I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I have published five books. It hasn’t been easy but it has been so worth it. From the beginning of my life as an author, when telling people I was writing my first book, ‘Accountants Don’t Bite!’, the most frequent response was, “Me too!” However, only a small proportion of those ‘me too’ people have managed to get their book published.
Perhaps this period of lockdown has made you revisit things you want to achieve. Is writing a book on your list?
It is said that we all have a book in us, but what I have learnt is that to finish it you need to stick with it. And I would certainly encourage you to go for it – it’s incredibly rewarding!
Here are some tips to help you succeed:
1. Make A Start
One of my favourite fiction authors, Lisa Jewell, was asked what tip she would give someone who wants to write a book. She said, “Make a Start.” It’s very easy to feel overwhelmed and do nothing. Don’t think you have to start at the beginning – start wherever feels easiest. I did – I was always a fan of getting the easy marks first when I was taking my exams!
2. Prepare A Mind Map
So how did I get going on my book? For all of my books, I had the idea and then I prepared a mind map of all the chapters and what I wanted to cover in each chapter. Having this in place gave me focus and direction. It also helped to have the whole structure of the book on one page.
3. Set A Deadline
By setting a deadline I had a definite goal, and this helped to keep me motivated. If I wanted to throw the towel in, which I did a few times, I couldn’t! My launch date was booked!
4. Think About The Whole Process
When writing a book, it’s easy to immerse yourself in the writing of each chapter. However, it’s important to remember the whole picture. What do you want the whole book to look like? Who is your target market? What will attract them to your book? What do you want the cover to look like? For ‘Your Business Your Numbers’, I used Lucy Monkman to do my front cover and individual chapter illustrations. She was great and she captured the whole essence of the book!
5. Keep Your Sense Of Humour
Some days you won’t want to write the book and find it difficult to remember why you started it in the first place! Try and keep your perspective and see the funny side if you can – preferably before you throw it all out of the window!
Take regular breaks and chat about it to others. I found having regular Skypes with my book mentor, proofreader and copy editor, Sian-Elin Flint-Freel invaluable!
6. Order Your ISBN Numbers
For my first book this was on my list for ages and I just kept thinking, ‘This is boring’ and ‘I’ll get around to it in the end.’ I completely underestimated how important ordering your ISBN numbers is.
- Your typesetter needs it before you can have the final proof
- You need it to set up your account with the printer
- You need it to get your book on Amazon
I was lucky that Nielsen UK ISBN Agency were very helpful and efficient.
- Phone: +44 (0) 1483 712215
- Fax: +44 (0) 1483 712214
They quote 10 working days to get your ISBNs, but they usually don’t take this long.
You have to complete a 4 page application form so get a cuppa before you start!
You will need:
- Example title page – this includes title, subtitle, author name (from typesetter)
- Example title verso page – this includes name of publisher and copyright information (from typesetter)
- To choose from 3 levels of service – Standard is 10 days, Fast track is 3 working days and Super-fast track is same day if received before 1pm
- Price of book
- Size of book
- Number of pages
- Short description of subject matter
Tip: It’s worth ordering 10 if you think you are likely to writing more books in the future.
If you publish through Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing, you don’t have to have your own ISBN.
7. Don’t Underestimate The Printing Process
After I’d sent my first book to the typesetter I thought, ‘That’s great! It’s all done! I can sit back and relax now.’ Well not quite! I had several proofs of the book cover and interior before I got to the final version of the book. For all of my books, I used graphic designer, Tanya Back, of Tanya Back Designs, who was fantastic and incredibly patient.
Choosing which printer to go with was difficult. Each one seems to have good and bad points. I struggled to find the telephone number for Ingram Spark – it wasn’t on their website or on Google. Afterwards, I realised that you can only access their phone number when you set up your account.
www.ingramspark.com 0845 124 4643
In my experience, I found that if helps to have as much information as possible prior to contacting your printer.
When setting up your account you will need to enter:
A book description
Your selling price in sterling, US dollars and Euros
Type of paper (I would request a sample to be sent prior to selecting)
Prepare as much information as possible prior to uploading your book to be converted to an e-book.
I have used Amazon and this works well.
Hopefully, I haven’t put you off and have instead managed to focus your mind. Don’t underestimate this process – there is a lot to get through. But also don’t underestimate the feeling of euphoria you’ll get when you hold your own book in your hands!
TIP: Remember this Book is Your Priority Not Anyone Else’s
If you want your book to be reviewed, then send a chapter out as soon as possible. The reviewers are fitting this into their already tight schedule, so don’t leave it until the last minute.
I have now published two books and three guides. The process becomes much easier once you are used to it. Just stay calm as you go through it!
Don’t just be one of the people who says I’m writing a book; be that person who says, ‘I’ve written a book and you can buy it on Amazon!’ Good luck!