To make a voice, never be content as a writer. Yes, earning an income as a writer can be substantial to our financial needs. But there’s more to it. We are writers. And we’re destined to tell more in a book.
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Writing a book is a daunting task. A strenuous task, indeed. Only a few can do it. And if we plan to start one, we hold the break and pause, overthinking. “Can I write a book?” You asked yourself.
More questions pop in your head one by one until you go crazy. Honestly, if you haven’t tried writing a book that you love reading over and over again, something holds you back. You have no idea what. But there’s something that stops you from doing it.
And if you already tried starting a book albeit it’s unfinished, you feel lost in the middle.
You felt somehow proud that you started. But then again, something stops you from finishing the last page.
You may have finished writing your masterpiece recently; yet, you have no idea what to do next.
Do you plan to self-publish it or do you rather go through most authors do—having your book published traditionally?
The options for writing are endless. Nowadays, more authors have become enthusiastic about self-publishing due to several reasons. It’s cost-effective and it allows more freedom in the content.
Before we go through the whole process of leveraging your writing prowess, let me introduce to you the topics we’re going to discuss in this epic guide.
And because this is an epic guide that teaches you how to self-publish a book and become a best-selling author even if it’s your first-time post, we will go through the following:
Don’t worry. We’ll go through the broad idea of self-publishing step-by-step. Because I know self-publishing itself is intimidating.
So, we’ll divide the contents into chunks and learn each step without missing anything.
Are you ready? Let’s dive into this. I’m super stoked.
Who Is An Author?
Other questions may appear like, “What makes an author?”
You might wonder if it’s possible for you, a lowly writer, to become one. If you want to quit as a freelance writer and build a business around writing, this could be a good option for you.
Let me tell you something, gone are the days when publishing is a distant dream.
This is because self-publishing and Print On Demand (POD) publishing are on the rise these days as more and more authors have become interested in handling the publishing process by themselves. No other costs needed and more people to deal with.
Before we go through the world of self-publishing, let’s know more about authors and why does it feel ambitious to achieve this goal? In other words, what makes authoring a book a big deal?
Defining An Author
The term author originated from the old Latin word “augere” which means to increase, originate, or promote. In the mid-14th century, the term became “auctor.”
The old French “autor” was also used to describe “author, originator, creator, and instigator” in the mid-12th century.
The Oxford Dictionaries is the phrase “an originator of a plan or idea.”
Authors, through their writing skills, create the ideas and concepts in their heads into words. From one word to another, the complex idea becomes readable and insightful.
There is more to writing a book. Of course, many people can do it. As the majority defines it, “authors write books.” It’s cliche and it’s boring.
According to Franz Kafka, in his work “Letters to Felice” published in 1913, writing is a way to “reveal oneself to excess…This is why one can never be alone enough when one writes, why even night is not night enough.”
Regardless of your background or collected experiences of your lifetime, writing serves as a channel of your revealed soul, unleashing one’s unique self to others.
It doesn’t take a genius to do it. What you need is to know how to process your complex and chaotic concepts playing inside your head. And learn how to outline the chaos and organize it for your audience.
This is very important.
As Kafka mentioned in his work, nobody understands what silence is until he or she starts writing. I mean, writing religiously. Not just for fun, you know.
“I have often thought that the best mode of life for me would be to sit in the innermost room of a spacious locked cellar with my writing things and a lamp,” Kafka wrote in the same book we mentioned earlier.
We struggle with narrowing the broad idea and organize them—at least—in our minds and specify the topic we write, turning it into a lengthy work (your book).
So, what makes an author? Do we have to know the answers to why an author makes a big deal than being a mere writer? I mean, they’re both writers, right?
This brings us to identify the anatomy of an author and how it makes a difference between being a blogger and a freelance writer.
Knowing the Author Anatomy
As I explored the world of self-publishing, the more I became interested in developing the “Author Anatomy.”
Through learning the whole concept of authorship, both as a process and lifestyle, we can see it clearer than having it described merely as a calibration higher than a writer per se.
4 Purposes An Author Upholds
One document published in Miami Dade College entitled “Author’s Purpose” in 2005, an author has 4 main purposes when writing.
1. Narrative writing
This is when the author relates a story or recount the events that happened, including the stories that inspired or struck her the most.
2. Descriptive writing
As the name implies, the author tells something by showing it rather than telling it. “Show don’t tell,” as the famous adage says.
This is also applied when writing fiction, you don’t tell that your character experiences a nightmare. You have to show the situation as clearly as you can for your readers to imagine.
3. Persuasive writing
This writing is most obvious to most nonfiction books. When you’ve got an idea that you know would challenge people’s beliefs, you write a book about it and spread the message.
4. Expository writing
By simply informing or teaching the readers about a subject you’re passionate about includes the task of an author.
“An author’s purpose is reflected in the way he writes about a topic. For instance, if his purpose is to amuse, he will use jokes or anecdotes in his writing,” said an anonymous author of the document.
From these 4 purposes alone, you can see that there’s more than just writing a lengthy piece of work. As a writer, you will see the sense of purpose of your craft.
You aren’t there to make an income for someone else. You are there to influence others with your words across the globe. Using the internet makes everything possible.
J.E. Aaron published the second edition of his work “The little, brown compact handbook” in which he summarized the verbs that describe the author’s attitude.
Awareness of the Legal Reasons
When it comes to legal significance, Wikipedia revealed that once a person has decided to publish a book, that also signifies the exclusive ownership of that idea and deems to acknowledge or credits when it’s undergoing the process of production or distribution (publishing).
In simpler terms, when you start publishing a work regardless if it’s fiction or nonfiction, everybody will have no right to spread it without your permission.
That sounds cool, right? You feel the authority right there? Yeah?
In most cases, you are given credits and more people will acknowledge you having authored the idea.
