.

Sold! Who doesn’t want a better life? (It’s rhetorical: We all do!)

You’ve briefly touched on the solution—in our case, how to write a great essay and how to apply for scholarships. In this part of your introduction, you’re going to go a little deeper and explain what good things will happen if your readers take advantage of the information you present in your book.

In short, tell your readers what they’ll get—what knowledge or skill they will gain from reading your book and how that’s going to impact their future for the better.

In our example, the benefit of our book is that readers will go to school for free and live a life without the financial burden of student loans. Readers can achieve their dream of getting an education, without breaking the bank.

#5 – Give Them Proof

Show your readers the proof of why your book is the answer to their prayers. Give the most tangible and relatable proof you can provide.

This might require you to divulge some more private information. If you can, talk about finances, mindset, relationship, or other specific gains that are a soft spot for many people.

Here are some forms of proof to add in your book introduction:

  • Real stories about gains or losses
  • Financials–hard numbers TALK
  • Changes in a relationship
  • Any charts or graphs can also speak really loudly
  • Testimonials/stories from others who found success

In our example, we might share how we put ourselves or our children through school on scholarship. We might also include testimonials from other people we know who followed our advice and got a free education.

#6 – Make a Promise (The Bigger the Better)

Don’t make a promise you can’t keep, but make the biggest promise that you CAN keep. Aim high.

To come up with your promise, circle back to your books’ purpose—what is the problem your book is solving? Now promise that this book will solve their problem! It’s that easy.

You need to be able to deliver on your promises, but don’t be shy in stating what they will get in return for reading your book.

While we can’t promise someone they’ll be awarded a scholarship (after all, their grades will have a big impact there,) we can promise that we will increase their chances of getting a scholarship by showing them where to find them and the steps to take to apply.

#7 – Warn Them Against Waiting

You need to create a sense of urgency to buy so your readers know that if they pass on your book, they will regret it because readers will miss out on something really good.

A sense of urgency is created by two magic words, “RIGHT NOW!”

In our example, we would urge people to start well ahead of the scholarship application deadlines so they can submit the best applications they can. Don’t delay, or others who are in the know will snatch up those scholarships! So, let’s get started on getting you a free education RIGHT NOW!

#8 – Prompt Them to Read (Call to Action)

You want readers to continue reading your book the second they finish the introduction. To do that, you have to hint at the juicy secrets your book will reveal to them that will change their lives.

You want to intrigue them and hint at the exciting revelations you’re going to make inside the book. They will have to buy it in order to find out.

Here’s how to craft a compelling Call to Action to prompt them to read your book right away:

The scholarship tips and tricks you’re about to read have proven results. Each chapter provides new secrets that will help you stay in control of your financial future AND get a leg up on the competition for scholarships. If you follow the formula we reveal in this book, it’s highly possible you can enjoy the rest of your life unburdened by debt.

Resources:

how to write a memoir

How to Write a Memoir: The Complete Guide to Getting Started

Learning how to write a memoir might seem simple…

You may think it easy to jot down details about your life in a cohesive, entertaining fashion…but there’s quite a bit more to and this is where we see a lot of writers fall short.

Our student Nadine Blase Psareas sure thought so before joining Self-Publishing School.

The thing is, if you’re like Nadine, you probably don’t even know what you’re missing to take your idea of a memoir and turn it into something tangible and effective in aiding others.

Memoirs can be very complex pieces of work. It takes a lot of skill and craft to be able to write down intimate details about your life for others to read and learn from.

Which means learning how to write (and even publish/market) a memoir can be really hard.

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

But the great part?

Like Nadine, you’ll learn that writing a memoir is both empowering and rewarding, and when broken down into these feasible steps, it’s something you can learn to master in no time.

Which is exactly what Nadine did when she published her own memoir, Hope Dealers, with us, a journey of the struggles of addiction, health issues, entrepreneurship, and more.

Here are the steps for how to write a memoir:

  1. Choose your memoir’s theme
  2. List associating memoir memories
  3. Add others’ related memories
  4. Write your memoir truthfully
  5. Show, don’t tell when writing a memoir
  6. Get vulnerable with your memoir
  7. Make connections with each story
  8. Add the impact in your life today
  9. Put your personality into it
  10. Write a memoir you want to read

How many people can say they wrote a book detailing the most impactful moments of their lives?

Not many.

And by taking this leap and diving headfirst into your memories and entire life, you’re reaching new heights for yourself and you may even enlighten others by the end of your journey.

What is a memoir?

A memoir is a historical account or biography written from personal knowledge or special sources. It’s a book about your life, the lessons learned, and key moments that shaped who you are.

We all typically think of a memoir and cringe a little at the idea of a book about someone else’s life. But that’s not all a memoir is!

Essentially, this is a book written by you about key moments in your life. You bring your memories to life in order to touch on an overarching message others can learn and grow from.

It’s like the highlight reel from your diary (if you ever had one) about the experiences that shaped your life.

And even though you’re technically writing a nonfiction book, memoirs should be more in the category of “fiction” when it comes to the style and flow of the book. It’s an entertaining read fashioned like a story…it just so happens to be true.

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

What Qualifies as a Memoir?

A memoir is unique in the fact that it covers your life’s events in a more story-like structure with an overarching theme or messaged written in.

This means that “how tos,” “motivational books,” and other topics don’t qualify as a memoir. Memoirs are very specific in the sense that it accounts for the entirety of your life with an emphasis on stories and impactful moments that lead to a great purpose.

Can anyone write a memoir?

Yes, anyone has the ability and experience to write a memoir. The biggest misconception is that you have to be famous or have to have experienced something major in order to write a memoir. But that’s not needed.

In fact, some of the most powerful memoirs can come from the “average” person detailing the biggest lessons in their life.

You have a story. Everyone has a story, and what we do here at Self-Publishing School is get that story out and into a book you can pass down for generations.

Check out our program that specializes in memoirs that make an impact.

How do you start a memoir?

Like starting any book, you have to understand why you’re doing it and what you wish to portray with the final product.

Then, starting a memoir includes an outline, key chapters with specific messages, and working on developing a writing habit in order to stick to writing.

Ultimately, the information listed below will give you most of what you need to get started.

Memoir Definition

A memoir is a historical account written with personal knowledge and experience covering the lifetime of an individual, usually with a greater purpose or message within it.

how to write a memoir

How is this different than an autobiography?

I know what you’re thinking, “Aren’t they the same thing?”

With so many genres and writing terminology out there, knowing the differences between a memoir vs autobiography, (AKA: works of writing that are basically the same) can be confusing.

They’re both about someone’s life written by themselves, right? Right.

But they do differ in a single way that really makes a memoir vs an autobiography completely different in terms of their end results.

A memoir typically covers one aspect of a writer’s life (or a continuous theme through memories), while an autobiography is a chronological account of the writer’s life.

For example, Nadine’s memoir touches on many parts of her life, but the core focus is to help addicts and those with several life struggles get back on their feet.

So if you want to write a play-by-play of your entire life from the moment you popped into this world to the very second you started writing, you’d write an autobiography.

But if you’re looking to share a profound message with the world through your own real-life experiences, you’ll write a memoir.

How to Write a Memoir with Meaning and Influence

Writing a memoir can not only be a valuable experience for you, but the impact it may have on other people is astounding too.

You have a life worth something.

You have experiences that led you to a very specific place in life, and you know what?

Others have undoubtedly been in your shoes before and will benefit from you writing a book

Essentially, you can teach others how to get through what you did or even how to learn from their own journeys just as you have yours.

That’s the meaning of a memoir and its influence knows no bounds.

What are the Key Elements of a Memoir?

Writing a memoir can be difficult simply because it’s about your life.

Somehow, we find it too hard to put our own lives into words through a meaningful message.

How do you really sum up an accumulation of years and years of experience in only a couple hundred pages?

We’ll help you learn how to write a memoir worth reading – and sharing.

#1 – Choose the focus or theme for your memoir

A memoir isn’t just a list of all the experiences in your life. If it were, you’d call it an autobiography.

What sets memoirs apart from a simple retelling of your life is an overarching theme or message that others can take away from it – and that you personally learned from the stories you share.

Think about what you want others to take away from reading your memoir.

What will they learn or realize or gain from reading about your life? You can ask yourself those very same questions about your life to find the answers.

What have you learned throughout your life? What’s the number 1 message that your experiences have taught you?

Once you have that big, broad idea, the real work begins.

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#2 – List all associating memoir-related memories

It’s time to do a little mind mapping.

Now that you know the overall theme and message of your memoir and what will set it apart, you have to connect the dots of your life to that core focus.

Here are a few areas to think about specifically to help jog some of those memories in order to help you know how to write a memoir worth reading:

  • Childhood influences
  • Grade school
  • Teenage years
  • First job/s
  • First love/s
  • Parents
  • Siblings/family
  • Friends
  • College/post high school
  • Marriage
  • Children
  • Grandchildren
  • Hopes and dreams
  • Aspirations
  • Failures
  • Successes
  • Regrets
  • Resentments

There are so many areas that have a direct influence over how you perceive life as a whole. You just have to do a little digging to spark some specific memories that can circle back to the overarching theme of your memoir.

#3 – Add others’ related stories

I know this is a book about yourlife but it never hurts to back up your own experiences with someone else’s – or many other people’s.

how to write a memoir checklist

Knowing how to write a memoir involves knowing when your message will be loudest. And that’s often with additional stories from others.

Sometimes you can’t always get the message across if only you have experienced it. To get readers to relate, you might have to show them that many people experience the same thing.

One of the most powerful connections you can make to benefit from the message of your memoir is to show your readers that it’s not just you.

Others have gone through the same situations you have and came out with the same perspective.

This one requires some extensive research (and maybe even an interview or two), but possessing the ability to be credible in your readers’ eyes is crucial. And obviously, you’ll want to make sure you’re using their experiences legally in your memoir.

You can even interview family or friends who might see an experience you share differently than you.

Adding those details will strengthen your core message.

Here’s a checklist of what your memoir should include in order to “complete” and at its best:

Elements of a MemoirDetails
IntroductionA snippet of what your life is like now and why you're writing this memoir
Core theme/messageEach memoir should have an overall theme or message that one can take away when they've finished reading.
HonestyWriting a memoir without honesty will come across on the pages. Readers will be able to tell and will be pulled out of the book because of this.
Entertainment valueNobody wants to read a memoir that's written like a textbook. Create entertainment value through the stories you tell.
Supporting storiesBecause you have an overall theme, it needs supporting stories from your life to back it up.
Intriguing writingOnce again, a memoir is still a book and therefore, it cannot read like a textbook. Great writing is necessary for a great book.
Overall arcYour life has an arc and your memoir's purpose is to show this through lessons learned from start to end.

#4 – Write truthfully

One of the hardest parts about writing a memoir is the fact that we tend to be a wee bit biased with ourselves.>

*Gasp* You don’t say!

It’s true. Nobody really likes to admit their faults.

It’s one thing to recognize when you were wrong in life, it’s another to actually write it down for the world to see.

It’s hard. We want everyone to see the best version of ourselves and therefore, we leave out details or flat out lie to seem “better” in their eyes.

But that’s not what makes a good memoir.

In order to learn how to write a memoir that really touches people in deep, emotional ways, you have to learn to be honest.

#5 – Show, don’t tell in your memoir writing

No, this doesn’t mean you have to write a picture book. That’s not what “show” means in this case.

When it comes to creating intrigue with your writing – and trust me, you want to do this, especially for a memoir – you have to write by showing, not telling.

For the sake of brevity, I’ll just give you an overview of this writing technique, but if you’re interested in mastering the ability to pull readers in, you can check out this detailed explanation.

Essentially, showing versus telling is the way in which you describe your experiences with an emphasis on emotion.

But that doesn’t mean you should write down every feeling you had during a specific time. In fact, that’s what you want to avoid.

We’ll cover this in more detail below, but here’s a great video outlining this method 

#6 – Get vulnerable

Memoirs are not a time to distance yourself from your inner feelings.

Quite the opposite, actually.

It’s time to dig deep and show the world what kind of author you are through your life experiences by getting vulnerable.

Open yourself up to the truth behind who you are today. If you shield yourself in any way, it’s going to be obvious on the pages of your memoir and therefore, not as effective.

At first, you may want to cringe while writing certain memories but after a few days, you’ll find it easier to share your truth.

And best of all? You’ll be happy you did.

#7 – Make connections with each story

You have your focus, right? Having that overarching message is going to help you tie all of your memories together in a cohesive manner.>

Each story you tell – whether it’s yours or someone else’s – has to connect to your focus in order for that theme to come across to your readers.

But they don’t all have to directly relate to your focus.

Some experiences may have led you to moments of realization that then led you to other events that tie into the main message you want others to gain from reading your memoir.

Think of it this way: you want to connect the dots so by the time the reader is finished, the message comes full circle.

how to write a memoir tip

#8 – Talk about how everything affects your life today

Usually, writing a memoir is about looking back on your life and determining how you made it to who you are today. What events lead to the very core of who you are >right now?

That means your memoir will include inside peeks into your life as you live it now.

Each chapter should bring your readers back to your present-day life and how each memory affected where you are today.

#9 – Put your personality into the memoir

Nobody wants to read a stiff retelling of your life.

I’m sorry, but I’m not really. I’m here to help. And that means I have to be real with you and tell you that people want to hear your personality!

They’re reading about your life and that means they want more of you in the writing. Learning how to write a memoir includes figuring out how to put more of you into the pages.

Don’t be afraid to write how you speak. Talk to them as if you were talking to a friend.

Here are a few ways you can add more personality into your memoir:

  • Tell jokes
  • Use cuss words (if that’s how you really speak!)
  • Add your personal lingo (we all have phrases we use regularly)
  • Italicize words you emphasize when speaking
  • If you have the urge to write something you think is funny or witty, do it!
  • Write your book by talk-to-text using Google Docs or other writing software

You want your readers to gain a sense of who you are not only through your stories but through the voice in your writing as well.

how to write a memoir tips

#10 Write a memoir you’d want to read

How do you ensure others will like our memoir? Write it in a way that makes it an entertaining read for yourself!

This has a lot to do with putting your own personality into it but it’s also about crafting the structure of your novel in an entertaining manner, too.

Even though this is a memoir, there should still be a climax to keep readers intrigued. This would be when your life came to a head; where you struggled but was able to pull yourself out of the trenches and forge your own path.

How to Start a Memoir

A strong introduction is everything.

Without the ability to hook readers, convincing someone to buy and read your book will be a bit harder than anticipated.

That’s why we’ve put together a few tips to help you learn how to start a memoir that’s captivating and intriguing.

Let’s draw those readers in!

#1 – Be relatable

Nobody wants to read a book that’s preachy or condescending.

One major mistake many make when writing a memoir is not starting it off in a way that makes the readers connect with them.

This is one of the most important aspects of your memoir.

Do you really think people will want to read about a person’s life if they can’t relate to them?

Think about when you were most invested in a book (or even a TV show or movie). What did you like most? Could you relate to the author or the characters?

Did you understand their pain and triumph and hardships?

This is typically the best way to not only create invested readers but to gain fans. When others relate to you and see themselves in your journey, they’ll want to stick around to see how it plays out.

