book marketing

14 Essential Book Marketing Ideas for Every Author

Book marketing… some authors shudder at the concept, and reasonably so.

Marketing your book can be terrifying, especially if it pulls you out of your comfort zone and into uncharted territory. 

You’ve just written a book and courageously shared your words for all the world to see. That in itself is a fear many don’t conquer!

And now, you’re on to the next big challenge. How do you get your published book into the hands of readers amidst the ever-growing sea of competition? 

Fact: Your book marketing plan will make or break your book’s success.

No matter what your end goal is for your book – to build a writing career, grow a business, or impact thousands of lives – the consensus is clear: Effective book marketing is key to your book’s success.

Otherwise, your book, along with hundreds of others, will be lost at sea – never to be discovered by the readers you want to reach.

If you’ve already published your book, you can start implementing these marketing ideas now.

And if you haven’t yet published, you can start working these ideas into your book launch plan.

Do you know what you need to have a successful book launch? 

Download your FREE Book Launch Checklist here!

Let’s avoid that by covering powerful book marketing ideas and techniques that every author should be incorporating into their book marketing plan. 

Here are the top book marketing ideas to promote your book:

  1. Author Websites
  2. Social Media Book Marketing
  3. Book Promotion Sites
  4. Podcast Book Marketing
  5. Guest Writing Opportunities
  6. Amazon Author Page Optimization
  7. Wide Distribution Programs
  8. Public Relations for Book Promotion
  9. Book Promotion Contests 
  10. Book Marketing with Paid Ads 
  11. Marketing with Book Trailers
  12. Limited-Time Discounts 
  13. Live Streaming Book Marketing
  14. Book Discussion Forums 

What is book marketing?

Book marketing is the process of promoting, selling, and increasing awareness about your book. It involves promotion techniques, advertising strategies, and outreach. 

What is a book marketing plan?

A book marketing plan relies on differentiated, specific strategies to get your book into the hands of your target audience (this is who you wrote your book for!). 

Effectively marketing your book will ensure your book reaches the right readers (those you can help the most), promotes your author name, and allows you to grow your platform

Book Marketing vs Book Promotion

The terms book marketing and book promotion essentially refer to the same concept, and the phrases are often used interchangeably.

Book marketing should be viewed as the “big picture” and can include an overall plan with specific strategies and tactics. Book promotion is what fits under the big picture, and it can be defined as the specific tactics that fall under the overall book marketing plan.

What does a book marketer do?

A book marketer carries out activities intended to get books into the hands of the right readers. You can market your own work as an author or hire specialist book marketers to act on your behalf.

Why is book marketing important?

You wrote and published a book, and crickets. That’s the trap many authors fall into. 

Don’t think that your work ends as a published author once you’ve published the book. Some would argue that’s when the real work begins. But let’s be honest, the entire publishing process can be tricky to navigate – book marketing included.

The importance of book marketing lies in being proactive in gaining new readership and selling more books. 

To avoid releasing your book into an audience that’s not listening because they don’t know your book exists, it’s crucial to devise a solid book marketing plan. 

Reasons book marketing is important for every author: 

  1. It helps you reach more readership and get new book fans.
  2. It helps you get more book reviews on Amazon.
  3. It enables you to generate more book sales.
  4. Book marketing is a lead-generator to networking.
  5. It helps you establish a substantial audience and community interested in your book(s).

When is the best time to launch a book marketing plan? 

The biggest mistake many authors make is to think a book marketing plan only needs to cover the initial book launch, right after the book is published. 

In reality, a book marketing plan is most successful when it’s evergreened – or, continuously happening before, during, and way after the book has been published. 

While this sounds like a lot of work, you’ll find that there are a ton of book marketing ideas that help you automate your book writing plan. 

When should you start marketing your book?

You need to learn how to market your book and devise a strategy early on in your book writing journey. 

#1 – Pre-launch book promotion

Start marketing your book a year or more prior to publishing. This tactic will enable you to establish a solid fan base and gain authority. 

Ideally, this is the best time to create your author website and grow your email list by creating valuable content for your readers.

Also, create and optimize your social media profiles, and grow your followers and email list (we’ll cover more on this later). 

It will make marketing your book during your launch a breeze.

#2 – During launch book promotion

 The launching period is the peak time to market your book. As a self-published author, you should launch your book at the ideal moment – when the book topic is trending. 

The key is to do your research and find the optimal time to launch based on your book’s topic.

An example: If you’re writing a recipe book, the ideal moment is during the holidays when people are trying new recipes and cooking at home a lot. Launch your business book during the graduation season when graduates are looking for ways to earn money. 

#3 – Post launch book promotion

Don’t stop book buzzing simply because you’ve launched it and you have sizeable readers. 

Keep marketing your book and grow as an author. Continue building your readership base. It will make it easier to sell your other books, especially if you are writing a series.

You can market your book after launching through your email list, attending book forums, interviews, and speaking in book-related events and discussion forums.

Book Marketing Ideas

Book marketing isn’t rocket science, so try not to feel intimidated if you’re not familiar with marketing as a whole. 

When it comes to your book, you’re passionate about what you wrote, and the message you are sharing. Let that passion fuel your motivation to effectively promote your book so that you can impact more lives and grow your reach.

Let’s look at the book marketing ideas you can leverage and use to increase both readership and book sales.

1 – Create an author website

In our digital age, a website is like real estate. You need a web presence to promote your book, especially if you are a self-published author. 

An author website is a powerful platform dedicated to your books that YOU own (not Amazon or a traditional publisher).  

The ideal time to create an author website is during the pre-launch period. The time you’re still writing your manuscript.

Find a web designer to help you set up a website if you want it done quickly and professionally. Create essential pages on your site like the contact page, about page, blog, book(s) page etc.

Here is some inspiration from author websites:

Bestselling indie author Scott Allan has a clean website that serves as a hub for all of his books. He mainly writes nonfiction, and his website theme goes well with his genre. 

examples of an author website for marketing

USA Today bestselling author Julie James has an on-brand website and blog that features her book, and also has her own promotion tab in the site’s menu. Smart!

book giveaways as part of web design

To throw in a traditionally published author into the mix, the author website of Nora Roberts is set up with an online shopping component. Readers can click directly on her “Shop” menu link to view and purchase her novels. 

Related: How to Write a Novel

 nora roberts selling books web menu

Dean Koontz has a website that fits the mood of his books. As a suspense thriller novelist, his website background is dark with contrasting color text, which evokes a sense of mystery and looks well with his book cover designs. 

how Dean Koontz markets to fans on his website

Another superb example of a branded author website, Elizabeth Gilbert’s site layout is straightforward and clean. Her recent books are featured, along with buttons to each platform where the book is sold. 

screenshot of how Elizabeth Gilbert's website is used for book marketing

Meredith Wild is another example of an indie author with a stellar website. Her homepage is interactive, featuring a carousel of her published books and a book promotion banner to increase awareness of her pre-releases.

Now that you have a good idea of what an author website should look like, you might be wondering…

How do you promote your book on an author website? 

Here’s how to promote your book with your author website: 

  1. Create blog content. It is an ideal way to draw traffic to your site. Also, SEO optimized content can help you gain organic traffic to your website and have your books appear on google searches. The content can be in the form of book updates, brief descriptions about your book, blog posts sharing tips on your writing journey.
  2. Grow your email list. Email marketing is one of the robust ways to market your books as a self-published author. Use your author website to grow your email list, and send out engaging content to your subscribers list. Email marketing is an effective book marketing idea since your list is a hub of your fans and target readers. You can also send emails to promote new books, launch a sale or giveaway, or share news related to your book business.
  3. Add your social media profiles. Your audience will easily connect with you on social media and help you grow your fan base. Each platform has a specific algorithm and strategy for success, so it’s best to choose one social media platform to focus on growing at once. For example, if your ideal reader hangs out on Pinterest more than they do on Facebook, focus your efforts on Pinterest first.
  4. Offer book giveaways and promotional contests. Everyone wants to know what’s in it for them, so offer irresistible incentives! You can partner with other authors and giveaway book bundles, hold a contest to give a signed copy of your own book away, or provide additional resources. The incentives should have a call to action.
  5. Have a lead magnet. Similar to what we explained above, a lead magnet is something that you offer your audience in exchange for their email address or contact information. For example, if you’re writing a nonfiction book on – let’s say, dieting and fitness, you can create a PDF workbook for your readers to opt-in for.
  6. Create a stellar landing page for each of your books. A landing page is a single page dedicated to one product, service, or concept. It has a specific purpose: to showcase your single product, item, or service. Landing pages elaborate more on your books and why someone should read the book. Use them to grab the attention of your site traffic and convert them into avid readers. 

2 – Social Media Book Marketing

Social media is another powerful tool to market your self-published or traditionally published book. If used correctly, you can attract readers and triple your book sales.

How do I promote my book on social media?

Don’t worry if you don’t have followers at the beginning – everyone has to start somewhere. And with the rise of social media platforms and presence, the time is now to get started with your book marketing endeavors.

There are plenty of social media platforms to promote your book on, but we’ll give a quick overview of the most widely used ones. 

  1. Facebook. Create a Facebook author page to showcase your books. It can be under your book titles or your author name. Post engaging and valuable content to draw readers in and grow your followers. Add a link to your author website where people can find out more about you and your books. You can also join or create your own Facebook group for community building and awareness.
  2. Twitter. Optimize your Twitter profile to reflect your brand as an author. Tweet engaging content and watch your Twitter blast with followers. Also, connect with other authors for collaboration and to leverage new audiences. A quick Twitter search will bring you a countless list of authors in your genre. 
  3. Instagram. Share captivating graphics about your book on the visual platform of Instagram. It can be a book cover or quotes from your book featuring a captivating image. You can also ask your readers to use hashtags and post photos of them reading your book.
  4. Pinterest. Authors can gain massive readers from Pinterest, which is a powerful search engine that focuses on graphics. Create your business account on Pinterest and work on getting organic traffic from there. Your graphics should be eye-catching and enticing. With online programs like Canva, it’s easy to find eye-catching Pinterest templates that you can recreate. 
  5. Youtube. Create a Youtube channel and share your writing journey, author expertise, or helpful industry tidbits. If you’re writing about entrepreneurship, you can share tips through a Youtube channel. If you write about cooking, you can create videos sharing new recipes. The possibilities are endless, so don’t let video scare you away. Add a call to action to each video you create to turn your viewers into followers and fans. 

