Self-Publishing Guide for Writers

Self-Publishing Guide for Writers

06/09/2018 0 By Anthony Ekanem

If you have always dreamed of being a writer, you can live your dreams by writing your own book and then self-publishing it. Self-publishing is the way that many writers today are choosing to get their books out to the public. Self-publishing today is not the same as it was years ago when you had to spend thousands of Dollars to publish your book.  You can self-publish a book for a little or no initial cost, depending on your chosen self-publishing service.

The first thing that you need to do is to know your genre.  The one rule of writing is that you should write about what you know.  If you have a specific genre that you read, chances are that this is what you will want to write about.  Take a look at your interests and the type of books that you read before you decide on your genre. Your book should never be just about making money – it should be about something for which you have a passion.  There are many genres available in both fiction and non-fiction.  Before you start writing your book, have a plan of what it will be about and the genre it will fill.

You need to have a specific genre when you are writing a book so that you will be able to market it properly.  Some books will cross genre lines – such as paranormal and romance.  Some books will fit neatly into a specific genre.  It should be clear what the book is about to the reader so that they will be interested enough in what you have written to buy the book.  Most readers have types of books that they like to read and tend to stick to one or two genres.

Writing a Non-Fiction

If you are writing a non-fiction book, there are also genres.  You need to make your book stand out among the rest in a way that will set it apart from other books of the same genre. If you are writing an Nigerian Cookbook, for example, how do you make it stand out from the other Nigerian cookbooks that are on the market already?

Once you find your genre and know what you are writing about, you should start to think of marketing your book. Make it something that readers will choose when they see it in bookstores or online.  This will set it apart from other books of its kind and entice readers to buy it. Many book authors are finding that they can make a career out of self-publishing their books and marketing them to the right audience.

After you have figured out what you are going to write about and what will make your book stand out among others, you can then start to outline your book.  You should write a synopsis of the book and the point that you are trying to make. Good books carry a message, make sure that your book has a message to the readers that they can take away from the book at the end.

Writing a Fiction

While you may like free-form writing, which is writing without doing any sort of outline, you should still have an idea of the ending of the book in your head. When you are a writing fiction, characters tend to come to alive as you write. Your ending may change as you rewrite, it is important to be flexible. The way that you write depends on the type of person that you are. If you prefer to have everything ironed out for your book, you should do an outline that will tell you where you are going. This is like having a roadmap on a car trip.

There are some people, however, who do not want to use a roadmap on a trip; they just want to go.  If this sounds like you, then just start writing and the ideas will start flowing in you.  You can rework characters and plots as you move on in your book.  Everyone has a different style when it comes to writing books. Over thinking the book and too much planning can bog you down and keep you from writing. Too little thought can keep your book from reaching a conclusion.  It takes a lot of creativity as well as some structure in order to write a successful book that people will want to read.

Improving Your Writing Skill

You should read books in the genre that you are interested in so that you get the feel for this type of writing.  Reading is a good way to improve your writing skills.  Before you start writing your book, read the genre that you like and have a good idea of what you want to say in your book.

Research Your Book

In order to write your book, you are going to do some research.  Even if you are writing an autobiography, you still have to go back in your mind to research incidents that happened and most likely look up dates and names.  You want to do research to make your book more authentic and well-written.  Nothing is worse than writing a book where you get facts, dates and other information wrong.

Research different types of books that have been successful in the genre that you have chosen for to write in. When you are doing research, you can use your local library as well as the internet.  If you are writing fiction, you will need to research even more.  For example, if you are writing a murder mystery, you need to know police procedures as well as how murderers are caught.  You can discover this information through your research by taking a look at the books at the local library.  Some authors go as far as taking a class in something that they want to learn about at a community college so that they can be better prepared for their book.

You do not want to get bogged down with research, however. Many writers enjoy research so much that they neglect to write their book.  This is not what you want to do – you want to research your book so that you have the right information, but not write a thesis.  Too much research can stunt the creative flow of your book. One way to research what you are writing is to do the research after you have finished the first draft of your book.  Or research as you are writing.  The internet makes it easier to do research now more than before.  You can get most of the information that you need to research your book if you go online.

It is a good idea to research the characters in your book, even if they are fictional.  Discover some information about personality traits of people.  A good writer is very much in tune with psychology and the way that people think.  In fact, if you want to get in touch with the characters that you create, you can do so by learning a bit of psychology.  Creative writers are often advised to take this class so that they can get in touch with the way that people think and react to certain situations. By learning how others think, you will be able to bring more to the book than your own perception of how to react in a certain situation.  This will also help you with dialogue as well. Realistic dialogue is very important when writing a book. If you understand how and why people act in a certain way and speak in certain terms, you can give your characters more depth.

In addition to researching your characters and the plot of your book, you should also make sure that you do some research on what makes a good book.  You can take a writing course to learn how you can write a good book or even join a writing group.  The more input that you get from other writers and the more information that you share, the better your book will be.

There are conferences for writers that you can attend, as well as workshops. You can make these part of your writing research.  In addition to researching your book, you should also research the components that make up a good book.

What Makes a Good Book

A good book has the following characteristics:

  • Three dimensional, believable characters
  • A conflict
  • A climax
  • A resolution to the conflict

You need to have some sort of conflict in the book that is presented from the start.  The conflict must be resolved by the ending of the book. This does not mean that your book has to have a happy ending, but you cannot leave anything hanging out there that remains unsolved. You also want to craft your book so that it reaches a climax, which builds up throughout the book.

Another thing that you need to determine is which point of view you want to use to write the book. You can choose first person narrative, which is an easier style to write but is limited to the thoughts and actions of the main character, or narrator of the story.  You can write first person observant which tells the story from the point of view of another character who is observing the action. You can choose third person and still write from the point of view of the main protagonist.  When you are writing from the third person, you can also delve into the point of view from other characters in the book.

Of all styles of writing, third person omniscient, which sees into the heads of all the characters, is the most difficult to write.   Take a look at books that you like to read and see which writing style will best fit your book.  The point of view that you write from can make or break your book. For example, the Sherlock Holmes books by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle were a flop at first, until he changed the point of view coming from Dr. Watson, which was first person observant.

In addition to point of view, you also need to decide if you are writing in the past or present tense.  Most books are written in the past tense, although you may want to take a look at “Presumed Innocent” by Scott Turow to see an example of first person narrative in the present tense.  Writing in the present tense is more difficult, but lends more action to the book.

Do your research by studying other books and your own writing style to see which point of view and tense you wish to use in your book.  First person narrative, which is also called prose writing, is the easiest, but has limitations.  Third person omniscient is the most difficult, but opens up the thoughts and feelings of other characters in the book.  This type of research should be done before you start your book, but can be changed if you find that it is not working for you and how you want to tell a story.