Yes, it can be daunting. But if you have something to say, be unafraid to shout it from the rooftops! Whether you are self-publishing or working with an indie publisher, just remember there is no right or wrong way to write a book; some ways are just easier than others.
First off, if you have that book in your heart, listen to it. Don’t get in your own way and fill your head with negative thoughts like, “What am I doing? I am not a writer!” That kind of thinking will stop you in your tracks. You gotta let that go.
Secondly, any good book is a collaborative effort. That includes every book that ever was, or ever will make, the New York Times Bestseller List.
Each represents the work of a hoard of people: experts who lend their knowledge to enhance the material, trusted associates who offer their opinions on the draft manuscript, editors who clarify the message and extinguish the pesky grammatical issues, business coaches or mentors who help inspire the writer, ghostwriters who may be tapped to do the lion’s share of the work.
Not to mention graphic artists who create the cover, the digital formatting gurus, the wildly talented social media strategists, and of course the indie publisher or self-publisher who pulls it all together.
You don’t have to live on Self-Publishing Isle. You just need to find people you can trust (like us!) and move from there.
Make a Self-Publishing Plan
Don’t start with one that is TOO restrictive unless that’s how you work best. If you respond well to Gantt charts and timelines then by all means, set yourself up for success. Still:
- Try establishing a daily word count. Give yourself a minimum of 1000 words per day just say. They don’t need to be polished or structured in a cohesive order, just commit to a word count. Besides keeping you on track, you will exercise those writing muscles. The more you write, the more and the better you CAN write!
- Start with a sprint. You don’t run a 26-mile marathon on your first day out. You may not even make it around the block at first. Be consistent with your writing and before long you’ll have 2000 words on the page and haven’t broken a sweat! Be patient with yourself. Especially if writing is NOT your day job and this is your first self-publishing foray.
- Time. If you have other commitments, time may be a precious commodity. Then look at your calendar and find five hours a week. Whether or not they’re consecutive, book them out in your calendar like you would a hair appointment or an hour at the gym.
Where to Start?
So, you’ve found your five hours and you’ve got your word count determined.
Understand you don’t need to start your book at the beginning. As a matter of fact, you don’t even need to work from an outline. (They can tend to stifle creativity.)
Instead of staring at that blinking cursor (that gets all up in your face as if to say, “Go ahead! Just try and come up with a brilliant first sentence!”), defy the cursor and just brain dump. You can write the first sentence last.
It doesn’t matter how it sounds or how much sense it makes, just let it all out. It’s like testing the pool water with your toe. The hell with the trepidation and just jump in! That’s the only way you’ll realize the water is not really that cold, but so delightfully refreshing you’ll be glad you took the self-publishing plunge.
Get as much as you can/want to get on those pages then save them and step away. Don’t even re-read what you wrote. Let it marinate. I don’t know anything about cooking, but I understand that is one of the secrets to flavorful cuisine. Same here. Let your words all hang out together, and they will eventually blend into a savory success! Seriously.
You’re going to continue to return to that mess of a manuscript again and again to get as many thoughts as are immediately in your head. Then you save and step away. Write. Save. Step away. Repeat.
Now take the time to read everything but do not get discouraged about how it sounds. It’s a rough draft. Look at it from 60,000 feet, don’t look at the minutiae to spell or say this or that in a cleverer way.
When you read everything back it will give you a sense of where you’re going. Now may be a good time to figure your structure and your chapter outlines. (A word about chapter headings, go back at the end and rename them. The act of writing itself will enable you to come up with shinier ones.)
If you understand that writing and self-publishing are processes, you will be able to enjoy them all the more.
After you have exhausted your brain trust of info, start the organization of the book by putting the sections in their proper order. From here you are going to consistently hone the sections and refine. Return again and again to your pages, making them better every time. If a literary giant like Ernest Hemingway can say, “The only kind of writing is rewriting,” then who are we to argue?
If it helps at all, save a copy of that first, untouched brain dump. When you find yourself getting frustrated with your draft, go back to that initial attempt and see how far you’ve come.
There’s a lot to this effort, but like any goal, if you make a plan comprised of realistic timeframes, you will be successful. You’re also not in this alone. Rely on self-publishing experts to edit and proof and design and market your book and you’ll be on to the next one! Empower yourself to share your knowledge. Write on!
Conscious Shift Publishing consults, edits, formats, designs, publishes, and markets books. Whether writers wish to self- or indie-publish we inspire them through every step to promote their unique perspectives. CSP clients retain 100% of their royalties as well as 100% ownership of every digital file and image. Find out more at ConsciousShiftPublishing.com or contact publisher, Tracey Kern, at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a complimentary consultation. Write on!