And that means they’ll read your whole book and any others you write.

memoir writing tips

#2 – Use emotion by showing, not telling

If you want to give a play-by-play of your life with nothing more than a list of experiences you’ve gone through, that’s fine.

Just know that doing it that way won’t hook your readers and it certainly won’t keep them.

A memoir can be a powerful tool for educating others through your life journeys, but if they’re not intrigued enough to keep reading, it’ll render your memoir pointless.

And we don’t want that.

showing and not telling, you’ll put more emotion into your writing. This technique might sound confusing but it’s actually quite easy once you learn how to do it.

Here are the basics for showing versus telling:

  • Use fewer tell words like “I heard,” “I felt,” “I smelled,” “I saw,” to bring readers closer
  • Stop explaining emotions and instead explain physical reactions of those emotions (If you want to say “I was scared,” describe your heart hammering against your chest or the sweat beading your forehead instead)
  • Describe body language in more detail
  • Use strong verbs that coincide with the emotions you’re trying to convey (writing “crashed to the floor” instead of “fell to the floor” creates more impact)

This writing method can be tricky to master but thankfully, there are countless resources to help you figure it out.

#3 – Make the message clear right away

What is it you’re trying to say through your memoir? Why did you want to start writing one in the first place?

Everybody has an interesting life if you look deep enough. What you have to determine is how your life experiences can aid and shape the lives of others.

Think about how that will manifest from what you’ve lived through before and make sure your readers know what it is from the start (which can also be done through a powerful book title).

How to Write a Memoir Tips from Experts

The best advice you can receive is from someone who’s done it before. These Self-Publishing School students (and graduates!) have first-hand knowledge when it comes to the difficulties of writing your life down on paper.

Here’s what these memoir writers want you to know.

#1 – Write from the heart

Christopher Moss, author of Hope Over Anxiety, says the best way to write your memoir is to be open about your experiences.

“Write from the heart. Show people your experience. Be as vulnerable and honest as you can. If it scares you a little, what you are writing that’s good. The reader has to feel what you are going through.”

#2 – Don’t be afraid to go with the flow

Lou A. Vendetti, who’s in the thick of writing and working toward publication of his memoir, has a few pieces of advice for you.

“Do not be afraid to deviate. If your book doesn’t follow your outline one hundred percent, then that’s okay! Don’t feel like you have to only talk about what’s in your outline. You are the author; you are the publisher, so you are the one making all of the decisions (sounds scary, huh?). In the beginning, I thought it was.”

“Don’t think that the memoir is supposed to be ‘formal.’ As an example, I use contractions in mine, which would not necessarily be used in a nonfiction book. Yes, I wanted my book to be professional, but I didn’t want to make it sound like I’m not ‘on my audience’s level.’ I wanted to keep my voice and make it as if I’m talking to my audience; as if I’m having a conversation with them.”

#3 – Review old photos and videos

Toni Crowe, author of Never a $7 Whore, says it’s best to relive your memories the best you can through photos and videos.

“My advice to new memoir writers is to take the time to review any old documents or photos that exist and to pull those memories out to examine. Doing this during the map mapping process helped me immensely.”

Famous Memoir Examples to Emulate

Sometimes it’s easier to learn by example. That way, you can fully comprehend what a memoir is in order to write your own.

These are famous memoir examples:

  1. A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway
  2. West with the Night by Beryl Markham
  3. Personal Memoirs of Ulysses S. Grant by Ulysses Grant
  4. Out of Africa by Isak Dinesen
  5. The Story of My Life by Helen Keller
  6. I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban by Malala Yousafzai
  7. Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi.
  8. My Beloved World by Sonia Sotomayor
  9. Fun Home by Alison Bechdel
  10. Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body by Roxane Gay

Memoir examples by our own students:

  1. Mile-High Missionary: A Jungle Pilot’s Memoir by Jim Manley
  2. Walking My Momma Home: Finding Love, Grace, and Acceptance Through the Labyrinth of Dementia by Kathy Flora
  3. Prayers, Punk Rock and Pastry by Chris Stewart
  4. Bare Naked Bravery: How to Be Creatively Courageous by Emily Ann Peterson
  5. Shift Happens: Turning Your Stumbling Blocks into Stepping Stones by Jill Rogers
  6. Hope Dealers: The Calling, The Struggles, The Breakthroughs and The Community of Believers by Nadine Blase Psareas

[Pssst! If you want to check out some of our Students’ books, check out the SPS Library!]

This is the Story of Your Life

The biggest takeaway here is that this is your story, it’s your life, and therefore, it should be told just as you want it to be.

So…will you be like Nadine and decide to take the leap and find a system that really works to produce a bestselling memoir? Or will you spend yet another year trying to get it right?

The choice is solely yours.

But there’s nothing more freeing than having the ability to articulate your life experiences in a way that will truly speak to others and potentially change their lives.

Do you want to change lives and help others through the same turmoil you’ve experienced?

By self-publishing your memoir, you’ll be rewarded for all of your honest hard work with more than just additional income.

You will be responsible for changing and shaping the lives of others.

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book about your life

How to Write a Book About Your Life: Write Your Life Story

Do you have an amazing life story you want to know how to write your life story, whether it’s just for you or so others can learn from you?

Writing and publishing a book about your life story is a bit of a different process from writing a novel or even writing about someone else.

But your story is important.

It’s your life. It’s your legacy.

This book will be passed down from you to your children and their children or simply stay in your family for years on years.

If that sounds good to you, we can help.

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

This is your story; rather than developing characters for a made-up story, it’s your personal life you are sharing with readers.

It’s a very vulnerable—and worthwhile—form of writing.

If you have an incredible true story to tell about your life but aren’t sure where to start on how to write your life story, we can help.

Here are the steps for writing a book about your life:

  1. Start by journaling or free-writing
  2. Outline and organize your notes
  3. Pick a nonfiction genre to write in
  4. Research for accuracy
  5. Identify characters and perspective
  6. Add speculation
  7. Determine the setting
  8. Remember the dialogue
  9. Prepare for negative pushback
  10. Commit to finishing

Why Write a Story About Your Life

Many people think they need to do something massive or be famous in order to write about their lives…

That’s not true at all.

In fact, more people can relate to regular, non-famous people and their struggles than they can those who have been in the limelight.

The reason writing about your life is important is because you have a story. You have something worth sharing that can actually change the lives of others through your trials and tribulations.

Even if you’re not ready to write a memoir, you still have something valuable to share—knowledge gained through the years or maybe you just experienced a short, influential event in your life that you believe can help other.

No matter what that story is, you can and you should tell it.

How do I write a book about myself?

One of the hardest things in life is looking inside ourselves. We spend so long looking outward, to everyone else, that when we finally decide to take a peek inside, it’s hard.

Not to mention writing a book about yourself.

The most important thing to write a book about yourself is to get really, really honest and dig into the raw and deep parts about yourself.

Nobody wants a book about you that’s all sunshine and rainbows because that’s not real life.

So here are a few steps to write a book about yourself:

  1. Decide if you’re ready to write a book about yourself
  2. Spend some time self-reflecting
  3. Decide which specific experience of your life you want to focus on
  4. Create a mindmap of the things that pop up after step #3
  5. Take those ideas and start creating a book outline, then follow the rest of this blog post

How do you write a true story?

True stories can be tricky because you have to decide if you want people to know it’s a true story about your life. In that case, writing a memoir might be a better idea for you.

There are a few things to think about if you want to write a true story:

  1. Do you want it to be nonfiction, more like a memoir?
  2. Do you want it to be a chronological telling of your life, an autobiography?
  3. Do you want to write a fiction book with certain elements of your life?
  4. Can you truly be truthful without being biased?

It’s often not advised to write a fiction book about your life because your characters can often fall into the archetype of a “Mary Sue”. Meaning, a perfect character with no flaws.

This happens because it’s difficult for us to be unbiased about ourselves. But if you can write a true story while giving the character based on yourself real flaws, it can work.

How to Write a Book About Your Life in 10 Simple Steps

So you’ve discovered you have something to share with the world…but what you don’t know is how the heck to make it happen.

Here are our top tips for writing your life story.

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

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#1 – Journaling and Free-writing

Take a few minutes to free write or journal each day, focusing on one memory. A good writing prompt for this free-write session is to write about a significant 24 hours in your life. This is just to help you get started. The memories written down from this significant moment in your life will be use later to build upon to create your nonfiction narrative.

Even if you don’t ultimately use this particular memory in your overall narrative, getting into the habit of writing down memories will benefit you as a writer and help keep those memories fresh.

Still feeling stuck? Explore using a nonfiction writing prompt to help you get started.

#2 – Outline and organize

After you’ve written down a variety of memories—whether they’re a part of an overall narrative or a collection of essays—they now need to be organized into a coherent story in order to actually write it.

Since you’re writing your life story, technically the plotline is already there; it just has to be written down and organized in a manner that will speak to your audience.

However, if you are the more organized type and not a “pantster” like other writers, outlining what memories you want to include in your life story may help get the writing juices flowing.

Not only can an outline help you get clear on the message and order you’ll write your book, it can also help you form writing goals that will set up a writing habit. These are two keys to actually finishing your book.

Other writers struggle with writing unless they have an outline or book template, even if it’s a book outline of their own life. It all depends on you, the writer.

#3 – Pick your genre

“Creative nonfiction has become the most popular genre in the literary and publishing communities.” – Lee Gutkind, What is Creative Nonfiction?

There are several book genres that fall under the nonfiction genre: memoirs, essay collections, autobiographies, motivational books, and more.

Since you are writing a book about your life, it might feel like you have to put it in the “memoir” genre, but that’s not always the case.

In fact, it might hurt your book sales to mislabel your book as a memoir when it’s actually more of a self-help in a specific category.

An example of this is While We Slept by our own coach here at Self-Publishing School, Marcy Pusey.

While this author does label this book as a memoir, it also fits in several other categories. These Amazon categories will help you 1) reach a wider audience and 2) help you tell the story in a way that will speak to those readers.

If you’re struggling to decide whether your book about your life is a memoir or autobiography, this can help:

The main difference between memoirs and autobiographies are their focus. Memoirs focus primarily on one specific time, or “memory” of one’s life, like a battle with a disease, traveling to a foreign country, or adopting a special pet.

Autobiographies, or “biographies of oneself,” focus primarily on your entire life from start to finish—from when you were born until you die, or at least until the current moment in your life with details about achievements or notable moments.

Autobiographies also tend to be a bit more factual than creative, though there have been some very well written autobiographies published.

What if neither of these makes sense for my book about my life?

Maybe you don’t have a specific period in you want to focus on, but don’t necessarily want to tell your entire life story from start to finish. This is where a collection of personal and/or lyrical essays may be more of your style.

Think Mindy Kaling’s Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? and Why Not Me? Kaling is still telling her life story, or at least memorable moments in her life story, without necessarily being one complete narrative. Collections of personal essays are like the nonfiction version of a collection of short stories.

If you are still uncertain about which nonfiction subgenre to write your life story in, this is a major topic covered in the Self-Publishing School VIP course. They take you through choosing your categories that will help your book sell the most.

#4 – Research

Regardless of how you begin writing your life story—with free-writing or outlining—research can help you build on memories to create a fuller story and establish you as a credible writer.

Memories are fickle, and we don’t always remember things correctly, especially if you are writing about something that happened many years ago.

Researching for a book can seem like a daunting task. In fact, out of all the research you’ll end up doing, only a very small percentage will end up in your story. In order to find that small percentage, however, you need to do your research.

Here are some tips for book research when writing a book about your life:

  • List memories or facts you’re not 100% certain about
  • Ask family members or others close to you for details
  • Get quotes from those people if necessary
  • When writing and you come across something you need to research, simply make a note to research and keep writing so you can write faster

#5 – Identify characters and perspective

The people you have met in your life influenced you in some way, and as such, they will influence how you write your life story as well.

Here are some tips to organize these characters for your story:

  • Make a list of people, also known as “characters” in this case, who you want to include in your story
  • Write down their description: physical appearance, age, background,
  • Write down their relationship to you (and if you’re close or distant to them)
  • Check out this character bio template from Selfpublishing.com to help flesh these details out

This will assist you in describing them in your narrative through the rule of “show don’t tell“, that way readers can visualize them and understand how they affected your life personally.

The only thing you may have to alter is a character’s real name, or names.

Changing names can protect a person’s true identity in their story. Unless you have permission to use someone’s true name, change it and include a disclaimer at the beginning of your story. Make a note in your character list of names you change, that way you can keep track of who’s who.

Also, just because this is your life story—so technically, it’s told from your point-of-view—doesn’t mean you can’t explore the perspectives of the other characters in your story.

Keeping other character’s point-of-view in mind will give your story more dimension, and will help you to avoid a one-sided, train-of-thought narrative.

#6 – Add speculation

Use “speculation” to fill in gaps in your life story. Not sure if one of your character’s motivations? Is your memory of the event a bit foggy? Using what you already know, combined with the research you’ve conducted, speculate to the best of your ability.

Here is an example of writing speculation:

“I am not sure why my parents chose to end their marriage after 15 years together. They were always private people, and after their brief announcement to me about their separation, neither of them spoke a word to me about it ever again.

Perhaps they were trying to spare me the heartache of the ordeal. I often wonder if my father’s time in the service made him distant from mother; that was the case with me. Maybe my mother, like me, became lonely as a result of that.”

Words and phrases like “perhaps,” “maybe,” and “I wonder if” show your reader that you, the narrator, are speculating.

Try to find creative ways to speculate, as well. You are, in a sense, still telling a true story; you’re using what you know to create a hypothesis about something that is still a mystery to you.

If you were to claim this hypothesis were true without facts to back it up, you could get end up in trouble.

#7 – Determine the setting

Readers want to know where your life story took place, or the setting. Like fiction, you need to consider how the setting of this story affected you as a person.

Here are some questions to help you discover the setting of your book:

  • Where was this place?
  • What did it look like?
  • Did you enjoy living/visiting there?
  • Do you remember any smells from the area?
  • What was the culture like there?
  • Were you a spectator of that culture or immersed in it?
  • How did the setting contribute to your experience?
  • What mood did that setting elicit?

Details like these affected your life tremendously—maybe more than you realize—and therefore must be included in your narrative, just as they would be if this was a fictional story.

Not only that, but this helps paint a much clearer picture for your readers and creates a more entertaining experience.

#8 – Remember the dialogue

Even if you’re writing a nonfiction book, the dialogue is still crucial.

When you forget to write dialogue…the book can end up reading like a very boring textbook.

Dialogue is what gives the writing—and the story itself—life.

But that leaves the challenge of writing accurate dialogue. Unless you used a tape recorder or video to record a conversation, chances are you’re not going to recall previous conversations word-for-word.

Just write down what you remember to the best of your ability, and paraphrase if you must. If you are still on good terms with the person you’re speaking within your memory, try contacting them to be sure that their memory of the conversation is similar to yours. You can even ask them to approve any written dialogue that’s in quotes if it’s not 100% accurate to what was really said.

Write dialogue the same way it would be used in a fiction book and remember to use correct dialogue formatting and tags.

#9 – Prepare for negative pushback

Not all of us have sweet stories with cute pets. Sometimes our memories and experiences are on the dark side—for example, The Kiss by Kathryn Harrison.

