Wanna be an author? Well it’s actually not that hard!
Checkout this book I wrote ~6 years ago:
See that? I ordered it off Amazon Prime and it showed up at my door. And I wrote it! Now I’m a self-published author!
How hard was this? I’d say probably a 4-out-of-10 on the hardness scale. It’s actually quite an easy process. Literally by tonight you can complete all the steps to self-publish a book that can be physically ordered, has a real ISBN number and everything!
I’ll show you how here.
Now I wrote a small book (60 pages), and so I’m not going into detail about how to write some giant novel (although the process is roughly the same).
This process is for making a REAL self-published book that people can order copies of, you get a real ISBN number….and you don’t have to do any of the inventory or printing or shipping. (If you just wanna sell a PDF book you made, you can checkout GumRoad.com instead, but you won’t be officially self-published).
So if you wanna self-publish a book, follow along these easy steps, and I’ll show you how to self publish a book on Amazon for free (and where where to get a lot of the grunt-work done cheap):
STEP 1.) WRITE THE DAMN BOOK! SET A COMPLETION DATE.
A lot of people are currently “writing a book”…but most of them never finish.
Neil Strauss (9 time NYTimes best selling author said):
When someone asks me to review a book, the FIRST thing I do is ask them the exact date it’ll be done by. If they don’t have a hard date…I don’t even talk to them about it.
I totally agree. Whenever I was writing my book, I initially started it months before, but since I didn’t have a hard date to complete it by, it NEVER took form.
But once I set a hard date, I cruised through the chapters in no time.
Actually sitting down and WRITING on a schedule makes you go really quick. Watch how quickly I blazed through chapter 7 of the book when I was on a deadline:
Here’s a 43 second video of me making a chapter sped up. The chapter took about 23 minutes to write:
As you can see that actually pretty quick once I got serious about it.
STEP 2.) PICKING THE RIGHT TECHNOLOGY TO WRITE WITH.
What I mean is, what computer program you’re going to use.
Here’s my simple breakdown for this:
IF YOU’RE WRITING A BOOK THAT’S UNDER 100 PAGES:
I would highly suggest using something simple like Google Docs.
I found it incredibly powerful and easy to write the book through Google Docs over Microsoft Word. I like Google Docs because:
- It’s free!
- You can edit the file from anywhere on any device.
- When converting formats, Google Docs is fantastic at keeping things properly formatted.
- Writing in Google Docs is intuitive and super easy.
- You can easily create new images with the “Drawings” functions.
- Can rescue old text through through the “Revision History” function.
Google Docs is optimal for books books that will be under 100 pages.
IF YOU’RE WRITING A FICTION BOOK THAT’S OVER 100 PAGES:
You might wanna consider using a tool like Scrivener. This will allow you to break up chapters and organize the book. Some people have a lot of research, notes, interviews etc they pull from, and Scrivener can help with that.
Honestly when starting a book, I’d just say use something SUPER BASIC like Google Docs or Microsoft Word. Then only if you really need professional-grade software, you can upgrade to that when needed.
For now, just open up a free Google Doc and start type-type-type-type-typing!
STEP 3.) SIGNUP WITH CREATE SPACE (Amazon.com’s book service)
There’s a bunch of services you can use to self-publish a book….but there’s ONE major book seller in the world and it’s Amazon.
So Amazon owns this company called CreateSpace, and if you self-publish through them, your book can automatically be sold through Amazon as a real book or a Kindle book (mine as an example). I’ve had a great experience using them, so it’s the only service I personally recommend (It’s also the only place I’ve seen people publish books like this that actually make money).
Hardbacks, paperbacks, big books, small books….WHATEVER YOU WANT THEY CAN DO!
It’s really easy:
—A.) Go to CreateSpace.com and signup.
—B.) Start the self-publishing process (it’s free).
—C.) Follow steps till done. (I’ll cover the pre-requisites to this in the next steps).
STEP 4.) DESIGN A COVER FOR YOUR BOOK
The first ever book I published was a full 8-1/2-inch-by-11-inch book. I chose this because I was trying to duplicate the look of Gary Halbert’s book PLUS a random joke from Family Guy:
My next book was supposed to be small/compact/quick so I made it a 6” X 9” paperback book with a nice glossy front and back cover.
I first had an assistant make a temporary book cover. Then we made another and tested it. I had people on my mailing list vote for which one was better. Here’s the two versions:
The “Ten Commandments of Copywriting” book failed miserably!!
