Today I want to walk you through the process of writing and publishing a book on Amazon.
To start with, you need an idea. I won’t go into massive mounts of detail because this post will get far too long, maybe some day I will break it into parts for you and do a little mini course or something, but for now, just write your story.
Sort of a side note: Before you publish your book, you want to create some hype and generate interest on social media first. Posting pictures on Instagram of your laptop while you’re working on your book is a good way to go, you can also post character or story aesthetic collages, which are basically just photos of elements of your character and maybe one or two of what they look like in your head. Here are some examples I made for my fantasy novel that is still in the works:
Just bare in mind that as you’re writing the book, you also have to market it as well because that’s a huge part of being an indie author. I have not figured everything out by any means, but you’ll be surprised at how putting even just a little bit of effort into talking about your book online will spark interest. Try not to be “salesy”, about it, just drop some quotes from the section you’re writing and talk (vaguely) about the plot twist you’re working on and it’ll generate intrigue and you’ll have at least a handful of readers waiting for the book release. (Social Media pro tip: the twitter #WritingCommunity is AMAZING. There are tons of writers with lots of great advice and they’re just waiting to hype you up on your writing journey. Also a great way to find Beta’s, Editors and even book reviewers! check out my author friend Quinn Buckland’s review of my novella ‘Hunting Death’: https://youtu.be/AeuIiEGsBdU )
Okay, back to writing:
There are (at least) two ways to go about writing your book, first is usually referred to as being a “plotter”, where you outline your entire story and plot it all out before writing it. The second is referred to as being a “pantster” (like…”by the seat of your pants”) basically you start with a general idea and just start writing and see what happens.
My method is generally a mix of both, I like to have a starting point, know roughly where my story will climax and what the ending will be and then I start writing. I like to leave myself some wiggle room because as you write you will get more ideas and might want to deviate from the original plan a bit, just be careful not to do this too much because you can get so caught up in writing and rewriting that you never actually finish. (I’m speaking from experience, hence: novel-that-I’ve-been-trying-to-finish-since-age-12..)
So, once you get your story written, you’re going to want to edit and format. You will more than likely want to have some beta readers as well to get some feedback and help catch grammatical errors or inconsistencies. Beta readers are honestly SO important. It can be really daunting to show your work to anyone, but as long as these are people you trust and are willing to give you honest feedback (preferably in a loving way) then you’re good to go.
I like to use Grammarly and Microsoft Word for editing. If you have the means to pay an editor, go for it! someday I will probably do the same but I can’t justify the expense yet, not when I can usually do pretty okay on my own. You can look up Youtube videos on grammar and writing if you need a refresher on anything too, the internet is amazing!
Once you have your document edited to the point where you feel is right, send it off to your betas and try to wait patiently for feedback. Once you get the feedback, tweak anything that needs to be changed, send it for another round of reading and repeat until satisfied.
Once you’re finished with the last edits it’s time to begin formatting. Now…this is a bit that’s difficult for me even now, so I don’t have much advice to give. You can probably pay someone to do this for you too if you like (that may even be something your editor can do but I’m not 100% sure on that point) but if you’re like me and want to try and do everything yourself, google it.
Formatting will depend on your writing software as well. I’ve used Scrivener and Microsoft Word and honestly cannot tell you which is simpler, both have pretty good benefits but you can find Youtube videos on formatting in either program that are very informative. I watched loads of videos and then played around with it until it finally worked pretty decently. This is honestly my least favorite part of the writing process, so I’m sorry I can’t give more advice on it, one day when I have it all figured out I’ll give you a detailed walkthrough, I swear!
Okay, now that you’re finished formatting, you’re ready to publish!
With Amazon you can set up a pre-order for your ebook but, unfortunately they do not have the option for pre-ordering for paperback books. (Which I discovered while writing this because I was attempting to set up a pre-order for my newest coloring book but was unable to do so)
First you will need to create an Amazon Author Account. It’s quick and easy and best of all – free!
Once you’ve set up your account, you can begin publishing your book. The process is pretty straightforward, I’ve found amazon to be pretty user friendly so far. Just fill in all the necessary info, create your cover (or upload your cover), upload your manuscript, set your price and then wait for your book to go live!
One of the only things I dislike about publishing through Amazon is waiting for the paycheck. You can set up direct deposit which is awesome, but you get paid 90 days after the sale, so for instance, I sold a bunch of coloring books in December (always my best sales month) and I won’t get that money until the 29th of this month (February). It’s not a massive downside, but it is kind of a wait, but if you can generate a good amount of monthly sales then after a certain point you’re being paid monthly anyway so in the long term it really isn’t the end of the world, just something to be aware of.
I hope you have found this helpful. If you have any questions at all, feel free to ask and I can answer to the best of my ability. I know this is just a quick and dirty overview of the whole process, but one day I plan to really sit down and write out an in-depth walk through of the process to help people out because I really think that self-publishing with the technology of today is pretty fantastic for aspiring authors. You don’t have to spend tons of money to get started and you can publish as many books as you want, whenever you want. It’s truly amazing.
(also, check out my books! here’s my amazon author page. I’ll be publishing my Sea Creature Coloring book sometime in March, so stay tuned!)