1. Imagine your book. What is the story you want to tell? Or the mystery you’d like to unravel? Or the insight you want to share? Try to form your imagination into a few sentences – this helps with the crystallization process of turning your idea into a reality.
2. Write your book. This requires enthusiasm and commitment. Sit down, open your laptop or get out your pen and paper, and begin to write. Start with an outline, or a first draft, or transcribe the conversation you had about your idea with a friend. But begin the writing process and then continue it through to the end. Seek out mentors, friends, or writing coaches if you get stuck.
3. Rewrite your book. After the initial inspiration comes what I refer to as “respiration.” It is when you bring rhythm, clarity, logic, and firmness to the initial draft – sort of like a calmer, deeper breathing in your writing. Don’t be impatient with this part of the process – it’s not only essential but can be inwardly rewarding.
4. Edit your book. Every writer needs an editor – editing is one of the most underrated aspects of independent publishing. You’ll need a sympathetic but objective eye (at least two) to help you with your overall concept, the way it’s presented, and your writing style, as well as essential copy-editing and proofreading. In all likelihood, you’ll need to pay for this stage of your journey. But a well-edited book is what separates a professional from an amateur author.
5. Design your book. This includes an eye-catching book cover that truly represents what your book is about. For the interior you’ll need to decide on the font and the layout. Do you like dropped caps? Is there a small image you’d like inserted at the beginning of each chapter? If you have photographs or illustrations to include, make sure their quality is the best it can be. You can use a professional designer or design your book yourself, but either way keep in mind that designing the interior of an ebook is entirely different to designing a print book, so do your homework.
6. Publish your book: There are two ways to independently publish your book: Print-On-Demand (printed paperback) or ebook, available for any ereader. If you’re technically savvy, you can figure out how to do this yourself, or you can ask for professional help during this process. Whichever way you decide, make sure that your publishing account is set up in your name so that you own your book and keep 100% of all royalties.
7. Distribution: Most important during the publishing process is that you make sure that your book can be ordered through most major and small book retailers, both domestic and international, as well as all major edistributors like Amazon and Barnes&Noble.
8. Promoting: You need an author website that gives you a platform from which you can share your book. Choose one that allows you flexibility, since you want to be able to update it regularly and feature posts and connections. You also want to connect with your potential readers through social media sites. Find the ones that speak to your interest, join groups, make connections. It’s a marvelous world of promotion nowadays, through connectivity, cooperation, and encouragement rather than through paid advertising.
9. Celebrate! Celebration does not stop at the launch of your book. Celebrate the anniversary of the publication date, celebrate an interview you’ve been part of, celebrate a trip you took that you can link back to your book. Celebrate your book’s success, new reviews, and even someone else’s book that somehow ties in with yours. Celebrate all your accomplishments, your pride in your work, the amazing creation that is now reaching other people around the world. It’s much too easy to get discouraged by low sales, frustrated promotional efforts, competition, and anxiety about your next book. Treat this one as you would a beloved child: let it make its own way in to the world. Cherish it without criticism. Care for it without stifling it. Love it unconditionally – and yourself as well, for being the writer you have become.