3 – Book Promotion Sites

Book promotion sites are also another excellent way to promote your self-published book. 

There are both paid and free book promotion sites at your disposal.These sites, depending on their terms and conditions, will help you get more exposure by putting your book in front of thousands of visitors on their website.

Popular book promotion sites are: 

  1. BookBub
  2. Bargain Booksy
  3. Indie Authors News
  4. Awesome Gang
  5. Digital Book Today
  6. Free Booksy
  7. Books Butterfly
  8. Just Kindle Books

4 – Podcast Book Marketing

Another excellent way to promote your book is through a podcast. Podcasts are a recent digital channel, but they’ve really taken off in the past five years and they aren’t going away anytime soon.

Think of podcasts are like radio station channels, in a way. They are digital audio files available online to be downloaded or streamed through a computer and mobile device. Common podcast platforms are iTunes and Spotify. 

There are two ways to use podcast marketing for your book promotion. 

First, you can start your own podcast with relatively low start-up costs. You can make your podcast around a topic related to your book, or industry expertise. The topics for podcasting are endless!

Second, you can join other podcasts as a guest speaker to raise awareness about your book. Find other established podcast speakers and offer to be featured on an episode.

Of course, you can combine the best of both worlds and fully leverage your book promotion reach via podcasts by speaking on other podcasts, AND inviting other authors and experts to speak on your own podcast.

5 – Guest Writing Opportunities

Since you have an author website, you may want to consider guest posting on other websites and media outlets. 

Not only will you be sharing valuable information, but you can also build credibility and reach new readers by leveraging the website’s audience.

On most sites, when you guest write you’ll be able to provide a link to your website or book. 

Then, you can ask your article on your own platforms, and use the website brand to increase your social proof, such as “As seen on…”

6 – Amazon Author Page Optimization

Your author page on Amazon Author Central matters if you are self-publishing on KDP. Amazon a has a huge customer base and global audience, so if a reader stumbles across your book on the platform, you should have a well-optimized Author Page to keep them interested and promote your other books.

what is amazon author central quote

There are certain tweaks you can make to your Author Page that optimizes it for success. 

Tips for optimizing your Amazon Author Page:

  1. Use a professional headshot or author photo as your profile image. 
  2. Include your interesting, well-written biography that explains who you are and what you do.
  3. Link your author website and social media platforms to turn page viewers into followers.
  4. Link all of your books to build credibility and showcase all of your work.
  5. Add your blog posts to the feed section to encourage subscribers and build interest in your content.

7 – Wide Distribution

Consider global distribution platforms to have your book available on a variety of retail platforms. 

Related: Self-Publishing Companies

If you publish on Amazon, consider the book promotional tools and programs available there, such as Kindle Unlimited and KDP Select. 

You can also research publishing with IngramSpark, which offers wide distribution as well. 

However, if you’re a first-time author, we recommend sticking with Amazon KDP initially, then expanding after you’ve published. 

8 – Public Relations for Book Promotion

Public relations, or PR, is used by many authors during the launch stage of their published book. 

It’s a strategy to build public awareness of your brand by leveraging media outlets and news sites through the use of things like interviews, speaking gigs, press kits, press releases, charity campaigns, volunteer opportunities, and more. 

Some specific public relations strategies you can to market your book are:

  1. Research journalists and news media that are related to your niche. Network with these journalists and news editors to pitch ideas within your book’s topic. 
  2. Use online sites like HARO to receive alerts from journalists looking for experts like yourself to interview and quote.
  3. Press kit
  4. Book signings
  5. Speaking gigs
  6. Press release
  7. Hire private PR professionals. If you have the budget for this, great! Cision PR web is a paid site that distributes online news and creates publicity. Use it to publicize your book and reach a wider audience.

9 – Book Promotion Contests

We covered this idea in the social media section, but it’s worth repeating here because your contest doesn’t only have to be on Facebook or Instagram, although that’s generally where contests perform best. 

Book promotion contests are incredibly effective, and encourage virality, amongst readers. You can run this promo on your website and blast it on your social media accounts. You can also host a giveaway on Goodreads, which has a huge platform of avid readers. 

Encourage your audience to share your book, and subscribe to your email list to be eligible for the contest. This will not only build traction for you contest campaign, but it will also grow your email list!

10 – Book Marketing with Paid Ads

Targeted advertising can also boost the publicity of your book when done right. While it can be a scary concept, especially for first-time authors, there are several resources to help you learn how to market your book with paid advertisements. 

If you have the budget, run paid advertisements on Facebook and target an audience that has characteristics of your ideal reader. You can also use sites like BookBub to market your book.

Related: BookBub Review For Authors

Invest in a self-publishing course that teaches you how to effectively launch paid ads for your book, or hire a professional if you have the resources. 

11 – Marketing with Book Trailers

A book trailer was coined from the term movie trailer. And just like the movie trailer, it gives your audience a glimpse of the content of your book.

It is one of the best marketing tools for authors. Use book trailers to hook your readers by sharing a captivating trailer with an epic call to action

You can include your website link or a link to your book on Amazon.

12 – Limited-Time Discounts

You can sell your book at a discounted price during your book’s launch period and have it run on that price for some time.

A popular technique for many authors is to offer their book for a price of $0.99 the first week of their launch to promote “one-click” purchases. People love discounts and deals!

This technique will help you get reviews and more readers. You can increase the cost of the book later after gaining reviews.

13 – Live Streaming Book Marketing

Live streaming is another popular channel for building your online strategy. The two main book marketing ideas when it comes to live streaming are webinars and live streaming on social media platforms

Webinars are online workshops or seminars where people meet virtually to discuss, or learn, a particular topic. It’s a powerful way to connect with your audience virtually. You can hold webinars and discuss issues related to your book or attend other relevant webinars and contribute if time allows.

You can host your webinars on Hangouts, Zoom, Facebook Live, Youtube Live, Go to Webinar, Skype, WebinarJam and Blackboard Collaborates. Depending on your topic, it may not make sense to invest in a webinar program unless you specifically plan to use webinars continuously, so opt for a free webinar program instead. 

Social media platforms now have live streaming features, and those are especially fun! While webinars are usually reserved for a learning or discussion session, there’s more flexibility with social media live streaming.

For example, you can do a “Day in the Life” live streaming on your social media platform, or even virtual “Meet & Greets.”

14 – Book Discussion Forums

Chances are, your readers hang out on discussion forums within your genre or niche. Join these forums and contribute.

 It can be time consuming, but it’s worth it if you’re able to read a handful of new, engaged readers.  

It will also help you establish authority online, especially if you offer specific, valuable insight and expertise on your topic.

Some discussion forums are Reddit, Online Book Club forum, Writers’ Digest forum, Quora, and Facebook groups.

facebook group for authors

How do I get my book noticed?

There are tons of book marketing and promotion ideas to start conversations around your book.

We’ve covered the essential ways on how to market your book, but the real rewards will come when you start implementing them and seeing what works for you. 

Part of the difficulty with marketing is that what works for another author, may not necessarily work for your genre. 

That’s where research comes in! Start researching similar authors in your niche and learn from what they are doing well. 

Pretty soon, you’ll have a good idea of what kinds of tactics to approach for your own book promotion. And, you’ll be able to creatively implement new techniques!

What are your favorite book marketing strategies?

best online course platforms

Best Online Course Platforms: Which Online Course Platform is For You?

Are you looking to make your mark on the world of online education?

More and more people around the world are turning to e-learning to gain the knowledge and skills they need at their own pace, so there’s never been a better time to see what you have to contribute.

While everyone has something worth sharing with the world through a course, not everyone knows exactly how to make their idea happen. 

One of the most important things to be aware of is the variety of online course platforms out there. 

It’s important to choose a platform that is a good fit for your budget and level of knowledge.

Not sure where to start?

Don’t worry! 

Read on to discover essential information about five of the best online course platforms available today. 

This guide to the best online course platforms covers:

  1. Teachable
  2. Kajabi
  3. LearnWorlds
  4. Thinkific
  5. LearnDash

What is an online course platform?

An online course platform is a place where educational programs of study are hosted and delivered via the Internet. 

Just as it’s a lot easier to create a website if you use a platform like WordPress, it’s a lot easier to deliver an Internet course through a dedicated platform. 

Rather than having to learn dry, in-depth technical aspects of course uploading and maintenance, you can focus on what matters most – helping your students succeed. 

If you want to share your knowledge and skills with the world, but are worried you don’t know how to go about putting it all together, don’t stress! An online course platform is exactly what you’re looking for. 

So how do you go about choosing the right one for you?

How to choose the best online course platform for your needs

Choosing a place to host your online course is no different than selecting any other important app or service.

You simply need to have a solid understanding of what your needs are, the online platforms available to you, and the best fit between those two factors. 

When you first come across the wide array of different course platforms out there, you might feel overwhelmed and tempted to rush into your choice. 

As understandable as that is, you should avoid it at all costs!

