Writing and self-publishing a book sounds like a pretty daunting task, right?
As a writer myself, putting together my first book is something I’ve had on my growing to-do list for well over a year now. Despite knowing that this project could have a massively positive impact on the growth of my career, for one reason or another I’ve just never gotten around to getting started.
With keeping my full-time job, taking on a small number of freelance clients and running my own website all at the same time, writing my first book has consistently fallen by the wayside.
Last week I got the opportunity to preview Tara Gentile’s upcoming class, How to Write and Publish an eBook. From the very beginning of the first lesson, I realized exactly why I haven’t started writing my first book: the way I’ve been thinking about what a book is, has intimidated me out of even getting started.
When I think of what a book represents to me, my mind immediately goes to full-time writers, best-selling authors and 200+ page intensely-researched paperbacks that have been in print for years. Because I have such a deep respect for other writers and authors, I’ve put writing a book on a seemingly unattainable pedestal for myself.
My more traditional view of what a book is and how you should write it, has drastically inhibited me from writing one myself.
Tara Gentile has helped me change the way I think of writing a book, and has opened my eyes to just how easy and profitable it can be to self-publish your own book today.
As Tara explains at the beginning of the class, “the fastest way to write a book is to not write a book. It’s to weave together the body of work you already have.”
The moment I heard that, a switch flipped for me. I already have so much existing content from the hundreds of blog posts I’ve written, podcast interviews I’ve done, talks I’ve given, and online courses I’ve taught.
By repurposing some of the content I’ve already created around a specific topic and structuring it into a single cohesive piece of work, I could easily write a book in a matter of days or weeks by committing just a couple of hours to it each day.
Looking for writing inspiration? Check out these 43+ Creative Book Ideas for New Writers
This is all brand new to me and as a content marketer by trade, of course my mind immediately went to what happens after I’ve written the book?
That’s when the really tough questions came for me. What are the logistics of self-publishing? Should I sell the book from my website or host it on Amazon? How I should go about marketing my new book? How much should I charge for my book? How do I get people to care enough about my book to actually buy it?
These questions and many more that I hadn’t even thought to ask yet, were answered in the rest of Tara’s class, How to Write and Publish an eBook.
To help you answer these questions for yourself, and to give you a foundation for writing and self-publishing your first book, I’ve pulled out one of my favorite segments from each of the five detailed lessons in the class and embedded them below.
Tara’s self-published four of her own books in the past few years, and the impact they’ve had on her business has been incredible. She’s booked lucrative speaking engagements around the world, hosted conferences, taken on high-value consulting gigs, launched multiple online classes, and so much more-in great part because she’s proactively build her personal brand by self-publishing her own books and becoming an authority in her space.
Pulled straight from Tara’s upcoming class, here’s a preview of all five lessons from How to Write and Self-Publish an eBook.
Admittedly, choosing the right book idea is something I’ve had a lot of trouble with, myself.
As someone who’s passionate about many different subject areas within the broader topic of using my experiences to teach others how to start a business, narrowing in my focus to just one specific micro-topic to write a comprehensive book on, is no easy task.
In many ways, this step has been the biggest hurdle in the path toward getting started on writing a book, because I felt that choosing just one small topic to brand myself as an authority on would somehow be limiting. However, watching Tara’s class made me realize just how far off-base this line of thinking is.
As Tara explains, “you need to write a book on something incredibly small. That’s going to get you noticed.”
If I decided to write a book about something as broad as “starting a business,” my book would just be another small drop in the already massive bucket of top-line business books, where many more established (and authoritative) writers already run the show. Choosing a smaller niche to write about, is where the real opportunities lie.
She brings in Charlie Gilkey of Productive Flourishing as a guest interviewee to talk about how he views books, his book-writing process, the contract a writer has with their readers and much more. Here’s one of my favorite quotes from Charlie:
On top of this stellar interview, this first lesson of Tara’s class really helped me zero in on the specific goals I wanted to accomplish by writing a book in the first place.
The actual process of writing a book can seem an insurmountable undertaking. As we’ve already covered, you have to shift your thinking about what a book must be. In today’s digital age, there are no definitions of what a book needs to be. There are no gate-keepers and you don’t need to go through the traditional publisher route.
One of Tara’s first self-published books was nothing more than a short collection of related essays she’d already written, combined together into one eBook. That’s it. If you’ve been in business for much time at all, there are so many different places for you to pull content from.
“You all have blogs? You have courses? You’ve done talks? You’ve done workshops? You have TONS of content,” Tara says.
In this lesson, Tara walks you through her personal process for writing and structuring the content of a book she’s working on right now, demonstrating in Evernote.
She also brings in Srinivas Rao of the Unmistakable Creative, Wall Street Journal best-selling author of The Art of Being Unmistakable. He’s self-published multiple books, writes for some of the world’s top brands, and in his interview, Srinivas covers his personal writing process, how to write a book you’ll be proud of, and how to become a prolific writer. Here’s one of my favorite quotes from Srinivas:
Editing your book really has two distinct phases, the way Tara sees it:
• Proofreading: Catching any spelling, punctuation or grammatical errors throughout your book.
• Editing: Identifying areas of your book that are thinly supported, picking up on when you have ideas that aren’t fully formed and noticing any gaps in content that’ll take away from the effectiveness of your body of work.
Fear not, when it comes to self-publishing a book, we all make mistakes.
“I will write something and people will misunderstand it, they won’t understand why it’s important, they will miss a key piece of information, and that’s my bad. That’s on me,” Tara says. “But I need to fix that, especially if I’m going to be taking a blog post, podcast episode, or video and translating it into a book. A book is a place where you have the opportunity to get it right.”
That’s why Tara recommends buddying up with a fellow writer who you can trade editing responsibilities with. She advises this over simply having friends and family edit the early versions of your book, because another writer who’s invested in the editing process with you, is going to be more motivated to get you edits quickly and with more depth.
Setting up a plan for distributing and publishing your eBook will help you solidify your marketing plan.
Tara notes, “I highly recommend setting a release date for yourself. Whether that’s this coming Tuesday or a month from now. You want to give yourself plenty of time, don’t be staying up late the night before you expect to release your book, hitting the publish button.”
In this lesson, Tara walks you through the process of taking your finished eBook and publishing it on Amazon.
“When I talk about how to market your book, I’m talking about how to get people reading your book,” Tara begins. “But, nobody will read your book until you tell them it’s available.”
Tara continues, “I know that I’ve said Amazon is this great place because people can just stumble on your book. But, if your strategy for book readers is to let people stumble on it, that is not much of a strategy.”
In this lesson, Tara talks about how to rise in the Amazon rankings within your category so that more people discover, buy, and review your book. As more people find and read your book, it comes full-circle as Amazon recognizes your book is being received well, and they’ll reward you by raising it even higher in the rankings.
Tara also brings in expert book marketer and entrepreneur, Chandler Bolt of the Self-Publishing School for an incredible interview during this lesson about how he’s helped hundreds of people launch their self-published books with massive amounts of success. He talks about how to create the right cover for your book, how to align yourself with other authors in your space, and how to build a launch team that helps you multiply your book marketing efforts. This interview is worth tuning in for, and here’s one of my favorite quotes from Chandler, on the importance of having a great cover design:
So, if you’re ready to write and self-publish a book, join Tara Gentile for How to Write and Publish an eBook today.