A Simple Process

A family member asked, “So, what were the steps you took to publish your book?”  After a few minutes of my babbling about CreateSpace and the plethora of possible marketing methods, I realized that I did go through quite a gauntlet—I had not intended for the process to be so painstaking. Now that the book is finished (to the best of my current abilities), I’m rather proud of the finished product. That is to say, I know it’s not perfect, but I am willing to accept the small flaws just to say, “It is finished.” I see so many writers, prolifically delivering book after book. I don’t know how they do it. It was a miracle for me to finish just this one—it was a long journey to this point.

I had not intended for the process to be so painstaking.

When I began this process I believed myself capable of delivering a mishmash of words and sentences. To make it into a book… well, let’s just say, writing and self-publishing a book can be really demanding. “I HAD NO IDEA WHAT I WAS DOING!” I went from drafting to writing to editing to rewriting to formatting to publishing to selling to marketing… and the process continues…

Here are the 80 simple steps I went through to finish LOCKDOWN. The below list is not a minimum, or conversely, an all-inclusive number of steps needed to publish a novel. In my case this was a first time scenario—I wanted the process to be as thorough as possible.

Ready? Take a deep breath, hold it…

  1. Ponder what story to tell.
  2. Lay out the basic storyline structure.
  3. Construct the world in which the action occurs.
  4. Write character backstories.
  5. Make timeline of events and scenes.
  6. Continually ask, “what happens if…?”
  7. Construct scenes – meaningful ways to segment ideas.
  8. Edit all scenes.
  9. Delete bad scenes.
  10. Add new scenes where the story needs them.
  11. Find a collaborator / editor.
  12. Fill in story gaps.
  13. Construct scenes into chapters.
  14. Find a story editor.
  15. Realize from the new editor’s perspective that the story is severely flawed.
  16. Rewrite the entire book.
  17. Find a grammar editor.
  18. Rewrite most of the book.
  19. Get your editor’s blessing.
  20. Wait a while, and then read the book.
  21. Realize the book has flaws.
  22. Fix all the new problems.
  23. Convince your original editor to give the book another once over.
  24. Fix all the newer problems.
  25. Have beta readers read the book.
  26. Fix all the latest problems.
  27. Find a good cover designer – I was lucky and found a great designer right away.
  28. Review, fix, and finalize the cover.
  29. Find a good book layout designer.
  30. Realize your vision of the book interior needs to come from you – I ended up doing this.
  31. Fix and finalize the interior look and layout.
  32. Write an author bio.
  33. Learn the book printing process.
  34. Discover things about word-processing you never knew.
  35. Format the book for printing.
  36. Create accounts with CreateSpace, IngramSpark, Lightning Source, Smashwords, Kobo, Amazon, KindleDirect, and Scrib’d.
  37. Learn about book distribution.
  38. Discover what royalties are and how to avoid losing money via proper pricing.
  39. Design and publish a Website.
  40. Learn WordPress and what it means to right-click the screen and press inspect element.
  41. Hire a design firm to create a book trailer.
  42. Have photographs taken.
  43. Open accounts for Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, G-Plus, and YouTube Channel.
  44. Start a social media campaign.
  45. Start a blog.
  46. Start posting clever things all over social media.
  47. Get followers—lose follows—get new followers… this never ends.
  48. Upload your book to Createspace.
  49. Review your book in CreateSpace and realize it looks like crap.
  50. Go back to MS-Word and reset the pages to look good in print – may require rewriting some paragraphs.
  51. Re-upload the new version (this only required 13x revisions of the format in my case).
  52. Get approval from CreateSpace for your printed version.
  53. Repeat steps for IngramSpark and then again for Kobo.
  54. Download, learn, and use Calbre Software to create e-versions (ePub, mobi, and PDF).
  55. Learn eBook programming language.
  56. Create an HTM version of your book that demolishes all of the formatting that made it look good for print.
  57. Go back to MS-Word and reformat pages for electronic viewing – required rewriting paragraphs, eliminating graphics, and finding every rogue (invisible) character in your word file.
  58. Re-upload the finished version (this only required 5 revisions of the format in my case for Kindle).
  59. Validate you eBook – I wrote 400 lines of code to get my ePub validated.
  60. Repeat steps for IngramSpark, Smashwords, and Kobo.
  61. Wait … (all distribution channels have different review and wait periods before they will list your book).
  62. When each approval comes through, celebrate; the book is now ready to sell.
  63. Set up an AuthorCentral Page on Amazon.
  64. Set up a storefront page on CreateSpace.
  65. Set up author pages on Smashwords, Kobo, and Goodreads.
  66. Publish the book.
  67. Realize that your book is the same title as 6 other books with authors that have the same last name.
  68. Work with Amazon to correct the mislabeling of your book.
  69. Fight with Barnes & Noble to properly list your book so that when someone clicks on it, they are not sent to the wrong book - still not fixed!
  70. Start marketing – don’t want to bore you here, but this step is too long to enumerate.
  71. Contact everyone on earth you ever spoke to – tell them about the book.
  72. Hope people like the book, and, (number 1 for me), hope to sell one copy to someone you don’t know.
  73. Watch Amazon once an hour to see if anyone has reviewed your book.
  74. Do the previous step for a week until your wife tells you that books still needed to be ordered, shipped, and read… before there could be any reviews… duh!
  75. Get excited when that first 5-star review comes in.
  76. Come back down to earth when you realize that first 5-Star review was from your sister.
  77. Wait (forever) for people to read the book. (It’s only 368 pages people!)
  78. When people start reading and asking questions… REMEMBER why you wrote the book in the first place.
  79. Accept the critiques and ENJOY the positive feedback … life is fleeting, a kind word is magic.
  80. Breathe… that’s right, I forgot to breathe…

Okay-not so bad, right? I may have been a little too detail-oriented, but hey I’m still learning. It wasn’t difficult, yet at times it was hard; it wasn’t easy, but some of it was simple. What I do know is that my first novel experience was really cool… I can’t wait to finish book two.


1 Comment on “How Did You Publish That Book?

  1. Lol! Who gave the first five star review! Love #77! Come on people, it’s an awesome book. You won’t want to put it down!

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