Instead, approach your choice of platform systematically. A great start is taking the time to answer the following nine questions:

  1. How much can you afford to invest in an online course platform?
  2. Would you need to acquire any specialist technical ability to use an online course platform, or is it within your current level of skill?
  3. Are there any features you are looking for in an online course platform that are dealbreakers?
  4. Do you want a course platform that makes heavy use of automation, or would you rather be hands-on and involved in the day to day administration of your course?
  5. What kind of media will your course consist of, and is any platform you are considering set up to handle it?
  6. If email will form a large part of your course, are you confident that the platform you want to use integrates well with your existing email setup?
  7. Do you need a platform that can handle payments onsite? Is it vital that particular forms of payment are compatible with your intended platform?
  8. Would you prefer a course platform that will help you with customer support, or are you already set up to handle that without outside interference?
  9. Are you looking to store and process the data generated by the people who take your course?

When you’re trying to choose between various online course platforms, knowing the answers to those nine questions will keep your search focused and fruitful. 

After all, the only true best course platform is the one that meets your unique set of requirements. 

The nine steps of online course creation

If you’re at the stage where you are considering particular online course platforms, you probably already have a solid idea of what you want to teach, and who you want to teach it to.

However, if you’re keen on the idea of an online course, but aren’t sure exactly how to make it happen, we’ve got you covered!

These nine steps allow you to create an effective course worthy of being hosted on any platform out there:

  1. Select a topic for your course.
  2. Make a full, detailed outline of the material for your course. 
  3. Look ahead and determine your ideal course outcomes, regarding both the success of your students and the success of your course itself.
  4. Find the most compatible course platform for your requirements and budget.
  5. Create your course content. You can either do this yourself, hire someone to do it, or use a mixture of both routes.
  6. Get all of your content uploaded to your chosen course platform.
  7. Set up and check any integrations you want for your course to save any headaches after students start learning.
  8. Determine the price point for your course and your target revenue.
  9. Get to work marketing and operating your virtual course.

If you ever feel overburdened or unclear on how to move forward with your course creation, the nine-step plan shown above will help you stay on track!

Reviews of the best online course platforms

To help you on your quest to find the best place to bring your wisdom and experience to the world, we’ve looked into five of the best online course platforms on the market today. 

Read through these and find the one that is most compatible with your unique set of requirements. 


Teachable has been one of the major players in the e-learning world since launching back in 2014. 

The main concept behind Teachable is making online course delivery a realistic objective for anyone out there, regardless of their level of technical ability.

This platform is favored by some major names in the online world including Pat Flynn of Smart Passive Income

How much does Teachable cost?

You might be attracted to Teachable as it has a free plan available. 

The free plan is a great way to get a feel for Teachable and if it’s a platform you will enjoy using, but it’s not a realistic option for a long-term course, as it only allows for a very small number of students. 

As you can see from the above image, Teachable has three paid options when it comes to pricing. 

Basic is a good choice if you’re comfortable with the transaction fees and limited functionality.

Professional might be your best choice if you’re looking for added features such as graded quizzes and integrated affiliate marketing. 

The Business tier requires a higher level of investment in exchange for features like advanced theme customization and group coaching calls. 

What features does Teachable have?

So what are some of the functions offered by Teachable you might find most useful?

  • Customized certificates
  • The ability to drip content 
  • Multiple admin users
  • Group coaching calls 
  • Coupons and promos 
  • Extensive integrations
  • Graded quizzes 

What kind of customer support does Teachable offer?

Teachable offers support in two ways:

  1. Read through their extensive knowledge base to find your own answer
  2. Reach out to their customer support to open a ticket 

This type of support will be fine for most users but is something to keep in mind if you require live help.

How easy is it to get started with Teachable?

There’s nothing more frustrating than trying to get started with a new platform and finding it confusing.

Thankfully, Teachable allows you to go from sign up to course creation in a short space of time. 

Signing up to Teachable is very straightforward and can be done with five simple steps:

  1. Head to the Teachable site and hit the button marked ‘create a course’
  2. Enter all the info needed to create a new account
  3. Let Teachable know what your course’s name is going to be
  4. Input your personal and business details
  5. Head to your dashboard and get going

If you’re looking for one of the quickest ways to begin delivering a course, Teachable might be ideal for you. 

What does Teachable integrate with?

Having the right integration capabilities can make or break an online course platform. 

If you already use these services and want to integrate them with your Teachable course, you’ll find it easy to do so.

  • AWeber
  • Infusionsoft
  • Mailchimp
  • Mixpanel

Overall verdict on Teachable

A versatile course delivery platform that’s very easy to get started with. 


If you’re looking for a course platform that can do more than just courses alone, look no further than Kajabi!

Kajabi doesn’t just allow you to deliver courses. It’s a complete solution for pipelines, products, and landing pages as well. 

How much does Kajabi cost?

As you might expect from a platform as versatile as Kajabi, it costs more than a simple course-only platform would. 

You can see the main pricing tiers in the image below. 

As you see, Kajabi does require a higher level of investment than Teachable, but they are very different products. If you think you need the advanced capabilities of Kajabi, weigh up carefully whether the extra investment cost is justified. 

You’ll also notice there is a ‘start for free’ option for each Kajabi pricing tier. This isn’t a full free trial tier with Teachable, but instead a time-limited trial of the paid plan. 

What features does Kajabi have?

As stated, Kajabi goes far beyond the world of courses. 

If you opt for Kajabi as your platform of choice, you can enjoy:

  • Around the clock live chat support 
  • Unlimited landing page creation
  • Advanced automation capabilities
  • Webinars and events
  • An affiliate program

What kind of customer support does Kajabi offer?

Unlike Teachable, Kajabi offers 24/7 support via the medium of live chat. 

You can also attempt to solve your own problem by checking out their database of help articles and videos. 

How easy is it to get started with Kajabi ?

Unsurprisingly, for a platform so feature-rich, it’s a little harder to get started with Kajabi than with Teachable.

There’s a specialist training program called Kajabi University to help lessen your learning curve and make it more manageable, but you have to be willing to put the time in to get to grips with this system. 

What does Kajabi integrate with?

You can use Kajabi with many major online services and payment platforms, including:

  • Google Analytics
  • ConvertKit
  • Paypal
  • Leadpages
  • Stripe
  • ActiveCampaign

Overall verdict on Kajabi

Although you’ll need to invest more to use Kajabi, in terms of both money and time, it will be worth it if you require their advanced functionality. 


LearnWorlds has a focus on allowing people to create and run courses from their existing website. 

This is a great choice if you want to keep people in your site’s ecosystem, but you need to have a technically capable website and enough traffic to make this worthwhile. 

How much does Learnworlds cost?

So how does LearnWorlds stack up when it comes to the amount you need to invest?

If you want to try LearnWorlds for free, their plans come with a 30-day trial, although there is no full free tier unlike Teachable. 

One of the best things about LearnWorlds is the level of functionality that comes with even the second price tier, Pro Trainer. This affordable tier allows you to offer unlimited courses taught by up to five instructors, customized certificates for your successful students, and the option of holding live classes and webinars via Zoom. 

What features does Learnworlds have?

One of the things that screams out when you look at LearnWorlds is its emphasis on customization. You can use a wide range of templates to ensure the visual experience for your students is what you want it to be.

LearnWorlds also has extensive white-labeling and branding capabilities, which is appropriate as its focus is offering courses through your website. 

Some of the best features on offer at Learnworlds include:

  • Auto-transcripts and subtitles for your videos, to help with accessibility
  • Advanced affiliate management capabilities 
  • A customizable iOS and Android app (paid add-on)
  • Interactive video content – add quizzes and graphics to your lessons

If you’re looking for a customizable and innovative approach to online education, you’ll find a lot to like at Learnworlds. 

What kind of customer support does Learnworlds offer?

The type of support you get with Learnworlds depends on the pricing tier you end up choosing.

Users of the Pro Trainer tier can get around the clock email support, while subscribers to the Learning Center plan enjoy a Premium support option. 

How easy is it to get started with Learnworlds ?

Like everything else to do with Learnworlds, getting started is a simple and intuitive process.

All you need to do is provide some basic details:

  1. The language you want to use
  2. The time zone you are in
  3. Your preferred currency

After LearnWorlds has this basic information it will guide you through the process of finalizing your course by asking you a series of questions. Hints and tips are featured on the side in case you’re not exactly sure how to answer!

What does Learnworlds integrate with?

As you would expect, you can use Learnworlds with many of the major marketing and analytics tools out there.

Some of the most useful integrations offered by Learnworlds include:

  • Google Analytics
  • Google Search
  • Convertkit
  • Hubspot
  • Zendesk

Overall verdict on Learnworlds

If you’re looking for an attractive and innovative online course platform with a superb reputation, Learnworlds is worth checking out further. 


Along with Teachable, Thinkific is one of the most well-known legacy course platforms out there. 

Let’s see if it’s still worth it all these years down the line!

How much does Thinkific cost?

You’ll notice that of all the platforms covered so far, Thinkific is the only one other than Teachable that offers a full free tier rather than just a trial.

The free option at Thinkific is a great way to get hands-on with the platform as you can use it to deliver 3 entire courses with no cap on the number of students.

As for the paid Thinkific options, the Pro tier has a lot to offer for its $99 price point, including the ability to create communities and offer advanced levels of customization. 

What features does Thinkific have?

So what does Thinkific bring to the table in terms of features?

One of the main reasons a lot of people like to use Thinkific is it allows you to design on a drag and drop basis. Have you ever designed a website using a WYSIWYG interface? It’s a little like that. 

If you’ve got some knowledge and experience when it comes to design, you might find Thinkific to be a little simple, but that won’t apply to the majority of people. 

As a Thinkific user you benefit from:

  • The option to store your course materials directly on Thinkific
  • The ability to bundle and sell courses together for extra revenue
  • Deliver live training via Zoom
  • Offer payment plans or subscription-based courses
  • Instant access to the revenue your course generates

There’s nothing that really stands out from Thinkific’s features, but it has everything you would hope to see. 

