Self-Publishing Resources

Self-Publishing: Doin’ the Buts

When it comes to writing a book, one of the biggest issues is getting started. We know we should be working on it, but there are all these “buts” in the way. “I have an idea for a book, but I don’t have the time to write it.” “I would love to write a novel, but I don’t know what to write about.” “I know I should be working on my manuscript, but how will I get it published?”

The truth is, we really want to get started, but all our excuses and reasons get in the way.

Trust me, I completely understand. I do it, too! This will be my third self-published book. I find myself recycling the same hindering excuses I used when I wrote The Lonely Prince and I’m Proud to Be Natural Me! I think it’s just human nature (or human nurture) that we often worry more than we work. The good news is that getting started is really as simple as getting passed all the “buts.” If we address the concerns that come after the word “but” in our excuses, we’re well on your way!  

Here are some common “buts” that I hear all the time:

1. BUT I DON’T HAVE THE TIME

We make time for what's important.

Feeling that we don’t have enough time is a common excuse. I would call it a reason, but if we’re totally honest with ourselves, we make time for what we deem a priority, even when we have a tight schedule.

Picture, for example, you’re working on a very important work project that’s due in an hour, you’ve got breakfast on the stove, you’re still in your bathrobe typing away at the computer, and and your child comes in and says, “Mommy, I really need to talk to you and it’s very important,” then she bursts into tears! What do you do? Do you say, “Sorry, sweetie. I just don’t have the time,” and keep working, or do you “make time?” Even if you’re not a parent yet, I’ll venture to say, that your answer is, “Make time.”

When it’s important enough, you make time. Well, that book idea that keeps coming back to you, is nagging at you for a reason. Someone needs the information you have to share. There is some purpose for the drive within you to get it done, and finding time is no longer going to be the excuse for not doing it.

Here are some quick ways to make time with a tight schedule:

a) Make it easy – Keep a small notebook and pen by your bed, in the bathroom, in your purse/briefcase, in the kitchen, and at your desk at work, just for jotting down ideas when they come to you.

b) Maximize Idle Moments – Instead of checking Facebook and chit-chatting with other customers when you’re in a long line at Target or the Post Office, brainstorm and jot down concepts, phrases, and ideas for your book.

c) Use 15 Minute Intervals – If you use 15 minute intervals, you can get an amazing amount of writing done this year. It’s simple, but will take a little discipline. Set your alarm clock 15 minutes earlier. Remember the notebooks placed all around? Write for 15 minutes first thing when you wake up (or if you’re not a alert first thing, voice record it in your phone while you shower/make your coffee). Set aside 15 minutes of your lunch break, and go off by yourself and write. When you’re home and Mother Nature calls, 😉 commit to staying in there for 15 minutes. (If you’re a mom, lock the door. lol ) And take another 15 minutes right before bed. Altogether, that’s one hour! So, even if you miss a couple days/intervals, in a year, you’ve logged well over 300 hours of writing! Amazing, right?

2. BUT WHAT SHOULD I WRITE ABOUT

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In my opinion, one of the best ways to find a topic that can keep you juiced is to write about something you are passionate about. Topics that evoke extreme joy, excitement, disgust, and anger within you will be way easier to write about than things that don’t really matter to you.

Here are a few ideas of passion-driven brainstorming topics:

a) Love/Hate – What do you hate? Is there a concept, practice, policy, that you simply can’t stand? What do you love? Are you obsessed with a celebrity, traveling, or foreign cars? Have you been somewhere so amazing that you light up every time you tell the story? Tell the story. Someone will love to hear it.

b) Self-help – People love to hear stories of overcoming. These stories offer hope that can often be life-changing for a reader. Maybe you have been through a really rough time, but you turned it all around, or someone came into your life and made it all better. Have you overcome a tragedy, illness, loss, incarceration, or public defeat? If you’ve been through something and are now clearly on the other side, maybe you can offer advice on that. Your story of triumph may give someone the hope they need to keep going, or even change the direction of their life.

c) Tutorial What are you good at or ridiculously horrible at? Are you amazingly skilled/knowledgeable on a topic? Maybe you are a pro at burning water. Someone may find your comical account of how to make a horrendous meal worth reading. 🙂  There might be some guy still using his 8-track player who’s currently wishing for a guide on how to fix it. ;)Maybe you could teach someone else through a step-by-step guide? Never assume that you are the only one interested in what you have to offer.

3. BUT HOW WILL I GET IT PUBLISHED

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Self-publishing is as simple as: create, upload, and distribute. The goal is to get it out of your head and into the hands of readers.

Here’s an overview of the process:

a) Create the book – Get it out of your head and into digital form. If your novel is currently handwritten in your journal, or scribbled on a series of sticky notes, go ahead and type it out on the computer and save it as a Word document. Insert photos and illustrations where you want them to appear. Lay it out page by page, and have someone edit it. (In a future post, I will go in depth.)

b) Upload the book – Once you have your book’s layout as you desire, choose a self-publishing company to print and distribute it for you. Many print-on-demand companies require no upfront fees. This is actually why I chose to self-publish because I had no income at the time that I wrote I’m Proud to Be Natural Me! Once you select a company, you will simply follow the step-by-step instructions for uploading your book (the Word document I mentioned earlier). Most companies listed on my Resources page even offer “wizards” that will help you create a cover design, if you don’t have one! 

c) Distribute the book – Once you’ve uploaded your file, the self-publishing company will review it and send you an email letting you know if it has met their approval for printing. If so, download the approved file from their website and review it for yourself, AND requested a printed proof. This is a printed copy of your book as it will appear when customers purchase it. Once you’ve reviewed your proofs, and completed the other required self-publishing steps (e.g. choosing a price, writing a book description, choosing a category, etc.), you’ll “enable distribution.” This is the exciting part. Essentially this is when your book becomes available to the public for purchase!

So now you know that self-publishing is not such a daunting task. The next time you catch yourself making excuses, realize that moving forward is just as simple as doin’ the buts. 

If this was helpful to you, please comment below!

Online Resources

Self-Publishing Sites*

  • CreateSpace – Don’t have money to publish? CreateSpace allows you to set up and publish your book with no upfront fees or inventory investment. Click here to learn more. 
  • Lulu – Lulu offers you the expertise, independence and flexibility to create, buy and share what you love with the world.  Click here to learn more here. 
  • IngramSpark – IngramSpark is the only publishing platform that delivers fully integrated print and digital distribution services to the book industry through a single source.  Click here to learn more here. 
*I have used each of these sites to self-publish my books. Check them out for yourself to see if any of these suit your needs.

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  • Get Unstuck Worksheet – Having trouble moving forward on writing your book/pursuing a goal? This worksheet is a great tool for getting clear on what is really impeding your progress! Click here to download this free resource.

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