This memoir focuses on the time in the author’s life where she has a sexual (and incestuous) relationship with her father. She received a huge amount of negative reactions to her story.

If you are going to write and publish a personal and scandalous true story about your life, steel yourself for these kinds of negative reactions, particularly from those in your life unhappy with you telling the story to begin with.

Something this is just a part of becoming an author.

Nonfiction writing that isn’t dark in nature is still liable of receiving negative feedback from those who appear in the story, even if their names are changed.

Some people may react simply because they were written in the story at all.

#10 – Commit to finishing your book!

Your story can only get out into the world if you commit to not only finishing your first draft, but publishing your book.

Don’t just commit to your book, commit to yourself and to doing something you can be proud of.

Commit to something that will be here long after you’re gone, and write your book.

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book blurb book synopsis

Synopsis & Book Blurb: The Differences & How to do Them Right

Millions of books have been published, and that means making your book stand out among the crowd without a solid book marketing and publishing plan can be more challenging now than ever before.

But when it comes to book marketing, putting in the work to produce a powerful book synopsis or book blurb is the best way to sell more books and make more fans.

These are the two essential pieces you will need to market your novel. You’re likely to need multiple versions of each, so let’s touch on exactly how to do them well.

NOTE: We cover everything in this blog post and much more about the writing,  marketing, and publishing process in ourVIP Self-Publishing Program. Learn more  by clicking here!

Here’s what we’ll cover about book blurbs and synopsis:

  1. Difference between book blurb and synopsis
  2. Book blurb and book synopsis examples
  3. What is a synopsis?
  4. How to write a synopsis
  5. What is a blurb?
  6. How to write a blurb
  7. Book blurb formula
  8. Examples of good blurbs

What’s the difference between a book blurb and a synopsis?

A blurb serves you on the consumer marketing front, giving a glimpse into your story with just enough information to entice, holding back enough to avoid spoilers. It’s a teaser of your book, not a summary.

A synopsis will be part of your press kit and applications for things like reviews, interviews, literary agents, editors, and publishers. A synopsis summarizing the twists, turns, and conclusion of your story.

It’s essentially a condensed version of your book.

Book Blurb and Book Synopsis Examples

This is often easier seen than taught. Below are a couple of screenshots of the Amazon page for both a fiction and nonfiction book.

fiction book blurb example
Fiction Book Blurb Example
nonfiction-book-blurb-example

As you can see, the content readers use to decide whether or not they want to purchase the book is actually a blurb.

Oftentimes, synopsis (where there are spoilers and deeper detail) is usually used more to sell the book to a traditional publisher than for selling your book to readers (or for a homework assignment from school!).

What is a book synopsis?

A synopsis is a one to four page summary of your novel. The synopsis should explain the plot, main character arc, and conclusion of the book.

This piece is for “selling” your book to the industry, meaning the traditional publishing industry typically though it’s just as important for self-published authors.

How to write a book synopsis

A common method of writing a synopsis is in a three-paragraph format.

First paragraph: introduction of character, setting, and conflict/inciting incident.

Second paragraph: major plot points, conflicts, and characters that are required for the conclusion to make sense.

Third paragraph: how the conflict is resolved, how the character changes from the start of the book.

Tips for writing a novel synopsis:

  1. Use active voice instead of passive voice. This makes the synopsis more interesting and engaging.
  2. Use third person point of view. This is standard.
  3. Consider your synopsis as a representation of your writing skills. Don’t just summarize the book–summarize it in a way that portrays your writing style.
  4. Write clear and concise copy. If your synopsis is too long or rambly, you’ll lose the reader’s interest and they might assume your novel is also too long and rambly.
  5. Don’t try to cover too many things or include too many details. Your main plot points and character arc are all you need in a synopsis. Don’t try to include every beat and character in the book.
  6. Don’t try to write an intriguing or mysterious hook–simply give the information required. Don’t hold something back to be mysterious. That’s something for your book blurb, which we’ll tackle below.
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What is a blurb?

Often referred to as a “book description,” a blurb is a short piece, around 150 words, to promote your novel. You find blurbs on the back cover of paperbacks, the inside back cover of a hardback, and on book description pages in online stores.

Think of this as the elevator pitch of your book.

Unlike a synopsis, a blurb does not outline every major plot point of your story, and it doesn’t give spoilers.

Blurbs are extremely important to market your book. They’re for “selling” the book to the consumer.

How to write a book blurb

Let’s go over the structure, formula, and some tips for writing a good book blurb.

Here’s the structure of a book blurb:

  1. Snappy opener. You usually have to catch the reader’s interest within the first sentence for them to continue reading the blurb.
  2. Character introduction. All you need is your main character! Don’t worry about introducing every named character in your book. Don’t include more than two characters.
  3. Presentation of stakes. What’s at risk in your story? What questions can you present that will make people want to read your book to find the answer?
  4. Keywords. Especially if you’re selling online, keywords do a lot to help potential readers find your book. Make sure you’re using accurate and effective keywords for your book and genre.
  5. A hook–why should readers buy this book? What’s the cliffhanger?

Book Blurb Formula

Most fiction blurbs you’ll see follow this kind of format:

  1. Situation–introduce your character. Who are they, where are they, what are they up to?
  2. Problem–what pressing issue does your character have to face? This is often the inciting incident.
  3. Obstacles–what’s stopping them from solving the problem?
  4. Stakes–what does the character have to lose? The last bit should also set the mood for your book.

Here are some more tips for writing a book blurb:

  1. Read a ton of blurbs, especially blurbs from successful books in your book genre.
  2. Work on a great first sentence. Like I said earlier, if you can’t catch interest with the opener, your reader likely won’t finish reading the blurb.
  3. Use audience-catered language. This includes keywords, but also the way your blurb can relate to your audience. Age demographic is a great thing to consider when you’re crafting language for your particular target audience.
  4. Offer setting. With description, word choice, and tone, let the reader know when and where the story is set.
  5. Keep it concise. 200 words max!
  6. Get others to read and critique your blurb. Feedback on any piece of writing is important, especially something that can make or break book sales like a blurb. Get several sets of eyes on it, and listen to the notes people give you.
  7. Write a few different versions and experiment. You might surprise yourself with how creative you can make it.
  8. Don’t give spoilers! That’s synopsis content.
  9. Avoid comparing your work to a famous author’s work or a famous piece of literature. If you welcome a comparison, people will take you up on it…potentially in the reviews, and you don’t want that.

Good Book Blurb Examples

Let’s look at a few examples of blurbs from popular novels.

The Girl on The Train by Paula Hawkins:

EVERY DAY THE SAME

Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning and night. Every day she rattles down the track, flashes past a stretch of cozy suburban homes, and stops at the signal that allows her to daily watch the same couple breakfasting on their deck. She’s even started to feel like she knows them. Jess and Jason, she calls them. Their life—as she sees it—is perfect. Not unlike the life she recently lost.

UNTIL TODAY

And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough. Now everything’s changed. Unable to keep it to herself, Rachel goes to the police. But is she really as unreliable as they say? Soon she is deeply entangled not only in the investigation but in the lives of everyone involved. Has she done more harm than good?

The first paragraph introduces the situation. The character, her current state, the premise, and the setting.

The second paragraph gives us the problem (she sees something shocking), the obstacles (she only gets a glimpse, she might be unreliable), and the stakes (has she harmed something?).

Some genre keywords we get are: police, investigation, shocking

And what mood are we left with from this blurb? Intrigue, mystery, and the promise of a possibly unreliable narrator make this an exciting blurb.

Sometimes a quote from the novel works as a blurb itself. Let’s look at this example.

Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight:

About three things I was absolutely positive.

First, Edward was a vampire.

Second, there was a part of him—and I didn’t know how dominant that part might be—that thirsted for my blood.

Third, I was unconditionally and irrevocably in love with him.

The situation is that our character lives in a world where vampires exist, and they’re in close proximity to one. The problem is that the vampire wants to eat them. The obstacle and stakes (ha ha) is a wrap-up in the fact that they’re in love with the vampire that wants to eat them.

Some genre keywords we get are: vampire, blood, and love.

The mood this blurb gives us is, “Oooh, dangerous. But like, in a sexy way?”

Landline by Rainbow Rowell:

IF YOU GOT A SECOND CHANCE AT LOVE, WOULD YOU MAKE THE SAME CALL?

As far as time machines go, a magic telephone is pretty useless. TV writer Georgie McCool can’t actually visit the past — all she can do is call it, and hope it picks up. And hope he picks up.

Because once Georgie realizes she has a magic phone that calls into the past, all she wants to do is make things right with her husband, Neal.

Maybe she can fix the things in their past that seem unfixable in the present. Maybe this stupid phone is giving her a chance to start over … Does Georgie want to start over?

From Rainbow Rowell, the New York Times bestselling author of Eleanor & Park and Fangirl, comes this heart-wrenching – and hilarious – take on fate, time, television and true love.

Landline asks if two people are ever truly on the same path, or whether love just means finding someone who will keep meeting you halfway, no matter where you end up.

The situation is that a magic telephone exists and Georgie McCool wants to use it to make things right with her husband.

The problem is that she is separated from her husband. The obstacle is Georgie doesn’t know if she actually wants to fix the problem.

The stakes are Georgie and her husband not getting back together, with the last line suggesting that’s an overarching implication about love in general.

Genre keywords in this blurb are: magic, start over, love, hope.

The mood of this blurb is romantic and hopeful.

The Savior’s Champion by Jenna Moreci:

Tobias Kaya doesn’t care about The Savior. He doesn’t care that She’s the ruler of the realm or that She purified the land, and he certainly doesn’t care that She’s of age to be married. But when competing for Her hand proves to be his last chance to save his family, he’s forced to make The Savior his priority.

Now Tobias is thrown into the Sovereign’s Tournament with nineteen other men, and each of them is fighting – and killing – for the chance to rule at The Savior’s side. Instantly, his world is plagued with violence, treachery, and manipulation, revealing the hidden ugliness of his proud realm. And when his circumstances seem especially dire, he stumbles into an unexpected romance, one that opens him up to unimaginable dangers and darkness.

Situation: Tobias is to compete for The Savior’s hand in marriage, and he absolutely doesn’t care.

Problem: Tobias has to fight for his life in a tournament.

Obstacles: Everyone’s trying to kill, manipulate, and betray him.

Stakes: Tobias’ survival.

Keywords: realm, competing, tournament, violence, romance.

Mood: This blurb leaves us with a sense of urgency and danger.

If you plan to sell a book, you’ll become intimately familiar with the process of writing a compelling synopsis and blurb. They’re essential elements in a book marketing plan, and they are cornerstone elements of presenting your book to multiple levels of the book publishing industry.

NOTE: We cover everything in this blog post and much more about the writing,  marketing, and publishing process in ourVIP Self-Publishing Program. Learn more  by clicking here!

How to Start Writing a Book: 7 Fast 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.

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. They’re the default, actually, but then how can so many people be publishing despite them?

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.

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!

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.

How to Start Writing 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 overcoming these hurdles.

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!

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

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.

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.

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How do you begin to write a book if you never have before?

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.

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 as much as you can 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 (2020) Become a Bestseller program here.

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

#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 Writing by Developing a Writing Habit

The number one reason authors fail to publish a book is because 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.

how to start writing a book

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.

Here’s a word and page count calculator to help you figure out how many words you should be planning for in your book:

Choose your book type, genre, and audience for a word count and page number total.

Your book will have

words

pages

*These results are based on industry standards. The total word and page count will vary from book to book and is dependent on your writing and overall book formatting*

Average Time to Write This Book: 60 days

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.

#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:

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.

Action Step:
Spend a good portion of your time constructing an outline. If you want more on creating it, be sure to check out our guide.

#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.

#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.”

start writing a book

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 deisre 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.

Start Writing a Book TODAY!

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.

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self publishing versus traditional publishing

Self-Publishing vs Traditional Publishing: 2020 Deep Dive

You might be about to make the wrong decision…

And before you waste a ton of time (like many of our students), we want to give you the information you need to avoid the pitfalls aspiring authors make.

Writing and successfully publishing a book is already scary without all the confusion over which avenue to choose.

We get it.

Which publishing option is the best for YOU & your unique author goals?  Get a full, deep-dive self-publishing vs traditional publishing analysis! Make  an informed decision and set yourself up for success with your book.   Get Your Analysis Here!  <https://self-publishingschool.com/lm-self-vs-traditional-publishing-analysis>

Which publishing option is the best for YOU & your unique author goals?  Get a full, deep-dive self-publishing vs traditional publishing analysis! Make  an informed decision and set yourself up for success with your book.   Get Your Analysis Here!  <https://self-publishingschool.com/lm-self-vs-traditional-publishing-analysis data-lazy-src=
how long does it take to write a book

How Long Does it Take to Write a Book?

The most valuable thing a writer can learn is how long does it take to write a book.

And while most sources say it depends, we break it down for you.

Many authors, when asked how long it took to produce their debut novels, gave answers ranging from four years to a decade.

In other words, a very long time, BUT…

We’ve focused the process of writing and publishing a book, and our students are able to complete their drafts in as little as 60 days, publishing in 90 days…and we’ll teach you how.

But there is amazing news:

Writing your book can take far less time than you think. You just need to have the right mindset, a reliable system, and to stay motivated to write.

Here’s what you’ll learn about how long it takes to write a book:

  1. How to create a deadline
  2. The average time it takes to write a book
  3. How long it takes to write a 100 page book
  4. How long it takes to write a 200 page book
  5. How long it takes to write a 300 page book
  6. How to write a book faster
  7. Prioritizing to take less time to write a book
  8. Create word count goals
  9. Find accountability to write a book faster
  10. Set challenges to finish writing your book

Here at Self-Publishing School, our goal is to improve this arduous writing process. Right now, we coach our students to routinely complete a new book in just 90 days, finishing their first draft in as little as 30 days!

They are able to accomplish this by following a simple step-by-step guide that we’re going to share with you today.

How long does it take to write a book?

It can take anywhere from 2 months to a full year to write a book depending on the word count, how often you write, and how much you’re actually writing each session. A good rule of thumb is to allot at least 4 months to write a book.

Many authors report that it takes up to a year to write a book, but more recently, authors are finishing their books in as little as a month to 90 days with our specific system.

How long it takes to write a book largely depends on how much time the writer puts in to actually writing it, though.

The truth about how long it takes to write a book depends on how many words are in it.

Here’s a guideline for how long it takes to write a book:

  • 30,000 – 50,000 words: 500 words/day = 60 – 100 days
  • 50,000 – 80,000 words: 500 words/day = 100 – 160 days
  • 80,000 – 100,000 words: 500 words/day = 160 – 200 days

Essentially, the length of time it takes can be anywhere from two months to 7 months (or even longer!) depending on how often you write and how many words you write per session.

If you want a quick way to find out, fill out this word and page count calculator below and it will tell you the average time it takes to write that book:

Choose your book type, genre, and audience for a word count and page number total.

Your book will have

words

pages

*These results are based on industry standards. The total word and page count will vary from book to book and is dependent on your writing and overall book formatting*

Average Time to Write This Book: 60 days

Following the guidelines below, you can learn to supercharge your own book writing process, and you’ll become a published author much faster.

