How To Self-Publish A Book

How To Self-Publish A Book

Sana James

Devin Miller

The Inventive Journey

Podcast for Entrepreneurs


How To Self-Publish A Book

So for me something that was really important was trying to really take it one step at a time. There were a couple of times where I put it down and did not touch for a month at a time. And I do think that why it took so long to finally publish it. But, once I kind of set deadlines for my self, and they were very manageable deadlines. At first I felt like maybe they were too small because they were small chucks to work on at a time. It was nice to be able to take a month to only go over so many pages or paragraphs at a time. That way if I did not necessarily want to devote as much time to it and spend maybe more time with friends and family I was able to do that and not feel like I was putting on the back burner.


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so for me something that was really important was trying to really take it one step at a time there were a couple times where i put it down and didn't touch it for months at a time and i do think that's why it took so long to finally publish it but once i kind of set um deadlines for myself and they were very manageable deadlines at first i felt like maybe they were too small you know like small chunks to work on at the time um it was nice to be able to take you know a month to only go over so many pages or so many paragraphs because that way if i didn't necessarily want to devote as much time to it and spend maybe more times with friends and family i was able to to do that and not feel like i was putting on the back burner [Music] hey everyone this is devin miller here with another episode of the inventive journey i'm your host devon miller the serial entrepreneur that has grown several uh startups into seven and eight figure businesses as well as the founder and ceo of miller ip law where he helps startups and small businesses with their patents and trademarks and today we have another great guest episode or expert guest episode but expert episode and we have sanna james on here and she will be talking a little bit about self-publishing and you know why is that important one is if you're in the book or the you know if you're writing your book or something of that industry certainly isn't an interesting topic to be on but even more so you know at least from my my opinion working with a lot of startups is what you're always trying to do is establish authority you're trying to show that you know what you're talking about on the topic so people come to you for advice and to hire you and whatnot and one of the best ways to do that is to publish a book and every whenever you publish a book people automatically think you're smarter than you are and that you know more than what you do and you can uh and so that's kind of one of the motivations i think for a lot of startups and small businesses is to you know if you're doing that to publish a book so thought it would be great to have sanna on here she'll share a little bit more about what that process was like for her things to know things to avoid and everything else so with that much as an introduction welcome on the podcast sana hi thank you so much for having me so yes my name is senna james and i did recently self-publish a book it's been a great experience it is not my full-time job though or revenue source so i do have a wonderful job where i manage social media platforms and digital advertising but for me i wanted to publish a book because it was kind of a form of therapy i came from a culture where sharing insecurities and problems were not really accepted because they could affect family reputation so i kind of just wrote a journal with sharing my thoughts on what i was going through and things i felt like i couldn't really handle on my own as a way of therapy and then a couple years later when i felt more comfortable sharing my experiences with others i wanted to see what my options were and self-publishing worked perfectly for me and it's been super easy and i can update my version as much as i want so it's been a perfect fit for my needs no i think that gives a a great background so now let's let's dive into the self publishing so you and i think as you mentioned you kind of started out hey you were you didn't necessarily intend to self-publish you were writing a journal on your computer and you know we chatted before and you say this was kind of an outlet for yourself and then you at one point you decided hey this you know this may be something that's beneficial and that to other people and so he said how do i go to self-publish so walk us through kind of what is the self-publishing route or what is the way that you know let's say because you get a lot you know and i know ask questions i'll give you a second answer just a second um but you know you have a lot of businesses let's say it's you know whether it's a journal or even if you have a lot of blog articles on your website right you've written a whole bunch of different you know information on your website or you do a whole bunch of podcasts and then you have them transcribed or anything of that you know there's a lot of different avenues to generate the content so what's kind of what was that process like to go to the self-publishing route that's a great question and i honestly knew nothing about it before i started so i'm definitely hoping this is helpful um it was actually a lot easier than i thought it would be i actually published through amazon kindle direct publishing and it's a free way to self-publish it gets it to the market fast so the actual process of publishing takes less than five minutes if that it's just getting the manuscript ready and your cover images and everything like that ready and upload it and then once you get everything submitted through the platform it takes just about a day or two to get approved and then it's up and live and ready to go and you also have the option to set your own prices which is really nice so i tried to price it as low as i could because my intention wasn't to make a living off of it but rather to share my story so i was really thankful i had the flexibility to set my own price and then you also have the option to have an e-book available and a print book so i kind of wanted to do both i felt like i worked really hard on my book so i wanted a physical copy so i was really glad that i could do that and i was able to get it at cost after i published it and for digital as soon as people buy it it shows up but for um print you have to order it and have