At the end of last year I became a self-published author.
In this series, I’m now sharing how I managed to go from Word document to a fully-fledged book selling on Amazon + my own little online shop.
Three months ago, after two years of hard work, I became an author.
It’s a strange thing to become this new word (an “author”) all of a sudden. But the delightful thing is that any of us can do it with the tools now available to us.
The thing is, though, that the journey to becoming a self-published author can feel like quite a sticky and overwhelming one.
There are a few steps to take and there is a lot of information out there. Combine that with the inner resistance monster that inevitably rises along the way (it got real strong as I edged closer to the finish line), and you get the overwhelm and the stickiness that I’m talking about.
So I figured I’d share my little journey of figuring it all out and making it happen.
It’s a journey of how I took my Word document to a fully-fledged book.
I call it a “little journey” because, even though it didn’t always feel like it when I was in the thick forest trying to chop my way through, when it came down to it it really was a journey of just a few steps. So I really would love for you to see it as a little journey, and not a big, scary one.
I’m so glad I took this journey you see, and I’d love to help others navigate their own self-publishing journey.
Over the next few weeks, I’m going to be sharing exactly how it all unfolded.
I hope you enjoy coming along for the ride 😊
image: shortly after seeing my book on my Kindle for the first time.
To get the series started, this post is going to be about me setting the scene…
So I’m going to start out from when I had my completed Word document manuscript.
I did my own editing, but you might wish to find an editor if you wish.
It was a pretty long Word document, but that’s exactly what it was. A big document with my raw words ready to share with the world.
I just needed to do a few things to wrap this present so it was in a form that was ready to be delivered.
I personally used Microsoft Word, you can use your writing software of choice. I know there are plenty of options out there, it really doesn’t make a difference which one you use.
Deciding to publish as an ebook before paperback
I published my book initially as a digital version, before working on the paperback version.
I cannot express how glad I am that I chose to do this. Especially being my first book, and in a spirit of “slow and steady”, I wanted to make things as simple and straightforward for myself as possible.
As it turns out, getting the e-book ready was quite the process. It was not, as I had initially thought, quite as simple as ‘dressing up my Word document a bit and hitting publish’. As you’ll see over the coming weeks, there were more than a couple of steps involved :)
I liked the idea of being able to release my book in a couple of stages.
I’m actually in the process of getting the paperback version ready for this coming Spring, and figuring out the little steps to making that happen. It already feels much more straightforward now that I already have the ebook ready.
I honestly feel that this is a healthy way to go for any self-published author, or author to be.
Even if you’re someone who is interested in having that physical copy of your book, I’m guessing you’ll also want to make it available digitally for wider consumption.
(I’m currently working on the paperback version of my book and I’m planning to add an extra part(s) to the series to reflect that part of the journey too, which I’m currently in the process of navigating as I write this 🙃)
The way I’m feeling right now, I also want to release my next book – and every book after that – in these two stages, ebook first and then paperback. Let’s see what happens.
Anyway, over the coming weeks in this series I’m going to be talking about how I went from Word document to a digital book available on the Kindle and all readers (and other electronic devices – whether a tablet, smartphone or laptop).
The steps I took
So once I had my manuscript ready, which for my was my book’s little introduction and then the chapters that followed, the next steps were the following:
1) Adding front and back matter to my book Things like a copyright page and dedication page at the front, and some finishing pages at the book. (I think of them as the ‘intro’ and ‘outro’ bits surrounding my manuscript)
2) Formatting my book In other words, getting my Word document converted to the ebook file types.
3) Choosing the platforms + price for my book There are various options for choosing where to sell your book, and its price. I wanted to keep things as simple as possible, whilst also making my book widely available.
4) Categories and keywords research In preparation for listing my book on KDP (Amazon’s self-publishing platform), I did a little research to help categorise my book and help it be ‘discoverable’ for folks on Amazon who might wish to discover my book amongst the sea of other books on there.
5) Launching my book How I prepared for my book’s launch, before releasing it into the world
This little series was originally filmed for my youtube channel… here’s the accompanying vlog to this post:
Stay tuned for Part 2, where I’ll be sharing the ‘front and back’ pages (matter) I added to my Word document to make it a complete book and ready for formatting…