Wednesday 29 March 2017

An Extremely Thin Overview On How I Created And Sold An Electronic Book

In 2016 I created, edited and sold my first electronic book, A PC Guide to County Playground: The Grand Grind. The sales were not astronomical, but they were above zero. I consider that a success. I am enthusiastic about creating and promoting more books.

One of my friends recently asked me: "I was wondering if you can share some wisdom and experience on how to get a book published."

I'm happy to share what I know.

I divide up the work into three categories:

  1. Creating the manuscript: From idea to completed text
  2. Crafting the book: Cover, ISBN, Editor
  3. Promotion of the book: Marketing, finding your audience, making it as easy as possible for people to discover you and to buy your book.

I'm going to go into more depth on all three of those topics in future blog posts.

Until I get my own experience updated here in mind-numbing detail, I will recommend APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur by Guy Kawasaki and Shawn Welch. They have made a thorough, honest and (in my opinion) encouraging overview of what it takes to write a manuscript, turn that manuscript into a book, then promote the book.

Physical and Electronic Books

I'm interested in both paper books and digital books, also called electronic books, ebooks, or iBooks.

Much of what I did, I followed from the examples and recommendations in APE. Some specifics:

Creating the manuscript

  • Set a specific goal for what the finished manuscript should look like. For me, I wanted a book that was 30,000 words. My finished book was 35,000 and change.
    • The reason this is important is: it helps you know when you are done. Sometimes you write and write and write and it never feels like the work is done, complete, good enough. It really helps to have a clear vision of your ending in sight. This helps you reach the ending.
  • Build a routine that helps you to finish the book. For me, this meant finding a time of day that (a) I was most productive and (b) I was not likely to be interrupted.
    • I tend to write between 05:00 and 06:00 each morning. That may not work for everyone, but it works for me.

Crafting the book: Cover, ISBN, Editor

  • I created the cover myself for my first electronic book. I do not recommend this. It costs money to hire a professional graphic designer, and that person is worth it. APE has suggestions on how to find a designer for your book cover
  • I found an editor through the Blue Pencil offerings at the Vancouver Public Library. The editor I found is associated with Editors British Columbia
  • The Canadian Federal Government provides services for a publisher to get an ISBN. This includes self publishers. For other countries, I point you again to APE.

Promotion of the Book

I would say I still have a lot to learn about this area. My initial target audience for my first book was very small, as I was more interested in the mechanics of publishing rather than volume sales.

Here I would turn to The Internet, particularly the Meetup part of the Internet. I know of at least one Group of Writers who have organized a "Self-Publishing and Book Marketing Support Group." Chances are, someone in that group knows someone who can help you find the next step to building an audience for your book.

If you have created a manuscript, turned it into a book, and/or promoted it, I would like to hear about what works and what does not. Please leave a message in the comments or contact me through this blog.

Thanks, and I wish you success on your book journey.

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