Thursday, March 7, 2019

How to Write & Self-publish your First Kindle Book: Lessons from my indie publishing journey

Hello friends! I recently wrote and published a Kindle book (which made it to the #amazonbestseller list in the first week) called ‘The Work-At-Home Military Wife – A quickstart guide to creating a pack-and-carry career and work-from-home lifestyle on the move’. It took me a few months, from start to finish, and it’s been one roller coaster of a learning experience.

self publishing
How to write, launch and promo that first Kindle book
I’d love to write and publish more books, both non-fiction and fiction, and the lessons learnt here will help me in the months to come. If you’re self-publishing your first book, I hope my journey will help you too.

Writing a book: I started writing this book in December 2018, when my parents were visiting me, and I could grab a few extra hours to write every day as they were helping out with my homeschooled son. When it comes to writing a book, there are so many tiny steps, and Hassan Osman's ebook helped me break down the process into bite sized pieces. Here are the steps I followed:
1.      Write down the ideas for your book, and choose one that you want to take up for the current project.
2.    Break it down into a list of topics and create a table of contents.
3.    Add in the extras like Acknowledgements, notes, copyright information and anything else that you want in your book apart from the chapters.
4.    Set some deadlines for yourself, like maybe 1000 words each day or 45 minutes at your desk writing your book. While a lot of authors suggest writing tonnes of words each day, I fit things according to my schedule. This is the best thing about Hassan’s book; he asks you to spend only 30 minutes per day, if that’s all you have, to get your book done.
5.     Spend at least 5 days a week on your book, so that you don’t lose the rhythm and flow.
6.    Finish the book. This can be the tedious part because by the time you’re at the end of it, you might feel a tad bored or may want to take a break from it.

Editing and proofreading: Once the book is over, you move on to cleaning up your copy.
1.Ideally, I should have shelved the manuscript for a couple of weeks before bringing it out for a self-edit; but because this was my first book and I was eager to publish it, I began doing the first round of edits immediately. Once this was over, I printed out the entire manuscript and edited it all over again with my red pen. Then, I went back to the soft copy and incorporated the changes there, before putting it through Grammarly and ProWriting Aid.
2. Once all the changes were made at my end, I sent it to my editor for a round of proof reading and editing.
3. When the manuscript came back to me, I converted it into a pdf and downloaded it on my Kindle to check for typos that we could have missed.
4. And lastly, I made a few more changes in the language that I felt would make the text more relevant.
Grab my book at 50% discount this week at Amazon.
Designing the book cover: Every book on self-publishing puts a lot of emphasis on getting an attractive book cover. Since I was on a tight budget, I searched high and low for book cover designers on Fiverr.com, but finally chose the cover designed by Smokey Bandit. A fun thing to do is ask your prospective readers to choose a favorite cover out of the few options that you present.

Formatting the book for Kindle: I’m a complete Dodo when it comes to technical things, and I requested my husband to help me format the book. He used Calibre, a free software as well as some know-how from Derek Murphy’s ecourse to format this book.

Get a KDP account: This is an important part of the process, if you’re planning to publish via Kindle. You can also explore Draft2Digital or Smashwords if you want to publish your book on various platforms.

Publish the book: With a prayer, publish that book. Celebrate this milestone! But hey, before this, do some research on the seven keywords, book description and the categories that you need to place it in on Amazon. I used KDP Rocket for this.

Promote your book: Now begins the next part of the process – sending out word about your book. This can be as elaborate and expensive or as simple and pocket-friendly as you want it to be. Most of the books I read about self-publishing encourage authors to spend a good amount of money on hiring promotional gigs and advertising. I, on the other hand, was ready to do a promo on my own, on zero budget; but, finally decided to fork out a few dollars (total of $20) to get some extra help. There are a few good promo gigs on Fiverr as well as a great article on Kindlepreneur about where you can get some help.

Here’s how I created a buzz about my book:
Chose 3 Free days for it (if you’re part of the Kindle Unlimited program, you’re offered 5 Free promo days every three months).
Built a book launch team via my Facebook groups and sent them the book link the day the book was free and requested them to download it.
I also sent out the book link via my blog mailing list, and requested my husband and parents to circulate it within their friend circle.
I posted on several Facebook Groups for Free Kindle books, and in the groups that I am part of.
I also hired a pocket-friendly Fiverr gig and a VA gig to help promote the Free book on one of those days.

All of this resulted in quite a bit of buzz, and interestingly, I also made it to both Amazon.com and Amazon.in’s bestseller list.

Once the free offer was over, I put up a solid discount of 66% on my book price for a whole week, and let my people know via my mailing lists.

The only flip side about having offering it free for a few days is that some people will only want it for free and are astonished when you begin charging a price – even a heavily discounted one! I guess, the thought must be that if it can be free for a few days, does it even merit being a paid offering!

When the first 10 days of promotional offers are over, I can go on offering a discount, just in order to create more buzz about my new book, or let it revert to the original price. (Currently my book is at 50% discount for #womendsday.)

Another way to continue creating awareness about your book is to contact book bloggers and ask them if they’d be interested in blogging about your book. Guest posting on blogs that share the same message as your book can also be another way to spread the word.

However, what I’ve realized is that book promotion can also be very time consuming, and how much time you want to spend on it, is entirely your decision.

But whatever you choose to do, begin that second book instead of waiting to make a lot of money on the first one. The more books you write, the more buzz there will be around your author name. Also, writing is what we do best and the more of it we do, the better it is for our soul J.

By the way, if you're interested, get my book here.

How do you write, publish and market your books?

#selfpublishing #indiepublishing #writebooks #indieauthor #kindle #kindlepublishing #3kdprocket #amazonbestseller

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