Thanks go to Self-Publishing Coach Shelley Hitz for contributing this guest post.
Are you interested in self-publishing a book?
It might not be as much work as you think. In fact, if you already own a website or blog, you can seamlessly transform your most popular content into a book. Think about it: you can take the same great content you’ve already written for your site and reformulate it into a printed book, PDF eBook or audio book to make the most of all your hard work. Follow these steps and you’ll be well on your way to becoming a self published author, like me!
8 Simple Steps to Self Publishing Your Book:
- Create an outline and chapter layout using the best articles from your website or blog.
- Enter your content into a template formatted for your desired book size (i.e. Microsoft Word).
- Save your book as a PDF file.
- Select a designer for your book cover or design it yourself.
- Select a self publishing [services] company.
- Sign up for an account with your publisher and upload your documents.
- Begin promoting and selling copies of your book online, via your website or blog and in person.
- Finally, convert your book into various formats to get the most out of your work (i.e. PDF eBook, audio book and Kindle eBook).
I stumbled upon the concept of self publishing books in the fall of 2008 when one of our colleagues, a fellow speaker, showed me a copy of his self published book. Not only were his books affordable-they only cost him $2-$3 each-but their quality was excellent. And he also gained the instant credibility of being a "published author."
I thought, "I can do this!"
And believe it or not, after about one month of hard work, I was ready to publish a 190-page book based upon my website, Teen-Beauty-Tips.com.
How did I do it? I followed eight simple steps!
The Nuts and Bolts of Publishing My First Book
Step #1: To get started, I assembled my first draft based on the best articles from my website. Once I selected the articles, I decided on an outline for my book and formatted the content into chapters.
Step #2: I then decided on a book title, "Mirror Mirror…Am I Beautiful? Looking Deeper to Find Your True Beauty," and began the process of copying and pasting the text of my articles into a Microsoft Word template.
Step #3: Next, I converted my Word document into a PDF file using the free edition of PDF995 (to do this click on properties, then advanced option and select the "statement [5.5 X 8.5] " from the drop-down menu for the paper format).
Step #4: Since I was working on a very low budget, I decided I would use a DIY design approach and used Photoshop to create my book cover.
Step #5: After more research on self publishing, I decided to use CreateSpace (affiliated with Amazon), to publish my book. Why? Well, there are no upfront costs, they list you quickly with Amazon and I can buy books for less than $4 each to sell at events.
Step #6: Finally, I was ready to upload my files and order my proof copy! My 190-page black and white soft cover book cost a mere $3.13 + shipping, with the help of the Createspace Pro Plan.
Although the Pro Plan requires a one-time fee of $39, followed by a $5 annual fee, these small fees are well worth it! With the Pro Plan you gain significantly higher royalties and can also buy copies at a much lower cost to sell at events. Therefore, I highly recommend the Pro Plan for anyone interested in self publishing with Createspace.
Step #7: What a great feeling to self publish my first book! I immediately began selling copies online through my website and at speaking events.
Step #8: My final step was to create other versions of the same book. I chose to offer it digitally as a PDF eBook and give a free copy away to my newsletter subscribers. In a very small niche-Christian teen girls-this has helped to build my list to almost 3500 subscribers in a relatively short period of time.
I also recorded an audio version of my book using the free software, Audacity, and a $30 microphone. Once the audio files were completed, I began selling the MP3 downloads of the book through ClickBank and the CD version of the audio book using Kunaki. With Kunaki, I can buy CD’s for as little as $ 1 (+ shipping).
Finally, I expanded my book’s influence by making a version available for the Kindle. To convert my book into the Kindle format, I removed all of the pictures embedded in the Microsoft Word template and saved it in as a HTML document. I then uploaded my book to Kindle Direct Publishing, text and began offering the Kindle version from my website as well. You can see my sales page here.
Do I Make Money Selling Books?
I’ll be honest. In such a small and specialized niche, I’m not getting rich by selling books from my website. However, I am receiving regular paychecks from both online and offline sales. And as my website traffic increases (now over 1000 visitors per day), my sales also increase.
If you want to "make it big" in publishing, I recommend that you hire a professional to design your interior book template and your book cover design. I also recommend hiring a professional editor. After taking the DIY route initially, I did eventually decide to hire a designer to update my book cover.
And finally, if you want to truly self publish, I recommend that you start your own book publishing company and use Lightning Source. Be aware that it does require more time, money and effort upfront. However, in the end, you can earn more in royalties by self publishing through Lightning Source, especially if you want to sell books to international audiences or in bookstores. If you’re interested in using Lightning Source, I recommend reading a book by Dan Poynter called, "The Self Publishing Manual" to help guide you step by step.
You Can Do It!
Since you’ve already invested so much time and energy into writing your website or blog, why not take a little extra time and get the most from your content by repurposing it into a self published book? Follow my eight simple steps and you, like me, will soon be selling physical products like paperback books, audio CD’s as well as digital products like Kindle books, PDF eBooks and MP3 downloads from your website.
Are You Ready to Get Started?
If so, I recommend that you go and download my free book templates and then sign up for a free Createspace account. It costs you nothing and yet provides you with an easy action step toward achieving your goal of getting published.
And have fun…soon you’ll be a published author.
Shelley Hitz is an entrepreneur, author and speaker. Her website, Self Publishing Coach, provides resources and tutorials that help you publish and market your book. Discover 200+ free book marketing and author tools in Shelley Hitz’s 36-page free report. You can also find Shelley on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.