What kind of customer support does Thinkific offer?

Customer support is one area where Thinkific differentiates itself from some of the other course platforms you have heard about. 

Not only can you get help via email with Thinkific, but you can also reach out via phone. That’s not an option that many other course platforms highlight. 

How easy is it to get started with Thinkific ?

In terms of being able to get started easily, Thinkific is one of the most user-friendly options in this guide. 

You get started by answering a series of drop-down questions. After you’ve made it through to the Thinkific backend you will find the dashboard experience to be very straightforward. 

What does Thinkific integrate with?

So how can you incorporate Thinkific into your existing tools and services?

Some of the key services Thinkific can smoothly integrate with include:

  • Zapier
  • Sumo
  • Mailchimp
  • Facebook pixel
  • ActiveCampaign

Overall verdict on Thinkific

Thinkific is a good value option if you want to create an online course without needing a massive amount of technical know-how.


Unlike the other options you’ve read about in this guide, LearnDash is a WordPress plugin. 

Other course platforms integrate with WordPress, but LearnDash is exclusively offered on that basis.

This means you should only consider using LearnDash if you have a WordPress site that meets the requirements. It’s also smart to ensure you have sufficient knowledge of the WordPress backend, as this may be less intuitive than the other course platforms dashboards if you lack experience 

How much does LearnDash cost?

Just as LearnDash is a little different from the other course platforms in terms of its format, it’s also different in terms of its pricing. 

While the other course platforms offer a subscription model, where you can pay either a monthly or annual fee to use the service, LearnDash requires you to get an annual license to it as a WordPress plugin.

What’s the implications of LearnDash’s pricing?

You will need to be able to pay the higher up-front cost that an annual plugin subscription represents. There is no way to get this on a monthly basis. 

LearnDash also doesn’t offer a free trial or tier. It does have a money-back guarantee though in case you decide it’s not right for you. 

What features does LearnDash have?

So you know that LearnDash is a little different in terms of what it is and how much it costs. 

Does it also have different features and capabilities? 

Some of the interesting capabilities that LearnDash has to offer include:

  • Community forums for your students to interact and share
  • Badges to reward people for their progress through your course
  • Offer bundles by selling students access to multiple courses at once
  • Course points to grant access to new courses by completing old ones
  • Drip-fed content so you can ensure your course is taken at the pace you are comfortable with

If any of the LearnDash features in particular appeal, weigh up whether you’re comfortable with the fact this option is a WordPress plugin and everything that entails. 

What kind of customer support does LearnDash offer?

While LearnDash does offer support, it’s a lot more restricted than most other platforms. The hours are limited to 07.00 to 16.00 Eastern time and there is no weekend support available. 

Think carefully about whether this is an option you’re comfortable with before committing to LearnDash as your chosen course platform. 

How easy is it to get started with LearnDash ?

Of all the course platforms featured here, LearnDash is arguably the hardest to get started with.

If you’ve comfortable with WordPress, and you really should be if you’re installing LearnDash, you’ll probably find it quite easy to get going.

However, if you’re looking for a course platform that has the minimum amount of technical know-how, LearnDash isn’t the best choice for you. 

What does LearnDash integrate with?

As you’d expect from a course platform built around the flexibility of WordPress, LearnDash has a lot of integrations. 

It’s compatible with:

  • Slack
  • MemberPress
  • ConvertKit
  • Mailchimp
  • SamCart

Overall verdict on LearnDash

Overall, LearnDash can be seen as a reasonable-value solution to your course platform needs, provided you’re comfortable with the fact it’s on WordPress and offers very limited support hours. 

What’s the right online course platform for you?

Now you know the vast potential that online course platforms have to share your wisdom and experience with students. 

There’s only one thing left to think about – what kind of course are you going to create?

If you’re eager to learn more about how to create an online course, why not check out Course Building for Authors from our partners at Self Publishing School?

You’ll not only get everything you need to create a profitable course your students love, but also an exclusive discount on Teachable!

memoir outline

How to Write a Memoir Outline: 7 Essential Steps For Your Memoir Outline

How do you write a memoir outline that not only results in a really captivating book about your life, but also saves you hundreds of hours? 

You know that you have a story to tell, but you don’t know how to get started with writing it. 

Hint: It starts with a memoir outline. 

But what should you include in a memoir outline? How do you structure it? What information should you add? 

memoir outline

When I was writing my memoir, Crowdsourcing Paris, these are the questions that occurred to me about six months too late, after I had already finished the first draft. It was only then that I realized what my so-so memoir needed to become a great memoir: an outline.

Related: Book Outline 101

And so I set out to figure out how to write the perfect memoir outline. In this post, I want to share exactly what I learned, and how you can write a memoir outline that will save you time and increase your story’s quality. 

Here are the steps to write a memoir outline:

  1. Know when to create a memoir outline
  2. Write your memoir idea as a one-sentence premise
  3. Find the big moments in your memoir
  4. Add the first act to your memoir outline
  5. Build the outline with the second act
  6. Include your memoir’s final act
  7. Structure each scene for your memoir outline
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Learning how to write a memoir outline will help you have a better memoir in a fraction of the time. How do I know? Because I tried to write a memoir—a real-life adventure story set in Paris—without an outline and failed. Then, I began to learn how to outline a memoir, and it changed my entire writing process.

#1 – Know when to create a memoir outline

The biggest mistake I made when I was writing my memoir was in creating my outline too late. 

Honestly, I should have known better. This wasn’t my first book, it was my fifth, and each of those books relied heavily on outlines.

But writing a memoir felt different. After all, it was a story about the experience I had in Paris. All I had to do was remember, right? How hard could it be?

And so it wasn’t until after I had written the first draft of my memoir that I finally realized I wouldn’t be able to make it good without writing an outline.

So when is the best time to create a memoir outline? The answer: as early as possible. 

Let me break it down:

If you’re thinking about writing a memoir, start with learning how to write a memoir outline.

If you’re in the middle of your memoir, take a step back and create an outline using the process below. 

And if you’ve already finished your memoir and are thinking about next steps, it’s not too late to create your outline to help finetune your manuscript. 

Outlining your memoir will help you at every stage of the process. 

Even if you identify more with the pantsers on the planner vs pantser spectrum, having some kind of outline using the elements below will help you.

Here’s when to create a memoir outline: 

  1. Before you start writing. If you haven’t started writing your memoir yet, then this is the perfect opportunity to get ahead and create your memoir outline before you start.
  2. If you’ve already started. Even if you’ve started writing your manuscript, you can still draft a memoir outline to use as a roadmap for your writing.
  3. Once you’ve completed your manuscript. Already finished writing your memoir? It’s not too late to create your memoir outline. This can help you identify any gaps in your story, and can help in your editing process. 

Now that you’ve identified when it’s the right time to learn how to write a memoir outline, it’s time to move on to the next part, which is all about what to include in your outline. 

To begin, we’ll start with your idea.

#2 – Write your memoir idea as a one-sentence premise

Why sum up your whole book idea in one sentence? Because you can’t write about everything. Good memoirs—books like Wild and Eat, Pray, Love—are not about your whole life. No, they’re about a specific season, a particular, very intense period of time. 

One of the biggest mistakes new memoir writers make is to try to do too much in one book, to share too many stories, to talk too much about details the reader doesn’t care about.

That’s why, at the very beginning, you narrow your memoir idea down to a single sentence, because it forces you to focus on only the most important events for your story. 

Then, anything that doesn’t fit in that sentence can go into the next book.

How do you write that sentence? Every premise for a memoir needs to contain three things: a character, a situation, and a lesson. 

Here’s what to include in your memoir’s one-sentence premise:

  1. A character. For memoir, this is going to be you, the author.
  2. A situation. What is the specific situation you were going through that will make up the core of the story?
  3. A lesson. NY Times bestselling memoirist Marion Roach Smith says, “Memoir is about something you know after something you’ve been through.” What big life lesson did you learn from this situation?

How does this look practically? Here’s an example premise from my memoir, Crowdsourcing Paris:

To raise $600 for his dream Paris trip, a cautious writer accomplishes 12 uncomfortable adventures given by his Internet followers, and through it all learns that the best stories come when you get out of your comfort zone.

Let’s break that down. Character: a cautious writer. Situation: not quite enough money to make it in Paris. Lesson: the best stories come when you get out of your comfort zone.

Got it?

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#3 – Find your memoir’s big moments

Your premise sets the scope of your story. Again, the point of memoir is not to share everything that ever happened to you. The purpose of memoir is to share a compact but powerful story about a specific situation that led to a life-changing realization.

Once you have your premise, then you can start making a list of all of the most important moments that fit into the scope of that premise. 

Look especially for life and death moments, moments of intense romance (or betrayal), or moments of rebellion against society’s expectations.

Important Note: Don’t discount the intensity of these moments. One major realization I had as I wrote Crowdsourcing Paris was how easy it is to look back at our life and downplay the intensity of an event. 

For example, there was this one moment when I experienced sheer terror in Paris. I was in the catacombs, the 170 miles of illegal caves and tunnels below the city, and I was lost and all alone in the pitch black with nothing but a tiny LED flashlight that was all but worthless. I honestly thought I might die there. 

But for years, looking back at that moment, I would minimize the terror I felt. After all, five minutes later I was *spoiler alert* once again perfectly safe and happy. 

But the good memoirist doesn’t diminish her terror or excitement or hurt or bliss. She puts a magnifying glass to it realizing that this is where the best parts of our stories lie.

It took me three years to learn that lesson, but when I did it changed everything for me.

Tips for adding the big moments to your memoir outline: 

  1. Keep it relevant to your memoir’s premise. With your one-sentence premise from the previous step in mind, think about all of the big events or moments that fit into the scope of your story’s premise. 
  2. Think big. Include any milestones, major moments, or memorable experiences that are relevant. Include any life and death moments, and moments of intense feeling or action.
  3. Don’t minimize the moment’s intensity. Try to remember how intense the feeling or experience was for you, and work to authentically re-create the experience for your readers. 