What is the average time it takes to write a book?

The average person writing a book for the first time can expect to spend anywhere from 4 months to over a year writing a book. While this might seem like it takes a long time to write a book, there are always methods to shorten this.

Taking everything above into account, the truth is that most people don’t write every day, especially if you have a family and a full-time job.

So let’s break this down a bit further for the average person living an average life that doesn’t allot daily writing time (& they don’t have our system for getting more done with less time):

  • 30,000 – 50,000 words: 500 words 3 days per week = 4 months – 7 months
  • 50,000 – 80,000 words: 500 words 3 days per week = 7 months – 11 months
  • 80,000 – 100,000 words: 500 words 3 days per week = 11 months – 1 year +

As you can see, if you maintain an average of 1500 words written per week, writing your book can span from 4 months to over a year without the right system to get it finished quickly.

How long does it take to write a 100 page book?

A 100 page book is about 30,000 words. If you write more than 1500 words per week, you can expect for it to take 2 – 4 months to write a 100 page book.

How long does it take to write a 200 page book?

The average person can expect to spend 3 -7 months writing a 200 page book if they focus on writing more than 1500 words per week.

Now, this would equate to roughly 50,000 words. Many of our students can actually finish their draft of this length in only 30 days with our process.

How long does it take to write a 300 page book?

A 300 page book can take 4 – 9 months to write at an average of about 80,000 words, writing 1500 or more per week.

The average fiction book that’s at a higher level than middle grade will run about this length. In fact, the large majority of young adult books are 70,000 – 90,000 words and can take a bit longer for the full writing, revising, and self-editing process.

How to Write a Book Faster so it Doesn’t Take as Long

If you want to know how to write a book faster so it doesn’t take as long, here are our best tips.

#1 – Establishing a Strategic Deadline

Deadlines are designed to help you inch closer to completing your book by giving yourself a writing habit. It also encourages you to work every day hitting both short-term and long-term goals.

However, you won’t find success by setting arbitrary due dates. They must be set up for your book’s success.

Here are 3 ways to establish strategic deadlines:

  1. Define realistic deadlines. Set short term and long term deadlines for each portion of your draft that breaks down your entire book.
  2. Set honest expectations. If you’re only able to write 500 words a day, so be it. Don’t push yourself into thinking that you can complete an unrealistic task. Be honest with your abilities and align it with your deadline.
  3. Implement rewards. Don’t make writing a book feel like a tedious job. Reward yourself for achieving your goals! Attaching rewards to each accomplishment will make finishing your book much more aspiring to complete.
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#2 – Prioritizing Your Writing Into Tasks

What separates those who can write multiple books to those who can barely write a page is the ability to prioritize. Because there are so many competing factors that pull away our time and energy, prioritizing is actually a very hard concept to implement.

But in order to write your book, you need to establish clear priorities to get anything done.

Here are some ways to prioritize your work:

  • List out every detail of your book and turn them into tasks
  • Assess each task to identify what carries the biggest value to completing your book
  • Order tasks by its immediate priority and length of time to complete
  • Anticipate unexpected changes to your schedule, and plan an alternative schedule to stay on track

Action Step:

Make the effort and spend a few hours prioritizing your writing process. You will be surprised with how much writing you can accomplish with a well thought out task plan.

#3 – Creating Word Count Goals

One of the best ways to accelerate the writing process is to set word count goals. Like training intervals, setting up word count goals will pace how many words to write a day.

First you have to understand how many words in a novel for your genre. Once you know this, you can work backward to figure out how much you have to write each day in order to reach your deadline.

By establishing these parameters for your own success, not only will you be more likely to accomplish these goals, but you will also notice improvements to your writing.

Here’s an example of a tracking sheet you can set up in order to accomplish your word count goals:

how long does it take to write a book

We recommend writing down your daily, weekly, and monthly word count goals to not only show your current progress, but to keep you motivated until you reach the end.

It also helps to include rewards for every new milestone!

Action Step:

Start your daily word count goal to 500-1,000 words per day. By completing 1,000 words per day, you’ll be looking at your completed 30,000 word first draft in one month!

#4 – Finding Your Accountability Partner

A supportive partner can be a great soundboard, a first pair of eyes, and a protector of your sanity. They can also be the extrinsic motivation you need to meet your own deadlines and word counts.

When you have an accountability partner backing you up, it makes it harder to procrastinate because they expect great results from you!

At Self-Publishing School, we believe in the accountability system and encourage our students to pair up with other like-minded students to encourage one another and hold each other accountable for reaching goals and deadlines.

This is done through our Mastermind Community, so everyone has the same goal in mind: start writing a book and finish by self-publishing a book.

It’s a great motivating tactic and helps our students complete their books on time.

Action Step:

Find an accountability partner who is willing to encourage and hold you accountable to meet your deadlines!

#5 – Setting Challenges for Yourself

Following the same routine can get old quickly especially for something lengthy like writing the first draft of your book.

To combat the fear of boredom and add more spark to your writing project, we encourage you to set challenges for yourself!

Here are some simple challenges to set to write your book faster:

  • Double the word count you’ve originally set daily, monthly, yearly
  • Purposely tighten deadlines to increase pressure
  • Ban the use of your phone or all forms of distractions to make time for writing
  • Read your unfinished draft out loud to someone new for feedback

Action Step:

Include a few of these challenges every so often to increase the intensity of your writing. You may tack on even better rewards for each successful challenge you’ve completed.

If you ever dream of becoming a self-published author, now is the time to finally make it a reality.

By following these guidelines on how to develop a robust writing process, you will have your first book ready to self-publish in no time.

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set writing goals

Writing Goals: 10 Surefire Ways to Set & Stick to Your Writing Goals

You may have an image of what an author does in your mind: He or she sits down at a computer, powers it on, and gets to work. The author does not leave his or her computer for days, shutting out all distractions and totally neglecting all social obligations.

In the end, the author has created a fantastic book that people fall in love with instantly. 

Well, there are some authors out there who may fit this bill, but it doesn’t fit reality for the average author like you and me.

With each book that I write, I spend time before I begin with a set of writing goals to help me stay on task, and I’m here to help you discover how to set and stick to your own writing goals.

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

How to set and stick to your writing goals:

  1. Start slowly
  2. Know that writing goals vary
  3. Break up your writing goals
  4. Put your writing goals on paper
  5. Don’t be too hard on yourself
  6. Trust your intuition
  7. Cut out distractions
  8. Psych yourself up
  9. Fill your life with writing
  10. Celebrate every victory

Here’s the thing–you may not have the luxury to go into reclusion and adopt an exhaustive practice, where you can finish a book in one sitting. You have work, family, and other commitments that may prevent you from shutting yourself in a room with a computer or typewriter for days on end. 

This biggest hurdle you may have is believing you do not have time to get your writing done! 

In my experience as a writing coach, this is the most common belief. Thinking and believing you don’t have time to write can be your worst enemy when it comes to achieving your dream. 

Please don’t listen to your mind chatter. Instead please know you can….

  • Change this mind chatter by creating writing goals
  • Balance writing with other commitments with doable goals. 
  • Be an author, so long as you set and follow your writing goals. 

Let’s get started with ten of my surefire ways that go into developing writing goals…

#1 – Slow and Steady Wins the Race

Writing goals help you determine what you can realistically accomplish in a day. As you build your goals you will immediately make headway on your book, and finish it before you realize it!

Having clear and specific writing goals will set you up for success to get a little bit done each day. 

Keep in mind…a writing goal is just a goal you set for each day. You determine a realistic time frame that fits your schedule. Then you figure out what you want to accomplish in that time frame.

You might want to write a certain number of words, or you might want to finish a chapter, or you might want to spend an hour brainstorming and formulating your book. 

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#2 – Writing Goals Vary From Person to Person

When you set your writing goals, you must think of what you want to accomplish. Your goals are personal and unique.

When thinking about your goals take into consideration the following:

  • Do you want to work on a certain part of your book each day? 
  • How many words do you want to write each day?
  • What time of day are you going to write?
  • How can you publish within a certain time frame?

Think of what you want to accomplish. Then set basic writing goals that will help you get your ultimate task accomplished by your deadline. 

For instance, if your book is due in two months, set aside a logical amount of words you can create each day over the next two months that will have your book finished by the deadline. 

Be sure to set realistic goals. You can’t expect yourself to write your book in a day. Your creativity and quality will suffer if you rush it, and you’ll hate your project! You will be much happier if you work at a pace that is comfortable for you. 

Also, be sure to cut yourself some slack. Not everyone wants to write every day. If you have other commitments, make time for them. But always set aside a bit of time for writing out of your week, preferably every other day. 

A good writing goal is measurable. “I will finish ten pages by Friday” is an example of a measurable goal. You set a timeline and an amount, and then you see if you accomplish it.

Setting deadlines by which you finish certain blocks of writing or writing tasks helps you see if you are making good progress. When you see how much progress you have made, you will feel more accomplished and more encouraged to keep plugging on!

#3 – Break Big Goals into Bite-Sized Chunks

You want to write a book. OK, that’s a great goal, but it’s a huge goal. You are less likely to complete that goal because it is just too large and vague.

Rather, you should break that big goal into smaller goals. Your brain gets less overwhelmed. “I want to write a chapter a week” is a way that you can break this huge goal of writing a book down into smaller pieces. 

Here are the smaller pieces you can start with…

  1. Start with brainstorming your ideas. 
  2. Then create an outline
  3. Next, focus on individual sections or chapters. 
  4. Then set aside time for self-editing and revising. 

Over time, all of your little accomplishments pile up into one huge one. Before you know it, your book is finished and ready for the editor!

#4 – Set Your Writing Goals Down on Paper

As you set writing goals, be sure to write them down. 

I recommend using a daily planner. Set aside a block of time when you have nothing else going on. Then determine how much you will write.

Also, schedule times to perform writing goal reviews. This is where you check your progress.

It can be helpful to write down little pep talk notes, too. A writing motivational quote or a nice mantra to recite when you feel like giving up can help you stay on track.

Add these motivational quips next to your written goals.

#5 – Self-Review: Don’t Be Your Own Worst Critic

There is no doubt that we writers can be hard on ourselves! But to keep goals, you must review your progress. Self-review is not a time to beat yourself up for not meeting a specific writing goal. 

Instead, use your self-review time to reflect on all that you have accomplished. Reward yourself for a job well-done. Think, “I did it! I actually wrote something!” Follow it up with a little celebration that you will enjoy.

If you are constantly falling short on your writing goals, that is a sign that your goals are unrealistic. The only way to keep a writing goal is to set a realistic one. So if you keep setting a writing goal to write a thousand words a day, and you usually only write three hundred, that is OK.

Just change your writing goal to be three hundred a day!

If you are exceeding your writing goals, on the other hand, perhaps you should step up the challenge. Increase your daily word count, for example. 

Have a review date. I like to review my progress every Friday. Your review date should be a day when you have little else going on and you have managed to make some progress. Make it consistent, such as a certain day of the week or month. 

#6 – Trust Your Intuition

A good writing goal is to write intuitively for a while, at least at the start of your scheduled writing session.

Intuitive writing is where you just let your ideas flow. You start with a blank page and write whatever comes to mind. The results will surprise you!

Don’t block your stream of consciousness by writing about a specific topic, or by worrying about grammar. Just write!

After an intuitive writing session, you can start editing. Trim the fat of excess words. Correct spelling and grammar mistakes. See how you can logically organize your work into an outline. 

#7 – Cut Out Distractions

When you sit down to meet a writing goal, don’t let distractions get in the way. This is a good time to turn your phone off and shut off the TV. Emails can wait. 

Distractions derail your thoughts. They can also suck you into a vortex of paying attention to things other than your writing goals. 

The time you set aside to write should be used solely for writing. Just focus on your writing goals and your creativity. Don’t let distractions take your mind away from the task at hand.

A routine is important when you want to get something done without distractions. Having one is the only way I am able to accomplish my goals and I can’t stress this enough.

#8 Psych Yourself Up

You just had a long day. The last thing you want to do is write. Being a couch potato in front of your favorite show seems far more alluring, right?

We have all been there. But you will ultimately feel guilty if you sacrifice writing time to vapidly watch TV.

To get motivated for a writing session, think about your writing goals and how badly you want to accomplish them. Think about how great you will feel when you finish your book or article. 

Also, think about how badly you will feel if you don’t meet your writing goals. That sense of disappointment can be crushing. Avoid it altogether by just working on your writing goals!

You should give yourself a pep talk every day before your block of writing time. Tell yourself, “I can do this!” 

A support network of some sort is also very helpful. Friends, family, and other writers can all cheer you on when you don’t want to write. 

Finally, use a writing prompt to get inspiration if your mind feels dry. I find daily writing prompts or story writing challenges featuring prompts can really get me going.

After I write a bit on a prompt, I’m officially in writing mode and ready to tackle a writing goal. 

#9 – Fill Your Life with Writing

One way I stay focused on my writing and gain motivation to complete my writing goals is by filling my life with writing.

I may not write every minute of every day. I spend time with my pets, talk to friends, take trips, and other hobbies I enjoy. I have a life outside of writing that keeps me from getting burned out. 

But, I do make sure writing infuses my life. 

I read a lot. Books inspire you and teach you how to be a better writer. Read within your book genre and watch your inspiration flourish. Read any enlightening new blogs and new books that catch your interest, too.

I also focus on writing a lot. When I’m not writing, I’m talking to people about writing. I am sharing my writing with my coach or in writing groups. I post in forums. Sometimes, I join contests or challenges and follow writing prompts. 

My social media is full of writers and writing groups. That way, I’m always thinking about it at some level, always connecting with other writers for inspiration and advice, and always sharing my writing to gain insights into how I can improve. 

#10 – Celebrate Each Victory

When you tick a writing goal off of your list or planner, you should not move on to thinking about the next goal. That’s how you get overwhelmed.

Instead, think about how great you are. Think about your success so far. Congratulate yourself.

writing-goals-motivations

Take a break and celebrate somehow. You have every right to reward yourself and strut your stuff!

Celebrations are not wastes of time. They are crucial to writing. If you celebrate each goal, then your brain will be more likely to want to complete more goals. Then you create an internal well of motivation to complete all of your writing goals.

Word of Wisdom to Live By

I leave you with this: Anyone can be an author, and you are more than capable of accomplishing your heart’s desire to write a book. 

The whole key to writing is setting writing goals that you can easily accomplish and measure. Review yourself and congratulate yourself on progress made.

Writing goals build on top of each other. So, as you complete one goal, you slide closer to the overall goal: Finishing a piece. 

With time, you start to build momentum. Writing goals turn into routine. You get bit by bit done, and before you know it you have finished! 

Just set aside some time for your writing goals. Then throw yourself into them. Motivate yourself however you must, but don’t skip out on writing. The sense of accomplishment you earn in the end makes it all worth it!

What are your top five writing goals to get you to the finish line of writing your book?

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author platform

How to Build an Author Platform: 8 Important Steps for Beginners


Once upon a time, you can become a successful author as long as you have good writing skills and can get a publishing contract.

But today, it takes a lot more than that.

You need to have an author platform, if you want to sell a lot of your books and become successful, either through self-publishing a book or even through traditional publishing.