Therefore, whatever work you publish, it’s yours. Other people can’t use the same ideas you created because these are yours.
When you remain a mere writer, for instance, a writer for clients (both private individuals and companies) won’t give you this path.
You can make a fair income of $10,000 per month or less. But it’s not the core of the craft.
And you know that.
There’s something more to your writing. It’s not just about making money but to use it to our advantage and change the world using our craft as a medium to achieve it.
As Michel Foucault argues in his essay entitled “What is an author?” he explained that “all authors are writers, but not all writers are authors.”
Writers cannot be authors unless they start writing books and finish them, publishing them to influence others. Authors are writers with registered properties. Their books have ISBNs.
Foucault emphasized that the biggest impact an author can enjoy is the status within the society. That means you are of higher value than a mere writer. You own copyrights.
And the fact you own them, you are the inventor of the idea. Doesn’t it sound attractive? I mean, it feels exhilarating to see the bigger picture of what we’re doing.
We know we have the writer in us. It’s up to ourselves to decide to take a big leap and be ambitious enough to fill the world with our ideas.
This is the reason for writing this post, to begin with. I took a step further to convince you—to push you—more about the endless possibilities in self-publishing.
So, do you have what it takes to become an author?
Realities Author Faces Every Single Day
Cheryl Conner, a former Forbes contributor, wrote, “Writing is 5% and 95% hard work—very hard work.”
In collaboration with Tom Lowery, a national columnist, they also wrote in the same article the “plethora of demons” every writer faces every single day.
“Imagine this—after years of working at a career you hate, you wake up one day and decide it’s the first day of the rest of your life—you’re going to be a writer,” Lowery wrote.
He added, “Not just any old writer, but one who’s the exception to the rule and will break into stardom with your very first book. Bully for your pipe dream.”
The outcome is attractive.
Who wouldn’t, right? Who would have thought you could become a celebrity because of a best-selling book you wrote? It’s not your second release, but the first.
I know, I know. Little did you know the behind the scenes of every author out there.
As you can see below is an illustration showing the differences between the expectation and the reality of being an author.
This is true to me, to you, and every writer out there.
The pressure is constant, especially when the deadline approaches. The nearer the deadline is, the more hellish our lives are.
As the launching date goes near, for instance, the author rushes and puts himself in the alone time for longer periods than before.
The First Step To Self-Publish A Book: Own A Blog!
When I had this blog in mind in mid-2018, I had a vague idea of how my new blog should be.
Over the years since I began my blogging affair in 2015, I have had a fair share of ups and downs, learning a lot of things about the industry and my craft.
Back in 2015, I met colleagues in a full-time writing job (the time when I only earned $250 per month) who are also bloggers.
Among the members of the team, one of them named Hannah, introduced me to this industry, slowing pulling me over and taking my interest. She told me she earns an income with it.
Hmm… that caught my interest.
This is how I ended up building one blog to another, wasting $$$ off my budget exploring my niche. And the key to a successful book launch is to have an email list.
Through blogging, you slowly gather a tribe to lead and will become your loyal fans.
And these fans will be your avid readers, waiting for your next book release. This is how your blog plays a significant role in your self-publishing success.
Albeit the frustrations I felt from losing several online properties for nothing, I continued the idea of building my personal space on the internet. So, in 2018, I decided to focus on my niche: writing.
Most of us, writers, have this long history when we started blogging our niche.
Blogging is the most important foundation of every author today because it’s the best way to gather people and lead a tribe across the globe.
Some of the big names like Jeff Goins, Michael Hyatt, Chandler Bolt, and Joanna Penn have had their fair share of experience as best-selling authors.
Blogging gathers people, converts them to loyal fans—who later become avid readers.
It sounds astonishing, right?
Here’s the truth.
If you want to build a brand as an expensive writer, you have to build your platform.
That leads you to build your blog and expose your brand to billions of audiences around the world.
Why does a writer need to have a blog?
Authors don’t necessarily spend time writing their next book. They are also artists, craving for stimuli from their surroundings and exploring potential topics. Upon discovering new ideas to write on, they do other things related to writing per se.
They share different thoughts about something by publishing new blog posts on their websites.
The advantage when you keep updating your blog is that you gain traction online, attracting more people to read your content.
From there, you continuously build an audience even if you haven’t promoted something yet or that is ongoing just what I am doing at this moment.
#1 Thing That Holds Writers From Taking The Leap
According to Adrienne Monson, author of “Dissention: The Blood Inheritance,” most potentially successful writers limit their fullest capabilities as writers because of their fear of rejection.
Is it true to you?
And most first-time authors experience the same feeling. First-time author, Elona Shelley, who wrote the book “Confessions of a Molly Mormon,” mentioned that she didn’t intend to expose her work to the public because of her fears.
What happens is this: you might have inspiration and you want to write it down and publish it. You want to share it with the world.
But as soon as you start writing, the fear sets in. The sense of perfectionism in us activates, stimulating our need to create a perfect idea.
The truth is that the best-selling book doesn’t even need to be perfect. Robert Kiyosaki said that you write to become a best-selling author, not in best-writing.
It only has to possess the standards of publishing. From editing, proofreading, and planning the book layout, all that stuff. Yet, the content remains yours. Nobody can take it away from you.
You want to express yourself for the world to hear and to listen to what has got to say.
As I mentioned earlier, you can inspire people or challenge their beliefs. It’s up to you.
If you think your ideas are boring, think again. Every story is unique and each person in the world has a different story to tell no matter how saturated the topic is.
Just so you know, every writer has a unique writing style. Keep that in mind.
“My fear has been kept at bay because I’m passionate about the message. I have a great desire to share my experiences in hopes of helping others avoid the pain I felt and the pain I created,” Shelley wrote.
