What I would do next time if I published another book
Writing a book is one of the best things you can do for yourself and your career. With Amazon Kindle self publishing, you can be in control of a great deal of the process and it is streamlined. The process will humble you, teach you discipline, and make you a better person for enduring it. Your words will have the power to change someone else’s life.
You will be seen as more credible. Every person has a book in them maybe multiple books.
I wrote nonfiction but many of the ideas in this blog post should apply to fiction too. Below is the third book I have published using Amazon Kindle, the title is The Influencer Starter Guide.
These are lessons I have learned and will implement in my next book. Here are the 21 lessons:
1. Your WHY for Life and Your WHY for Writing the Book
Have a WHY that makes you cry.
You need something deeper than a wish to write a book. You need a purpose and a message that you feel you must record for the world to appreciate.
How many people actually finish writing book after they start? The number is not very large for how many books there are in the world and the population. But many people start them.
Develop a burning desire to become a published author. You will need this desire to see things till the end no matter what. Your resilience will bring you to the result you crave, a finished book.
It will become challenging at times so write this WHY in a central place or talk frequently with those you are developing the book for. Make this a goal that must be completed as part of your purpose here on Earth.
Think big. Prepare your mindset for this journey. Pay attention to what you say to yourself.
Positive self-talk will keep you in the game. Visualize yourself as an already published author…
- What does that look like what do you want to be known for?
- How do you want people to receive your book?
Consider the positive impact it will make. Know that there will be parts of the book creation process that are less exciting so have your mindset ready for this.
Life will happen at the same time you are working on your book and distractions will come.
I think it’s important to have some motivation and to read other people’s books at this point. Nineties self-help tapes from Zig Ziglar and Jim Rohn make me feel warm and motivate me to get back to writing.
Watch other authors on YouTube and their tidbits and how they were happy to start their careers.
Keep a strong positive mental attitude and reduce negativity and distractions. I think a positive mindset yet a realistic one helps here. I like to set ridiculously ambitious goals for writing and it’s not always healthy.
Your tenacity for life and how you view setbacks will determine how far you get or if you finish your book. If you get frustrated easily, finishing a book will be challenging so take a breather throughout the process.
3. Think in Terms of a Series
There is a possibility that you will not be able to put everything in one book.
This first book could be to build interest, warm them up, and see if they want to keep learning in the series to gauge interest.
A series forces you to better organize your work before you start really writing. A series helps you bring someone from a noob to an expert… from a first-time reader of yours to one of your biggest fans if you continue to produce books in the future.
May be best to create a stand-alone for you or at least leave room for a series but leave a loophole that creates potential to continue the story. I personally think one supermassive book is one people are not likely to finish.
A series allows people to fall in love with your growth. It allows you to become more specific over time as your writing gets better. How can you make this book so it prepares for your next one?
Give something for people to look forward to. Start with a great outline.
4. The Outline is EVERYTHING
Find books you like and pay attention to the structure of the book. Take a skeleton you like and recreate the format but fill in your own content.
Or you can create an outline by listing all your thoughts in a document. Then organize the topics into a logical flow that will make sense for your reader. The way you create the outline is not as important as how thorough your outline is. It will be your roadmap for your product.
If I am modeling a book I like, I will look at how the story is told. I will pay attention to how easy the book was able to digest and apply. And I will see how can I model this book structure and fill in my contents.
Answer these questions for your manuscript:
- What word count are you shooting for
- How many chapters?
Think about people’s attention spans before you write one super long book. Maybe a smaller one will suffice at first and you can continue writing in your next book.
Define the scope of what you will be talking about and what you will not be talking about a lot of topics. There’s a period where you are writing everything you possibly can. This is followed by reading and editing every few bits or line by line hence the term line-editing. This is followed by even more strict editing and making sure every word in the manuscript has a purpose. Some writers refer to this as removing fluff.
I use audio-to-text software to expedite the writing process because I talk faster than I type. There are just a few minor edits you have to do depending on your software.
I also use natural reader software which allows me to hear my manuscript in a speed and tone which is comfortable to me.
5. Book vs Prodoctocracy
If you are writing a normal book then you can skip this step.
If you want to create a book that is a great product that others enjoy and recommends to others without you pressuring them, then you want to learn about a productocracy. You can learn more about this idea in Unscripted by MJ Demarco.
A productocracy then you want to do a value array analysis of the books already existing in your sub-niche of the market.
Go to Amazon and do some research on the best books selling in your niche and take a look at the comments both 4 and 5 stars then the 1 and 2 stars to see what people are happy about and more importantly what they felt was missing.
Take a lot of notes here and make a list of the problems people had with the books. It will help you as you develop your product.
