Self Publishing – Keeping It Simple – The First Draft

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I read many discussions on the best tool to use to write a book. Sometimes the discussion is about what word processor is best for writing the draft or manuscript. To me it is a totally irrelevant question. It really doesn’t matter what tool you use to write your book. You can use whatever is comfortable for you including just a pen or pencil in a simple notebook. Word is my preference for writing my first draft but I could just as well use OpenOffice or even Wordpad that comes free with Windows.

If you do use a word processor keep the style set at normal to avoid any complicated formatting that will cause problems when doing the final layout and formatting for the print or ebook versions. Avoid multiple spaces with the space bar and paragraph indentations with the tab key. Use the normal style with line and paragraph settings that work the same throughout your draft. Keep it as simple as possible because the draft is not the final file for publishing. Don’t begin the final formatting until your editing is completed and you have a final manuscript.

Self Publishing – Keeping It Simple – Intro

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From my own experience learning how to self publish books and ebooks I believe that the entire process is often overcomplicated or over priced unnecessarily. Since the mission of this blog is to simplify self publishing it’s time to get more specific with methods for simplifying every task. This post is an introduction to the many simple methods I use to write and publish my books and ebooks. These are methods that you can use to keep things simple.

I write and publish how-to books based on my personal experience but my methods will work just as well for any non-fiction books even if based on research and will even help with fiction books. In the next few posts I will cover every step I go through when writing and publishing my books. If you find them of value you can follow them and ask any questions you may have.

In the next post I will describe how I begin writing my books.

The Handyman’s Guide To Profit – Free Kindle Ebook

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The popular Handyman’s Guide To Profit paperback is now available as a Kindle Ebook for only $3.99. Get your copy now at:
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00G8OU9IA
If you have handyman skills this is the book for you.

Start making money now as a handyman using only your home repair skills. Twelve chapters of valuable how-to information teach you how to:
*Find new customers
*Price every job to ensure profit
*Get paid in full for every job
*Expand your skills for profitability
*Use the Internet to increase profits
*Keep customers coming back and giving referrals
*Handle your accounting and taxes
*Become a highly paid home repair expert

Everything you need to know to succeed financially as a handyman. No fluff or hype, just down to earth details on exactly how to make money using your present skills.

Before Starting The First Draft

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Starting a new book is exciting and as a how-to book writer there are certain steps I follow before I start the first draft. Step one is to fully develop the idea for the book. Exactly what are you going to teach others and how will you make certain they learn.

Next, develop and organize a detailed outline on everything you want to teach these individuals. Make this as complete and concise as possible as this step will make your writing much easier.

Now, if you are writing just for the joy of creating a book, you are ready to start the first draft. However, if you are like me and want your books to sell and make a good profit, it’s time for the most important step before writing a single word. You must determine who you will be teaching. Time to find out about the potential customers for your book. Who are they and where are they found. Once this task is completed you can start writing the first draft.

More Time For Writing

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Even though I enjoy the publishing aspects of my business, it takes a lot of my time and keeps me from writing as much as I would like. As a one-person business I get to handle everything so I try to simplify every step. I’m often told that I can make more money by printing my books in quantity and fulfilling the orders myself and I realize that’s accurate but it would take from my writing time. And, realistically, if you consider the time spent in storing, packaging, and shipping out books, you really aren’t making more money, you are getting paid for the additional labor. For me POD (print on demand) is the only sensible method and Createspace is my choice to handle my printing and fulfillment worldwide. I do all the front end work including design, formatting, layout, cover creation, and then upload it all. Once I go through the proof process to make certain of the quality of the book, then I can focus on marketing and let Createspace handle all the fulfillment no matter where in the world the orders come from. This allows me the time to write.

Naturally, each of us has to choose the best path to self publishing but for me, after twelve books and 7 years, Createspace print on demand is what works best.

Best Application For Writing Books

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I am always learning new things but I try to keep things as simple as possible. Recently I read a lengthy exchange regarding the best application for writing a book (Word, Wordperfect, OpenOffice, Scrivner, Etc). It was clear that many were confusing writing with formatting and layout and with publishing. You can write your book with almost any application or even with pen and paper. How you write your book really makes little difference upon the final product.

I use Word to write because that is what I have and am accustomed to. I type in the plain vanilla Normal style until I finish the book. Then I edit several times myself and have others take a shot at it until I finally arrive at a final manuscript with which I’m comfortable. Through this point it matters not the application you use.

Then I switch gears, or is it hats, and become a publisher. Once that happens none of those applications, which are office productivity not publishing applications, is acceptable unless you are just producing an ebook. If you are going for a printed book I advise the use of a good desktop publishing software. My favorite, which I have used for a dozen books, is PagePlus from the Serif software company in Britain. The latest version is X7 but X4, usually available for a fraction of the cost of the new version, does a great job, as does version X5. Even if you went for the newest version and paid full retail it would cost only $99.00, an absolute bargain for a fine application.

No, I don’t sell the product nor do I benefit from it’s sale either from the new version on the Serif web site or older versions from Amazon. I just know it’s a great tool for publishing any book. So, no matter what software you choose to write your book, once you are ready to publish it’s time to find a publishing tool.

Why Write and Self Publish?

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It seems that many writers feel that those who self publish are having a negative impact on the publishing business. Some of these disappointing comments mention that many would-be writers have nothing to say. Let’s assume that there is some truth to that, what does it really mean. If you have an idea for a book and decide to write it and self publish, how does that hurt anyone else? Wanting to do it is reason enough. Once the book or ebook is published, the market will decide if it has value.

Whether the books I choose to write become financial successes or total failures, all the choices, risks, and rewards are mine not those who choose to disparage books or self publishing because they don’t meet some perceived standard.

Self Publish To Control the Content and Quality of Your Book

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Once a book is written, there are many tasks and I like to either do them or manage them all. This is how I make certain my book will remain mine. If you can do everything yourself, you have complete control but not everyone can do that. You can still control the final product as long as you are the publisher. Those aspects that you cannot do can be contracted to someone else but you still make certain they deliver what you want.

Contracting for editing is a good idea but make certain you have edited your manuscript as tightly as possible before having someone else take over the editing. The more you leave for the Editor the more it will cost you. I suggest you pay someone to do a chapter or section to make certain they understand what you are looking for.

The other area where assistance is often needed is with graphics, especially covers. Unless you have good creative graphic skills, you should be looking for an artist for your cover.

Do as much as you can and then contract the rest to honest, reliable, and recommended artists.

New Woodworking Book To Be Published June 1

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Biscuit Joiner: A Woodworker’s How-To Guide To Biscuit Joinery, my new book for woodworkers is available now at: http://biscuitjoiner.woodworking-business.com/ .  It is also available at Amazon and at bookstores for $19.95 plus shipping.

Biscuit Joiner How-To BookThe book was published by Positive Imaging, LLC and includes complete instructions on using Biscuit Joiners to built quality cabinets and furniture easier, faster, and more profitable.

There are photos and descriptions of many projects built using a Biscuit Joiner, drawings of all the joints that can be made easily with the Biscuit Joiner and exactly how to make all of those joints.

Biscuit Joiner: A Woodworker’s How-To Guide To Biscuit Joinery also includes four complete project plans with photo, drawings, and instructions to help you practice using the Biscuit Joiner.

The projects plans are perfect to build for family and friends. The chair and table are the perfect size for kids. I built several of them for my grandchildren.  Get complete information now at: http://biscuitjoiner.woodworking-business.com/ .