People instead liked the friendly design of the “This Book Will Teach You How To Write Better” and also the direct-benefit of the title.
842 people responded to the survey.
21% people preferred “The Ten Commandments of Copywriting” title.
79% people preferred “The Book Will Teach You How To Write Better”.
So we used that same book cover and uploaded it to CreateSpace……and despite the cover just being a regular .jpg image, it came out fantastic! I was actually surprised how professional it looked.
BUT THE EASIEST WAY TO GET A BOOK COVER DESIGNED IS BY USING FIVERR!
Just go to Fiverr (it’s a place where people will do damn-near-anything for around 5 bucks) and type in Book Cover Design. You’ll find hundreds of people with high reputations who will make you a basic book cover if you can’t do it yourself.
You might also want use this handy book title generator if you need help coming up with a title.
STEP 5.) GET YOUR BOOK FORMATTED PROPERLY.
Of the whole process THIS part was the largest pain-in-the-ass.
When I self-published my very first book, it was the same size as all electronic documents and paper: 8 1/2” x 11”. So formatting was just a matter of putting page breaks in the right places between chapters.
However when I made a smaller book, I had to re-format everything to the right size all over again. CreateSpace has templates that help you with this, but it was still a pain.
The best way to do this (once again) is hit up Fiverr!
You can get someone who does this formatting ALL DAY LONG to format it for you for cheap (hooray for cheap 18 year old Philieano and Indian labor)!!!
Seriously…..for like $5 to $15 you can get this done. It’s mainly grunt work that’s really really really boring to do. So I’d suggest farming it out.
Also I tried simply slapping my regularly-formatted document to Kindle….and while it worked, it was riddled with lots of small errors that don’t look super professional. I would pay someone to do this part.
STEP 6.) PUBLISH TO CREATESPACE AND KINDLE, THEN LINK THEM TOGETHER.
If you want a PHYSICAL book to be sold, you must publish to CreateSpace.
If you want only a Digital book published through Amazon, you can just do Kindle.
They are still separate services even though both owned by Amazon.
Once you published on both platforms, you must link them together. Normally this is automatic, but if not, read these instructions. Pretty simple to solve.
HOW MUCH DOES IT COST TO SELF PUBLISH A BOOK?
It’s literally 100% free to self-publish a book on Amazon if you don’t want to do a test order of your book first. I personally go through CreateSpace.com (which is owned by Amazon), and the only cost associated with creating your book is ordering 1 copy for review BEFORE you publish it. This cost me about $2 plus shipping (so maybe $5 total).
So while it’s not 100% free to publish a book, it’s pretty close!
INTERESTING STUFF I LEARNED:
One of the most surprising things about this book, is that I initially published it without promoting it, and it just started naturally making sales in the Amazon ecosystem!
Then in August of 2013 I made this janky book page and video and pushed the book just a little, and that started gaining traction for the book within Amazon.
I then stopped promoting the book at all, as we sell other stuff for far more money, and 6 years later I still do ZERO promotion for it, but it still sells everyday.
Every month I still make several hundred (or thousand) dollars from this dinky little book:
Here’s the best lifetime stat report I could get (sorry it’s not very detailed):
This book was initially just an experiment to see if I can published a book (it’s $3.99 Kindle). I make approximately $2.71 per sale.
With zero promotion for well over a year and priced so low, Amazon still sends me roughly $700/month for commissions of this book.
I can easily see that if people price their books at $17.99 or so and sell the same amount, it could make a pretty decent income. I actually made a book profit calculator here to see what’s possible:
So it IS possible to make some money from books like this!
Another interesting quirk I found was how Amazon deposits money in your account. Apparently if you sell a book in a different country, you get a different payment, meaning I might get 12 different deposits at the same time!
I mean it’s not a huge problem or anything, but it is funny to see random $4.57 payments from Amazon Brazil in my bank account 😂
THIS SELF PUBLISHING GUIDE IS REALLY SIMPLE…
…but that’s because self-publishing a book is REALLY that easy!
I did my first book in about two weeks from start to finish. Now it’s cool to have a book published that is automatically sold, fulfilled, and even gains reviews just by being on Amazon!
I hope you enjoyed and learned!!
P.S. See how much money you can make with a book using this Book Profit Calculator.
P.P.S. I wrote another book after this 100% in Google Docs, you can see how I did it here.