Self-Publishing – Ten Steps to Completing Your Book – Part 1

Technology has made self-publishing relatively accessible to everyone. This is especially true of e-books. The big question now is, “How do I complete my book?”

Have you ever awaken from a dream that self-published on your mind. You probably didn’t ask for that dream, it just showed up one night. If you didn’t write your dream down the moment you awoke, chances are you won’t remember it as the day’s mental activities crowd out the ol’ timers.

Today, we’re picking up from the previous post, which could have been entitled, ‘Boots On the Ground, Butts in the Chair‘. If you’ve dreamed about publishing a book, but don’t have a completed manuscript, it’s time to take action.

Dreams are a mysterious part of our existence. In our dreams we can fly, sing before a standing-room-only audience of kings and queens, and even get chased by man-eating turnips. Dreams are seeds of our waking imagination. We’re given only a short time to record our dreams before they fade away. Fortunately, the ideas that come to us in our waking hours are not as fleeting, but like a butterfly, they will eventually flutter away. You know you can’t trap in it a jar, so the best thing to do is paint a beautiful word picture while it’s there before you.

Here are ten practical things to do if you’ve been stalled or are struggling with your book:

  1. Write what you’re passionate about. If you’re writing your first book, forget about writing one about some hot and trendy topic just because you think it will sell. Chances are, a million other people are writing the same book. However, if, for example, you collect vintage fountain pens, there are people who would buy your book just because they share the same passion. They are even more likely to overlook the possible lack of polish in the author’s writing ability.
  2. Find a place that’s suitable for you to write. You don’t have a wood-paneled library in your home to have a place to pen your book. It may be a little corner of a room you set aside to be creative. Claim your space and let others know that when you go there that you are not to be disturbed. I’ve raised three children, so I know that’s easier said than done, but they will get the message that your own time and space is important to you.
  3. Schedule a time to write: You will benefit if you schedule not only a time of day or night to write, but also a minimum amount of time. If you have a job, family and all those other responsibilities common to other authors, you might have to write very early in the morning or very late in the evening. Next, decide how much time you will stay in your chair. It might help if you set a timer. The amount of time is not as important initially as you sticking to the time you’ve set over an extended period. If you are interrupted, stop the timer until you can get back in your chair and finish your alloted time.
  4. Share your work with someone you trust. We often look through a telescope at our ideas. That’s good because we can focus them and see details others can’t see. But the eyes of a trusted family member or friend can point out something about your book that you don’t see. Just don’t let your feelings get hurt if/when they show you something that needs improvement. Remember, it’s your book, so don’t feel obligated to change something just because someone else suggests that you do so.
  5. Stay abreast of new technologies. There was a time when a writer could sign with a major publisher, get the signing bonus and go lock themselves away to polish their book. Today, authors are being asked to carry more of the burden of promoting their work. That promotion can and should begin before the book is finished. Some of the common ways to get the word out is to write a blog or  be active on the social media front. You know the ones: Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and others tailored to your taste. Forums are also a good way to connect with people of like interests. Be cautious though, they can eat away at your creative time if you don’t set boundaries. You should also be mindful that the Facebook of tomorrow could be the Myspace of today. Things are constantly changing. You must be able to change and adapt with the times.

Join me next time for steps 6-10.

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