I never thought of myself as a writer so creating a post on how to become an indie author was certainly an article I never thought I would be writing. I always considered writers introverts, whereas, I am an extrovert.
Furthermore, I am more of a technical kind of guy with little literary training. I had previously done scientific writing.
My writing used to be overly detailed and dry. Who would want to read that style of writing?
I had much more to share with people than I thought. My writing was becoming more conversational, which is perfect for an extrovert.
This post will be my story of how to become an indie author.
My ex-wife had been telling me for years I need to “write a book.” My medical practice had led me through so many interesting trials and tribulations (literally).
I am “full” of stories from practicing medicine for years. Since I had been blogging so regularly, I decided to start by taking several of my published blog posts and create an anthology of them.
Once I started, I realized that I could add more information and embellish the topics into a book. In about a month I had a rough draft for my first book, which was published 10 months ago.
My first book, “Secrets to Effective Pain Management” had become a reality. It has been placed on many of the online bookstores, Kindle, and other retailers.
DO YOU HAVE A BOOK “IN YOU?”
You may think that you need to be someone “special” to be a writer. Actually, you are right.
Only “special” people should become authors. The thing is, after over 26 years of practicing medicine, I found that every human soul is special.
You are special by definition and you have a story in you that someone wants to hear or needs to hear.
You could also create a book as a work of fiction and draw upon your life experiences for content. Perhaps you are an authority in an area already and have much knowledge to add to humanity in a non-fiction book?
Whatever, whoever, and wherever you are, you have a story that can become the basis for your first book.
DO YOU KNOW HOW TO WRITE?
Can you communicate with other human beings? Of course you can and that is all you need to know to write.
I am not discounting the value of a writing education. However, knowing how to write is not essential to sharing your story.
If you’re reading this blog post, you are alive at one of the greatest times in human history for independent writing and publishing. The internet has linked all of humanity. That linkage has created a vast audience for your story.
Whatever you lack in technical writing know-how, you can find a way to learn it or compensate for it on the internet. Even if you were functionally illiterate, you could dictate your book into a computer program that will print it for you (or publish it as an “audio book”).
As long as you are conscious and able to communicate, you can author a book.
DO YOU KNOW HOW TO ORGANIZE YOUR BOOK?
Organizing your book will take a little research on your part. I recommend you read at least one book on “Indie” publishing (Indie is short for independent).
Fiction and non-fiction books are organized differently.
Both of the books I have linked you to will explain the process in much more detail.
Each book I have recommended to you really does teach the “step-by-step” process of writing your first book. I recommend you read them as you are writing the first draft of your book (I was able to read each in 1 sitting and I am a slow reader).
DO YOU KNOW HOW TO EDIT YOUR BOOK?
Once you have the first draft of your book completed, you will need to edit your book. Whatever language you are writing in, following proper grammar and correct spelling will enhance your reader’s experience.
If you are able to afford a small investment of money into your book, I would advise you have your first book professionally edited.
A very cost effective way to have your editing done for you is through Fiverr. It is a freelance marketplace for online outsourcing.
They offer many services that can be used for your book. You can either contract with the listed providers for your need or can submit a request for bids on the work that you need done.
The people who provide the service you need are very responsive and will email you with their offer.
DO YOU KNOW HOW TO MAKE A COVER FOR YOUR BOOK?
A good book cover will enhance the likelihood that a curious reader will buy your book. If you are already a creative person you can do this yourself with an online book cover generator (there are free as well as expensive programs if you do an internet search).
I used a Fiverr book cover artist for this also. As I am not an “artsy” person, I had a professional book cover made for me within several days for 10 USD…you can’t beat the price.
The graphic artist who did this for me asked a few questions, created a book cover that looked professional, and captured the emotion of my book.
Capturing the emotion of your book is essential in a good book cover.
DO YOU KNOW HOW TO FORMAT YOUR BOOK?
In the world of “Indie” marketing you will find many publishing platforms for your book.
Each publishing platform requires the construction of the program that your book is written in to be compatible with their automated publishing software.
So if you used Word for your manuscript it will need to be adjusted to comply with each platform’s criteria.
As an example, a platform called “Smashwords” will take your book and link it with dozens of online e-book vendors. In order to comply with the many formats that the vendors use, Smashwords filters your manuscript through their formatting architecture program called “Meatgrinder.”
Unless you have gone through the formatting process before, you will find it very tedious and frustrating.
Even a carefully edited book will have formatting errors.
I also used Fiverr for this process and hired a professional who would be responsible for finding all my formatting errors (which I was unlikely to find as this was my first book).
DO YOU KNOW HOW TO PUBLISH YOUR BOOK?
Once the above steps have been successfully accomplished, you are ready to publish your book. In traditional publishing you would submit your book to a publisher and they would decide whether it was worth their time and effort.
In today’s world of Indie publishing you can do the traditional, or you can publish with one large company exclusively, or you can publish as a total independent.
I recommend your first book be published as a total independent.
As a total independent you will have more control of your work product, receive higher commissions, and get your book on the market faster. You will want to get your book onto as many publishing platforms as possible.
Eventually, once you have some published work product, you may want to try a traditional publisher. I have read articles by several Indie writers who contend that getting a traditional publisher contract is more likely if you already have published work product and a following of readers.
For soft copy paper publication, CreateSpace is an excellent Indie publisher. They will place your book on their platform and print each book order as it comes in.
You will not have to pay for printed books and hope that they will sell.
As I have explained previously, Smashwords is a platform for e-book publication which presents your e-book to multiple vendors using multiple formats.
DO YOU KNOW HOW TO MARKET YOUR BOOK?
Marketing your book is almost as important as writing it. If no one reads your book how will your story be known?
There is an enormous number of resources available to teach you how to do this. Here are a few quick suggestions:
- Construct a blog website to display your book.
- Announce and display your book on Social Media.
- Sign up with as many Indie platforms as you can (both for print and e-book publication).
- Consider taking your printed book and turning it into an audio book using a platform such as ACX.
- Consider starting a Podcast for the subject your book is written on.
You will find that marketing your book is essential and exciting.
It can take some time to get momentum for readers to find your book.
Like a train…the majority of energy for marketing your book is expended in the first or early campaign. Once you have established a reputation as an author your momentum will be easier to initiate for each successive book.
WHY NOT GET STARTED NOW?
I have really enjoyed sharing a part of my story about publishing my first book. It is my hope that you have found it interesting and helpful.
If you are already blogging, you are just a step away from becoming a published author.
If you are interested in starting your own blog website, I highly recommend Wealthy Affiliate.
Wishing you joy and much success,
This post is contributed as Guest post by Jeffrey C. Bado, D.O.