This post is going to be in two parts.
1. How I go about writing a book. I´ll look at both the fiction and non-fiction books and my process.
2. What I do after I get the book out there.
For my fiction stuff, it starts with an idea. Not every idea that I come up with ends up being viable. As a matter of fact, I´ve thrown out more ideas than I have kept. The essential element in a story is that there has to be a twist or something unexpected. If the story just wants to be a straight line, it´s probably not worth writing. Also, some stories just refuse to reveal themselves. If I don´t know where it is going, I´m not going to waste my time in the hope that it will all make sense in the end. What often happens is that I have an idea and an ending but the middle parts and how I get to the end won´t work themselves out. Those ones get put on the back burner in the hope that one day they will come together. Others just aren´t viable at all.
Once I have decided that the story is viable, I crank up FREE MIND. This is a cool, freeware program. It allows me to make a diagram and organize the story. One one side I number the chapters, on the other side I add in the characters names and their roles in the story. These mind maps can get pretty cluttered but the real work is going on in my subconscious.
This is an uncompleted Mind Map for a project I´m working on now. The right side are the chapters and the left side talks about the details, people, places, relationships etc. Once I have completed the mind map, I use the Chapter Method which I consider my own creation. I open a fresh word doc and layout the book starting with the title, dedication page, copyright page, chapters, etc. Since I have an aproximate plan for what will happen in each chapter and the number of chapters, I copy/paste that information into my document, one chapter at a time.
Now I am ready to start writing.
Fast forward 6 months and hopefully I have a first draft. Then comes endless edits until I get it the way I want it. Then I send it to someone for a second opinion. They usually catch some mispelled words (don´t rely 100% on MS Word spell check….it misses some stuff)
I make the corrections they suggest and I have my finished version. Almost. Then I convert it to PDF and put it onto my tablet. Then I read the book from start to finish. I always find a few more elements that need to be tweaked.
Now I have my finished book.
The process for converting that book into a usable EBOOK (.mobi or .epub) is a hellish job….will write more on that later.
So then I am ready to publish via Amazon. Again, there is the cover which needs to be at the right dimensions. It also helps if it is 300 dpi or better. You can get the cover specs for Amazon here.
Upload your book and cover to Amazon. Fill in the pertinent information. Amazon pays 35% for books under $3 and 70% for books over $3. So you may think to yourself that you have to charge over $3 to make any money. Not true. My biggest sellers are the lower priced books.
With the over $3 books however you do have the option of running a Kindle countdown deal which means you can put your book on sale for up to 5 days, during which time you still recieve the 70% even on the sale price. This is a good way for your book to shoot up in the sales ranking and get noticed. However, you must be enrolled in the KDP select program which means your book must be exclusive to Amazon for 90 days. Also, if you are in the KDP select program your book is FREE to some people.
But everytime those people read your book past the 10% point, you get a payout. You share in a fund of around $3 million bucks monthly. Sometimes I have made more off the fund than from regular sales. Cool.
Ok, so your books is out there. Now what?
Do you have an Author Central page? If so, you have to check that your book is listed on your page.
Goodreads? Open an account and register as an Indie Writer. Get your books listed there as well.
Blog. Facebook. Twitter. Google+ etc.
There are probably other steps that I take to make sure that every link is linked to every link. (say that fast ten times)
As far as my non-fiction stuff, there is a reason I write those books. First of all, there is a ton of work to be done in writing a novel and the lead up to starting is a lot of dead time. So while I´m in the planning stages of a novel, I am also working on a non-fiction piece. Plus, you can only write and invent for so many hours of the day. Your brain gets tired. But I can sit at a computer and type out / create content all day in a non-fiction setting with no brain drain. So, in my off time, I write non-fiction. The process is much faster. I do not use the mind map. I go straight to the word doc and create the chapters. The very chapter name tells me what I am going to include in that chapter.
Everyone has to be an expert on something. Hopefully it is a valuable skill that you can share via an Ebook.
This is obviously not for the ´Serious Writer´ who is sitting in his/her den in a nice padded leather chair in front of a desk with a pile of dictionaries, thesauruses (plural of thesaurus????) and who often has a button down sweater and a pipe clasped between his teeth.
This is the new writer´s model. I hope I am doing it right.
Of course everyone has their own plan and method. The trick is to do it and be doing it seriously and often.
I am no expert but…..I´m doing it.
Got this letter from someone …… apparently someone cares about what I have to say.
I wanted to let you know that I enjoyed an appreciated your last two posts on “Building a Platform.” As a businessman it is expected that you will do everything to promote your product and your services so that others know they are there, it is just good business. I like that you present the job of being a writer as a business and offer good sound advice to those that are really trying to succeed. You can’t do what the last 100 guys did and really expect to do any better, being innovative and creative plus putting in the hours gets results in any business. Why writers seem to think they are exempt from this has always amazed me.
See you Tomorrow.
David Gordon Burke
Find my Ebooks and Paperbacks here.