Your Roadmap To Become A Best-Selling Author Even If It’s Your First Time (The Epic Guide To Self-Publishing)
After learning the author’s anatomy and the potential changes in your life when you choose this path.
As I said before, becoming an author paves the way to become an authority of your subject.
A freelance writer writes several posts or documents for somebody else’s website or any platform.
But an author, on the other hand, writes an idea to dominate the world through a book.
A single book can change billions of lives.
You own your words. The same words you wrote will be used in quotations across platforms.
Be it a blogger or other authors, too. The ideas you have will be recounted over and over again.
This is how you make a voice.
Do you still feel unconvinced why you should become an author? If you still have doubts, stay towards the end of the post.
Where to start in self-publishing?
There are 2 things you need to keep in mind:
- Learn the step-by-step process in writing a book
- Know the clear picture of where your book heads (post-writing)
To become an author, you need to write a book. That’s classic. I don’t need to explain that further. And to do that, you have to start…er, writing.
Important Steps To Write A Book
In a nutshell, here’s what you got to do:
1. Pre-writing Phase
- Do research for potential topics that sells & unique (haven’t been written before)
- Outlining the flow of your book (by chapters with details)
- Dissecting other authors’ works to get more ideas & references
2. Writing Phase
- Develop the daily writing habit (at least 500 words per day)
- Develop a high-income writing skill (laser-focused until the last page)
- Plan your writing + deadline for the finished 1st draft (finishing the book within 90 days or less, within 6 months – you decide)
3. Post-Writing Phase
- Setting the first draft aside for at least 1 month
- After 1 month, read your first draft and start adding new ideas.
- Learn the process of self-editing & why it’s important
- Proofreading (after the nth time)
- Hiring a developmental editor (if you write fiction)
- Hiring other professionals i.e. copy editor, layout artist responsible for the book cover and content format-ready
- Book launching (marketing, uploading on platforms)
In this post, we’re going through each point and discuss the important things you need to be aware of before you start writing.
Are you ready? Let’s gear up because this is going to be a long discussion.
Are you in? Let’s dive in.
At this point, you will learn what to prepare before you start writing your first book. That includes doing further research about the topic you are passionate about.
Why do you need to do this? Why can’t you simply jump into writing skipping this step?
You will miss a lot of things. Let’s say you wanted to write about overcoming stressful marriage. You started writing without doing research. You spent a lot of time finishing it.
Unfortunately, as soon as you scoured the internet, you discovered that somebody has already written the same subject as you did. Ouch! That hurts, right?
Your efforts are senseless. To avoid this, I compiled the steps you need to do to make your road to your first self-publishing experience as worthwhile as possible.
Do you understand my point, my friend?
Do further research
The first thing you need to do before you start writing is to come up with ideas from other published books. Of course, this isn’t to commit the writer’s grievous crime (plagiarism).
The more ideas you gather, the more inspirations you can combine using your creativity. Your mind has already formulated the general idea of your topic.
Yet, using the resources you have, it expands your discussion and, at the same time, the specificity of your book idea.
For instance, you wanted to write something that helps people overcome their stressful marriage.
Utilize different sources like forums, Amazon, etc. to know what most authors tackle.
As you can see in the image below, when I typed in the keyword “overcome stressful marriage,” you see the suggested books on the page.
Should you start writing a book, an ample amount of information must be done to give you a clearer picture of what you want to write.
Plan Your Book. Use An Outline.
An outline helps a lot to organize your chaotic mind, writer. You can do different brainstorming strategies like using the Snowflake Method or bullet points. Either way, do what works for you.
5 things first when outlining:
- Subject or topic
- First Act
- Second Act
- Third Act
Before we go to the third to the fifth point, let’s talk about the topic followed by a premise.
Deciding A Temporary Book Title
Before we decide what book we like to write about, we need to research if this title has been already used or not. So, utilize the power of Google to do that.
Others prefer to have a temporary book title as a reference to support the theme. It’s fine. You don’t need to be specific here. Just find an interesting title you think suits your book.
This question might push you to do that. “If you were a bookworm and found that book at the bookstore, would you bother to pick it up and read the first chapter?”
Make sure you say yes. Otherwise, find other titles. You can use popular third-party platforms to give you crazy ideas for the book.
Third-Party Platforms You Can Use To Generate Book Title Ideas
- Reedsy Book Title Generator
- Portent Title Maker
- Fantasy Name Generators
- Book Title Generator
You can also refer to the Kindlepreneur List of Book Name Generators if you like to see more tools to help you out on your book title.
Structure Your Premise
Planning your premise is the next step. Premise acts as an overview of your book. With only a few sentences needed, it should describe the entirety. No more, no less.
If you still can’t figure out how to specify the hook within 5 sentences or less, you have to keep revising your premise until it shows all the facets of good content. Be it a story or facts to inform your readers.
If you don’t know how to create a strong premise, I have here several examples from Step 1 to Step 5 to show you how it works. Simply follow the pattern and combine all the elements to make your premise.
Step 1. Start with a “when” clause to describe your character.
“When a white cat named Meow struggles…”
Step 2: Create tension by adding another character.
“When a white cat named Meow struggles, a neighbor cat comes in.”
Step 3: Add the word “until” to introduce the conflict.
“Until the neighbor cat sees his favorite food.”
Step 4: Add “leading to” to show your character’s goal.
“Leading to Meow’s adrenaline to spike up and frees himself from the box.”
Step 5: Combine everything.
“When a white cat named Meow struggles, he sees his favorite fried fish on the floor. Until the neighbor cat sees his favorite food, leading to Meow’s adrenaline to spike up and free himself from the box.”
After planning your temporary book title and structuring your premise, it’s time to delve with the content. And that follows a specific system, the 3-Act Structure.
The 3-Act Structure For Outlining
In writing fiction, you follow 3 acts. Duh. *Rolls eyes* The first act introduces the story, character, and problem.