#4 – Add the first act to your memoir outline

Good memoirs contain the best of a novel and a nonfiction self-help book. They should be entertaining and instructive at the same time.

And like a novel outline, good memoirs have a first, second, and third act.

Your job is to slot the events in your life into these three acts so that it feels like a cohesive story.

Here’s a trick to creating your outline: if the average memoir has 60 scenes or moments, your first act should have about 15 scenes, your second act should have about 30 scenes, and your final act should have the final 15 scenes (including your big climactic moment). 

Here are a few tips to keep in mind about your memoir’s first act:

  1. Begin the story as late as possible. For example, my memoir is a travel memoir, and most travel memoirs begin when the author is first arriving in the country. 
  2. Use flashbacks, but carefully. To begin the story as late as possible, you can use flashbacks to give the reader important information that happened earlier in the story. Be careful to only use full scenes, though, and not info-dump.
  3. Start big. Since my memoir is an adventure story, Shawn Coyne, creator of Story Grid, told me that my “very first scene needed to be about one of the biggest life and death moments of the book.” The same is true for your story. For example, if your story is about a romantic relationship, you can begin with a moment of love or rejection. 
  4. End the first act with a major decision. As the main character, it’s your decisions that drive the story. Too often, memoir writers talk about the things that happened to them, not the things that they made happen. Instead, focus on the decisions you made that drove the events of your story forward, and make sure to include one of those important decisions toward the end of your first act.

What moments from your list of big moments that you made in step #2 feel like they would fit here in the first act?

Too often, memoir writers talk about the things that happened to them, not the things that they made happen.

#5 – Insert the second act

The second act is often the hardest part of writing any story, whether a memoir or novel. 

It’s usually twice as long as the first and third acts, and often it can feel slow and disorganized if you don’t handle it right. 

Here are a couple of tips to make your second act sing:

  • Start your subplot here. One thing I learned from Save the Cat is that if you’re story is going to have a subplot, it usually begins in the second act. In fact, it’s often the first scene in the second act. 
  • Center your second act on the all is lost moment. This might be weird, but my favorite thing to write is the all is lost moment, the moment when everything has gone wrong and the main character finally comes to the end of themselves. Why do I like it? Because it’s always this moment when the character finally learns they need to grow if they are going to make things right. Even better, that event happens in the second act, usually about 60 to 70 percent of the way through the story. 

What moments from your list of big moments that you made in step #2 feel like they would fit here in the second act?

#6 – Include the final act of your memoir

The third, or final, act is where all the pieces come together and all the clarity that you’ve fought for in acts one and two finally start to pay off.

For me, the final act is always the most fun to write, the payoff to all the things you’ve been building throughout the book. Have fun with it!

Here are a few tips for your third and final act:

  1. Your final climactic moment comes here. The climax of a novel almost always happens in the third act, and the same is true for your memoir. The climax is when the main character makes a huge, life changing decision, evolving from the smaller person he was in act 1 to the much bigger person he is in act 3.
  2. This is also where you learn, once and for all, the big lesson of the memoir. Remember the lesson you outlined in your premise from step #1? The moment when you finally learn and cement that lesson happens in act three.
  3. End the story with the conclusion of your subplot. If your subplot begins in the second act, the final moment of your subplot works really well as the final scene of your memoir. For example, the subplot of my memoir was about my relationship with my wife, and so the final moment of the book is about holding my wife’s hand as we leave Paris together. Readers are subconsciously expecting this, and when you can deliver on it, it makes them feel like your book is working.

#7 – Structure each scene for your memoir outline

Now that you’ve outlined each act and placed the big moments of your story into each act, you can start thinking about how to structure each scene.

Here I’ve learned so much from Story Grid, which says every scene must contain five things.

The five things to include in each scene for your memoir:

  1. Inciting incident. The conflict that begins the action of the scene.
  2. Progressive complications. A series of events where bad goes to worse.
  3. Crisis. The most important part of the scene, when a character is presented with a choice between either two very bad things or two very good things. (For more on this, check out my article on literary crisis.)
  4. Climax. The payoff when the character makes the decision presented in the crisis.
  5. Resolution. The new world order after the decision is made.

These are traditionally elements for a novel, but when I went through each scene of my memoir and rewrote them to include these five elements, it made the book as a whole much better.

Now, I plan every scene with this structure, and you should too.

Your Memoir Outline Can Change Your Life

It sounds kind of grandiose to say that an outline can change your life, but it’s true. Not only will the outlining process I shared above save you hundreds of hours, it will result in much better memoir.

Take the time to plan your memoir strategically, regardless of where you are in the process. Even if you’re not naturally a planner, spending time in this process will pay off for you.

And don’t forget, writing a memoir should be fun. Happy writing!

How about you? What is your one-sentence memoir premise?

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how to write a book

How to Write a Book in 12 Simple Steps [Free Book Template]

You’re ready to learn how to write a book…

And as a first-time author, you’re nervous about this new journey because you want first-time success (who doesn’t?).

But today’s publishing industry has become noisy. There is endless information out there on writing a book, and with the rise of self-publishing, it can be overwhelming, to say the least.

Related: Traditional Publishing VS Self-Publishing

If you’re ready to take the leap, become an author, and learn how to write a book the right way, start with this resource to get your wheels in motion.

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As a first-time bestselling author, I can tell you that writing my first book was one of the most rewarding and challenging experiences of my life.

I experienced a lot of growth and pushed through many hurdles, in my mind and process, and being able to learn how to publish is something I am truly proud of.

And I’m ready to share the steps with you, so that you can go on to write a book of your own, and find success as a first-time author.

how to write a book

Here’s how to write a book step-by-step:

  1. Develop a writer’s mindset
  2. Create a book writing space
  3. Choose a book writing software
  4. Determine your book’s topic
  5. Create a book outline
  6. Finish writing your manuscript
  7. Edit your book
  8. Choose a compelling book cover
  9. Format your book
  10. Prepare to launch your book
  11. Publish your book
  12. Market your book
  13. How To Write A Book: FAQ

Ready to start writing your book? Let’s get to it!

Part 1: Successful Foundations When Learning How to Write a Book

In Part 1 of this article, we’ll start with the basics. While the steps in this phase may seem to be unrelated to actually writing a book, they are very important.

In fact, setting yourself up for success will help you build the foundation needed to start, and finish, your book.

We’ll talk about developing a writer’s mindset to get you in a frame of mind that’s conducive to writing. Then, we’ll discuss how to create a writing space that will boost your writing productivity, and how to choose the best writing tool for your needs.

Tips for success as you write a book:

  1. Develop a writer’s mindset. This is all about embracing a mentality that will inspire you to start, and finish writing your book.
  2. Create a writing space. This is all about how to set up the ideal writing environment that fits your routine.
  3. Use a tool to write your book. This is all about deciding on what you will use to write your book.

Step #1 – Develop a Writer’s Mindset

Writing a book takes time, work, and dedication. It’s easy to romanticize being a well-known bestselling author like J.K. Rowling or Octavia Butler. However, every author has a story on how they started out just like you or me and overcame adversity to get where they are today.

Related: Imposter Syndrome for Writers

For example, Rowling, who had no job and was on welfare at the time, would take her children to a coffee shop and write.

Butler, who was a dishwasher and potato chip inspector at the time, would wake up at two or three in the morning to write and wrote herself mantras to keep her focused on her goals.

The first step in learning how to write a book is learning how to overcome mindset blocks, deal with self-doubt as a writer, and develop a healthy frame of mind that will help you achieve your goals.

write a book mindset

Let’s review three things you can do to circumvent roadblocks and crush challenges to keep you focused on your goal — writing your book.

#1 – Hold yourself accountable to writing your book

It’s not good enough to write only when inspiration strikes. There will be days where writing is the last thing you want to be doing.

But you have to treat your writing as if it were a job, or a duty. This means holding yourself accountable, taking action, and showing up every day.

Here’s how to hold yourself accountable to writing:

  1. Set a writing goal. If you don’t have a goal, procrastination will get the best of you. Determine a writing goal, including how many days a week you intend to set aside time to write, and set a deadline or due date for when you’d like to have parts of your book.
  2. Block off chunks of time to write every week. If you’re looking for a place to start, consider one to two hours per day five days per week. The more often you write, the more you’ll develop a habit for it, and making time for writing won’t be that much of a struggle.
  3. Set a daily word count goal. Consider how many words you want to write each week. Use this Word Count Calculator to determine the goal you should aim for, depending on the type of book you are writing. For example, if your goal is 3,000 words per week and you have five chunks of time blocked off to write per week, then you’d need to write 600 words per day to achieve your weekly goal.

I write early in the morning before I do anything else for 1-2 hours. I find that as I go throughout the day and work on other projects my mind isn’t as fresh or sharp by the end of the day. However, sometimes I have ideas throughout the day that I jot down in Evernote to jump-start the next morning with a working outline.

#2 – Give yourself permission to be a writer

This might sound silly, but it’s true: you need to give yourself permission to be a writer. Many aspiring authors get stuck in their mindset, which prevents them from initiating and completing their writing projects.

Even successful authors feel like they aren’t good enough. Acknowledge your feelings, but then shake them off, and move on with your day.

Hear this: You don’t have to be an expert to get started. You don’t have to feel 100% confident to be a good writer. You don’t even have to be all-knowing to teach others about your experiences or knowledge.