And in case you haven’t heard, traditional publishers won’t give you a contract these days, unless they’re convinced you have a solid author platform.

But do you know the good news?

You can build your author platform one step at a time, and we’ll teach you how.

Because it’s a long-term process that doesn’t end, you can move at your own pace, using only those tools and strategies you feel comfortable with.

So, whether you’re a first-time author or an aspiring author or maybe you’ve even published once or twice without any platform, it’s not too late to start.

Here are 8 actionable steps to build your author platform:

  1. Know your target readers
  2. Identify and define your brand
  3. Create a website
  4. Start blogging consistently
  5. Build an email list
  6. Write guest posts
  7. Connect offline
  8. Use social media wisely

What is an Author Platform?

Let’s face it, different people define an author platform in many different ways but according to Jane Friedman, an author platform can be defined as the ability to sell books because of who you are or who you can reach.

An author platform can be described as everything you’re doing online and offline, to create awareness about who you are and what you do, so you can boost your brand visibility and make it easier and faster for your target audience and even the general public, to discover and connect with your brand and books.

[Pssst! If you want to check out some of our Students’ books, check out the SPS Library!]

what is an author platform

Benefits of Having an Author Platform

Without an author platform, most likely, only your family, friends and associates will know about your books and everything you do as an author.

But with an author platform, you can:

  • Help your target readers and the general public to discover your books easily
  • Attract new readers on a regular basis so you can connect with them
  • Engage existing readers, retain them and ultimately convert them to raving fans that buy from you
  • Boost your credibility as an author and earn the trust of your target readers because once they do, they’ll be more likely to buy your books
  • Build meaningful relationships with influencers and other relevant groups of people who can help promote your brand further
  • Sell more books on a regular and consistent basis

At the end of the day, your author platform makes it possible for you to build relationships with a diverse group of people online and offline so you and your books can get noticed quickly. 

author platform basics

How to Build An Author Platform With 8 Steps

Now that you know what an author platform is and why you need one, let’s look at the steps you can take to build your own:

#1 –  Know your target readers

To build an author platform that will help you succeed, it’s important for you to know everything about your target audience and be able to answer the following questions:

  • Who are they?
  • What do they do for a living?
  • What’s their age, sex, marital status, and location?
  • What are their hobbies, interests, and motivation?
  •  What challenges and problems do they struggle with?
  • What makes them happy and unhappy?
  •  Where do they spend their time online and offline?

When you know who your target audience is, it helps you learn where to focus your time and energy and on who.

author platform target audience

And here are some tips to help you identify your target readers:

  • Use Google to search for blogs, forums, and communities where your audience may be active e.g. blogs within your niche, websites of authors with similar books, etc.
  • Look for books similar to yours and take note of the kind of people reading them because they might be your target readers also
  • Use key details about your book to identify the specific type of people that usually buy such books, e.g. book format, book genre, price, number of pages, etc.
  • Do research on social media for groups interested in books similar to yours

When you know your target readers, you can apply that knowledge to everything you’re doing and build an author platform that draws and engages the right audience successfully.

#2 – Identify and define your brand

Your brand helps people to recognize you and form an opinion about you and your books, through your personality, your values, your voice, your promise to your readers and even the feelings you stir up in them, every time they read your books or come across your website and social media profiles.

Your brand is what makes you unique so you can stand out among others.

To identify and define your brand, consider the following:

build author platform
  • Decide if you’re going to use your real name or a pen name. Whatever you decide, use it consistently
  • Use only one professional headshot everywhere so you can be easily recognized
  • Come up with a one-sentence tagline that communicates the uniqueness of what you’re offering
  • Choose words and phrases that best describe your brand and use them in all your communication
  • Identify colors and fonts that fit with your brand and limit yourself to them
  •  Use all the above points consistently on your website, social accounts and also in your emails, email signature, author bios and so on

When you take the time to identify and define your brand, you can influence people’s impressions and opinions about you to your advantage and create a solid foundation for your author platform.

⟶ Related Read: How to Build Your Author Brand

#3 – Create a website

One of the best tools you need to build your author platform is a website.

And it should be a website with a modern and attractive look plus a functional design so that everyone that visits the website can have a great user experience at all times.

Here are a few ways your website can help build your author platform:

  • Your website is one place where you can showcase your brand as much as you want, using your brand colors, tagline, headshot and so on
  • A website makes you appear more professional and credible and boosts your chances of gaining the trust of your target audience
  • Because your website is your business headquarters, you can remain open for business 24 hours a day seven days a week
  • With a website, you and your books can be found easily by your target audience and the general public
  • On your website, your target readers can learn about your books at their convenience, irrespective of their time zone or location, all over the world
  • You have 100% control over your website so it cannot be taken away from you without notice, unlike your social media accounts
  • You can use your author website to sell your books directly to anyone who is ready to buy

To be able to enjoy all these benefits from your website, it’s important to make sure that your website is mobile-friendly, contains content that’s easy to read and scan, loads quickly, is easy to navigate, and is also accessible from any browser.

Bottomline, avoid website mistakes that can drive people away from your website.

author platform website

#4 – Start blogging consistently

Blogging is a way for you to share pieces of your writing with the public, in the form of blog posts and articles published on your blog.

Even though it’s not compulsory to have a blog on your website, it can help build your author platform in the following ways:

  • Blogging consistently compels you to write on a regular basis which helps to improve your writing
  • When you publish content regularly on your blog, you’ll attract more people to your site
  • As long as you produce quality and valuable content, blogging can position you as an authority and expert on your subject, which increases your credibility
  • Blogging makes it possible for you to have a two-way conversation with your readers because they can respond by commenting. This can help you build a community or a tribe of loyal fans (that can leave you those 5-star reviews!)
  • Blogging can help you connect and build strong relationships with other bloggers, influencers, authors, the media and so on

To build your platform through blogging, it’s important to write for your audience and always provide value.

Also, don’t forget to observe blogging best practices like adding images and graphics, optimizing your posts, writing magnetic headlines, and publishing consistently, maybe once or twice a week or every two weeks or monthly and so on.

#5 – Build an email list

Your email list is a list of people who gave you permission to send emails to them regularly when they signed up on your website and gave you their email address. 

One key advantage of having an email list is that no one can take it away from you.

Here’s how to build your email list:

  • Choose an email service provider like  Convertkit, Aweber, Mailchimp, etc.
  • Create a sign-up form on your website
  • Make available a thank you gift, also known as a lead magnet or reader magnet, for people that sign up
  • Decide how often you’re going to send emails to your list and be consistent about it. This could be weekly, biweekly, monthly and so on
  • Ensure you always send personalized emails that provide value
  • Avoid buying a list or putting people on your list manually
  • Remember to provide a way for people to unsubscribe easily from your emails
author platform email list

With an email list, you now have people that are interested in your brand and can be reached directly through emails, one on one.

You can use this unique opportunity to share relevant information about you or your new releases, when you’re ready for a launch team, to sell your books or provide information about your book launch or events, or to even sell directly to them, from time to time.

Check out this interview video with Chandler Bolt and Nick Stephenson that goes over how to build your audience as an author:

Just in case you’re not aware, email marketing is known to be one of the most effective marketing strategies with a whopping 3800% return on investment.

Remember, it’s okay to start with nobody on your list because that’s where most people start from but with time, persistence and best practices, you can grow your email list which helps to build your writer platform

#6 – Write guest posts

A guest post is a blog post or an article that you write and publish on another person’s site.

This can help you:

  • Introduce your brand to a new group of people
  • Direct more traffic to your website
  • Attract new people to your email list
  • Boost the SEO of your website so it can show up in search engine results
  • Develop relationships with other bloggers, authors, influencers and so on

For you to successfully build your platform through your guest posting effort, don’t forget to:

  • Research and confirm that the blog you’re interested in accept guest posts, allows an author bio with links back to your site and have an audience that matches the type of audience you want to attract
  • Read their guidelines and follow them
  • Pitch an original post title that has not been written before on their site or anywhere else
  • Respond to comments once your post is published

#7 – Connect offline

While it’s true that a lot of your author platform building activities will be done online, there are some steps you can also take offline, to connect with your target audience and build your author platform.

Here are some ways to connect offline:

  • Inform family, friends, neighbors, and other groups in your community about what you do
  • Create business cards that has your website information, using your brand color, font, logo, etc and share them everywhere you go
  • Join author groups and associations in your local community and beyond
  • Attend writers conferences and events
  • Accept speaking engagements
  • Support your local libraries and bookstores and participate in some of their activities
  • Become a guest on a podcast or on radio or television

⟶ Related Read: How to Market Your Book Effectively in 2019

#8 – Use social media wisely

Having a presence and being active on social media can put your brand in front of a large number of people that you may not have the opportunity to connect with anywhere else, which goes a long way to increase your brand visibility and build your author platform.

Examples of such social media sites include Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and many others.

Here are some simple tips for using social media as an author:

  • Identify all the social media platforms where your target readers can be found
  • Choose one or two that you like and are comfortable with and learn everything about them
  • Come up with a strategy on how you will use each social media platform to achieve your goal
  • Decide in advance how much time you can afford to spend on social media daily and keep to it
  • Create a profile and start posting, using the strategy you came up with

Even though social media can be used effectively to build your author platform, almost everyone agrees that it can take up a lot of your time if you’re not careful, so remember to take preventive steps to avoid that. 

⟶ Related Read: How to Use Instagram for Authors

Actionable Steps to Build Your Author Platform

Now that you know all the steps you can take to build your author platform, come up with your own plan of action by identifying the step you want to start with and those you can even do at the same time.

Remember, building an author platform takes time and cannot be done overnight so the earlier you start, the better.

author platform
editing a book

How to Edit a Book: An Easy Step-by-Step Guide

Learning how to edit a book is hard.

It just is, and editing your own stuff is even harder. It’s your baby, and it’s hard to cut and change the thing you’ve spent so long laboring over.

The fact that writing and publishing a book successfully is so important to you can make this even more difficult.

But your baby has to grow up.

That means growing pains, the terrible twos where nothing makes sense, and an angsty teenage phase where the words themselves rebel against you and you regret that drunken night so long ago when you thought you had the next great novel idea…

Thankfully, we have a step-by-step guide to make it a lot less painful.

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

Here are the steps for how to edit a book:

  1. Finetune your book editing goals
  2. Break it up to edit
  3. Redefine the point of the book
  4. Dig into your characters
  5. How to edit chapters
  6. Editing for pacing
  7. Line editing your book
  8. Common book editing mistakes to avoid
  9. Next steps for editing your book

How to Edit a Book in Full

It’s not fun, but in the end, learning how to edit a book is necessary for your writing to grow into an adult capable of standing on its own.

You might want to just hand off your book to an editor and be done with it, and that still may be a good idea as a final step, but there are decisions that no editor can make for you. 

Self-editing isn’t about just fixing some typos, it’s about turning a mess of ideas into a publishable book, and unless your editor can read your mind, it won’t be the same unless you self-edit first.

[Pssst! If you want to see some of our Students’ books, check out the SPS Library!]

#1 – Define Your Book Editing Goal

Your goal should always be for your writing to be clean, concise, and easily understood. 

Just because you can write a grammatically correct sentence that goes on for 3 pages won’t make people want to read your book.

In fact, it will probably send them looking for anything else to do. 

If your goal is to impress people with your technical skill and ability to write long beautiful sentences that barely make sense, then you’re not writing a book, you’re creating an art piece using a book as a medium. That’s fine if that’s your goal, but that’s not what we’re doing here.

If you want the story to be the art, not the words themselves, then clarity should be your number one priority.

Where do you begin? At the beginning of course.

It doesn’t really matter where you start, but the beginning is never a bad choice. You generally want to start with the big picture and work your way down to the small stuff. 

Your focus should be on story, character and flow first, then grammar and exact words later.

Think of editing like woodworking. The craftsman goes over their piece hundreds of times. First, they cut out the basic shape, then they shape it, add in the fine details, and finally come through with finer and finer sandpaper until they’re polishing up a beautifully finished work.

It’s the same thing with a book. 

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#2 – Break Your Book Up in Sections to Edit

If you’re starting at the beginning of a long book it can be helpful to break it up into manageable chunks. Split it into four or five pieces that you can edit one at a time.

A great way to do this is to break it up by Act, if you’re using a three-act story structure.

If you do this you need to be careful that you pay attention to the flow, and that all the pieces that you edited separately still fit together in the end.  

One of your final edits should always be a top to bottom read through for flow, and when editing in chunks, this step is even more important.

#3 – Step Back and Define the Point of Your Book

I said we start at the beginning, but that’s not entirely true. Not yet. First, we need to step back from the manuscript entirely.

Before you put red pen to virgin paper, you need to know what your book is about. 

I know what my book is about, I wrote the fool thing,” I hear you shout at your screen. 

Too often though, I find that it is remarkably easy to finish a piece and not really know what the main point is. We can become so bogged down with all the side plots and tangents that we forget what’s vital to the story. 

What is the story really about if you trim all the fat? What is necessary to tell the story, and what isn’t?

You want a sleek, streamlined story. Not a bloated one, that’s so full of side plots that it’s impossible to tell what the main one is.

How do we know what the point of our book really is?

Write a short synopsis. Anywhere from 500-2000 words. Don’t just write one though. Write several synopses explaining it in different ways, from different points of view and perspectives. This will give you an extremely clear idea of what’s important and what’s not to tell your story.

This will help you focus on what’s important, and it tells you where you need to do more work.

#4 – Focus on the Characters

This brings us to characters. Every major character should appear in your synopsis.

If they don’t then likely they aren’t really a major character. Ask yourself what purpose they serve and why they’re there.

If they don’t have a purpose you need to give them one, remove them, or trim their part down so they’re not distracting from the overall focus. 

Your characters should all have a purpose, from major to minor.

Make sure every character serves their purpose, and none of their arcs are left incomplete. If you leave them with open ends, it can make your character development weak and therefore, uninteresting.

#5 – Editing Chapters

Now you know what your story is saying, you’ve synopsized it several different times from different angles, and your characters work. Now let’s go on a level.

Let’s look at all your chapters. 

Just like your characters, every chapter needs a purpose that moves the main plot forward.

Ask these questions about each chapter:

  • Does this chapter have a purpose? 
  • Does it move the plot forward?
  • Does it develop an important character?
  • Can I continue the story without it?

If the chapter doesn’t do one of these things, either cut it or find a way to condense anything important into another chapter, it may not need to stand on its own.

#6 – Editing a Book for Pacing

While you’re going through the chapters, consider the pacing of the book as a whole. 

This can be a hard thing to explain, as it is very much a feeling, but until the climax of your book, you shouldn’t have any big breaks in the action. Little breathers can be good to set up the next scene, but you shouldn’t have long stretches where the tension drops.

Above all, the story should never grind to a halt.

Don’t give your reader whiplash by slamming on the breaks and then speeding off a second later.

Let your story breathe slowly. Slowly increasing and decreasing the pace like your book is taking a breath. All the while you are slowly ramping up the pace and tension until the climax.

Here are a few ways to pace your novel effectively…

Book’s Overall Pacing

Will it be faster (think horror/thriller novels), or will it be slower (think contemporary or romance). This will determine how you write and finish chapters.