By dividing the content into 3 parts, it helps you see the overall flow of the book. At least, an idea where your content begins and ends.
As the story develops, the conflict arises and so with more troubling characters. This is the second act.
The characters seek solutions, leaving the readers curious as they head to the turning point aka climax.
The third act concludes with solutions, ending the story either with an end or a cliffhanger.
The 3-Act Structure also applies to write nonfiction. Derek Murphy summarized the same methodology in one chart.
As you can see, using the method in structuring your book regardless if fiction or nonfiction, the flow of the book content follows likely the same system.
When you follow the 3-Act Structure, you will have the skeleton of your book outline as exemplified. You will have a clearer picture of where to begin and how to end the content.
Let’s say, you want to write about making money online as a writer, which could probably make sense because of dealing with self-publishing, my friend.
Otherwise, you won’t even care to come to this page and learn how to make your path to becoming a best-selling author as clearly as possible.
Anyway, going back to the 3 Acts, we’ll use the “make money online as a writer “ as the main theme of your book.
Act 1 – Introduction of a problem
- Point 1
- Point 2
- Point 3
Act 2 – Awareness of solutions/Challenging beliefs of the character
- Point 1
- Point 2
- Point 3
Act 3 – Resolutions/Takeaways for readers
- Point 1
- Point 2
- Point 3
To prove my point, I have here 2 different outlines for fiction and nonfiction.
Sample Outline For Fiction
Title: Who’s Got The Fish?
Premise: Stuck in the box, Meow struggles to get its favorite food before it’s too late.
Act 1 – Introduction
- The cat named Meow opens its eyes and sees a piece of fried fish on the floor.
- Hungry, it wants to get out of the box but it realizes he’s stuck.
- Meow finds himself trying to release its arms and legs, moving his body for freedom.
Act 2 – Crisis
- Meow sees another cat nearer the fried fish.
- Desperate, it tries to move its body more aggressively than before.
- Realizing its time is almost over, Meow’s adrenaline pushes itself on the floor and rushes to the fried fish.
Act 3 – Conclusion
- Meow finds itself running for the fried fish before the other cat sees it.
- At the last second, it grabs the fish and runs away from the other cat, making sure nobody’s going to share its food.
- Meow enjoys the fried fish he got.
Sample Outline For Nonfiction
Book Title: Make Money As Writer
Premise: Quit your boring 9 to 5 full-time job and make money with your writing prowess online, earning $100,000 a month.
Act 1 – Introduction
- Description of a boring, frustrating life as a regular employee
- Sharing the lifestyles of successful writers
- Giving hope to readers that there’s more to life
Act 2 – Crisis
- Mistakes why you ended up stuck in the situation
- Risks to make this goal possible
- Compromises to make, leaving all frustrating things behind for a bewildering life as a high-income writer
Act 3 – Conclusion
- Takeaways for the readers to take action
- Promoting your inputs or extra free stuff for your readers i.e. webinar, training, etc. (from readers to loyal fans)
As you can see, are there differences between the two? We used the same system using the same 3-Act Structure to organize our content. But there is no big difference.
Most best-selling authors shared that they think the conclusion more often than the beginning.
True. What I do when I write content is I start from the title, premise, and then see the end of the story. I have to know how the story ends to determine the steps to achieve that.
Both fiction and nonfiction outlines have characters, problems, and conclusions. The only difference I see is the specificity of the content.
The fiction involves literature out of imaginary characters and nonfiction is otherwise, more factual and informative.
Yet, in terms of creating the skeleton of the book, it follows the same system. Do you get what I mean?
Dissecting Other Authors’ Works
For non-native English speaking authors, including myself, I heavily rely on reading works written by American writers. This isn’t to plagiarize, but to learn how to express the situation better.
Reading more English books helped me increase my vocabulary, improving my bad writing situation.
When I compared my writing back in 2012 (at the time I thought I wrote the best English essay), it was so awful that I couldn’t help myself but laugh.
Not because I feel embarrassed but in awe. “Wow, I didn’t know how much I improved over the years,” I told myself.
You can use a variety of techniques to study other people’s works. You can underline, highlight, or encircle the terms or phrases you like from the book you are reading.
As you can see below, the papers stacked together and the notebooks are all my references from different books I read. Whenever I start writing a book, I refer to these as my guide.
You can also make use of index cards if you like. Each index card contains the subject, theme, and bulleted points you got as insights from each work.
Various phrases, sentences, techniques, or dialogues can be taken as reference. An idea of how the story flows from the beginning to the end can also be considered as your guide.
You can use this as a structure for note-taking using the index cards, which I also use for my writing.
Little did you know that the epic guide to self-publishing post could be this long.
As I said, this could be an epic post for you. And I know that learning everything in this post is overwhelming.
Because of that, I like you to download the ebook version and continue reading the post at your most convenient time. Click the button below to get it and read the epic guide anywhere you go.
So, we’re finally heading towards the writing phase of your journey. Now that you’re hooked with the idea of becoming an authority, it’s time to do the dirty job. The time has come to start writing our crap.
As Anne Lamott said, “Almost all good writing begins with terrible first efforts. You need to start somewhere.” Just so you know, Lamott is also a best-selling novelist and non-fiction author.
Developing Daily Writing Habit (At Least 500 Words Per Day)
On average, I write more or less 3,000 words per day. How about you? Do you spend time writing?
Instead of scouring the internet for entertainment, do you use your phone to write or just social media?
You feel guilty. Your heart pounds faster right now because you know you feel bad.
Your head feels a bit heavy, feeling the rising burden in your head. Migraine sinks in, leaving you breathless, almost collapsing.
If you feel that, you know it’s time to get moving, my friend. It’s time to hone that sleeping writing nerves on you.
You can start writing using my recommended writing software that pushes me to finish my work.
