I was always amazed by friends from the language communities who were able to publish their books. I could see so much effort, dedication, and knowledge put into writing the book. It is one of my dreams to publish a book, my own book. The purpose is to share with others because as they said, “sharing is caring”, isn’t it?
I began drafting around one year ago. It wasn’t as easy as I thought. I was accustomed to writing blog posts, usually around 500 - 1000 words. A book needs a lot more than that!
First, you need to think about the content structure or the general topics, and then, the subtopics. You need to do research and make sure your data, especially regarding numbers and dates, are correct and relevant to the context. If you are going to write much for a subtopic, you can break it down to several sub-subtopics.
Writing A Phrase book
I wasn’t going to write a novel or textbook but a phrase book. You may think that it is easy because there are already so many phrase books available in the market. On the good side, I can use them as a reference. The bad side is that the competition is high. If you want to make something special, you gotta make it your way!
Lots of thoughts and energy was put into writing the content structure. I came up with a model and as time went by, new ideas came out, and I refined the older model. Since it is a phrase book, so first thing first, it gotta have phrases. Then, readers might need to understand the meaning of each word, so I added the glossary. I also added an appendix that contains extra vocabulary, so readers can practice the phrases with new words.
Finding A Publisher
What to write in a book is one concern, where to find a publisher is another concern. I began researching online and offline for a suitable publisher. I know some author friends, so luckily, I have someone to consult.
If you work with an offline publisher (publishing company), you may get assistance easily from the specialist regarding the content and design. However, there will be a contract and the publishing company may have more rights to decide the future of the book. On the other hand, if you self-publish your book, you are the owner, you own your book, you decide and handle everything.
I am not a professional but I have gone through the hardship from the beginning until the publishing of my books. And here, I can share with you what I have learned along the way.
What I have learned
I have researched for almost one year through friends, forums, and articles regarding which type of publishing (offline or online) that fit my necessity and finally, I decided to publish it online. My consideration was the full authority and ownership I could have on my books.
The layout and design of the book was a simple yet difficult matter to think about. Whenever I visited a bookstore, I looked around and took a glance at many books. It is a good idea to see how others have done it and learn from them.
I read extensively about some self-publishing websites, like Amazon’s KDP, Lulu, Smashwords, etc. to understand what they offer and what I should prepare for them to publish my books. Different websites have different rules regarding the layout, size, font type, content language, etc. For example, Amazon’s KDP only accepts English language books, Lulu has templates of different book size. So, pay attention to this to avoid you redo your work. I missed this part and I did redo several times but it’s worth the effort. I learned so much along the way.
The most important thing is to read about how you are going to get paid. There are several popular online payments, such as PayPal, Stripe, and Payoneer. Find the one suitable for you.
The ISBN number is very important because it is a unique book registration number. Online publishing websites like Amazon’s KDP and Lulu provides free ISBN numbers for your books. You need to have a different ISBN number for a different format type of the book. For example, you need to have different ISBN numbers if your books are available in two formats: paperback and electronic.
Finally, after you have got your book done and published, now it is the time for marketing. I promoted my books through social media, such as Facebook, LINE, Instagram, etc. You can make a meetup to present your book, inform your blog subscribers through a newsletter or reach out to your friends and family one by one. It’s all up to you!
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