Here’s how to give yourself permission to be a writer:

  1. Get inspiration from other writers. When you’re just getting started, you might feel alone in your journey. But take comfort in the fact that other successful writers and creative geniuses all started at the bottom, just like you. Many of them overcame seemingly impossible hurdles, but persisted with their writing dreams, anyway. Research some of your favorite authors, and read up on their stories to discover the issues they overcame to find success.
  2. Accept where you are. Acknowledge your feelings of self-doubt, and then release them. It’s okay to experience moments of feeling discouraged, but it’s important that you don’t let those feelings hold you back. Accept that you are beginning your journey and that this is a learning process.
  3. Use positive affirmations. Your thoughts have a huge influence on your abilities. What you think starts to become your reality, so make your thoughts good. Use positive affirmations about yourself and your writing abilities to pump yourself up. You can even read inspirational writing quotes from famous authors for motivation.
  4. Overcome imposter syndrome. Even expert authors and writers feel like imposters every now and again. While it’s okay to experience feeling inferior, you have to eventually get over those thoughts and push on towards your goals. Connect with other aspiring writers, get yourself a mentor, and join writers conferences or writing communities.

#3 – Announce your intention to write a book

The best way to hold yourself accountable for your work is to let others know your goals. Is there someone you trust or a group of people in your network you can appoint to check in on progress?

Perhaps there is someone else you know who is trying to write or someone who is a seasoned writer who can serve as a mentor. If so, try to have regular check-ins with this person.

One way to keep these meetings consistent is to schedule a lunch or coffee date. Talk about your progress and perhaps any challenges you’re facing. They may be able to bring a fresh perspective.

I told my wife, Ariele, and several of my closest teammates from work about my intentions to write my first book. We had regular check-ins to talk about progress. Everyone helped keep me motivated and had different feedback that helped progress the book. Without them, it would have been a lot more difficult to write Inbound Content in the timeframe I did.

Step #2 – Create a Book Writing Space

The second step in how to write a book has to do with your environment. Where you choose to write will have a major impact on your writing productivity.

Find creative spaces where you can produce your best writing.

Sure, some might argue that they can write anywhere as long as they have the tools to write. But where we choose to write play a huge role in our writing motivation and focus.

Questions to think about: Where do you work best? What surroundings inspire you most? Identify them and make it a best practice to work there consistently.

space to write a book

Here are creative writing spaces to write your book:

  1. Coffee shops (classic)
  2. Library
  3. Beautiful park or somewhere in nature
  4. A dedicated writing nook at home

My main writing location is the dinette in my Airstream. I do my best work when traveling; I wrote the manuscript for my book in six weeks as I traveled the U.S. and worked full time from the road.

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Step #3 – Choose a Book Writing Software

The next step in how to write a book has to do with writing tools.

In 1882, Mark Twain sent to a publisher the first manuscript to be written on a piece of technology that would transform the writing industry: the typewriter.

Nowadays, we have computers with word processing and the internet where you can find an endless assortment of useful book writing software and apps that are meant to help you be an efficient and effective writer. If you’re writing a novel, check out this guide to novel writing software.

You may be tempted to overload on apps because you think it’ll help elevate your writing. But honestly, less is more. The truth is that the right tools and even self-publishing companies make writing and publishing easier and more enjoyable.

Instead of overwhelming you with all the possible apps in existence, below is a list of three tools I recommend adding to your writing toolkit today (and they’re free).

#1 – Google Drive

  • You can organize all aspects of your project in folders (research, outline, manuscript drafts, etc.)
  • You can host files for your projects like images, photos, etc.
  • You can use Google Docs as a word processor.
  • You can enable offline access and work on your files even when you don’t have an internet connection, such as when you’re traveling.
  • You can collaborate easily with others, avoiding version control issues.
  • You can access it from just about any device (laptop, smartphone, tablet, you name it).

Google Drive is one of the most versatile cloud storage services available today. But Google Drive is so much more than cloud storage. Here’s a list of ways you can use Google Drive to help you write your book:

Plus, Google will give you 15GB of free storage just for signing up.

If you’re new to Google Drive, here’s a list of resources that can turn you into a pro. (FYI, if you have a Gmail account, you have a Google Drive account.)

#2 – Grammarly

Grammarly is an editing tool that helps you identify grammatical errors, typos, and incorrect sentence structure in your writing.

Download the web extension and Grammarly will edit most anything you type in a web browser (yes, it will work with Google Docs).

You can check out this Grammarly review if you’re on the fence about this one.

#3 – Evernote

Inspiration can strike at any time. Capture those thoughts and ideas as they happen in Evernote. You can even sync Google Drive and Evernote. I recommend doing this, especially on your mobile device.

#4 – A Notebook & Pen

Don’t underestimate the power of good ole’ fashioned pen and paper when it comes to writing a book, which is arguable the only essential writing tool out there.

Even if you write your entire manuscript on a trusty writing software program, you’ll still want to have a dedicated notebook available for the times when inspiration strikes and you can’t access a computer.

Every writer should have a notebook handy for random ideas and thoughts. You can jot these down in your notebook, then revisit them and digitally store them in your book writing software when you’re back at the computer.

how to write a book

Section 2: How to Write A Book

Now we’ll move on to how to actually start writing a book. This is the part that seems simple, but can be more difficult than you realize.

However, once you get through the process of actually writing your book, you will gain momentum to finish it, and eventually publish it.

We’ll show you how to write a book in these steps.

Step #4 – Determine Your Book Topic

It all starts with an idea. What’s your book idea?

Maybe you already know exactly what you want to write about. Or maybe you have a million ideas floating on in your head, but you don’t know exactly where to start.

One of the most common pieces of advice for aspiring first-time authors is “write what you know.” A simple phrase that’s meant to be helpful, yet it begs so many questions.

If you’re struggling with a book idea, try jumpstarting your creativity by experimenting with these writing prompts.

Whether you’re writing a non-fiction how-to guide or a fictional post-apocalyptic thriller, you need to form a connection with your audience and you can do that through emotion. The best way to create emotion with your reader is to understand them.

Here’s how to determine what you want to write about and how to write it in a meaningful way.  

#1 – Identify your target reader

The key to producing meaningful content is understanding your reader. You can do this by creating a reader persona — a semi-fictional representation of your ideal audience.

To get started with your reader persona, consider answering the following questions:

  1. What’s the reader’s age? Are you writing a self-help book geared towards mature adults, or are you writing a guide for teenagers? The age of your reader will set the tone for your writing and book’s context.
  2. What’s the reader’s education level? Are you writing a book for PhD candidates, or for recent high school graduates? Depending on the answer, your writing style, verbiage, and word choice will vary.
  3. Does the reader prefer visuals? Think about your book’s potential topic and if visuals like charts, graphs, tables, illustrations, screenshots, or photographs will be expected.
  4. What is this reader interested in? When you write a book, it’s less about what you want to say, and more about what your reader needs to know. As you start to brainstorm a topic and write your book, always have a reader-centric approach.

The more you know about your reader, the better experience you can create for them.

When you set out to write a book, you have to think about your reader wants to know more than what you want to say. Make your book about the reader: what do they need to know in order to learn what you have to say?

My main audience is marketers and business owners at small- to medium-sized businesses. They’re strapped for time and don’t need another theoretical resource. They value real-world examples to help visualize what tips and strategies look like in action.

#2 – Write about something that intrigues you

You need to write about something that spikes your curiosity, something that keeps you coming back day after day. Something that lights you up and that you’re invested in.

I can’t stress the importance of this enough. If you choose a topic to write about for the wrong reason, don’t expect to create something that people will love.

You need to be able to stick with it through dry spells and bouts of non-inspiration. Your own desire to hear the story will be what drives you through.

I’m a practitioner at heart and curious about finding ways to use content marketing to stand out and compete online. It energizes me to explain complex problems in an easy-to-understand way. Inspiration for this project is what kept me coming back to work on it day after day.

#3 – Research potential topics

In our digital age, we can conveniently research topics from the comfort of our own home.

Google makes it easy to research just about any topic. Have multiple ideas for your book? Do a search on Google to learn more.

Here’s a list of ways to research your book concept on Google:

  • What content already exists? Are there already books written on this topic? If so, which ones performed well? Why did they perform well? Is there anything interesting about their content that enhanced the reader’s experience? Is the market over-saturated on this topic?
  • What influencers exist on the subject? Are there well-known authors on this topic? Who are they? What can you learn from them?
  • What do you need to learn? Are there specific things you need to learn to create a rich, meaningful narrative (ex. geography, culture, time period, etc.)?

I performed extensive research before writing the manuscript for Inbound Content. It was important for me to understand what content was already out there, which content was performing well, and most importantly, how could I make my book unique. This is exactly why I included homework after each chapter to help my readers build an action plan that they could implement immediately, something I noticed wasn’t typical in other marketing books.

#4 – Choose a topic you can write about quickly

Writing your first book is invaluable because it’s a serious learning experience. The process of actually writing a book and completing it will make this book a personal success for you, because of how much you will learn about yourself and your craft in the process.

Don’t get hung up on a topic. If you’re struggling with deciding what to write about first, go with the topic that you know best. Choose a topic or experience that you can write about quickly, with limited resources.

Here’s how to find a topic you can write about quickly:

  1. Write what you can teach right now. If you had to teach a lesson on something right at this second, what could you confidently teach? This is a topic you know well, that requires limited additional research, and what you can quickly create content for.
  2. Write about a powerful experience. Each individual is unique in their experiences. Everyone has gone through something that changed them. Reflect on your life and think about one experience that sticks out about your life.
  3. Write about a life lesson. What has life taught you? What unique observations have you made about the world? Think about your own life lessons, and reflect on how what you now know can help others in the world.

Step #5: Write A Book Outline

Once you know what you want to write about, you’re probably eager to start writing.

Keep in mind these words from Mark Twain: “The secret to getting ahead is getting started. The secret to getting started is breaking your complex, overwhelming tasks into small manageable tasks, and then starting on the first one.”