I tried many ways to finish my books, but I failed all the time until I came across Dabble Writer. You can read my separate review post for this one.
If you like to give it a try, you can also click the button below to get started.
As a start, you don’t need to write a thousand-word post immediately. You have to feel the writing vibrations that flow on your veins.
Start slow. You can start writing 500 words per day for the first few months.
Once you adjusted, you can raise your threshold to 1,000 words per day. The number of words will rise over time without noticing it. I swear. I was in the same situation as you are back then.
When I started blogging, I found writing 1,000 words lengthy for me. Right now, writing 10,000 words for a blog post is considered long. That’s how I progressed over the years as a writer.
What I’m trying to say is that regardless of how long you plan to write, as long as you find the time to write every single day, it is fine.
Make use of your Field Notes or mobile phones to continue writing.
How Everyone’s Got Surprised With My Laser-Focused Writing?
Last month, my husband’s mom couldn’t believe that I was writing a book while everyone was too loud at the dining table.
They thought I was busy texting someone or scrolling my social media account because of boredom.
When she asked me, “Was machst du?” (‘What are you doing?’ in German), I replied, “Ich schreibe ein Buch.” (‘I’m writing a book.’ in German). She was astonished as she couldn’t believe what she heard.
“How could she write a book despite the noisy family members chatting and laughing together?” she thought. The rest of the family were surprised after realizing the situation.
Well, this is the writer’s life. Wherever you go, you write. No BS excuses.
Develop high-income writing skill
I got the term “high-income skill” from Dan Lok, a Chinese-Canadian mogul, who is also a popular YouTuber, teaching people how to become a millionaire like him.
He explained that to get what we want, we must learn how to train our strengths and transform them into high-income skills.
What the hell is a high-income skill?
It is your trained strength that brings you more income than you expected.
You are aware that you have a knack in writing. But you decided to ignore that strength and chose to apply for a full-time job at the nearby convenience store. You initially feel excited but over time, you feel nothing but dread.
I felt the same before I got into this industry. Read my story here.
Because you choose to ignore that writing prowess in you for a life structured by society.
To get out of it, you don’t have to quit your job while building a writing career.
Continue practicing your writing until it becomes your source of income that’s enough to replace your full-time job and quit.
Am I speaking to somebody here?
Here’s the secret sauce to high-income writing. Make sure your writing resonates WELL with your audience.
Whoever they are, you have to guarantee that you have perfectly expressed your soul to them.
And through your words, they become inspired to take action because you make it clear to them what you want them to do.
This principle applies to all genres. It doesn’t matter if it is fiction or nonfiction you plan to work on this year. Most fiction authors know this so much, “Show. Don’t tell.”
In nonfiction, you make the hook of your book clear from the beginning. You show the problems, issues, and solutions with your readers.
So, you make sure your words, containing the ideas from you, resonates with them.
How To Write A Piece of Content That Resonates?
When it comes to writing, the first thing you have to keep in mind is that you are trying to communicate something. Oftentimes, authors use difficult words or unfamiliar words to sound smart.
In early 2000, blogging was already on the rise but it was treated as a website, mainly to inform people about a subject.
Most blogs in the past are written in a way that sounds more professional than in a friendly tone.
Nowadays, bloggers use casual tones in their blog posts. Hence, more chances of building a friendly and long-term relationship with your audience. Readers’ preferences, too, have changed.
This is why blog posts or any piece of content you write, as long as it sounds engaging and casual, you are on the right track.
That means without compromising the informative and business sides of blogging, of course.
Just because of the way it’s written, that doesn’t mean it’s crap. Your blog posts resonate more than with having formal tones all the time.
In today’s blogging, that doesn’t work. And it’s already proven by most successful bloggers-turned-best-selling-authors.
That brings us to the subject: how do you make your writing resonating? How to write a piece of content that converts (and make you money)?
I learned these methods in 2016 when I came across a blogger named Jon Morrow of Smart Blogger.
He explained the secret sauce of writing a piece of content that converts more effectively than other methods do.
Master The Secret Sauce To Writing That Resonates
And that is to invest in your reader’s emotions.
Have you noticed the way I write the post? I didn’t focus on the facts alone. What you feel matters. That’s the main reason for using “you” to achieve the friendliness of the content.
That is without compromising the message I want to say to you. Not only should you be concerned about using the second-person point of view, but also to touch their hearts by adding situations they’re familiar with.
Let me use an excerpt from this post as an example.
“To make a voice, never be content as a writer. Yes, earning an income as a writer can be substantial to our financial needs. But there’s more to it. We are writers. And we’re destined to tell more in a book.”
This is how I introduced the post. For 4 sentences, I wrote the exact words I wanted you to hear. If I want to sound more formal to sound smart, I wouldn’t write it that way.
I could’ve written…
“Here’s the epic guide that teaches you how to self-publish a Kindle book and learn how to become a best-selling author even if it’s your first time.”
Is there any difference?
Yes, it does.
And this is the reason why most readers appreciated my work. It is because each post sounds like I’m having conversations with them. That’s how writing that resonates work, my friend.
Learn how to get traction with your posts. Master the 11 strategies to start training your writing that resonates.
Do you get what I mean?
You write something as if you talk with your readers. Don’t just tell facts. Yes, we appreciate the effort of doing your research.
But what does it imply?
How are those facts making an impact on our lives?
That’s what we want to know.
If I didn’t care about your thoughts while I write, I wouldn’t care if you relate to my inputs or not; rather, continue telling you about the facts of self-publishing.
I wouldn’t spend a lot of time writing this 10,000-word blog post at all; rather, continue writing one blog post to the next without caring a lot if you understood my point at all.
Do you go for the challenge? It’s your turn to review your blog posts or any piece of content you write. Ask yourself, “Does this resonate well with my audience or not?”
