Since I write books and have self-published I sometimes get asked: How does a person go about writing a book and then publishing it? In this article I will share with you what I know from experience. As you will see there are several steps and computer programs involved. Assuming you have all the software and don’t charge yourself for all the time you put into your book project from start to finish it should cost you under $1000. Below are my recommended steps:

Pick Your Topic: What is it that you want to say? What do you feel called to write? More specifically, what is your primary message (and secondary messages)?

Determine Your Audience: Who are you writing for: women, men, children, addicts, boat racers, sports fans, people interested in finances, etc.?

Outline Your Writing Plan: Brainstorm chapters and sub-chapters while still allowing for the organic unfolding of the writing process. The writing process itself may change your initial plan but at least if you have a blueprint from which to begin you will jumpstart the writing journey.

Write: Using WORD, start writing your chapters. Write whatever chapters come to your mind first. Sometimes when I write a chapter thoughts will come to me for another chapter and so I will jump back and forth between writing chapters. Trust your own writing process.

Edit: When you are finished writing your book get it edited. You can hire an editor through one of the many editing associations. Personally, I have hired editors through the British Columbia Editors Association and they were great people to work with even when I lived abroad. I just emailed my chosen editor my story in WORD and he or she would edit it in WORD and email it back to me. Quick and simple. I found this association on the Internet. I have found that your chosen editor does not need to be in your backyard for the process to be efficient as technology makes the process easy. Editors can cost between $20 per hour up to $45 per hour. Be prepared to pay up to $500 for your book to be edited properly, depending on the number of words.

Book Layout: When I lay out a book, both the cover and the actual inside of the book, I use a professional computer program called Quark Xpress. All major printers deal with Quark on some level. When I lay out the book cover I use a computer program called Bar Code Magic to generate the ISBN bar code and price code that I place on the back cover. Since I have a publishing company in Canada called Celestial Sun Communications I can get my ISBN number for free. In America you need to pay for the ISBN through Bowker.

Proof Your Book: After the layout is done in QUARK, I convert the book to Adobe PDF using Adobe Acrobat. I take that file to a business center like Staples and get a hard copy printed. Each page is about 8 to 10 cents to print and so I usually spend around $20 for a copy. I proof the hard copy for final errors and to check graphic quality. All my graphics are done using Adobe Photoshop and when they are inserted in a book they need to be of high resolution and outliner pixels need to be cleaned up.

Printing: When I am happy with the proof and after I have made any final changes to the Quark document I email the new Adobe PDF file to the printers along with the Quark file that has the high quality graphics. I suggest that you work with a printer close by. You really want to befriend your printer man or woman because they can make your life easy or cost you a lot more money. Typically, I use Printmedia Books in Anaheim for their Print On Demand Service. They are wonderful people to work with and have an excellent printing facility. The turn around time is about ten days. The minimum number of books they will print is 50 and you can usually print 50 black and white copies with a color cover for under $400. (The price varies according to the degree of the print job).

A friend of mine who I helped to manifest his book initially wanted to have it printed by one of those online book printers whereby you lay out your book in their program. The cost is cheap to do this and that is because you run the risk of getting no sample book and your graphics on the cover and inside the book will not be good quality. People use these types of services because they are quick and easy but the saying “you get what you pay for” rings true for these services (just read their problem feedback blurbs from their unhappy customers).

Marketing and Sales: If you get to this step I will assume your book is published and so “Congratulations To You” is in order. Now you need to get your book out to people. How do you do that? Utilize as many avenues as possible, such as: Website blog, newspaper articles (community recognition), store consignment, Amazon’s publisher’s program and even submitting your book to established publishers for distribution (or rights!) In terms of advertising, I’ve learned that buying ads doesn’t work as much as inserting free article write-ups so save your advertising money and submit articles to publications that resonate with your book. Also, let specific organizations and groups know about your book and that you are willing to facilitate a speaking engagement covering your book’s topic.

All in all, the major financial expenses to any book project are the editing and printing, assuming you do everything else (like I have learned to do). Of course, if you want to sidestep the editing process than you’ll just need to pay printing costs but beware that your final product may be jeopardized. I hope this article helps you in your book manifestation process. May the Force be with you before, during and after you write.

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Written by: Lana Marconi. For more information on Dr. Lana Marconi’s private therapy practice in the Orange County, California area, and to download her self-help books visit: www.drlana.com.

Photo credit: stock.xchng.