Forget Kim Komando, Here’s How You Self Publish in 2012!

Publish Digitally in 2012!

OK, I’m going to come clean here — I don’t like Kim Komando and I think her “advice” is truly, truly terrible. When she first started, she was pretty revolutionary and helped a lot of people. Nowadays, though, she is totally phoning it in. So, whenever I read a poor Kim posting, I’m going to call her on it and dive in with some actually intelligent, helpful advice. Maybe it will pressure her to get back on her game.

This week’s post that has me ticked off? This one about resolving to publishing a book in 2012.

Before I get too deep into it, Kim’s right in one (and ONLY one) respect, and that’s there really is no better time to publish a book than 2012, except, perhaps, 2011. Unfortunately, Kim’s advice on how to publish a book in the modern age is pretty poor. Looking to write a book and get it out there? Here’s what you need to do:

1. Write your book. You need to actually write the book. There are a lot of programs out there to write your book, and you can even stubby pencil it, if you like, but since this is a tech article I’ll go over the two options I prefer. I like both LibreOffice (a free office suite that’s exceptionally capable) and Scrivener. Scrivener is exceptional for long works and I use it myself. It has a lot of features that take a bit of learning to really get the ost out of, but it’s worth it. Want a second opinion? Michael Sullivan, best selling author, tells of his conversion from plain Word to Scrivener HERE. Also, Scrivener has another big bennie I’ll discuss a little farther down.

2. Edit your book. Writing isn’t as easy as many people think. Thousands of ebooks are being loaded up onto Kindle and Nook every day, a majority of them are self-publishing first time authors. And most of them really stink. If you want to actually sell some copies of your book, bring in a professional editor, or, failing that, go through at least a dozen test readers. The market is competitive, and the quality level is rising. Don’t know any editors? Head over to the Kindle Boards Cafe, a list of author service providers are right there waiting for you. Want a personal recommendation? Benb Gallaher is my editor, and he can be reached HERE.

3. While you are writing/editing your book, start building your audience with social media. Twitter and Facebook are free services and they are exceptional tools for gathering an audience and promoting your book. Kindle best selling author Michael Hicks wrote a short series of articles on how he built up his Twitter following that’s worth reading. GoodReads is a social network specifically for readers and writers, and is also a great resource for book promotion, not to mention getting beta readers and reviewers. Robin Sullivan, the head of Ridan Publishing, wrote a terrific series of articles on how to effectively use Goodreads. Also, get a website and start blogging. Not Blogger or some other free web platform service. Get an actual website — when you start directing your readers to purchase your book, you’ll see why.

4. Forget Create Space, Blurb, Lulu, Kazam or any other “Vanity Press” type of arrangement. Print is no longer cost effective. With Amazon selling 1 million Kindle’s a week and B&N not far behind, the age of print is quickly ending. Not only is it expensive, it’s rapidly becoming a format only collectors are interested in. The only time I would recommend using one of these services is if you are putting together a coffee-table style photo book for a small audience. And, even then, with color eReaders and Tablet apps out there I still think digital is a far superior target audience.

5. Format your book for Digital. You used to have to pay about $100-$150 bucks to get your book formatted, but nowadays you can just use a standard program to do it. The writing program Scrivener will automatically format your book, and the program costs $40. You can get it here, if you’re not already using it. And here’s a detailed, step-by-step video on how to use it to format your book. You can also try free programs like Calibre and, provided you have a WordPress website, Anthologize.

6. Load your book up onto Kindle and Nook. The act of self publishing is now as simple as a few mouse clicks. Once you have a formatted manuscript, head over to Kindle and Nook and upload your book. You can find detailed instructions on how to load your book into Kindle’s storefront HERE and how to do the same for Nook HERE. Between these two venues, you’ve got almost 90% of the digital book market covered. Also, with these services, you don’t have to have an ISBN, saving you about $150 bucks.

7. Continue to Promote your book! With thousands of self-publishing authors out there, it takes a lot more than simply uploading your book to be a successful author. Go back to step 3 above and do it in overdrive. Try and be a guest blogger on other author’s websites, participate in online forums for your genre, and become a prolific tweeter. Marketing your book is at least as hard as writing it, so get cracking.

One more thing: If you need a little help staying motivated, try a writing challenge to keep you on point. NaNoWriMo now has multiple events per year, and SoCNoC takes place every Summer. You’ll be impressed with how those two programs will keep you going.

And there you go — real, practical advice on how to self publish in 2012. Was that so hard, Kim?

About Rob McClellan

Rob is the founder of ThirdScribe, a unique author services platform and social network. As a naval officer and diver, he spent a majority of his career doing a lot more than you would think with a lot less than you can imagine -- a skill that has proven extremely valuable in the start-up world. You can follow him on Facebook, Twitter or Google+.

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