Let’s review what you can do to create a clear book outline for your book that you can use as a roadmap.

#1 – Create a mindmap

You have an idea, now it’s time to hone in on just exactly what that idea is. With a mindmap, you can drill your topic down into sub-topics. It will help you get all of your ideas out and onto paper.

Here are the steps to mindmap your book’s topic:

  1. Get a blank piece of paper and pen.
  2. Set a timer for 10 minutes.
  3. Write your topic in the middle of the page.
  4. Jot down all of your ideas related to your book’s topic.
  5. Do not stop writing until the timer goes off.

Once you have mindmapped your idea, you should have a full page of brainstormed thoughts, ideas, and concepts. You can then review what you’ve written, and begin to organize them. This will come in handy when it comes time to actually start plugging in content for your book outline.

#2 – Write a purpose statement

In one sentence describe the purpose of your book. A strong purpose statement will explain to readers why they should consider reading your book.

This will also help you stay focused as you begin drafting your outline and writing your book. It will prevent you from straying from related topics, and going off on tangents.

When you have trouble solidifying what your book is about, review your purpose statement.

Inbound Content‘s purpose statement: People who read this book will learn a step-by-step process on how to do content marketing the inbound way.

#3 – Create a working title

A working title is a temporary title used during the production of your book. Identifying your book by giving it a name can help set the direction.

Once you finish your work you can revisit the title and update accordingly. Don’t get too hung up on this step; think of the title as a placeholder. It isn’t permanent, but it will be helpful to begin with one in mind.

If you need help thinking of a working title, use our Nonfiction Book Title Generator.

Inbound Content’s working title was Content Marketing Simplified. Once I completed the content, I updated it to something more fitting based on the content I created.

#4 – Write an elevator pitch for your book

An effective elevator pitch should last no longer than a short elevator ride of 30 seconds. For context, 30 seconds equals about 65-70 words.

Having a prepared elevator pitch will come in handy throughout your book-writing process. It will help you nail your book’s purpose and topic, and it will help the concept become crystal clear not only for yourself as the writer, but for your potential readers, too.

As you ask family and friends to hold you accountable to writing, and as you connect with fellow writers, authors, and mentors, you will be asked about your book. Having a prepared elevator pitch will help you nail the answer without hesitation, each and every time.

Pro tip: Take the time to nail your elevator pitch. You want to be ready to have a clear, confident answer when people ask about your book.

how to outline a book

#5 – Draft a working outline for your book

It’s time to draft a working book outline! Just like the working title you created, this outline is a work-in-progress. The outline can change throughout your writing process, and that’s okay!

However, it’s super helpful to start with an outline so that you know where to begin, and have a general roadmap for where to go as you start writing.

Use the related concepts and sub-topics you organized in your mindmap, and start plugging in some content into your outline.

If you want to create a solid foundation for your book in just a few hours, consider this BookMap method. It’s a template you can follow to quickly pull together all the subjects you want to write about and organize them into topics that will become chapters of your book.

Your outline will do wonders for you once you start writing. It can help you avoid writer’s block, and increase your writing momentum and productivity. Instead of wondering what to write about in the next chapter of your book, you’ll already have an idea of where to start with your book’s outline.

#6 – Fill in the gaps with more research

After your working outline is completed, it’s important to do further research on your topic so that you can fill in any areas that you missed or forgot to include in your original outline.

Research is important, but writing is more important when it comes to completing your book. So, make sure you balance time for research wisely.

Do not get too caught up in your research that it prevents you from writing your book. Take some time to research, but set a limit. Always go back to writing.

nonfiction book research

Here’s how to research when writing a book:

  1. Use online resources by doing a Google search on your topic.
  2. Read other books that have been written about your topic.
  3. Listen to expert interviews, podcasts, and audiobooks related to your topic.
  4. Read scholarly articles and academic journals within the subject or industry.
  5. Search archives, collections, historical journals, data records, and newspaper clippings to get clear on events, dates, and facts about your topic, especially if you’re writing about the past.

#7 – Frameworks on how to write your book

If your book can follow a framework, this will make it easier to keep your writing organized and relevant.

By choosing a format or structure for your book’s topic, you’ll be able to align your outline in a way that will be helpful when you start to write each chapter.

Most nonfiction books can fall into a specific framework, or a blend of frameworks. It’s better to start with a specific framework, then tweak it as needed as you continue writing.

Here are common nonfiction book frameworks to consider when writing a book:

  1. Modular: Use this framework if you have a lot of information or concepts that can be grouped into similar topics, but don’t need to be presented in a specific order.
  2. Reference: Use this framework if your book will be used as a reference that makes it easy for readers to quickly find the information they need.
  3. Three Act Structure: Use this framework if you plan to use storytelling in your book, where you have three main parts like a Set Up, Rising Action, and Resolution.
  4. Sequential: Use this framework if your book reads like a “how to” with a specific set of steps.
  5. Compare & Contrast: Use this framework if you need to show your reader how two or more ideas or concepts are similar to or different from one another.
  6. Problem & Solution: Use this framework if readers need to be able to clearly identify a problem and understand the solution.
  7. Chronological: Use this framework if each main section of your book represents a specific time or order of events.
  8. Combination: If your book will fall under two or more of the above frameworks, then you will need to use a combination framework that’s adjusted to your book’s specific topic.

Step #6 – Finish Writing Your Book Draft

For many, the hard part isn’t getting started with how to write a book… it’s in actually finishing it!

Commit to finishing your first draft, and you’re already succeeding!

Here are our top tips to keep the momentum going as you start taking action after learning exactly how to write a book.

#1 – Break your book writing into small chunks

Now that you have your book’s outline and framework, it’s time to get started with writing.

Like a marathon, your manuscript is essentially a puzzle made up of many smaller like-themed pieces. Your finished book may be 262 pages long, but it’s written one word or thought at a time. Pace yourself and stick to your consistent writing schedule.

If you approach your book writing by focusing too much on the larger picture, you can get overwhelmed. Write chapter-by-chapter.

Related: How to Write a Book Chapter in 7 Simple Steps

Start with baby steps by chunking your writing into small pieces. Set milestones, and celebrate the small wins.

Here are some tips for breaking your writing into small pieces:

  1. Write one chapter at a time. Focus on one piece at a time, not the entire puzzle!
  2. Set deadlines to complete each chunk of writing. Break your goal down into smaller sections, then set individual deadlines for each section.
  3. Structure your writing time. Follow a routine for writing that includes time for research (if needed) and review. For example, if you dedicate two hours each day towards your book, set 30 minutes aside to review your outline so you know what you’re writing about, then 30 minutes to research anything that you need to clarify, then one hour to actually writing.
  4. Celebrate small goals. As you accomplish milestones towards your end goal, schedule and celebrate your small accomplishments. It can be something as simple as going out to dinner, buying yourself a small gift, or doing a little dance.

Pro tip: Set deadlines to complete the chunks of writing you need to meet your goal. This will help you better prioritize your blocks of writing time and word count goal.  

#2 – Build the momentum to finish writing your book

Writing is difficult. Writing an entire book is even more difficult.

When you’re in the weeds with writing your book, there will be days you want to give it all up.

There will also be times when you have writer’s block, and even though you know what you should be writing about, it all sounds wrong as you re-read what you’ve written in your head.

Here’s how to fight writer’s block and increase your writing momentum:

  1. Don’t edit as you write. Writing and editing requires your brain to work in two very different ways, so don’t do it! It’ll slow you down, and keep you at a standstill. Keep writing, and save the editing for later. It’s okay if what you type out doesn’t sound perfect; it’s all about getting your words out first. You can clean them up later.
  2. Switch up your scenery. If you usually write at home in your own writing space, maybe it’s time to freshen up your writing environment. Try writing in a public park, or at a coffee shop or library on the days when writing is the last thing you feel like doing.
  3. Take a break. It’s okay if you’re too mentally worn-out to write. Take a small break, and then get back to it. When we say small break, we mean take a day or two off from writing (not a month or two!).
  4. Get creative inspiration elsewhere. Binge-watch an exciting new show, read a novel, take a walk in nature, go to an art gallery, or be around people you love. While you aren’t writing when you do these things, it can help your brain reset and re-charge so you can return to your book.
  5. Write about something else. Sometimes, when we’re so engulfed in our book’s topic, it can be self-limited. If you’re feeling less excited about writing when it comes to your book, maybe it’s time to flex your writing muscles in a different way. Try doing some creative writing exercises, journal, or write a poem.

#3 – Collaborate with others

There’s strength in numbers when it comes to accomplishing a huge task.

And, more importantly, it can help you feel less isolated in what can be a very solitary act. Writing a book can be lonely!

Let’s review three things you can do to collaborate with others when writing your book.  

#1 – Connect with your original accountability partner or group

A great example of finding accountability partners is through a group or self-publishing company much like what Self-Publishing School does with their Mastermind Community on Facebook.

#2 – Attend a writer’s conference

Sharing space and networking with other writers can do wonders for your own writing habits and momentum. By attending writer’s conferences, you’ll be in a room full of people just like you.

Not only will you be able to network with and learn from expert authors who have been where you are, but you’ll also be able to meet fellow aspiring writers going through the same process as you.

writers conference

#3 – Collaborate with thought-leaders on your subject

Ideal for non-fiction writers, this collaboration could mean asking well-known people in your industry to write a quote that brings value to your content.

how to write a book quote

Pro tip: When promoting your book launch on social media, consider creating a buzzworthy piece of content like an engaging blog article and have your audience share it.

Section 3: Bring Your Book to the Finish Line

Now it’s time to put on your marketing pants and spread the word about your book!

Step #7: Include Front & Back Matter

There are elements outside of your book’s content that you’ll need to write, such as a preface, foreword, notes, etc. I suggest waiting until after you’ve written your book. This way, not only can you better connect them to your story, but you won’t waste time editing them in case you make changes to your manuscript.