them make it so it takes a little while to get there but it's nice to have both options available at free so now you said it with amazon they'll actually they'll take it and make generate a hard copy for you in addition to doing the digital stuff so you have the option to do both ebook and print so for print it takes a while to ship just because they print it on demand and for ebook it's really nice because as soon as it gets approved from their end it's up and available and and they also provide templates if you don't feel the most comfortable creating your own cover i personally did create my own cover but they all of the templates that i saw were really great really professional you can use any of their photos if you don't have any photos available and just add in your title and personalize it no i think that i and i wasn't aware i know i mean i always think of kindle as being an you know ebook reader and that type of a thing and so i would just think okay amazon or amazon kindle would have just you know been in an ebook platform but that's interesting that they allow you to do also the print and help out on that way so that's a that's a cool avenue now i think one of the things that you mention is you were if and correct me if i'm wrong but as you were you know editing your book and you're trying to you know get it ready to actually go publish you uh reached out to people on linkedin and hired someone to help you do the editing process is that right yes that's correct so initially i guess i can share my full process so it became it was mostly a journal entry is kind of how i put all my thoughts together and so i had to change that over to a book format and so i did that on my own and i actually started off by sharing it with a few friends and just seeing if it was even worth turning into a book i fortunately got a lot of great feedback which was really nice and i do think i got my book to a better place before i um before i created that job listing on linkedin and after i felt a little bit more comfortable with what i had put together i reached out to a few people that had responded to my job posting on linkedin and i was able to hire an editor that just fit my needs based on time commitment how much i could afford to pay every month and she was willing to meet me in person which was really helpful for me as well because i did need some hand holding through this process with being new to everything and after i hired her we we met about once a month i gave her a certain word count to review and she did a great job with filling in gaps that i hadn't thought about because i would fill them in in my mind when i was reading through them without realizing and she also helped me take out certain portions that didn't necessarily add to the story that i was happy to take out so it was a great experience working with her no that's awesome so i would assume that i'll ask the answer anyway or ask a question anyway not the answer um when you was it beneficial so you were you know kind of and that's what i would assume a lot it kind of said you know you were taking a specific where you did a journal but i think there's a lot of overlap with again people that are doing podcasts blogs they've done other articles and they're saying hey we've got a lot of content now how do we do that i would assume having you having gone through the process that it was beneficial or worthwhile to have an editor as a was it worthwhile is it something you think you could have done yourself or is it worthwhile on that or that low for that position to have hire someone else or to have that outside air outside perspective that's a great question i honestly think it depends on each person's needs for me i think it was really important to have an editor because i wanted to do or i wanted to publish this with as much effort as i could put behind it so it comes off as professionally as possible and while i have a background in designing websites and graphics and things i did feel comfortable designing my own website and designing my cover but i did not feel comfortable um necessarily building out longer form content and so i for me it was very helpful and i don't think i would have felt comfortable publishing without that expertise so i'm definitely glad i took that route no no and i think that i like i think that your answer certainly makes sense i like that in the sense that i think that you have to be willing to know your where your strengths are and where you can do yourself and or add value and where you're better off to bring somebody else in right and that's kind of what you said in the sense that hey i can do something graphic design i could do a website or i can do the book cover and i'm comfortable with that but editing is probably not my strong student i don't know what i should be editing or you know to your point almost you know and i i'm very guilty of that when i read when i write something your mind starts to fill in the gaps or my mind goes quicker so i don't realize that i'd miss things or i didn't clearly as clearly explain things because when i even when i read through it you know you your mind tends to fill in those gaps so it certainly i think makes sense to have that editor that can come in and their mind doesn't fill in the gaps because they're not the one that wrote it and make sure that it you know it gives a polished product so now let's say so you did the the book editing anything else along the way before you published that you had any other assistance or help with or things that people should consider yes so personally i tend to have an issue when i take on a larger project of getting really overwhelmed and sometimes i just want to give up if i feel like it's too much to add on to my normal full-time workload or other things that i value spending time on in life then i i tend to get kind of burned out so for me something that was really important was trying to really take it one step at a time there were a couple times where i put it down and didn't touch it for months at a time and i do think that's why it took so long to finally publish it but once i kind of set um deadlines for myself and they were very manageable deadlines at first i felt like maybe they were too small you know like small chunks to work on at the time um it was nice to be able to take you know a month to only go over so many pages or so many paragraphs because that way if i didn't necessarily want to devote as much time to it and spend maybe more times with friends and family i was able to to do that and not feel like i was putting on the back burner so that was