My self publishing journey

Warning: Long post ahead.

Often, in life, the journey is more interesting than the destination. There are many interesting things that happen in the journey like some obstacles, new discoveries, meeting new and interesting people and often reaffirmation in our faiths.

All these elements in the journey makes reaching the destination more fulfilling and interesting.

For me, writing and publishing a book is one such journey.

A lot of hard work and effort goes into self publishing a book.  In this post, I am here to discuss about what goes behind writing and self publishing an Ebook or rather what I am currently doing as part of self publishing my Ebook “What I Learnt by writing 26 short stories in 7 days“.  Here we go.

Decision to write a Nonfiction Ebook

First up, I took the decision to write a Nonfiction Ebook “What I Learnt by writing 26 short stories in 7 days” based on the experiences I had during my 26 short stories challenge. Inspiration could strike anytime. For me, I never imagined that I would write this Ebook in the first place, but crazy things do happen.  Let your instinct be your best guide.

Get a nod from a fellow blogger/writer/author to write the foreword

Once I decided to write the Ebook, I thought of getting a foreword from one of two persons who were influential in me taking up the short story challenge and for the creation of this Ebook. That is none other than Bragadeesh Prasanna, the author of “300 days – A Novel” and “Waterboarding”. I won’t reveal the other person now, as I plan to get a foreword from that person for my next book.

Bragadeesh was prompt in reading the Ebook and writing a foreword for the Ebook.

Write the content of the Ebook – The First Draft

This was the most crucial step. While I was getting the nod for the foreword, I started writing the content of the Ebook. No matter how much planning we do about doing work, nothing can make progress like actually doing the work. For me, it was a short Ebook and my first draft was ready in 5 days.

Edit the content – The Second Draft

Then I left the Ebook for a few days while I got busy and started the editing process. Then I finished my second draft.

Edit again – The Third Draft

My third edit started when I got the foreword from Bragadeesh and I was ready with the third draft in very short time.

Decision to self-publish my Ebook

Then it was time to decide if I wanted to self publish or go with traditional publishing. I decided to go with self publishing, as I didn’t have the patience to go with traditional publishing. It’s another matter that, probably, they wouldn’t allow such a short book to be published in the first place. Also, as an author, I wanted to get to the full cycle of writing, editing, publishing. And keep doing that till I pitch in my future novel to renowned publishers. Advantage of that is I would have sort of a resume that will have my self published Ebooks.

Choosing the platform on which I would self-publish

This was an easy option. Hands down, the best self publishing platform with great readership is the Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP). It’s unbelievably simple and it simplifies the process of publishing and removes the obstacles for publishing for  new authors. Maybe, I will plan to write a separate post on this alone just to explain how the entire stuff is so simple.

Format the content according to Kindle standards for KDP publishing

So once I decided that I would go for KDP, I had to do some formatting tweaks to align to the KDP format. Again, this was a breeze and I did it fairly quickly.

Cover page design for $5

I hate to say this, but so often a book is judged by it’s cover. So I decided that I would get a good visually appealing cover image. Due to my pathetic design skills, I decided to hire someone at fiverr.com. It’s an awesome website, where you can get small works done at cheap prices. For eg. cover page design, web page design, etc. So the process in fiverr goes like this:

  1. Finalize a designer
  2. Tell them what I was expecting in the design and gave the title, subtitle, etc.
  3. Give feedback, rework till I was satisfied.

I got the cover page designed in a day’s time.

Prepare the sample chapters PDF

I knew I had to do some marketing in order to reach out to fellow writers and upcoming writers. So I decided to prepare a PDF file with the sample chapters in it. It’s basically a bribe. Read the next point to know why I created it.

Setting up Email marketing in my blog

I think, most people would know. But for those who don’t, in the blogging world, you need to give bribes for people to get onto the mailing list. For eg. a free Ebook, a few sample chapters, etc. So in my case, the PDF was the bribe. So how do I get email from the readers. That’s where Email marketing comes into picture. Basically it works like this:

  1. People get a popup box on my website.
  2. If interested in the bribe, they give their email id.
  3. They would get a welcome email from me along with the link to the bribe.

The best part is, all this is automated using mailchimp or any other Email marketing provider. Mailchimp is the one I use. You could always try out other options too.

Write posts and get people onto the Email list

Then I went and announced that I was planning to launch the Ebook and got interested people onto the Email list. I had only 4 sign ups. Seems less but 4 people who were genuinely interested in my Ebook. That meant a lot to me.

Make the initial mailing list my beta readers and ask for suggestions

I requested people who have read the sample chapters for feedback. A few of them provided with feedback and they were all very constructive.

Break

I decided to give this a break due to an important family event, the arrival of my little daughter into this world.

Decide the launch date

Once momentum breaks, it’s difficult to get back the momentum. But I wasn’t complaining about it as I welcomed the newborn into my family and I was mostly busy with fatherly responsibilities.  After a lot of exhausted days, I decided that it’s better to announce a launch date and then start working towards it. Otherwise, I had a feeling that I was turning lethargic. So I announced the launch date in my blog.

Share my self publishing journey with fellow bloggers and readers – THIS POST

Initially, I didn’t decide to publish this post. But I thought this information might be useful to a few writers who are trying to publish their Ebooks. So I decided to come up with this post, yesterday.

Do edits based on feedback from beta readers

I plan to do a few edits based on the feedback I have got till now. Once that is done, the final version would be ready.

Finalize Kindle formatting and have the Ebook absolutely ready for publishing

Redo the process of Kindle formatting and have the Ebook ready for publishing.

Submit to Kindle Direct Publishing

Once everything is ready, I would submit to KDP, which would take around 24-48 hours for approval.

Once submission is approved, launch the EBook – Hurray

I’m excited for this event. This would be my Ebook launch on November 15th.

Put up a blog post about the launch

After the Ebook is launched, I plan to put up a blog post about the launch.

Relax and chill.

Once all the work is done, relax and chill. 🙂

Get back to work, connect with bloggers and get honest reviews on Amazon and blogs.

After the well deserved relaxation and chilling, I would get back to work for getting reviews from fellow bloggers/writers.

So, hope this post gives you an idea behind what goes behind self publishing an Ebook.

I am personally enjoying this journey.

If you any questions for me, please feel free to ask them in the comments section. If you want to connect to me personally over any questions/suggestions, contact me at twitter.

If you are a writer who has already self published your Ebook, how has your experience been like? Are there any areas where I could have done better? Please feel free to share.

If you are interested in my Ebook “What I Learnt by writing 26 short stories in 7 days”, please click here to get the sample chapters.

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