How to go about writing a book

In part one of “how to go about writing a book” I talked about the process of deciding WHY, WHO, WHAT and HOW to write your book.

Part two is all about the HOW to get it published.  Now, this assumes you are going down the self publishing route.

Let’s talk pro’s and con’s of self publishing first. As I said in part one, I did receive an offer to publish, but decided to self publish, and I am glad I did.

Pro’s of self publishing

  • You have control — editorial control, design control and launch control. Your “baby” is your baby.
  • It’s easy to do and can be relatively inexpensive.
  • You keep a much higher percentage of the royalties.

Con’s of self publishing

  • You need to do all the work yourself or get someone to do it for you (which costs money).
  • You need to research what to do — there’s no one holding your hand.
  • If there are legal issues around copyright etc, you’ll need to find your own answers/advice/solutions & take any risk.
  • The distribution channels are largely governed by what you can do, so usually much more limited than what a publisher with all their established distribution channels can achieve.

It’s not a decision to be made lightly — so it is worth really considering if you have the time and energy to do it all yourself. And it’s not just the design & editing & publication process, but also the launch and marketing post publication.

Of course, in some cases, there is no option but to proceed with self publishing, and in some cases, even after really thinking through the pro’s and con’s — it’s better to do it yourself.

I decided to self publish because I wanted to editorial and design control.

This did mean though A LOT of work.

As an example, each reference that is quoted within the book that falls within current copyright legislation, needed to be individually contacted and permission sought to quote. I have pages and pages of references, so this meant a lot of time — finding the right person to contact & then going through their process to request permission. In the end, only two people refused permission- Michelle Bridges and Stephen Covey, both citing competition as the reason. This then also meant a little bit of rewriting, although this was not too dramatic.

So, there’s lots of bits to do — and they can be time consuming and cost $$. So being aware up front is helpful. I was very lucky in that my Mum is a writer, so she was a fabulous source of advice and assistance.

The List of Things to Think About If Self Publishing

  • Decide broadly which platforms you will be uploading to (as they have different sizes and this will affect the cover and the interior design). Will it be purely digital or printed as well?
  • Find a great editor and get it edited.
  • Make sure all copyright permissions have been sought and received.
  • Factor in redrafting post editing (I underestimated the time it took to do this …..)
  • Get it professionally proofed.
  • In the meantime, find yourself a good book designer (exterior and interior) or decide to do it yourself.
  • The front cover can be done whilst it is being proofed (my designer wanted to read the book so the manuscript does need to be finished or close).
  • Decide whether you will have a website, and if so, whether it is a microsite coming off your website or a standalone. Decide whether to do this yourself or get someone to do it.
  • Consider if you are going to have testimonials/early readers. If so, then send it to them for pre reading.
  • Get an ISBN (you need one for each platform).
  • Get a barcode (if you intend to sell in bookshops).
  • Finalise the back cover.
  • PROOF AGAIN.
  • Apply for your Completed Printed and Electronic Cataloguing-in-Publication (CiP) Entry
  • Send to interior designer or do it yourself.
  • Finalise the website.
  • Develop your marketing plan and social media plan.
  • Develop your launch plan.
  • Upload to whatever platforms you have chosen.
  • Send to the printer.
  • LAUNCH!

Re the proofing.. Make sure you get it proofed professionally and also by someone new prior to pressing “go.” I had proofed and reproofed and reproofed but hadn’t checked the spine. I had just pressed “go” on the print order, only to look over and see that the title was wrong on the spine.  Fortunately Amazon give you a 30 minute grace period, so I had time to cancel it — but it was heart in the mouth stuff. So proof, proof and reproof!!

I hope that has been a useful overview of the steps necessary to get your book published. I would love to hear your stories.

Until next week, happy reading.

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Tammy Tansley
I am a coffee loving, energetic human who loves words, bright colours and spots, silly t'shirts and good champagne. Mum to two beautiful mischiefs. Long time wanderer around the world. Author. Blogger. Speaker.
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