something that was really helpful for me and something that i had struggled with at the beginning for sure no and i think that's a a good way to approach things though because oftentimes you say no i gotta write a whole book it becomes overwhelming or how do you get through it all and you know taking that as a let's at least do something get it in manageable bites and you'll still make that progress you'll still be moving it forward without getting overwhelmed or just giving up so i think that's a good buy or a good thought to to have as people are thinking about how they might approach it i think one of the things we also talked about before before we jumped onto the podcast for a few minutes was um budgeting he talked about a little bit about budgeting up front or planning it out and what that might look like so maybe give people a bit of an insight as to kind of what budgeting might look like or what they may want to consider right budgeting is definitely super important when you are hiring someone to help you with a bigger project like that if um i mean not everyone has to take the route of hiring an editor so that's one thing that i really love about amazon kdp is that it's really easy and and it's free of cost to upload anything you want so if it's easier for you to just upload if you just want to kind of get your work out and you don't mind as much about these other things then definitely take that route but for me since i really did want to hire an editor who was a pro at um dividing it up into you know digestible bits and making it really understandable for a reader that doesn't know me i i hired someone who was able to work with my budget so that's something that was really important to me when i was kind of speaking with people that had submitted a an application through my listing and for me it honestly came down to just being able to pay two to three hundred dollars a month and with the editor that i hired she had a a cost per word and so i just kind of would break it down and let her know how far i wanted her to edit and i had my manuscript in a google doc so it was really easy for me to just kind of mark off where i'd like her to stop for that month and it was a great process for me because she would work on a small chunk a month at a time and i would be able to do the same without feeling like i had to give up a lot of time or give up things that i wanted to do so i yeah that's personally how i budgeted no i think that's that makes complete sense and i think that again it's kind of hey let's let's figure out how many how big i want this to be or how long i want it to be and then have it on that per word basis makes it so it's understandable how much this is going to cost you as opposed to an open-ended check right and just one more thing that came to mind as well i really wanted a promotional video when i launched my book so that was another thing that i had to take into consideration i hired a photographer for the photos for my book cover and for photos throughout the book as well so that was another 400 that i had to save up luckily i had planned it in advance so i was spending some time saving that and then for the promotional video i i was going to do a 30 second video and then once i put together everything i wanted to say to promote it i it ended up being a minute so that was another six hundred dollars so just something to keep in mind if you are planning that it is a longer term um project so there is time to save money for things like that if if those are things that you want to add on to your launch no that makes perfect sense so now you you get all of that you get the book edited you get you work with the editor you get the graphic card everything pulled together that you need to self-publish that now you and you go through amazon you say hey it's a quick five minute process you decided you know hey i want to make this cheaper so it's more uh within reach of people and it'll make it you know more approachable so you get all that you get it up on amazon so how did it go and you know what were the things you learned kind of after you initially got it uploaded or how did you promote it how did you get the word out there did you get the word out or did you promote it or kind of how did that go yeah i did really make an effort to promote it as much as i could so i created a separate instagram account just for my book and i went through this website called cameo where you can get celebrities to talk about whatever you want or get birthday shout outs and they're typically for birthdays or just exciting moments in life and so i reached out to a couple people and paid it wasn't very much it was honestly 50 to 75 dollars per person that i chose they can be a bit higher but i chose ones that were around that range because that's kind of what my budget looked like and so once i was able to get those videos back the day of launch i promoted i put some money behind them and and targeted an audience of that actor or that singer wherever they came from because if my thought was if they they are speaking of it they're someone who has this credibility and has this positive association with them and so i i wanted that approach um as a way that the audience was reaching them or getting the message but then i also just put some money behind the video that i had created because i did hire someone who's very talented it was a great quality video it um in 60 seconds kind of embodied what i wanted to share with my book so i put some money behind that as well and um i think those were the bigger things that i that i made an effort to to include in my launch i didn't release any of this until the launch day so i picked a day that i knew i could devote some time to and i just kind of stopped you know set up my computer ready to have all of these assets um posted as soon as i hit that time that i had started a countdown for on my personal social channels and so it was i like to think that it was a successful launch i ordered 30 copies as well of my book and signed them and got some cards as well thanking people for their order um as a way to kind of create some excitement around that day of launch and kind of make it into a bigger deal and so i do think that that drove amazon buys as well because when i ran out of those copies i drove people to my amazon page so i do think it's a it's a good idea to create a lot of hype around the day that you are launching and actually create a launch date versus just throw it out there and hope for the best i've continued to get some buys but i'm lucky to have some very supportive people in my