You likely have a preference as an author for a fast or a slow-paced book. This is often the same as what we prefer to read.

Do you like your books to be the type you can’t put down and read in a couple of sittings, or the type of book readers can pick up every night and read a chapter or two?

Certain book genres also predetermine your pacing, so keep this in mind.

Book genres with typically fast pacing:

  • Horror
  • Thriller
  • Mystery
  • Action / Adventure
  • Comedies
  • Paranormal

Book genres with slower pacing:

  • Epic fantasy
  • Dramas
  • Contemporary
  • Romances
  • Historical Fiction

Book genres where pacing varies greatly:

  • Fantasy
  • Sci-Fi
  • Dystopian

Pacing Within Chapters

The pacing within a chapter is also very important, and there’s a great way to manage this with your writing.

A really great way to manage pacing within chapters is to use paragraphs wisely.

Now, there are grammatical rules to follow for paragraphs, but you can also use paragraph breaks and writing chapters intentionally to slow down or increase the pacing.

If you want a fast-paced chapter: The key to faster pacing is shorter, more frequent paragraphs. Dialogue is also very useful for increasing pacing because it pulls readers farther down the page, quicker.

If you want a slow-paced chapter: Fewer paragraphs, written longer, will slow down the pacing significantly. This means more internal thoughts and more in-depth descriptions. Essentially, you’re creating more text on the page, which takes longer to read, which slows the pacing.

Putting these methods together: You can use these techniques to create a rhythm within your work. If you feel like an area is too slow, see where you can break up paragraphs or add bits of dialogue. And if a section is too fast, see where you can add more internal musings or setting/character descriptions.

Remember, if you end a chapter on a cliff-hanger, this will make the pacing for this section seem faster.

Overall Book Pacing as a Whole

It’s important to step back and look at your book in terms of pacing as a whole. It can be easy to pace a few chapters in a row slowly, only to have that section of your book feel boring to readers.

While you may have reasons for keeping those chapters slower-paced, too many in a row can create that “rut” readers often complain about in the middle of a book.

Step back and look at your chapters next to each other. A great way to do this is with sticky notes.

Use one color for a slow pace, and another for faster-paced chapters.

Line them up along your wall and step back.

If you have too may slow-paced chapters next to each other, do some digging and figure out how you can add tension there—and realize that if you have several fast-paced chapters next to each other, your book will speed by, which can often cause information overload or confusion.

You control pacing on the large scale with plot and structure, and on the small scale with sentence and paragraph structure. Short punchy sentences speed the reader along, and long, complex sentences and paragraphs slow the reader down.

#7 – Line Editing a Book

Now we begin my least favorite part… the line by line edit.

There’s no shortcut here. You have to go through your book, line-by-line, word-by-word, and consider each paragraph sentence and word.

You’re looking for typos, grammatical mistakes, passive voice, but largely just, how can you make this more readable?

Ask yourself this when line editing a book:

  • Would this sentence be more clear if I rearranged it? 
  • Is this sentence necessary? 
  • Does it add anything? 
  • Is this paragraph clear? 
  • If not, how can it be more clear? 
  • Is it obvious who’s speaking here? How do I fix that?

These are the kinds of questions you need to be asking about each and every sentence and paragraph in your book.

There’s no shortcut. You just have to force yourself to sit down and do it or hire a professional book editor.

That being said, there are some common things to look for that I’ll show you in the next section, and it never hurts to have a copy of the Chicago Manual nearby as well.

Common Book Editing Mistakes to Avoid

Not everyone is perfect and can edit a book perfectly the first time. That’s what book editors are for, after all.

However, handing over a manuscript littered with these mistakes can not only make the editing more expensive, but it can also hinder your book’s final product because, well, the better version you send to the editor, the better final product.

Here are a few things to avoid when editing your book.

#1 – “Keep it simple stupid”

KISS, the old Navy saying is a good one to live by when you’re editing. Shorter and simpler is almost always better. 

If you can say it in fewer words, do it.     

If a shorter word will work, use it.

If you can say that whole beautiful monologue in a sentence, guess what? Shorten it.

There are always exceptions to the rule. If you have a good reason, breaking this rule can make a section stand out. Exceptions can be for characterization, mostly. If you have a character who is long-winded and this serves a purpose, their ramble of dialogue can likely stay.

If you’re ever unsure, though, stick to simple.

#2 – Avoid redundancies

It’s very easy to do because it’s often how we talk. In writing though, it’s unnecessary, and it can actually make your point less clear as the audience tries to figure out why you just repeated yourself.  

Don’t just say the same thing you did another way to make sure the point got across.

Don’t drone on and on because your words are too bountiful a crop to cull, and the audience should marvel at your use of words…. 

You see what I did there?

Don’t do it.

Your audience is smart, and will usually pick up what you mean the first time, Even if they don’t, guess what? It’s a book, not a Snapchat, they can go back and reread if they need to.

Give your audience credit, they’re often smarter than you think.

This brings me to my next point.

#3 – Don’t preach

It’s one of the things I struggle with the most. I’m just itching to have a character, the narrator, or some pretty prose spell out the fascinating philosophical implication of this character’s actions or thoughts. 

Don’t do it. It’s cheap, and it comes across as flat and boring. 

Find a way to show it with action instead.

Your audience is smart; if your writing is done well, they should come to the conclusion you wanted them to on their own. It will be far more powerful than if you simply told them because it’s an active experience for the reader.

They may also come to a different conclusion than you expected, and that can be even more fun.

#4 – Show, don’t tell.

This is very similar to the last point. If you have some piece of information you need the audience to know, show it with action instead of telling them, or have it come up in natural conversation between the characters.

This is the classic rule of “show don’t tell.

Don’t tell the audience about the terrible PTSD your character is suffering from. Don’t fill the page with beautiful prose about how the character feels.

Show them how the character is affected. Let your audience experience the emotions through the character. 

Showing is always more powerful than telling, and powerful is what you want.

#5 – Don’t Overdo Styling

Don’t be cutesy or flowery with your word choice or styling. 

For instance, 

“He wheezed an answer,” 

or 

“Don’t… goooo. DON’T!!!”

It’s distracting and silly. It’s like the literary equivalent of the over the top drama in a soap opera.

It’s comical, and not in a good way.

#6 – Watch for writing tics

Just like you have verbal tics that you fall back on when you’re speaking, like “umm,” we have writing tics as well.

They’re often unconscious and entirely unnecessary. They clutter up the page, and you need to excise them from your piece like little tumors.

book editing


These are words like:

  • Just
  • So
  • Which
  • Basically (Many adverbs really)
  • Great (most Adjectives)
  • Like 
  • About

For instance, I have a bad habit of using, “So,” and “which,” far too often. 

I may say, 

“So, because of that….” 

Or,

“Which is why we need to…”


Be on the lookout for your common tic words. They’re almost always unnecessary and can rob your writing of power by making your sentences wordy and confusing.

Keep in mind that you likely have a word or phrase you use often as well. For example, you may use “pulled” or “snatched” or even “reluctantly” repeatedly and not even notice.

Keep an eye out and learn to recognize these words or phrases.

#7 – Don’t over-edit

Generally, the more you edit the better your book, but there is such a thing as too much editing.

You don’t want your book to be stuck in perpetual editing hell. 

It’s easy to get trapped by the feeling that your book has to be perfect, but perfection is often unattainable. Eventually, you need to publish it. 

Get it as good as you can, but don’t obsess over it. Share it. You’re writing isn’t complete until you share it.

What’s next? Editors, beta readers, and more!

After you’ve done everything I’ve said so far it may still be a good idea to hire an editor.

Beta readers are a great choice if you can’t afford an editor, and even if you can, I still recommend it.

All a beta reader is, is someone, usually a family member or friend who you ask to read your book and give you feedback before you publish. The value you get from seeing what normal people think of your book is massive.

And this should be done before you send to an editor, for obvious reasons (you wouldn’t want to pay for another editor after betas have pointed out major flaws you need to rewrite, would you?).

But you have to take their criticisms to heart. You don’t have to change everything they bring up, but seriously consider what your readers and editor say. 

Try to avoid defending your piece too strongly. It’s easy to simply write off criticism as someone just not understanding what you were doing. Especially if it’s a phrase or section you like. 

And a major tip for when you have beta readers: never explain or correct their assumptions. It can be tempting for you to dive in and tell a beta why they didn’t understand a section, but doing this risks their feedback being unbiased and fresh, and therefore, unusable.

The bottom line is that if someone misunderstands something you said then others may too. You may not be wrong, your friend may have been an idiot, but chances are there is a clearer way for you to say whatever it was they didn’t understand.

Remember, there’s no “right” way & this is YOUR process

In the end, there is no perfect way to edit a book.

If your finished project is clean, clear, and easily understandable, then you edited perfectly. Whether you follow this guide, talked to a monk on top of a mountain, or you laid all the pages on your floor and changed every sentence your cat stepped on, it doesn’t matter if the final product is good. 

And ultimately, every writer has a different editing process. If you want to print your book to edit it, perfect! If you prefer to use Google docs, great!

It’s all about whatever works best for you and allows you to create real progress and change in your manuscript.

What I’ve given you is a guide to get started. Take it, tweak it, make it your own, and go finish your book! 

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good audiobook

What Makes a Good Audiobook and Why You Should Create One!

Are you listening? Your future readers are.

Is this a familiar scenario:

“The only person in your way is you.”

You nod as the light turns green. Time to go, time to move forward. 

“Letting fear drive you will only drive you to disappointment,” the narrator reads his book to you. Your speakers beg for just a little more volume to drown out the traffic.

You lean in and turn it up.

This is what you want for your readers, this is what your current readers are missing, and these are the readers/listeners you are missing by not having an audiobook.

There is an entire audience who have no idea that your book could change their lives.  In fact, they don’t even know it exists if they only listen to audiobooks. 

Don’t worry! We can fix this, just hang out with me for about 10 minutes or so, and you will be equipped with encouragement, inspiration, and most importantly, a plan!

After writing multiple books and recording my own audiobooks, I’ve learned a few things that will help both green and seasoned writers. With so much useful information packed into one post, we’re going to break it down to some basic questions straight from middle-school English class.

Here’s what we’ll cover in relation to audiobook creation (if you’re in a hurry, skip to 1, 3, and 5):

  1. WHY make an audiobook?
  2. HOW do I make an audiobook?
  3. WHAT makes a good audiobook?
  4. WHO should narrate the audiobook?
  5. WHEN should I start on this? (+ Actionable steps)

#1 – Why make an audiobook?

Audiobooks are POWERFUL lead magnets.

Benefits include:

The obvious: More Book Sales! 

Why not just sell both the digital and the audio? I know the temptation. After investing all this time and money into this audiobook, I need it to “pay” off, so why should I give it away? If that’s a hurdle you can’t get over, at least try using it as a lead magnet for a limited time, then switching to paid. Doing it this way allows for #4 (below) to thrive.

Fewer customer complaints.

When people get something for free, they are less likely to complain about it, though it still happens. However, this releases you from feeling like you have to have the perfect product. As Chandler says, “done is better than perfect.” We’ll cover more in the HOW and WHAT  sections.


Audiobook sales.

If you decide to put the book on Audible (the leader in audiobook production) or other sites like Findaway Voices, you will still get sales from people who never took the time to visit your Amazon (or other) page.


The most obvious: Build Your Subscriber List!

Having an author career is a long game. It requires support and a following at the least. This is the point of a lead magnet, to entice readers to sign up for your correspondence. Subscribers by email are gold for an author. Check it out here (and get a free audiobook) to see how the process looks from the subscriber’s side.

None of the other questions matter if we don’t understand our “why.”

As an author, you want to reach a broader audience while also better serving your current readers. 

The market for digital and print books is saturated (which isn’t the worst thing), but the audiobook market is still wide open. This is a great time to jump in, stand out, offer more, and expand your reach. 

Find out how I “read” 50 books in 2018 and see which ones they were, but only after you finish reading this post! I use Audible; they have a great referral program where they’ll give you a free book to start, sometimes TWO!

Go ahead, right click and “Open Link in New Tab,” and click back over here. This post isn’t going anywhere.

Need some more social proof? How about actual statistics? Here are some highlights from the 2018 global audiobook trends article:

  • Audiobooks are growing faster than any other digital publishing.
  • Nearly half of all listeners are under 35 and listen to 15 books a year, claiming that “audiobooks help you finish more books.”
  • People choose audio for multi-tasking, portability, and the novelty of someone else reading to them.
  • Podcasts (another growing industry) are a gateway to audiobooks.
  • Some publishers are skipping ebook production and going straight to audio, recognizing that audiobook sales are independently increasing.

Are you convinced yet? Before you go hire someone or crank up your voice memos, read on to see how best to create your audiobook.

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#2 – How do you make an audiobook?

SPS has a great post here about how to make an audiobook. It includes tips on prepping your content, recording, hiring narrators, equipment, uploading to ACX (Audiobook Creation Exchange) for Audible, and more.

In addition to those things, here are a few tips from my experience when producing my first audiobook.

  1. Use two computers or devices. I used one to handle the recording and audio editing (I chose to do simultaneous editing), and the other to read from while revising. No matter how many times you edit your book, you’ll always want to tweak something; recording your audiobook is no exception. If you’ve hired out your formatting, make notes for them of what you’ve changed.
  2. Keep plenty of water nearby. One time while recording some of my music in a studio, the producer told me to take a drink of water before every take. I didn’t realize how much difference it made until I tried it. Take a deep breath and a big swig before each take.
  3. Don’t beat yourself up for tripping over words. If it keeps happening, take a break. “Ahh! Can you even read? Come on, Michael!” Believe me, I understand the frustration.
  4. Invite or hire a professional or semi-professional to help with setup. If you have any musician friends or podcaster buddies, have them help set up your environment and equipment, down to chair placement and lighting. I made the mistake of trying to do it all by myself (cue Eric Carman) and I ended up re-recording my book 1.5 times—that’s 2.5 total! It was a mess.
  5. BONUS: A crucial piece of advice: listen to audiobooks in your genre. This should sound familiar, as it’s common advice to read the genre you write in, and it’s just as important to listen to it. To be a great writer, you must be an avid reader (and listener!) 

With so much screen fatigue, it’s nice to break away and maybe look at, I don’t know, the sky or something real. Try that now…I’ll wait…

Ah, wasn’t that nice? 

Let’s get back to business! What makes a good audiobook?

[Pssst! If you want to see some of our Students’ books, check out the SPS Library!]

#3 – What makes a good audiobook?

  1. Start with a solid foundation: Before producing an audiobook, be sure that you have invested in proper and sound editing, cover design, formatting, and a strong launch plan.
  2. Cast the right voice (even if its yours): coming up in #4: WHO…patience, young grasshopper…
  3. Conviction: Not only does your book need to be believable, but your narrator needs to convey the same conviction as you did when writing it.
  4. Eliminate Mouth Sounds: This. Was. A. Pain. You, like me at one point, probably have no idea how much sound your mouth makes, from breath control to saliva and lip smacks. I ended up hiring someone from Fiverr to go through and edit my four-hour audiobook; the cost was around $300, which included mastering (adjusting the levels and frequencies for the specific ACX requirements). 

“Is my book right for audio?” 