Having a clear picture of your product before it’s done is crucial. My background is in Computer Information Systems, so when you are designing a system you gather requirements first.
Requirements are a list of features that you want to create for your product like a checklist. There are mandatory requirements and some which are optional. As you work on your product, you will make sure to complete all the mandatory requirements and some of the optional will be added in as well. The important thing is to have a clear idea (and to get more clear as you work on your book) of what the finished product will look like and the feelings/actions it will evoke in your reader.
I use an app called Clockify to track how long I spend writing. And something about being on a timer makes me more focused.
For my next book, I want to pay more attention to value arrays and value skewing. The goal would be to do a better skew next time. Providing value in areas that other people are not.
Some of the most common attributes in value arrays for books include price, extra resources, community, another free book, and a course. Some authors even offer a free coaching session.
If you are working on a book, not necessarily a productocracy, then just write what needs to be said in a great outline.
6. Facebook Launch Groups
It’s a good move to join one or two more of these Facebook (Meta) groups and be an active and contributing member. You can at least scout these groups out and join a few while you are writing your book.
Your goal would be to connect with as many like-minded readers and preparing them for my launch while helping them with theirs is a good strategy.
Join these groups now, before you get inspiration to write your book. To see how the groups operate. I think Kindle self-publishing is easier when you have a group to motivate you.
They will motivate you and show you part of the game. Interact with them and support them. Many friends I still connect with from these groups.
The big thing is “what’s in it for me?” when you are connecting with these people. That’s what everyone wants to know.
Like the Sassy Zen Facebook Group is pretty solid.
7. The “Flesh Out” Period Takes Some Time
We live in a microwave society but this will not be the case here or everyone would have written their own book.
Be realistic. A story outline can shorten the process but still, much writing must be done. Chapters and reworking and the quiet moments all take time to happen.
It takes discipline and persistence to finish. Some days you are off some days on. I like to switch up my writing environment and walk while writing on my phone. Motion helps me.
Write 1 hour every day and some days you will flow and it will be easier to write. Some days you may not feel like writing but make sure to do some writing. Persistence wins here. A little bit a day wins here. Or understanding full manuscript so word count, then consistent revisions via drip on stone erosion method.
Keep yourself motivated and remember why you are doing it. Think about the readers who will benefit when you finish the impact of your work.
Really understand the ins and outs of your writing process and what works for you by practicing every day, failing, and evolving.
8. Build Your Email List
I did not have an email list or a campaign of messages to send when I released my first book. The benefit of email is you control the list. You control when you communicate and don’t need an algorithm to prevent you from talking to all your subscribers.
I think it’s a good idea to build excitement and anticipation before launch using email communication.
Value can be delivered once you understand who you are serving. Save people, time, and money. These things are typically valuable. Use email to build trust and keep the conversation going.
Start learning about other platforms, communication, and start building trust with your audience.
9. Build a Following Before You Publish
Social media, Instagram, and Medium are great places to post content snippets while you develop your book. Twitter is good too.
Create great content and engage in a genuine manner. Rinse and repeat and you will build a following.
Get to know them as you are developing your book. Direct messages are very effective. Especially if you try to be a friend first.
It’s a matter of creating content for your target audience and engaging with your target audience. Rinse and repeat. I use a similar process for Medium involving sincere comments and follow prospecting.
At the core of every platform is the same process. Be a friend first and you can make many getting people interested in you.
You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you. — Dale Carnegie
10. Be More Strategic with Amazon Kindle
Kindle self publishing is about having a checklist of appropriate steps and using your creativity and discipline to get through the entire list. Here is what I found on how to become competitive on Amazon Kindle… This blog post talks about KDP strategy and I like the sales calculator too.
New Release period — Getting the most verified purchase reviews in a key period of time to dominate your New Release category
A long-term plan for consistently spreading your book around and getting new verified purchase reviews.
Get better at writing the description and also for the next book, test the preview (first 3 pages) before publishing the book which makes sure the preview is actually what you want new people (window-shopping your book) to see. Learn how to write better copywriting in your description using bold, italics, and bullets maybe even Capitalization to make your words stand out.
11. Build your Network of Editors Now
Start networking to extract the people who will stick with you through your writing career. Being a friend and a professional.
Setting the expectation of high-quality work and good communication between parties.
Understanding who you are working with and the style in which they produce the best work.
Shop around for the character of the person then check prices too. I had a gut feeling this editor would work out and I posted on Facebook to get leads and found a friend I trusted who referred me.
She was timely and got the job done. By seeing her work and how she responded in a timely and progressive manner.
