Publishing a book on Amazon.
Oh, I could write a book about that! How many times have you heard someone say that when they’ve been through some difficult situation or experience, or when they want to have a gossip about something. Maybe you’ve said it yourself from time to time too.
Paperback writer, paperback writer.
Dear Sir or Madam, will you read my book?
It took me years to write, will you take a look?
~ The Beatles
Last year I decided that I might, just might, write a book one day. I had some ideas that I wanted to share, but I didn’t know how to go about it, and I particularly didn’t think I could sit down and write a whole book that would be interesting enough for people to want to read it.
However, near the start of last year, I had started writing this blog because I had heard it said that “there is no such thing as great writing, only great rewriting”.
“There is no such thing as good writing, only good rewriting.”
~ Robert Graves
What Graves was saying is that it’s usually not the first version of a piece of writing that comes out as you want it to, and it’s often necessary to re-write it several times to make it into the polished finished version. So, one objective for starting the blog was to do the initial writing.
Once I started to focus on what I wanted to write in my first book, it turned out that quite a large portion of the content was actually covered in some of the blog posts that I had already written. I then started to develop an outline of a message I wanted to share, and that formed into three sections, which turned into 5 chapters. Once I had decided on what I wanted to say then it was simply a matter of writing the missing bits, and the content came together quite quickly.
So, if you’re thinking of writing a book, then why not start with writing a blog. Start with a theme, a topic that you’re interested in, and which will cover the area that you want to write a book about, and start writing. If you’re like me then you’ll need to find a template for the blog, and I used one made available by Michael Hyatt, who is a prolific blogger.
In order to publish the book, there are several methods available, and the one I selected is to self-publish using CreateSpace from Amazon. This is all entirely free (with up-sell options available for extra help and support) and can be managed with the usual applications that we all use every day.
One thing to note is to make sure only to use your own material and illustrations, or be sure that you have permission to use any work from other people. Checking the source of quotes thoroughly is also a useful tip. For example, I found this other version of the quote I used above. It seems to be a good idea to check out any “well-known sayings” too, to be sure that they are actually true.
“There is no good writing; there is only good rewriting.”
~ Justice Louis Brandeis
CreateSpace has a downloadable MS Word template that you can use with all the relevant styles and page breaks etc. The only problem I had was with printing it out, and so from time to time I would create an A5 version in a separate file and I used that for making a printed hard copy to read through. Since the document template is broken up into several sections I had to select the entire file, and then reformat the entire document to A5 for that to work properly.
I used the A5 electronic version (ie printed to a pdf file) to share with some friends for them to offer feedback and criticism, and also to obtain some testimonials that I could include at the start of the book. I elicited the help and support of my son to create the front and rear cover, although I could have made something similar although less effective myself. Other options would include getting a local designer to help out with that for a small fee.
There is a section that you’ll need to complete that relates to your tax position and to establish if you’re a US citizen for the purposes of US tax, and unless I completed that incorrectly that all seemed to be fairly straightforward, as was entering my Bank details for the proceeds from any sales. These Bank details need to include the IBAN and BIC codes which I found at the top of my bank statement.
Once I had uploaded the word version along with the front & rear cover then there is an option to obtain a printed proof of the book, and I decided to stick with the online version only to proofread and decided to purchase a few copies once it was initially published. I then used these as pre-launch copies and gave some to some close friends for a final proofread and sanity check.
Having completed the print version I then also made a Kindle version from the same text and made that available at the same time as the printed version.
I have no illusion that this will become a best seller, or that many people that don’t know me will actually want to buy a copy just from browsing the bookshelves, so I didn’t pay too much attention to timing of the launch, or to eliciting any reviews, or any other publicity, and I don’t have any advice on that aspect of publishing, but I hope that my thoughts and experiences here have been helpful and will encourage someone else to write and publish a book too.
Do let me know if you do that!
About Roger Fairhead
Roger is a leadership specialist delivering Leadership for Business Achievement through Speaking, Training and Coaching to business leaders and entrepreneurs.
“He is articulate, tracks complex issues with ease and has an incredible gift for raising pearls of wisdom out of the murky depths of people and process.” His passion is to help people to learn effective leadership skills to lead their teams to capitalize on their strengths and passions to realize their dreams.
Leadership for Business also invests into the dreams of families in the world’s underserved communities to offer them small loans that empower them to invest in their future, to provide for their families and give back to their communities.