I would argue that ANY book can be useful as an audiobook!

“What about children’s books?” 

Imagine the novelty of having the author narrate his/her own work while the kids flip through the pages, all without having to go to a book-reading.

“How about short, daily reads, like religious devotionals?” 

My non-fiction book is a weekly devotional for people wanting to grow in worship, 

“I’ve got you on this one: cookbooks!” 

Au contraire…imagine how helpful it could be to have someone walk you through a recipe in real time, hands-free. If that doesn’t quite work, it can still serve to push people to your digital/physical book for reference and pictures. 

In fact, some audiobooks come with companion content such as Good Clean Fun by Nick Offerman.

By now, you’re seriously considering this audiobook thing. Logically, the next thing to work out is WHO should narrate your book. 

#4 – Who should narrate my audiobook?

Having a perfect book will not save you from poor narration. Audible makes it a point to offer a Performance section in their reviews. 

good audiobook

Did you also notice the tab below for Amazon Reviews? That’s even more reason to get the “WHAT” right in this entire process. 

When it comes to narration, there are two ways to go: do it yourself or hire it out.

Narrating Your Own Book:

There a plenty of advantages here. If you choose this route, you can either set up your own recording space or purchase studio time with an engineer.

Many readers will say they prefer authors to narrate their own works because it’s more authentic to the intentions. However, not all writers are great narrators.

I suggest this, a test run: 

  1. Use a phone app or voice recorder and try reading a chapter into it. 
  2. Listen back with objective ears, imagining your ideal reader. 
  3. Ask yourself if you were drawn in to the story or distracted by the narration. Be honest with yourself, and consider what it would take to make it better: cadence, pronunciation, accent, or perhaps a professional narrator. *If you choose to tackle accents, do your best to respect them rather than stereotyping. Audiobook listeners tend to care about accuracy and honor. For example, in England alone, there are half a dozen or more accents. In America, southern accents vary across states and regions.
  4. Send the sample to an objective friend (preferably one familiar with the accents and style you’re going for), and be open to honest feedback.

If you decide self-narrating isn’t for you, then you can hire a professional.

Tups for hiring a narrator:

what makes an audiobook good
  • Cost: Narrators can be paid in different ways. ACX offers an hourly rate or a 50% split royalties option. There are other ways as well, such as Upwork, Fiverr, and Voices.
  • Voice: fiction or non, nailing the voice is a make-it-or-break-it detail for many listeners. In fact, Audible has an entire section of its reviews dedicated to Narrator Performance. There is a common consensus that says having an non-preferred narrator is one of the biggest turn-offs for listeners.
  • Communication: you’ll want to make sure the narrator gets the pronunciations right as well as any specific occasions of sarcasm, humor, drama, timing, or more. They can fix some things in post-production, but changing the pronunciation of a main character’s name after finishing the book would be nearly impossible. It’s not as simple as “Find and Replace” (one of my favorite word processing functions!). ACX has great videos to help with such things.
  • More tips: ACX | AME | Stacked

#5 – When to start making an audiobook?

If this post has stirred you up at all, then you must act! 

You and I both know this to be true, so here are some things you can do right now to become a better writer and jump start your audiobook production.

  1. Try the self-narrating tip from #4. For me, I’ve always loved doing impressions and finding new voices and accents. In fact, it has influenced my writing; I now try to include characters whose voices I know I can give life to. Recently, I made one of my characters Scottish, an accent I’ve always admired and respected.  
  2. Get started listening with Audible right now if you haven’t already, and start reading reviews, specifically in the Performance section. There are also plenty of free audiobook sources out there.
  3. Continue polishing your book as best you can. Adjustments to the written word are fairly easy, but punching in seamless narration is nearly impossible. It doesn’t have to be perfect though! There is always the option to re-record your book (and likely be even better the next time around) or hire someone else to do it.
  4. Read the SPS post about making an audiobook, and revisit the myriad links in this post.

NOTE: We cover everything in this blog post and much more about the writing,  marketing, and publishing process in ourVIP Self-Publishing Program. Learn more  by clicking here!

how to write a book

How to Write a Book Step by Step: With a Free Book Template

Writing a book is hard without the right help. Without someone who’s done it before, you can end up making crucial mistakes.

You decided to write a book. Maybe you have the perfect idea (so you think, but we’ll get to that), have always wanted to write one, and just aren’t sure where the heck to get started!

The process of writing and publishing a book successfully is so much more than just writing and pushing a button to publish on Amazon.

Anyone who says learning how to write a book is easy has never actually tried. If they did, they’d know writing a book takes a lot more than a helpful piece of grammar software.

It takes help from someone who’s done it before.

Which is why I’m weighing in, having written and published 6 bestselling books and replicated my process across thousands of students through our Become a Bestseller program.

Let’s save you a ton of time, and many headaches, and dive into how to write a book.

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

You stare at a blank page for 5 minutes, but it feels like hours. To combat the boredom, you stand, stretch, and brew yet another pot of coffee.

And…a week later someone asks how your book is coming, and you think, “Book? What book? I haven’t even come up with a book idea yet!”

But now you’re ready to start writing a book—and we’re going to help make sure you do.

Here’s how to write a book step by step:

  1. Prevent procrastination when writing a book
  2. Adopt the Mentality of a Writer
  3. Preparing to Write a Book
  4. Schedule writing time
  5. Get book writing tools
  6. Writing Your Book
  7. Get Your Free Book Template
  8. Avoid Book Writing Mistakes
  9. Launching After Writing Your Book

Ready to get started as a serious writer right now? Check out your free training below before reading the rest of this post!

How to Write a Book Despite Procrastination

There are plenty of reasons why writing a book, whether you’re writing a fiction novel or a nonfiction book, puts most writers directly into procrastination mode.

These are some common reasons you procrastinate when writing a book:

  • You’re not sure how to get started
  • It’s terrifying to spill your guts to the world in a book
  • You’re insecure about your writing and have writer’s block before you’ve even started
  • You’re afraid of getting negative book reviews when you do eventually publish
  • You’re worried that even if you do write your book, nobody will buy it and you’ll end up with low book sales for life
  • You’re not sure how to take your idea and turn it into an actual book

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

You’re in illustrious company!

Ready to learn how to write your first book and go from blank page to published author in just 90 days? Then let’s get started!

How to Write a Book Step 1: Think Like a Writer

Before you sit down and type a single word, it will pay off if you take some time to address a few attitude questions and adopt the right mindset.

This is one of the most frequently overlooked steps in becoming a published author, which is a big reason why so many people fail to finish their book.

Take it from me—it’s worth your time to complete these steps. They will make the rest of your book-writing experience much, much easier and more satisfying.

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

#1 – Find Your “Why” for Writing a Book

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

What’s your reason for writing a book?

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

I won’t lie. Writing a book is rewarding, but it requires hard work. It requires emotional labor, long nights (or early mornings), extended weekends, and facing a constant self-critical process that is unlike anything you’ve experienced before.

Solidifying the purpose fueling your book will carry you through this difficult process.

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

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

And this is a huge reason why so many of our Become a Bestseller students end up starting and finishing their drafts quickly—in 30 days in most cases!

These are some popular reasons for authors to write a book:

  • Authority: To build credibility.
  • Money: For financial gain, business success, or to make a living writing.
  • Grow a network: To meet and connect with others in the industry.
  • Passion project: To share an empowering story for the greater good.
  • To have an escape: A mental escape can help you deal with real-world problems.
  • To give others an escape: If you write fiction, you might want to give others struggling a safe place to go.
  • To change lives: Books change lives and your message could empower others to make a change in their life.

There are no wrong or right purposes for writing a book.

Your WHY will be unique to you.

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

#2 – Get Rid of Your Excuses for Not Writing the Book

You’ve figured out your WHY and articulated your unique purpose for writing a book. And right on cue, something is going to try to derail your progress already: your writing excuses.

When there’s nothing standing in your way, it’s sadly typical to start letting excuses for not writing your book become the obstacle to your success.

But you can overcome it.

It’s worthwhile to spend a little time addressing some common excuses many of us make to prevent us from writing.

Once you’ve cleared out the cobwebs and smashed those mental roadblocks, you’ll be better prepared for the writing process ahead. Getting your mind ready is one of the first steps to producing valuable work, whether than a publishing an ebook, the next great American novel, or a passion project.

Excuse #1 – You don’t know what to write.

You may not realize it, but you have a story worth telling.

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

The easiest way to start writing your first book is to choose a topic you’re comfortable with. You can literally write a book about anything, so go with what you know.

Here’s how you can figure out what to write about:

  • Look at a list of writing prompts or story ideas and choose an idea
  • Write a list of all the things you’re most passionate about
  • Write down a list of everything you’re very knowledgeable about
  • Write a list of areas you want to be seen as credible in
  • Compile all of these lists and rank your ideas in order of what you’re most passionate about
  • Imagine which idea you’d be most proud to have your name on
  • Choose the idea you know the most about and are the most passionate about

Once you have an idea narrowed down, you can go ahead and start your mindmap and outline.

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Excuse #2 –  You don’t have enough time.

Today, we’re all busy. I get it.

Plus, how long does writing a book take in the first place?

But I have some good news: Writing a book takes less time than you think.

Find an hour a day you devote to something mindless—social media, video games, internet, or TV—and start writing instead.

And if you don’t have an hour, try 30 minutes. Even 5 minutes 3 times a day can be a source of massive writing productivity. Think about it.

The average person can type 60 words a minute. 60 words x 5 minutes = 300 words. Do that 3 times a day and you’ll produce close to 1,000 words a day.

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

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

Think you need to read all day long to be a writer? Think again.

In fact, many prolific writers cut down on their reading—at least temporarily—in order to give themselves enough time to write.

Besides, you don’t need to be a literary connoisseur to write a great book. Your writing style and voice is your own.

And the best way to discover your own natural writing voice is by sitting down and writing (not reading what others have written).

Here are some tips to use reading to help you write a book while reading less:

  • Only read a chapter or two at night
  • Read in a genre different than your own (this helps avoid being influenced too heavily by another book)
  • Be intentional about what you read
  • Have designated reading time that doesn’t interfere with writing time
  • Stop reading for a while if you have very little spare time

Excuse #4 – You’re “not an expert.”

A lot of people get tripped up on this. They think, “Oh, I’m not really an expert on ___. I can’t write about that.”

The truth is that the whole concept of “expert” is very subjective. An amateur astronomer wouldn’t seem like an expert to Stephen Hawking…but to 99% of the rest of the world, they would be an expert.

You don’t need to know everything about your topic. As long as there’s a knowledge gap between you and the reader—and as long as you’re helping to fill that gap by teaching them the things they don’t know—then you’re expert enough to write a book.

So stop worrying about “not being an expert!” If you’re passionate and knowledgeable about a topic, then you are 100% qualified to write a book about it.

Excuse #5 – Your first draft must be flawless.

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

Even experienced professional writers who finished a book that ended up covered in the red pen of an editor or numerous red changes in a document, just like the one pictured below.

how to write a book

As Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg said, “Done is better than perfect.”

If it works for a multi-billion-dollar company, it should work for your first self-published book.

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

#3 – Realize You Don’t Need to Be Perfect

The thought of writing a book causes many people to think, “I’m not a good enough writer. I need to do _____ before I start writing.”

Well, I’m here to tell you that:

  1. You don’t need a creative writing class.
  2. You don’t need a writing mentor or coach (though it does help).
  3. You don’t need to read thousands of good books.

You only need one thing: a system for finishing your book.

There’s no such thing as a perfect book or a perfect writer. When you get down to it, the most important distinction is between authors who finish their books and authors who don’t.

Don’t worry about being perfect. Just focus on your book, and your writing will get better and better over time.

As with anything we learn, writing is a skill. It requires practice to hone over time. So let go of the idea that you’re not good enough and work to improve by reading expert writing tips and practicing daily.

This will help you make the mindset switch from “I can’t” to “Let’s get this done!”

how to write a book quote

How to Write a Book Step 2: Pepare to Write a Book

Now it’s time to start your prep work. Before you start putting any words onto the page, you need to focus on a few important preparations.

Take the time to complete these steps and you’ll be setting yourself—and your new book—up for success.

#1 – Schedule Your Book Writing Time

Here are 3 things you can do to create your own customized book writing plan.

Without a plan, it’s too easy to let your book writing goals get pushed to the background, eventually fading into the soft mist of “someday.”

Step 1 – Develop a writing habit and plan it out

Don’t let your book end up in the graveyard of dreams. In order to realize your end goal, you need actionable steps to follow.

Assess what’s going on in your life in the next 30 days, then block out when you can write, and when you can’t. It’s common for new writers to set unrealistic time goals, which in turn generates stress when it’s impossible to meet those arbitrary deadlines.

Avoid this and stay realistic, since developing a writing habit is most important at this stage in learning how to write a book.

Thirty minutes (or even 5 minutes) spent writing is better than nothing, so resolve to make it happen and find the time.

how to write a book scheduling example

Look at Laura Bennett, a Self-Publishing School student. She was working full-time, running a business, and working on her Master’s degree—busier than most people—yet she found the time to write her book Live Your Dream: How to Cut the Crap and Prioritize Your Purpose in 2 months!

If Laura could make it happen, then writing your book is certainly an attainable dream.

Step 2 – Choose the time of day you plan to write

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

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

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

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

how to write a book method

Step 3 – Set a deadline for writing your book

Setting an end date forces you to stay on schedule and keeps the forward momentum going. So consider giving yourself a deadline for your book.

You may be wondering: How do you choose a deadline when you have no idea how long the book-writing process will take?

One month is a good benchmark to start with. Self-Publishing School recommends writing until you hit a daily word count of 500-1,000 words, but this ultimately depends on how many words are in your book. If you can commit to an hour a day, you should be able to reach that goal. After 30 days of daily writing sessions, you will have completed a 30,000-word draft.

If you’re not sure how many words you should be aiming for, fill out the calculator below so you’re shooting for the right word count for your audience and genre based on industry standards.

Valuable Asset Alert!!

You can check out our word and page count calculator here to determine the target word count for your industry in order to work backward to plan your writing schedule!

Consistency is key. Small, consistent actions toward writing your book is how it comes to life.

If that schedule doesn’t work, then commit to a time period and a daily word count that does. It’s okay if that’s 15 minutes per day.

The ultimate goal is your rear end in the writing seat for that allocated period of time each day.

Share the end date of your first completed draft with others so you have extrinsic motivation to keep moving toward that finish line.

It’s a good idea to choose an editor for your book (before you finish your first draft) and schedule when you’ll have the completed first draft of the manuscript in that person’s hands.

That way, if you’re tempted to flake out and put off a writing session, that looming deadline can help keep you going.

#2 – Create Your Writing Space

The physical space where you write your book is important. If you try to write in an environment that’s too loud, too busy, or too cluttered, and you’ll find yourself getting frequently distracted.

True, some authors can write in a disheveled environment…

how to write a book desk example

…but I suspect that most of these authors would become even more focused and productive if they cleaned up their writing space to make it easier to focus on their writing.

how to write a book clean desk

However, that’s just my opinion. The truth is that the “best” writing environment is going to be personal to you. We all work well in different settings, so with that in mind, consider these general guidelines to boost your productivity:

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

(To get the sound of a cafe from the comfort of home, check out Coffitivity.)