12. Share on Other Platforms
I wanted the book to be everywhere. I wanted to see if the book was really helpful in solving the problem or not. And if it was so good that people would share. A decent portion of the people who started my book did not finish reading it.
I was more interested in getting this book to everyone than making a profit on every one. If the book was really good, then I would see.
This book is more of a loss leader for me as brand awareness and to let people get introduced to my work.
- Google Play
- Z lib (no royalties)
You never know which platform your reader likes or could find you on so make it available on many platforms. At least the most popular.
13. Get a Bigger Sample of Test Readers
Test readers are people you can trust to give you feedback if the book is helpful or not (if you are writing nonfiction). They evaluate your product.
Some hashtags you can use for communities of like-minded writers and authors:
I have found Facebook groups to be the most effective. Instagram is good for getting additional people and so is Medium. The reality is people are everywhere. And relationships are all built with the same structure no matter which platform you are on. Twitter building connections through Direct Messages (DM).
14 . Your First 100 Reviews
What I will do next time: Dig Your Well Before You’re Thirsty before you publish a book.
This is how I will break the threshold… I will do a bunch of favors before I launch my next book.
I believe you need more than one hundred people to get those first hundred reviews because not everyone will follow through and Amazon will strip a few of the reviews. Build this list of people way in advance and organize it.
An email list would be helpful here, especially when linking to your live book to buy and also directly linking to your review page with instructions in the email.
If you have skewed your value array well or created a damn good book, then you can get reviews and your work should stand out from the pack. More marketing will help you exceed one hundred. Authors succeed because of the network or the distribution deal… or the hustle.
The habit of doing stuff for others and making “the ask”. The Godfather movie of people owing him favors is an example I relate to.
Set your book to appropriate pricing once you have a solid number of reviews. Most people want to make a profit right off bat but that is not the strategy people use to get their initial base of reviews. Could be $0.99 or the free promotion period. You want pretty much all verified purchase reviews.
15. Find Joint Ventures to Partner With
A joint venture is a connection you can make with someone who has already built a brand or who has been nurturing their list for some time.
Form meaningful relationships with Influencers in your niche who you may be able to do joint ventures with in the future.
Also, connect with the organizers of Facebook groups relevant to your niche. I have used Meetup to find organizers and found ways to contact them. It helps to think like an entrepreneur here, looking for ways your services or products can help another party and their audience.
Joint ventures become more powerful when you are able to tap into an audience that is bigger than your established following and trust. They have been nurturing instead of spamming their list. So they say “Hey, this is my friend” which is more powerful than a “naked” first impression.
If you have something that is helpful and you are persistent in approaching these people and you don’t mind hearing “No” a few times, you will make moves. If you don’t mind following up like a professional and you don’t mind being a true friend or of true value to the person you are pitching, your work will stand out and people will respect you more.
16. This Will Not be Your Last Book
Do not make your first book perfect. Or any book for that matter. Give yourself some room to grow and develop plus perfect will take much more time money and energy.
Consider your author career and how you will evolve over time and get better at writing. You will improve your process and keep reading more books to learn about new structures and ideas. Kindle self publishing works better when you have a catalog of books for your readers to choose from. Of course, this will come over time.
This first book will likely be a freebie for the series you eventually create. Or maybe a freebie to collect emails once you develop your next book.
17. Routine and Habit will Write this Book
The process makes events. Time blocking and getting into the flow so it feels weird if you do not write that day.
You can also pay someone to ghostwrite. I did that on my first book in college and I edited and wrote on top of their base. That does work.
You can record audio and have someone transcribe or record it into Google voice. If you can, infuse more of your personality and emotion into your book so that your reader can more easily connect with your message and you. My last book was more of a dry guide so I am working on being more conversational and friendly in my writing.
It depends on what type of book you are writing.
Utilize momentum when it comes. Talk to people who will motivate you along the way. From my experience, work out the problem myself and keep bashing until you have that manuscript. Figure out your own way and find your flow.
When I started I had daily word goals until I hit the base. Then it’s revision time. I make them a few at a time. Sharpening iron to a sword from a block analogy.
Set deadlines, especially daily, and track your productivity. Celebrate the small wins, celebrate any wins along the way. Build the habit of making new friends.
18. Author and an Editor for Friends, Trade Favors
One of the biggest challenges is staying motivated especially if you have “big dreams” for your book.
Be honest about the hardest part which is the fleshing out after the outline. I had friends to help as a favor here, it would be difficult to do it all alone although still possible.
Barter and exchange of services with your friends who are readers and good with writing. Remember the idea of quid pro quo, something they need for something you need. Call on those in your warm market that support you to read and give feedback.