If not, revise it and see the magic happens. You will start gaining traction from the people by changing your writing tone. The friendlier your writing becomes, the more they get closer to you.
Take this from my experience.
Set a deadline for your book
Back in 2017, I decided to get serious with writing fiction. So, I started writing a few stories at a constant pace from the beginning.
However, when I reached the middle of the story, I suffered from writer’s block and I stopped in between until the middle of 2018.
It distracts me so much that it becomes overwhelming enough to take a step back from writing and analyze where it had gone wrong.
When I encountered Chandler Bolt of Self-Publishing School and his advocacy of helping other authors to write their books faster, I learned his system and applied it to my works.
Within 30 days of hard work following his suggestions as religiously as I can, I finished my book “Accidental Quest” in September and another one entitled “The Rival” the next month.
Blessings kept coming in as NaNoWriMo awarded me for winning the competition in 2018 and 2019 consecutively. The award is given to those who have finished the book within 30 days.
Challenge yourself to write a book within 30 days. Read my comprehensive post about winning NaNoWriMo and learn how I exactly did it.
It was a blast. I couldn’t believe it myself.
If I did, you can do it, too. It’s a matter of commitment to finish what you started and self-discipline to accomplish the huge task.
Every day, I write at least 1,000 words and beyond depending on the length of the chapters.
I continued until I finished typing the last word of the book. It was one of my touching moments as a writer, by the way.
You will understand this feeling after writing your first book and finish it on the deadline you scheduled beforehand. It’s an unexplainable fulfillment only authors can understand.
The goal of achieving the best-selling status and making a potentially lucrative income as an author is to start writing a book.
Not just starting the first few chapters and quit but to finish what you commenced. Do you get what I mean?
As Neil Gaiman said, “Finish what you’re writing. Whatever you have to do to finish it, finish it.”
One month after you finished your first draft comes the post-writing phase. What happens here is the toughest among the toughest things you should do.
Set the first draft aside
Before, you act as a storyteller as you write the chapters. You enjoyed collecting the data and organizing the skeleton of your book.
At this point, you are going to be your critic. You criticize your word usage and other petty stuff, desperate to improve the draft.
You become your editor and proofreader of your work. And you review and revise all the time until you finish polishing the content that’s ready for professionals to come in and take over.
Read your first draft after 1 month
Why do you need to set aside your first draft within 30 days?
This is to refresh your mind. You can’t start editing if you finished your first draft yesterday or last week. Keep it away from your sight for at least 3 weeks or more. If not, in a month.
Give your crazy head a break and let it rest after a strenuous writing situation. You did a great job. You accomplished something not all can do.
Stay away from your manuscript and do something else.
Whenever I finished a book, I could immediately feel the toll writing makes to my body. I become sickly and weak, literally that I could collapse anytime.
I won’t revise my book immediately. Oftentimes, I give it 6 months before I read the first draft again and start editing my works.
Although writing may harm me physically, its nature of allowing me to express my thoughts keeps me committed to this industry.
Just so you know, I spent 3 sleepless nights writing this epic guide, teaching you how to self-publish a book because of the love of writing.
That’s how it is for writers, especially to those who are ambitious to self-publish. Do you think you can do the same?
The Hell of Self-Editing
As I mentioned a while ago, the toughest challenge comes after finishing your first draft. It’s when you read those words aloud over and over again.
Constant revisions omitting one paragraph to the other, inserting new information here and there. From Day 1, you spend time revising the same work until you get sick of it.
And when that time comes, you start to feel dread and procrastinate. You choose to spend time on the fun side rather than be productive.
I admit that it’s one of my pet peeves. I rather spend time watching stupid videos on YouTube for the rest of the day rather doing my tasks.
It sucks to lose track of time because of procrastination. We know we have to change that unhealthy habit.
But the thing is that you don’t stop self-editing until you finally reach the point that you feel it’s right.
The book you ever wanted to find in a bookshelf and read over and over again.
Not until you feel this is the right book for you, don’t stop revising. It sucks and kind of boring to do that, however. Again, this is part of an author’s life. A nonstop cycle of writing and editing.
Nonstop proofreading and self-editing are the first steps before you proceed to hire professionals to take over your work. This process takes time.
Here’s the thing.
If you do it right, you could become the next best-selling author even if it’s your first time writing a book.
Your authority in the subject awaits until you launch. Your future tribe awaits.
How to properly self-edit?
The Writer Mag wrote in their article about the top 10 golden rules of self-editing.
According to them, it’s best to master the basic self-editing commandments to impress literary agents and editors with your “crisp and clean writing.”
The 10 Self-Editing Commandments they suggest includes:
- Start strong.
- Show vs tell.
- Read it aloud.
- Trust “said.”
- Avoid stage directions.
- Avoid adverbs.
- Choose an active voice.
- Pay attention to spelling
- Use writing and editing partners.
As you can see, there are tons of things to do on the list. And to think about it, you should do this constantly.
From Day 1 of self-editing, you start dealing with your critic, following the above-mentioned commandments. You read your work again aloud, eliminating unnecessary words.
To help you make the entire process easier, I suggest you see Grammarly Premium Plans, which I also used in improving my writing for years. Click the image below to see its great deals.
You can also read my comprehensive review of Grammarly here.
Seek Help From Beta Readers
“Beta readers provide feedback on your book from an objective-yet-invested perspective,” Reedsy wrote on their blog post.
According to them, the beta readers are like having a film focus group, having a good resource for feedback.
The good thing about searching for beta readers is that they can see more issues than you did when you write it.
Even after countless times of self-editing it, errors and irrelevant and/or illogical content included.
What happened to the character?
I thought you want to point this out, why do you suggest a different one this time?
Reedsy gave samples of questions for your guide in editing your content or your plot if you’re writing novels like:
- Is the plot engaging and believable?
- Do the plot points flow logically and maintain momentum?
