It should come as no surprise that one of the most vibrant categories being self-published on Amazon is books on Self-Publishing. There are ALOT of books out there that seem to make all these promises with formulas, processes, and techniques to make you a successful self-published author… and more than a few of them are absolutely craptastic. There are also some real gems out there with real solutions and ideas worth trying. I wanted to share with you what books I found to be most helpful to me, in case you were thinking of self-publishing but didn’t want to waste money on the craptastic.
There are a lot of books that promise to teach you how to write a book in a weekend or in 7 days or some other seemingly impossible time frame. While How to Write a Nonfiction eBook in 21 Days – That Readers LOVE! by Steve Scott makes a similar promise, I found this book to be one of the most helpful in providing an actual writing process in the creation of an ebook. This is the book that lead me to working in “Pomodoros” for productivity. The book also gives the BEST advice and includes a process for getting the cover of your ebook just right, and provides a sample posting for freelance graphic artists. If you can get only one book to help you on your journey, this is the one I recommend.
There are two things that most writers fight with on a daily basis. Time to write and word count. Word count often exists as this spectre that haunts writers of all types. 2k to 10k: Writing Faster, Writing Better, and Writing More of What You Love by Rachel Aaron is a good read that provides exercises to increase your word count within the time you have to write. This book really impressed on me the importance of plotting (or outlining for you non-fiction aficionados) before sitting down to write the book. The plotting process outlined in the book is a bit detailed and while it may seem time consuming, it is definitely worth the time in order to crank your word count during your time to write. This was also the book that sold me on Scrivener, writing software that I have discovered to worth WAY more than what I paid for it. Even though I haven’t quite mastered it yet, I’ll ultimately be using it exclusively going forward. My typical word count per session previously would be around 500-600 words (or a blog post), and by using the outlining process from the book I’ve been able to crank up to 2,000 words a session. Although it’s not the 10,000 words mentioned in the title, it’s still a change in the right direction. It is still important to note that as I’ve previously said, word count is not what will make or break a piece of writing. Content was, is, and will remain king.
I love data. I love to look at it, compare it, theorize on it, and see the results of testing those theories with it. I don’t make a big secret about my analytics addiction just as Amazon doesn’t make a big secret about the lack of analytics they offer. While they have started offer better numbers in the forms of their ebook and author rankings, they don’t give you hard numbers regarding unique visitors, page views, or your conversion rate. The Amazon Analytics Bible: How To Use Analytics To Sell More Books On Amazon And Make Better Marketing Decisions (Kindle Bible) by Tom Corson-Knowles offers to appease my addiction. Now I’ll be honest, I’m not really that crazy about his method for pageview measuring or tracking because it relies on Bit.ly and I am not a big fan of that URL shortening service. What I DID like about the book was the 21 steps he offered when launching a book. I liked it so much, I’ll be using some (not all, because some of his recommendations cost money I don’t have budgeted for it) of those methods in my next book launch. I’ll also be trying out some of those analytic solutions he offers, but won’t know how effective they are until after.
So those are three books that helped me in my self-publishing journey. Do you have any recommendations for self-publishers? Let me know in the comments…