Yesterday, I told you how I beat the lizard brain and published my first book. Last night, I learned that we sold 50 books in our first day of sales, which totally exceeded my expectations!
Today, in the same spirit of my “How to Start a Side Hustle” series, I want to dig a little bit into the specifics and share with you how I actually was able to write and publish the book in about three months. This post is for all the happy black women out there who want to write and publish their own book, novel or ebook. If you “have a book in you,” I’m talking right to you darlin’.
Tell Everyone You’re Writing a Book
About a year ago, I got the idea to write a book and I started telling people about it on my nonprofit blog, on Facebook, on Twitter, and in person. It was a great answer to the “what are you working on?” question. I talked about it so much that a major publisher approached me to explore the possibility of me writing a book for them. When the publisher ultimately rejected my book proposal, I was even more determined to get the book out there. And as it turns out, you get to keep more of your earnings by self-publishing anyway.
Find a Co-Author
Although I had years of content from my blog to build from for the book, I was feeling really overwhelmed by the thought of having to do all the work to put it all together on my own in any sort of timely fashion. One of my best decisions in the process was to enlist the help of one of my colleagues to help me write the book, edit the content and figure out all the logistics of self-publishing and marketing. She and I agreed to split the workload and the profits – a win/win for both of us!
Set a Hard Deadline
The first thing I did after choosing a co-author was to set a deadline. We picked November 1, 2010 as THE day the book would go on sale to the masses. We chose that date because it was three months out, which would force us to be very diligent in getting our drafts and edits together in a short amount of time. We locked ourselves in so we couldn’t drag out the process for what could have been a whole year, really. It was a deadline that was challenging enough to keep us on track, but not impossible to meet. Marketing and business guru Seth Godin would have called it “the day we ship,” no matter what.
Create a Timeline/Workplan
From that date, we worked backwards to create a timeline and workplan for when we had to have first draft, second draft, internal edits, external edits, etc. done. We also used a workplan to map out ideas for marketing, including when we would get the book website up and running, the cover designed, outreach to bloggers and journalists to review the book once it was done. We knew all the steps we had to take and when we had to take them if we were going to meet our November 1 deadline.
Choose a Publishing or Ebook Delivery Service
We decided to publish the book in two formats – a paperback and an ebook. We chose Lulu.com to sell the paperback version and E-junkie to sell the ebook version.
Lulu.com allows you to upload your manuscript, photos or digital files, use their formatting tools to get everything set up just the way you want, from size to binding to cover art, and…voila! You’re the proud parent of a brand new digital creation, ready to publish and cherish. The publishing process couldn’t be easier!
E-junkie provides shopping cart and buy now buttons to let you sell downloads and tangible goods on your website. They make it really easy to automate and secure the digital delivery of files and codes for your ebook!
Set Up a Book Website
One of the most important things we did was set up a website specifically to market and sell the book at http://nonprofitrockstartour.com. We signed up with Bluehost for a 12-month plan to host the site (only $7 a month!) and customized it using WordPress and the Headway theme. We used Aweber to set up a mailing list and ended up with 300 people signed up to learn more about the book!
Are you thinking about writing and self-publishing a book of your own? What challenges might you need to overcome before you get started?