- Are all major and minor plot threads tied up by the ending?
- Do the plot twists make sense? Are there plot holes in the story?
- Does the plot match the conventions of your genre?
These questions are important to ask when you start self-editing to fix all potential issues as early as you can.
For nonfiction, this principle applies.
You can ask yourself these questions when you opt for self-publishing nonfiction, according to Beth Jusino.
She is the author of award-winning nonfiction entitled “The Author’s Guide to Marketing: Make a Plan That Attracts More Readers and Sells More Books (You Might Even Enjoy It).”
Here are the questions she suggested you ask during the process of self-editing your first nonfiction book:
- Can you summarize the reader’s need in one sentence?
- What is the first question would they ask as soon as they see your book?
- Do you promise a clear solution out of the problems you exposed in the earlier chapters?
- Does your book stand out from the competition?
- Do you offer something unique for your readers?
- Is each chapter relevant to the premise of the book?
- Does each chapter spice up something new or fresh for your readers?
- Is your conclusion logical enough?
- Is your voice consistent, either authoritative or natural?
- Do you add enough examples and/or anecdotes to support your ideas well?
- Have you reviewed the facts and details with the appropriate resources of the materials?
These are among the examples of questions you need to ask yourself every time you do the self-editing process. As I said, it’s not going to be an easy task.
You have to go through the first chapter again towards the last chapter, making sure everything is logical, consistent, and convincing enough to support your “hook” of the book.
Otherwise, your book will be a disaster. That’s why most writers hire professionals or seek help from beta readers to leverage the self-editing process to the next level.
If you like to start searching for beta readers, here are the possible sources you can find online. You can try these platforms to search for your beta readers.
- Goodreads Beta Reader Group
- Writerful Books (Beta Reading Service Fees reaches $105 per reader up to 120,000 words for both fiction and nonfiction manuscripts)
- Reddit Beta Readers Group
- Pikko’s House (Paid service, depending on the number of words)
- Absolute Write Water Cooler (forum)
- Beta Readers & Critique Partners Facebook Group
- Beta Readers Writers Club Facebook Group
- Free Beta Readers, Free Critiques, & Paid Editors Facebook Group
- CP Matchmaking (Find your writing soulmate)
- Nathan Bransford – The Forums
- 10 Minute Novelists Facebook Group
- My Writer’s Circle
- Betareader.io (Free & Paid services reaching $50)
After knowing the feedback of your beta reader and given the endless and toughest self-editing you did, it’s time for the professionals to take over the manuscript.
Of course, this is where the most expensive part of self-publishing is. Depending on the length of your first draft of the manuscript, the price remains uncertain.
In that case, you have to search for the best candidates to work on your masterpiece (that you worked so hard for) and let them showcase their expertise in their fields.
Including my personal experiences with hiring the best professionals for my work, here are some of the platforms you could go to and ask for a quote. Again, their response depends on the length of your book, genre, or content.
Not all professionals say yes to work with you. They choose what particular content they feel comfortable working with. I’ve had that a couple of times.
Many professionals rejected my request to work with them. This could be a similar case to you. You’ll never know.
Before you go through another hellish process of book editing, I would like to inform you of the top 3 professionals you would like to hire to make sure your book performs well.
1. Developmental editor
This is very important for fiction manuscripts to make sure your plot goes well and consistent from the beginning to the end.
2. Copy editor
This is most likely the first step for nonfiction authors assuming that you have already made the self-editing and beta reading beforehand.
3. Book layout artist
To gain traction from your future tribe, your book cover serves as your marketing strategy. It has to stand out from the crowd of books based on your genre.
In that case, you need a professional to do the book cover for you. In other cases, they might also do the manuscript format-ready for Kindle and other book reading platforms.
There could also be times that you need to hire another layout artist to have your books ready for these popular platforms to launch your work. Others focus on creating the book cover, excluding the content layout.
If you are lucky enough to find someone who could do both, that’s great.
Below is a list of some of the good sources you could go to if you think your manuscript is ready for professional editing.
- Fiverr (most popular options for broke writers like us)
- Upwork Professionals
- GoodFirms Best Editing & Professional Companies List
- Kirkus Reviews
Finally, we’re at the final stage of your first self-publishing experience, my friend. How are you so far? Are you still with me?
Yes? I heard it. Great. Let’s continue.
After having your book ready, it’s time to launch your first book and publish it across platforms. Be it printed or digital. What are the things you need to consider to publish?
- Printed or Digital Book (or both)
- Book Pricing (especially for the first-time authors)
Issuance of ISBNs & Why It’s Needed?
Have you noticed the numeric codes on the first page right after the book cover or at the back cover? These are the ISBNs.
ISBN stands for the International Standard Book Number, which contains 13 numeric codes that serve as book identifiers.
Each code is unique for each work signifying the work as registered under your name.
Your idea has now become your property given each book has its registered code recognized internationally. This also serves as a ticket to publish any kind of work.
As an author, you have to make sure you own your content although your books reached global audiences.
The ISBN International wrote, “The ISBN is an identifier and does not convey any form of legal or copyright protection.
However, in some countries, the use of ISBN to identify publications has been made into a legal requirement.”
In other words, other people can’t take your words as theirs. This is only possible when the ISBN is finally registered in your first book, for example.
Although some countries don’t recognize ISBNs as copyright protection, the fact that the book is registered under your name, it doesn’t affect your entitlement with the published work.
In simpler terms, nobody could get the same book title as you did, the same words you wrote unless credited. You are one step away from becoming an authority, my friend.
You aren’t just a writer. But an author. You have finally become an authority of the subject, entitled to declare your book to the world and for the world to enjoy.
The ISBN International encourages people to request ISBNS, especially those who publish and initiates the production of a publication.
You can search for platforms online that issue ISBNs in your country. That is because there is an assignment needed depending on where you want the book to be published.