life so they kind of helped me create that hype and drive some of those purchases oh awesome so now i'm going to ask the question so you've done all this we've gone through kind of what your experiences things to know things to consider would you do it again was it a worthwhile project was it a you know waste i doubt it's gonna say it's a waste i was a waste of time or what would you know people are trying to get on the fences hey should i do this should i self-promote should i self-publish and those type of things is it something that you know is rewarding or worthwhile or is it something that they should you know put on the back burner so for me yes it was definitely worthwhile and i honestly wasn't sure if it would be when i was going through the process even after i hired an editor and put money into it i still wasn't sure if it'd be worth it but once i actually self-published and held my book in my hand it was like therapy and i found myself this is probably kind of silly but even when i went to therapy i found myself still not giving the full truth to the therapist because i was worried you know in the back of my mind i had that thought of is this going to get out are people going to find out about these issues and i kind of had my mom's voice in the back of my mind about not being able to share these things growing up and so there was something about holding the book in my hand that made me feel like i had overcome a lot of those struggles so yes for me it was totally worth it i would definitely hope it would be for anyone else who's doing it it is a lengthy process so um i i just understand that it's not necessarily for everyone but i do recommend getting your word out there it's really exciting to even have one or two people reach out to you and say hey what you wrote made a difference in my life and i didn't write it necessarily to be inspiring or anything like that if i can be that's really exciting for me but um it was definitely to help me get through the struggles that i went through so um yeah i'm definitely you know super excited about the fact that i was able to find a way to publish well that's awesome no no and that's the answer i i doubted that you're going to say it was a waste of time but i figured i'd ask anyway so was we as we start to wrap up you know any other thing that people are that should they should be aware of think about if they're looking to do the self-publishing route any other tips that we haven't touched on um i do think budgeting is the biggest thing if if you do want to take the route of having a website and having someone maybe help you with photography needs and the and the cover any design needs and editing needs personally when i first started working on this i had no idea the cost that would go into the cost of it and the money that would have to go into it for me to really make it what i wanted it to be i mean once again you don't need to put all of that money into it to publish through amazon kdp but i knew i wanted to do that so that was a little bit overwhelming so that's just something that i think i would reiterate to try to plan out in advance and keep in mind when you're going into this all right well i definitely encourage everybody to to take all the advice and the thing and i said i've been i'm a cheerleader in the in the corner in the sense that you know everybody is always trying to in especially in business if we're now to translate this order business you're always trying to establish yourself as the authority for somebody that people can trust that they can come to and that they will actually want to use your service and you know used to be back in the day before the internet and everything else that you know it was you know you'd either go look you up in the yellow pages or they'd look you up on the commercials or the ads on the bus or the billboards and now today it's a lot more of that personal story into making that connection and why they want to work with you not just because your expertise but because they like you as an individual and they like how you're approaching things and i think one of the things that's an easy way to establish yourself as your authority that many people don't take advantage of is to publish a book to actually have something that they can say oh he he made a book he's got to know what he's talking about and it's a much easier process as sana walked you through than i think a lot of people do so i certainly encourage everybody to do it was people want to now we've talked all about the book where did they find it what is it called where or what's the best way to reach out to you to connect up with you to find out more about you your book and everything else you have going on thank you yeah so my book is available on amazon it's called exposed and if you just look up exposed by senna james it should come up my website is so also super simple i have links there to my instagram page which is s and i also have an email address i'd love to answer any questions about self-publishing and just be anyone's cheerleader as well it's a it's a really exciting feeling for sure so my email is hello at and yeah you don't have to write a super lengthy novel or anything to be published or to feel the need to feel like you have something worth publishing so even if it's something short it's still exciting to be published and yeah that's a way to get in contact with me for any questions i'd be happy to answer them and i love connecting with new people so awesome well i definitely encourage everybody to reach out to you pick up the book read or find out more about you and uh and certainly anytime you can get a cheerleading in your corner is always worthwhile so well thank you for coming on the podcast for sharing a bit more of your experience and uh give imparting some of your knowledge as you've gone through your own journey now for all of you that are listeners if you either have expertise that you want to share or just want to come on and share a bit more about your journey as being a founder or co-founder feel free to go to love to have you on if you are a listener make sure to click subscribe on the your podcast listener so you get a notifications as all our awesome episodes come out and last but not least if you ever need help with patents or trademarks feel free to reach out to us at millerip law well thank you again sana it's been a pleasure it's been fun and uh wish you even the the next leg of your journey even better than the last thank you so much for your time [Music] English (auto-generated)

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