You might need to experiment to find the writing environment that allows you to focus and write freely.

Bottom line: Find the writing environment that makes you comfortable and go with it. Once you find the best creative process for you, you’ll even look forward to writing!

#3 – Equip Yourself with the Right Writing Tools

Would you try to construct a piece of furniture without a hammer, nails, or wood?

Of course not! You need the right tools for the job.

Well, the same principle applies when writing a book. And when it comes to writing, your most important tool is your choice of writing software.

Unfortunately, most people don’t really put much thought into which program they use to write their book. They just use whatever word processor they’re most familiar with.

But doing this can cause you to really miss out—especially if there’s another program out there that would work much better for you.

There are countless options out there, but most people end up using one of the “big 3” word processors:

  • Microsoft Word
  • Scrivener
  • Google Docs

We’ll cover all of them for you below.

Microsoft Word

If you just want a time-tested program that works, Word might be the program for you. It’s the most widely used word processor in the world, which means it’s highly reliable and consistent. It also provides a lot of formatting options and even has a navigation pane you can use to easily find the chapter you’re looking for.

how to write a book editing exampe

One of the biggest downsides to Word is that it’s fairly expensive as far as word processors go.

Scrivener

If you like advanced features, definitely check out Scrivener. It was created specifically for authors, and it contains all sorts of tools that are really helpful for both fiction and nonfiction authors.

For example, you can use the corkboard view to organize how you’ll write your book using virtual notecards:

how to write a book scrivener outlining

The biggest downside to Scrivener? Because of all the advanced features, it has a steeper learning curve than other word processors.

If you do decide to go with Scrivener, here’s a Scrivener tutorial for you to learn how to use it best:

Google Docs

You can think of Google Docs as sort of a “Word Lite” program that you can access online, for free. While it doesn’t boast as many features as Word or Scrivener, it’s the hands-down most convenient program out there for sharing and collaboration.

Because everything is stored online, you can access your work from anywhere. And it’s easy to share your work with others and collaborate by leaving comments in the margins:

how to write a book google docs example

The big downside to Google Docs? It lacks the more sophisticated features of Word and Scrivener.

Of course, these are only 3 options—there are many more great writing tools out there.

How to Write a Book Step 3: Actually Write Your Book

OK, we’ve got the preliminary stuff out of the way—time to sit down and actually write this thing!

This is an exciting part of the process…unfortunately, it’s also the part where many people get overwhelmed and give up.

But there’s good news: actually writing a book can be a lot easier than you think—if you have the right system. A system that guides you from your idea through your outline and all the way up to your final, polished, publication-ready draft.

Here are the most important things you need to do when writing your book.

#1 – Come Up With Your Book Idea

Before you can start typing, you need to have a topic. That might seem obvious, but it can still be a stumbling block if you don’t know what to write about.

Fortunately, there are countless book ideas that could turn into bestselling books.

I recommend brainstorming a long list of book ideas. This way you’ll have a lot of options—giving you the freedom to choose the best possible book topic.

You can even utilize lists of writing prompts found here to get your mind moving in the right direction.

Here are a few questions to ask yourself to come up with a book idea:

  • What are you passionate about?
  • What’s your favorite hobby?
  • What do you get paid for? What’s your expertise?
  • What are people coming to you for advice on?
  • What’s a topic you know a lot about or can’t stop talking about?

These are all great ways to come up with bestselling book ideas. In a nutshell, you’re trying to find topics that you’re knowledgeable or passionate about. Because these are the topics that you’re going to do a great job writing about!

Notice that I highlighted the question, “What do you get paid for? What’s your expertise?”

That’s because this is a particularly useful question for coming up with book ideas. A lot of people seem to forget that there is usually at least one topic on which they are a bona fide expert—and that’s their job!

It might not seem that exciting or special to you, because you’re so used to it, but to someone else who’s trying to learn what you already know…your job-related knowledge can seem very valuable indeed.

#2 – Don’t Censor Yourself

When you’re brainstorming ideas, don’t censor yourself. Just let the ideas flow. Realize that there is no such thing as a crazy idea. Anything can make a great book topic.

So don’t ever let yourself feel silly or start to judge yourself—doing so is a surefire way to stop your creativity in its tracks.

On the other hand, don’t feel bad if your topic sounds too commonplace either. Even if you’re writing about an age-old topic—like a weight loss book or a romance novel—that’s OK!

The truth is that there are no “new” ideas. Everything has been written about before.

But it hasn’t been written from your unique perspective. And that’s what really matters.

Realize that a writer’s job isn’t to come up with never-before-seen ideas. Doing that is pretty much impossible in this day and age.

Instead, a writer’s job is to explore topics from their own point of view. To lend their unique spin on them.

#3 – Take a Reader-Centric Perspective

While thinking of your book topic, here’s a piece of advice that I strongly recommend you follow:

Think from your reader’s perspective (not your own).

Many people are too self-centered when they write. When I say “self-centered,” I mean that they’re thinking only of themselves: their interests, their hobbies, their passions.

Yes, it’s true that those are great topics to explore when coming up with your book topic. But during this process, you’ll need to switch from a self-centered perspective to a reader-centered perspective.

Ask yourself questions like:

  • What would my reader be most interested in?
  • What would my reader most like to learn?
  • What are my reader’s biggest problems?
  • What’s the biggest question my readers are asking?

When you start to think this way, it becomes much easier to write your book in a way that provides immense value for the people who matter most—your readers.

how to write a book stephen king

#4 – Figure Out Which Book You Should Write First

By now you should have a long list of book topics. And you might be wondering, which topic should I write about first?

Here are a few tips to help you choose the best starting project:

  • Which one can you finish the fastest? Usually, this is the topic where you have the most experience. This is a good thing to keep in mind because the faster you can finish your book, the faster you can get it out in the world where it can earn you money and help people. (And the faster you can get started on your second book!)
  • Which one are you most likely to finish? Usually, these are the topics you are more passionate about. For your first book, I highly recommend choosing a topic that you’re really passionate about to help make sure that you’ll remain interested throughout the entire process.
  • Which one is going to make you happy? This is a little harder to define, but it might be something that strikes a chord with you. Maybe there’s a certain book topic that stands out for one reason or another. If that’s the case, then go for it! Remember, writing should make you

Now with these tips in mind, choose the topic for your very first book before proceeding to the next step.

#5 – Come Up With a Title

The most important words of your book are the ones that appear on the outside cover:

Your book title.

You don’t have to decide on your final title at this point, but your title is so important that it’s worth thinking about up-front. But knowing how to write a book title can be tricky.

Here are a few tips on creating standout, marketable titles.

For a nonfiction book, your title should…

  • Include the solution to the reader’s problem
  • Use a subtitle for clarity
  • Be unforgettable

And for a fiction book, your title should…

  • Be appropriate to your genre
  • Pique the reader’s interest
  • Take its inspiration from your characters

It always helps to do a little research on Amazon. To do that, just head here and select your book genre on the left-hand side of the page:

how to write a book title

Then you can take a look at some of the best-selling titles in your genre. You can even sub-niche down several times:

“History > Ancient Civilizations > Mesopotamia.”

Now pay attention to the titles and look for common themes or trends to use for your own book.

Remember that you’re just starting, so you can always change the title later. But for the time being it can help to have a “working title” (a temporary title that you may change before publication).

#6 – Fill Out The BookMap

The BookMap is a free downloadable book outlining template you can use to quickly gather all the important information you’ll need for your book — fiction or nonfiction.

how to write a book outline method

Essentially, the way it works is you’ll create a mind map—sort of a brain dump with a line connecting related ideas together—on your book’s topic.

Start your BookMap by writing your intended topic in the center. From there, answer the questions and add as many related ideas as you can think of. (Again, connect related ideas with a line.) The BookMap gives you the benefits of writing in free-form and creating structure from all the connections you make.

Click here to learn more about the BookMap and download a free PDF template.

#7 – Turn Your BookMap Into an Outline

Once you’ve completely filled out your BookMap, the next step is to group all the related ideas into categories. There’s no hard and fast rule for how to do this; just combine your ideas in the way that makes the most sense to you.

One way to do this is to rewrite each idea on a fresh piece of paper, this time grouped together in related topics. Or, you could simply use different-colored highlighters to categorize your ideas with different colors.

Either way, the result is the same: when you’re done grouping your ideas, those categories will form the outline for your book—each category is a new chapter. So now you know exactly which topics to write about, and you know which points to cover in every chapter of your book.

If you want a really easy book outline template to use, we’ve got one for you!

Just choose your type, fiction or nonfiction, submit your information and you’ll have a made-for-you book outline template complete with chapter-by-chapter structure assistance too.

Valuable Asset Alert!!

You can check out our Outline Template Generator here to get a fill-in-the-blank outline you can start using right now!!

#8 – Capture More Notes with The Sticky Note Method

You can use this method instead of the BookMap, or as a supplement to it.

For about a week, carry around sticky notes and write down anything and everything that crosses your mind regarding your possible book topics.

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

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

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#9 – Now Write Your Book…One Chapter at a Time

You now have a chapter-by-chapter outline for your book. The only thing left to do…is to actually sit down and write it!

There’s not necessarily a right or wrong way to write your book. But there are some ways that are easier, faster, and more successful than others.

And in my experience, there’s one writing method that works better than any other. Here’s how it works:

  • Complete a mini-BookMap for that chapter, brainstorming everything you know about this topic. (10 minutes.)
  • Organize your ideas and turn that BookMap into an outline. (10 minutes.)
  • Write or speak the chapter by following the outline you just created. (45-60 minutes.)
  • Repeat this process, chapter by chapter, until your book is completed.

Steps 1 & 2 should be familiar by now—they’re the same steps you followed to create your overall book outline. You just repeat those steps on a smaller scale for each chapter.

Then in step 3, you have a choice: you can type out your chapter on a computer, or you can use a recording device & transcription service to dictate your chapter.

If you like the idea of dictating your book, rather than typing it out, here’s how to do it.

how to write a book mark manson

#10 – Speak Your Book

This method works well if you’re a strong speaker and you prefer speaking to writing. The ultimate outcome is that you can create your book draft as quickly as possible, with no actual “writing” on your part. Cool, huh?

Once your chapter outline is complete, the next steps are:

  • Speak your first draft aloud into a recording app or device such as Voice Memos or Audacity.
  • Get that audio file transcribed using a transcription service like Rev.
  • Read through the transcription and revise/polish it up.

As I mentioned, one of the benefits of this method is its speed. Just how fast can you write a first draft using speech dictation?

If you’re writing a nonfiction book specifically, this method will work great for you.

Well, if the average book is 15,000-25,000 words long, and if the average person speaks at about 150 words/minute, then you can easily speak your entire book in approximately 2-3 hours.

Of course, your spoken & transcribed book will need some polishing and revision to get it publication-ready. But it’s still the fastest way of writing a book I’ve ever come across.

#11 – Speed Up Your Writing

Writing faster means getting to publication—and to profits—that much sooner.

Try these pro tips to maximize your daily word count:

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

How to Write a Book Step 4: Avoid Potholes Along the Way

If you’ve been following along with steps 1-3, then you’re in the process of writing your book. You’re working from a solid outline, which means you know exactly what to write in every single chapter.

So nothing could possibly go wrong…right?

Unfortunately, no. Even when you have a solid plan, a proven system, and a detailed outline, you can still get tripped up by some of these sneaky book writing roadblocks.

Luckily, I’ve got some tips to help you overcome the most common book writing problems.

#1 – Beat Writer’s Block

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

Most of the time, writer’s block is a symptom of a paralyzing fear of others’ opinions.

The harsh reality is, if you write, at some point you’ll be on a first-name basis with a bout of the block. The only way to deal with it is to beat it.

Here are 8 methods I’ve found personally useful when fighting writer’s block:

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

#2 – Don’t Edit While You Write

Tell me if this sounds familiar:

You sit down to write and you bang out a page or two. Then you stop and reread what you just wrote. And instead of continuing, you go back and start editing those first few pages of writing. 

In your mind, you’re just fixing up your work. You want everything to be just right before you continue on ahead.

But in reality, you’ve just stopped all your forward progress. You spend the next hour trying to make those pages PERFECT…and when perfect doesn’t happen, you get frustrated and stop writing.

Usually, when this sort of thing happens, it becomes very difficult to do any more writing. Why? Because writing and editing use different parts of your brains—and when you allow yourself to slip into a more critical/judgmental frame of mind, it becomes almost impossible to start creating again.

That’s why, even though editing is an important skill, you need to resist the urge to edit your work while you’re still writing.

Don’t start editing your book until AFTER you’ve already created the entire first draft.

#3 – Format Your Book Properly

Few things are more irritating than having to go back through your entire book to fix the formatting.

The take-home lesson? Think about how you want to format your book before you write it, and then be consistent. It’ll save you a lot of time in the long run.

And take the time to figure out how to format your book for publication. For example, did you realize that fiction and nonfiction books typically use different indentation styles?

Nonfiction books tend to use block paragraphs, like this:

how to write a look nonfiction format

Whereas fiction books, like The Savior’s Champion by Jenna Moreci below, use indentation instead:

how to write a book fiction format

Here are a few more book formatting tips:

  • Avoid using hard indents. (Don’t hit “tab” at the beginning of a new paragraph; instead, change the paragraph settings to automatically give each paragraph the indentation you want.)
  • Only use one space after a period. (Using 2 spaces was necessary with typewriters, but not with computers.)
  • If you want to create a page break, do not hit “Enter” repeatedly until you reach the next page. Instead, use the “Page break” function. This is the only way to ensure that your page break will work even after people resize your book on their Kindle.

#4 – Keep Going, & Don’t Stop—You’re Almost There!

Now you know not only how to get started writing your book, but how to complete your book project in a mere 90 days!

Remember to keep your WHY at the forefront of your mind, and you’ll be able to crush any and all obstacles that get in your way. If any of the common challenges or obstacles we’ve mentioned rear their ugly head, you’ll know how to deal with them.

With just a little bit of time and a lot of determination, you are on your way to officially calling yourself an author.

How to Write a Book Step 5: Launch Your Book Successfully

By this point, your book is completed—congratulations! You’ve done something that most people will never do.

You’ve written a book.

But you’re not done yet. Not quite. Because you still need to launch your book in a way that sets it up for success; in a way that maximizes your readers, your income, and your influence.

Unfortunately, most people who succeed in writing a book never get this whole “launch” thing figured out. They throw their book up on Amazon without really having a plan, and as a result, they get very few sales, make almost no money, and are frustrated at the lack of response to their work.

It’s true that self-publishing your book on Amazon is a great way to go. But you can’t simply publish your book and expect people to find it. Instead, you need to dedicate some time to mastering the publishing and marketing processes on Amazon to sell more books. This is the only way to make sure that your book makes its way into the hands of the people who will benefit from reading your words.

If you follow this simple launch plan, you can rest assured that your book will come out with a bang and will generate steady sales right out of the gate and for years to come.

#1 – Get a Good Cover

We all know you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover. But in reality, people do exactly that—all the time. And that’s why, if you want your book to sell, having a powerful book cover design is important.

Really, really important.

And a good book cover does 2 thing