The most popular formats self-published authors do is either PDF, EPUB, and Mobi. Among the 3, self-publishers prefer Mobi to support online platforms like Amazon and others.
Physical & Digital Distribution
There are 2 ways to distribute your first book. Do you want to have it printed or digital? If you opt for both, the best way you can do is to search for companies that cater exactly to this need.
You can go to the best Print On Demand Companies like the following:
How to Become A Best-Selling Author – Strategies Unveiled!
It’s time to know how to become a best-selling author, my friend. How are you so far?
The post is long enough to overwhelm you with much information about self-publishing.
I know. Let’s take a pause and think. Given the tough situation of being an author, are you still up for the self-publishing game?
If yes, let’s learn the best strategies to make sure your book performs well after publishing it.
With that being said, let’s refer to the best-selling authors and know what they’ve got to say.
What do you know about best-selling titles? If you were to ask me, I only know a few like the New York Times Bestsellers and The Wall Street Journal Bestsellers.
I didn’t know there are other lists like the Publishers Weekly Bestsellers, Amazon Bestsellers, and USA Today Bestsellers.
To make sure you can land on any of the award-winning lists, you need to know how to get there.
We have to learn the criteria on how these platforms choose to award a book, including it on their bestselling lists.
Best-Sellers Depend On Criteria
According to Self-Publishing School, each award-giving body has its own set of criteria when deciding to acknowledge the book to be part of the bestselling list or not.
Others may refer to the number of sales your book generated over a certain period.
Other bodies could be identified as the top choice, for instance, among the New York Times Best-Seller List Desk.
Imagine if you can achieve any of the titles from your first book. Astounding could be an understatement to describe the thrill you feel.
Think of the numbers rising on your bank account from generated book sales. You’re a new author. You aren’t just a writer anymore.
If you are currently working as a freelance writer, it’s time to say farewell to the stress (with low payments) and say hi to authorhood (and earn more!)
This is why, together, we learn the steps other best-selling authors have done and apply these strategies in our self-publishing journey.
Are you ready?
Create a strong launch plan.
This is the first thing you need to think of after you finish your manuscript. Devising your plan right after finishing the first draft could be too early, though.
The perfect time will be after all the editing with the professionals is done. The book should be published-ready before you start planning the launch.
According to Self-Publishing School, to plan the launch, you have to consider the following areas:
- Price your book for maximum sales
- Host a “soft launch” and nail down your complete launch strategy
- Get book reviews from your launch team
- Reach out to book promotion sites for both paid and free promo
- Stick to a minimalistic launch plan
Keep in mind that each body has its criteria in identifying the bestsellers list. If you aim for Amazon, you have to make sure you have a burst of downloads using the right plan.
First Strategy: Free Book Launch
You can set the pricing rate for free within the first 3 days since you published your book on Kindle Publishing.
Make sure you are enrolled in the KDP Select Program for 90 days. This serves as your free promo.
Second Strategy: $0.99 Launch
This allows long-term book sales than the other way around. Since this is your first time to self-publish your first book ever, you are about to begin the journey.
So, don’t expect to have big sales, making $10 per book immediately. You start with $0.99 to accumulate more book sales and downloads. Over time, the downloads continue to rise as well as your income.
As I mentioned earlier, Amazon, for example, determines the best-selling flag to books with the highest sales.
Others like The Wall Street Journal have their criteria the book must meet to be acknowledged.
Remember, my friend. You have just begun. Be patient until you reach the point when you sell books worth $20 more or less.
From there, you’re at par with Bill Gates, Oprah Winfrey, JK Rowling, and other world-renowned authors of all time.
I suggest you read Chandler Bolt’s 12-Day Book Launch Plan and learn a more detailed launching process of your first book.
Sophie Kinsella, the best-selling author of the Shopaholic series, supported this by suggesting a plan for book writing.
“For me, the planning stage is vital and it takes months, if not years,” she wrote.
Kinsella also pointed out that no matter how much you plan, there are inevitable changes in between. Something will change in the course of your writing.
Let’s say, a month after you began, you realize the slight change or a major change needed to keep the flow of your content.
Conclusion – Your Takeaway!
I like to quote Kinsella’s thoughts about everybody’s potential to become an author.
She said, “I don’t see why anybody shouldn’t write a book. There is nobody who is not interesting in this world, so why wouldn’t they tell their story?”
True. Every story is unique.
Whatever you have in mind, any story or content that’s been driving you crazy, write it down. If not on your PC or laptop, have a small notebook with you.
You can record your voice using VoiceMemo. Take notes using your mobile phones.
Do everything you can to record those thoughts and review them when you decide to begin writing a book.
These documents help you identify the subject you like to speak about. This is how I managed to write a lot over the years. I love note-taking and I love notebooks.
In fact, I started my Etsy shop to sell my handmade notebooks to share my love for writing and notebook-making. You can visit my shop here.
Now, it’s your turn.
Do you rather imagine reaching your fullest potential as a writer? Or do you rather take the necessary actions to achieve it?
Whatever of these decisions you choose, remember that it’s up to you to stay being a lowly freelance writer or to become ambitious enough to become an authority of your brand?
Again, it’s up to you. You decide.
If you choose to become a best-selling author even if it’s your first time, then start doing something.
I’ll be creating an ebook version of this post, which will be available for FREE.
Yes, you don’t have to pay me anything. Just get the free ebook and read wherever you go.
It doesn’t matter as long as you continue learning and being inspired to reach your fullest potential as a writer.
If you feel inspired after reading the lengthy post, I would appreciate it a lot if you help me spread my content across your social media accounts.
This will be valuable for those who are struggling with writing and seeing their paths as writers. Thank you very much. 🙂
If you have comments or thoughts to share with regards to the content, feel free to share them in the comment section below. Thank you, my friend!