Realistic, No Bull-Crap, Step-By-Step Guide to Publishing from an Author Who Does Not Claim to Know Everything, but Who Has Done Everything Wrong So You Don't Have To
Whew. That was some title, right? Don’t worry. We’re just going to call this the Guide To Publishing Series. In a series of posts designed to chronologically follow the process of publishing, I will share with you what I think is the ideal road map for an author to go from book idea to published book based on my own experiences.
Basically, I'm going to share all the crap I did wrong, so you can learn from my mistakes and not repeat them. Cool?
So, firstly, why am I writing this series?
Indie publishing has become more accessible over the last couple of years. People are really delving into the industry and making great livings. The stigma against independently published books is nearly non-existent, especially now when we see self-published books in the top 100 on Amazon on almost any given day. We are competing side by side with the big names in traditional publishing, and I would even venture to say, we’re doing it better.
But I think for many new writers just getting started, it is still an intimidating process. Moreover, it’s really a process that you need to get right from the start if you want to make a career of your writing.
That is why I’m writing this series. For those writers who want to get it right from the start. And for the writers who want to make this their career, or at the very least, make some money back from their books.
But who can say what is the right process? Certainly not me. I have yet to do anything right in this industry. I learn from making epic mistakes and course correcting. I’m six and a half years into this career, and I have had very high highs and low lows. I am no expert, and you shouldn’t read anything I write in this series and assume it’s the path that will lead you to the NYT Bestseller charts. In fact, you should assume if anyone says they’re an expert in this field and has the fool-proof path to success that they’re a fraud. You should run, don’t walk, away from them. And trust me, there’s a lot of those guys in this industry. They want to sell you an eBook or a web course that will give you all the secrets for the low, low price of $399.
I’m all for people hustling and making that money, but you don’t need to bother with all that. There are resources, plentiful and free, online that you can learn all you need from if you’re willing to do a little work. And I’m assuming, since you want to be a writer, that you’re willing to do the work.
Which brings me to my next point. This series will be a paid tier published on my Patreon page. Why am I charging if I just said you can find all this information free?
(This tier will cost $3 a month. That’s $1.50 for every post as I will be posting an article in this series twice monthly.)
I am charging because there is value in my work. There is value in your work (always remember this, especially in indie publishing where we’re in a race to the bottom with cheap books). Yes, you can find all this information for free, but it takes digging and effort. I will compile for you my insight and experience into a step-by-step consecutive guide. I am merely charging for the work I am putting in, and hopefully you will find that the price is worth it to have everything laid out for you.
You are paying for my opinion and for a road map labeled with landmarks of trends to skip, financial mistakes to avoid, tips for efficiency, and so on. Hopefully, this series will also take some workload and stress off your plate as well.
In addition to just reading the posts, I will be staying on top of the comments for each post. If you have a question or want to discuss something further, leave a comment! It is my hope that my posts can be an informational asset, but also the comments can be a vibrant Q&A section as well.
That’s worth $3 bucks a month, right?
Now that that is out of the way, let’s talk about what you can expect from this series.
I’ve planned out each post in what I hope is the most intuitive chronological order. I am starting at the beginning of the process, with the writing, before a book has even had the first word typed on the first page. Most of you reading and paying for this series will be beyond this point. But I think I would be doing a disservice by promoting this as a guide to publishing without addressing that there might be some readers who just have an idea and a hope to publish one day.
But I do think these early posts on concepts, market research, deducing genre expectations, outlining, and general how to get writing will be helpful to everyone. Maybe you skipped the market research phase. Maybe you want to know how I plan a release schedule. Maybe you don't outline and you find that you struggle with writer’s block and are having to spend far too long on edits. All direct clues you should probably be outlining.
I am including the list of posts along with their scheduled release date below.
Keep in mind that this list is a work in progress. While writing, I may find another topic that needs to be covered. Or, hopefully, you will leave a comment on a post and ask for a specific topic to be covered as well. I would be more than happy to add that into the lineup. This list as a constantly evolving work. As I add topics or combine posts, I will always adjust this intro post and the schedule. I will also add links to the posts as they’re released to this introduction post. If you are interested in this series, I would highly suggest you bookmark this post.
The list and Schedule:
- 5/29/20: How To Conduct Market Research for Your Idea: Finding your genre/author and title comps/uncovering genre and reader expectations
- 6/12/20: How To Create A Release Schedule: Also a discussion on setting yourself up for success, not burnout (Having a vision and executing it without getting lost in the middle)
- 6/26/20: How To Outline: Reader magnets, individual books, and an entire series
- 7/3/20: How To Write: Haha but really. A writer writes, everyone else is just a person saying they want to write a book
- 7/17/20: How To Troubleshoot: You’re Stuck. What’s Happening?
- 7/31/20: How To Edit: You thought you were finished but you haven’t even seen pain yet
- 8/14/20: How To Self-Edit: Developmental edits (aka kill your darlings phase)
- 8/28/20: How To Invest In Your Book: The money of publishing (budgeting vs all-in)
- 9/11/20: How To Find An Editor: Quality versus Getting Ripped Off versus Not Spending Enough
- 9/25/20: How To Design A Cover: Hiring a cover designer
- 10/9/20: How To Brand: The Biggest Mistake You Could Make
- 10/25/20: How To Format: It’s Not Worth It—Hire Someone
- 11/6/20: How To Make A Newsletter: This Most Important Thing You Will Ever Do Part 1 (reader magnet, set up, drip campaigns, CONNECTION, VALUE)
- 11/20/20: How To Make a Newsletter: Part 2 (planning swaps and group promos—how you BUILD your newsletter)
- 12/4/20: How To Build A Website: The wam-bam easy method (don't over-complicate this)
- 12/18/20: How To Run Your Social Media: What exactly do you need to do as an author?
- 1/1/21: How To Make the Ultimate Decision: To KU or not to KU
- 1/15/21: How To Upload Onto Amazon, Smashwords, and Google Play (choosing subtitles, keywords, how to get into the max categories, and pricing)
- 1/29/21: How To Run Ads: Why or why not?
- 2/12/21: How To Sustain: You Will Get Burnt Out. How Do You Deal?
- 2/26/21: How To Leverage Rights: Audio, foreign translations, Etc.
What did I miss? What do you want to see on the list? Leave a comment below!
In the meantime, I am including a linked guide to posts I’ve previously published on my website. These are all free, but keep in mind that some of them are dated and include specific information that might not be viable anymore.
- Financial Mistake I Made Part 1
- Financial Mistakes Part 2
- Scrivener Basics
- My New Editing Process
- Publishing Rejection
- Fixing A Broken Book
- Author Branding
- Planning For A Bookbub Ad
- Consistency Is King
I hope you are looking forward to this series! I’m excited to write it and hopefully help some of you out.
*Note: On Patreon, you are charged at the first of every month.
Additionally, I have a benefit tier for authors who need more individual attention on their book. This tier is called Scribblers. In this tier, I will read your WIP, offer feedback, schedule monthly check-in calls, and be a resource to discuss one-on-one all the topics listed above.
I also have a tier called Streamers, where I do a monthly live stream. During it, I am writing real time and answering questions. I will also be discussing my creation process, which will include some tips/how I write.