My mentor taught me, “the more eyes the better” as you are improving your manuscript. In the past book, I had about five back-and-forth sessions with multiple editors and many friends who provided eyes and words along the way. In this next book, I want more eyes and more revisions.
19. Find a Solid Cover Designer
The cover and the title are the first things people see. On Amazon’s platform, the cover takes up more space so it’s your real estate to draw people in.
It can be a make-or-break reason for people to decide to look further and read your description or get a sample of the book. Create a publishing and marketing plan even if it’s just a few sentences long. I did not want to go the Fiverr route here because things like turnaround time, price, professionalism, and the person I was dealing with were orderly and delightful which helps.
Just recently though I heard some great news about Fiverr. I guess it’s a matter of reaching out and trying and you may get it right the first time.
Pay your people well. If you are doing this long-term then solidify relationships with more creatives in graphic design.
Find some covers you like ahead of time. Vet your designers ahead of time so you are not waiting on the cover when your book is already finished. Getting the cover worked on and close to done while you are maybe 2/3rds done with the book is my strategy.
20. Get Your Book Printed
With Kindle Create or Another Service
Your physical copy serves as credibility and a physical networking tool. I had issues getting “Kindle Create” to format simply the way I wanted so will actually need to finish this project this time. Or a print shop or a publisher. I will write more in the future because I will have to get this done.
I have a friend who has his book in print and he used a traditional publisher.
I built solid relationships with authors and new authors. Especially if they are doing a great job with marketing because you can learn much from that relationship.
I did not succeed here but will make sure to get prints on the next go. I just had a digital copy to disperse so next book I will make sure to take care of this.
21. Add a Video or Audio Element
Visuals are the preferred method of consumption online. If you can get on camera even better. YouTube or Podcast or a course for your book (like Udemy) adds major value. I made YouTube videos last time may again in the future. checklist, presentations, visual elements, and help people apply what they have read.
Kindle Self Publishing Bigger Picture
All about adding additional elements to support the learning or the experience of your reader. Makes your book that much more valuable to them.
Anchor is a good start and there are many other podcasting apps out there too. I found Anchor to be the easiest to set up and distribute to other main platforms such as Spotify and Apple Music. Here is a link to listen to my podcast.
Writing a book is a rewarding experience. It is fun at the start and fun along the way but it certainly becomes work at some point. The flesh-out period takes focus and repetition. You should write and publish your first book if you have not already. It would hurt to have some positive words like Jim Rohn along the way reminding you that you can do it and that you have the power to create something beautiful and valuable to the world.
Thanks for reading. If you have not written your first book, then get started today. Let me know what you think with a Comment!
10 thoughts on “Kindle Self Publishing: 21 Lessons Learned From Becoming A Self-Published Author”
Definitely need to bookmark this, lots of tips and gems. Writing a book isn’t for the faint of heart, thanks Delles!
That’s was very inspiring and informing! Definitely coming back to this when I start my cookbook. You’ll probably have 4 or 5 books by then so I’ll have lots of guidance. Great article! 9,10 and 19-21 were the ones I found most insightful.
As you’re well aware I’m a statistic for one who has not finished my book, albeit about 65%-70% complete. Just as with music I’d wager that the final ~20% is just as challenging as the first 80%. I think the Pereda principle can be applied here. Bookmarking this to come back and remind the mental exercises I can use to help get this sucker to completion. I do go the non-fiction route and I KNOW my story and modalities will help others in the world. Just as you’re helping others finish books with your words, I want to help others with the idea of attaching and/or detaching to beneficial/detrimental mental patterns.
Very insightful. Really opened my eyes to the world of writing books. You touched on quite a few great helpful ideas. Also, your deep expression for how difficult it can be really helps shed light on the whole situation.
wow! I’m so encouraged to start over again, i have been lazy to start writing my story but after these beautiful insights, i think I’m gonna give it a shot, Thank you so much my eyes are open now, NEVER GIVE UP! Its a good exercise for the mind.
This is truly a great motivation to just start NOW!! Thank you for such helpful information.Wishing success for you. Every single lesson is extremely helpful. Encouragement to be GREAT.Thanks for the push I’ve been looking for.
This is was a great motivator to start and finish a book. I have written over 20 books and I’m still working on finishing book 21. This made me push even harder to finish my new book.
This was great to begin a book.You have very good writing skills and your content is astonishing.
This is great information especially for a new author. I love the simplicity of the details as some articles on writing can be somewhat difficult to action. Thanks Delles for giving us a comprehensive blueprint for publishing.
This is a great inspiration to start writing and finish a book. Every content of yours are educative and timely.
Thanks Delles for the blueprint.