Let’s review eight final touches you may or may not need to wrap up your book.

#1 – Preface or Introduction

Draw in your readers with a compelling story. This could be a personal anecdote related to your topic. Tell them what the book is about and why it is relevant to them (think of your reader persona from earlier).

#2 – Foreword

A foreword is typically written by another author or thought leader of your particular industry. Getting someone credible to write this can add a lot of value to your readers.

#3 – Testimonials

Just like with the foreword, try and find respected, well-known people in your space and have them write a review about your book. The best way to promote yourself is to have someone else speak on your behalf.  

how to write a book back cover

#4 – Author Bio

How do you want to be portrayed to your audience? Readers love knowing personal details of an author’s life, such as your hobbies, where you live, or what inspired you to write this book.

Pro tip: The author bio on the flap of your book might be one of the first things people read when deciding whether or not to read our book. Keep it short, but make sure it packs a punch (just like your elevator pitch).

#5 – Glossary

A glossary is an alphabetical list of terms or words relating to a specific subject, text, or dialect with corresponding explanations. If you are writing nonfiction, especially a topic that uses a lot of lingo or uncommon words, make sure to include a glossary to create a better experience for your readers.

#6 – Notes

If you are writing nonfiction, keep track of your sources as you research and write. A clear bibliography will only add to your value and credibility.

Being nonfiction that was based on a lot of research and experiments, I made sure to include a notes section in Inbound Content. It included citations, stats, image sources, etc.

how to write a book notes

#7 – Images

Using images is a nice addition to your content. Images can create a more engaging experience for the reader while improving the communication of hard-to-grasp concepts.

how to write a book with images

Pro tip: Include a figure number on each image. This way you can easily reference it in your text. You can organize images by leading with the chapter number first, then image number after the bullet point. For example, the above image is image 22 in chapter 11 of Inbound Content.

#8 – Edit Your Book

Once your manuscript is completed, it’s time to edit your book, which involves self-editing first, then having a thorough professional edit done.

The success of your book will depend on its quality, and a thoroughly edited book is a solid way to increase your book’s quality.

Even the best writers require editing, so don’t feel discouraged by this process. In the end, you’ll be glad you followed the editing process, and will have a completed, error-free book that you can be proud of.

#1 – Self-edit your book

Remember when we told you not to edit your book as you wrote? Well, now’s your time to shine in the editing department.

Once you’re book is written, it’s time to go through and read it line-by-line.

We recommend printing your entire manuscript out on paper, then going through each page and making edits. This will make it easy to spot errors, and will help you easily implement these changes into your manuscript.

There’s a specific strategy to self-editing; if you start this process blindly, it can be overwhelming, so make sure you understand how it works before diving in.

You’ll want to read for structure, readability, and grammar and word choice. There are a few different ways to self-edit book, and it will depend on your own preferences.

Here’s some tips to self-edit your book successfully:

  1. Read your manuscript aloud as you edit.
  2. Start with one chapter at a time.
  3. First, go through and edit the chapter for structure revisions.
  4. Second, find opportunities for improving the book’s readability.
  5. Third, make edits for grammar and word choice.

Once you complete your self-edit, you can make your revisions on your manuscript, then get ready for the next round of edits.

#2 – Hire a professional book editor

Now, it’s time to hand your book off to a professional editor.

As meticulous as you may be, there are bound to be some grammatical or spelling errors that get overlooked. Also, a professional editor should be able to give you feedback on the structure of your writing so you can feel confident in your final published draft.

Related: Explore Line Editing vs Copyediting

#3 – Re-write sections of your book’s draft using your editor’s feedback

Now it’s time to improve your book using your editor’s feedback. Don’t be discouraged when you get your manuscript back full of edits, comments, and identified errors.

Think of these edits as opportunities to improve your book. You want to give your reader a polished, well-written book, and to do this, you need to edit and re-write.

This doesn’t mean you have to re-write your entire book. You simply have to go through your editor’s feedback, and make any revisions you think are necessary.

If there is something you don’t agree with your editor on, that’s okay. In the end, it is your book, and you are in control of what you want to add or take out of the manuscript.

Just be sure your revisions are coming from a place of sound reasoning, and not pride.

#4 – Finalize your book title

If you haven’t done so already, it’s time to revisit the working title you created for your book earlier in the process.

You need to finalize your book’s title before you move on to the next steps!

Related: Book Title Generator

If you need help deciding on a title, cast a vote with your target readers and mentors in your author network. Send an email out, post a social media announcement, or reach out through text with people that are considered your book’s ideal reader.

Get feedback on your title by asking people vote for their favorite. Include the top three choices, then use the crowdsourced results to narrow it down even more.

Once you have a title selected, don’t worry too much if you’re not 100 percent sold on it yet. Even if the title turns out to not be effective, you can always change the title depending on the publishing platform you select.

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#9 – Choose a Compelling Book Cover

Don’t judge a book by its cover? Please. People are definitely judging your book by its cover. 

The cover design is generally the first thing that will pique a reader’s interest.

Related: Self-Publishing Services

You can find freelance graphic designers to create a compelling book cover for you on many online marketplace sites like Upwork, Reedsy, and Snappa. You can even check with a local graphic design artist for a more hands-on approach.

Tips for creating an effective book cover:

  • Whitespace is your friend. Make it a best practice to choose a design that pops, but doesn’t distract.
  • Make it creative (non-fiction) or emotional (fiction). Do your best to connect the art to the story or use it to enhance the title.
  • Consider a subtitle. Think if this as a one-sentence descriptor on what this book is about.
  • Test two or three designs. Send a few designs to your trusted accountability group to get their honest first impressions and feedback.

Keeping these best practices in mind, I chose a cover for Inbound Content that was simple but made the title pop and let the subtitle provide the promise to the reader.

book cover

Step #10 – Format Your Book

Now that you’ve written your manuscript, it’s time to format it so you can visualize the final product — your book!

Formatting your book is an important step because it has to do with how your book will appear for the reader. A successfully formatted book will not cut-off text, incorrect indentations, or typeset errors when printed or displayed on a digital device.

If you’ve already decided to go with self-publishing versus traditional publishing, this is all on you. But if you’re not tech-savvy and don’t have the time to learn how to format your own book, you can hire a professional to do this part for you.

If you know how to format a book correctly and to fit your book distributor’s specification, you can do so in Word or Google Docs. You can also use a program like Vellum Software.

Otherwise, we recommend hiring someone to do this professionally, as it’s one of the most important aspects to get right. Check out Formatted Books if that’s the case for you.

Step #11 – Prepare to Launch Your Book

Before you hit “Publish” it’s time to do the groundwork to start prepping for your book’s launch, and your ongoing book launch and book marketing strategy.

There are a few steps involved in this process, which we’ll outline below.

#1 – Build your book’s launch team

This is an ongoing step that you can start doing when you are finished with your rough draft. As you send your book to the editor, designer, and formatter, you can organize a launch team in the meantime.

Your book’s launch team is essentially a group of individuals that are considered your target readers. They will help you promote your book, and will be actively involved in the launch process of your book.

#2 – Develop a marketing mindset

It’s time to start shifting your mindset from writing to book marketing. Think about your strengths and areas of growth when it comes to sales and marketing.

Acknowledge any fears or self-limiting thoughts you have, then push past them by remembering your book’s purpose. Know that the power of sharing your knowledge and experience through your book is stronger than any fear that might hold you back.

It’s important to understand in the marketing phase that your mindset has a huge role in the success of your book. You can write the best book in the world, but if you don’t channel some energy towards marketing, no one will know it exists.

#3 – Create a book launch strategy

There are a lot of moving parts when it comes to your launch strategy, so it’s important to draft up a plan before you publish your book.

Your launch strategy is basically how you plan to create momentum with your book. Think of it like a business launch. There’s always a big celebration to announce the launch of the business. It’s the same for your book.

Step #12 – Publish Your Book

The self-publishing process steps will vary on whether you are publishing your book as an eBook only, or whether you plan to publish it as a print book.

It will also vary depending on which self-publishing companies you plan to work with. There are many self-publishing platforms to choose from, including Amazon’s KDP and IngramSpark.

If you plan to work with a different book publisher, you’ll want to follow their guidelines.

Once you’ve hit publish on your platform, you can start implementing your launch strategies and marketing strategies, which we’ll cover in the next section.

Related: How to Publish an eBook on Amazon

Step #13 – Market Your Book

Now that your book has been published, it’s time to sell it and get your words into the hands of as many readers as possible.

This is where your marketing strategies come into effect, and this is how you can really leverage your book sales and build a book business.

Here are six ways to market your book:

  1. Paid advertisements
  2. Free advertisement opportunities
  3. Local or in-person events
  4. Content marketing on Google and Amazon
  5. Be a guest on podcasts and websites
  6. Speaker opportunities

FAQ: How To Write A Book

If you read through this guide and have specific questions, here are some other Frequently Asked Questions we get often.

How long does it take to write a book?

The time it to write a book depends; on average, it takes self-published authors anywhere from 1-6 months, but that can be shorter or longer depending on your writing habits, work ethic, time available, and much more.

How much do authors make?

There is no set amount that an author can make. It largely depends on so many factors, such as the genre type, book topic, author’s readership and following, and marketing success.

For a full report on this, please read our report on Author Salary

Writing a book is not a get-rich-quick strategy by any means. While a book can help you grow your business through techniques like a book funnel, unless you sell hundreds of thousands of copies of books, you likely will not earn six figures from book sales alone.

How much money does an author make per book?

The money an author makes per book sold is calculated by the royalty rate. The royalty rate varies depending on the publishing medium, and company.

Use this Book Royalties Calculator to get a better idea of your potential earnings.

How much does it cost to write and publish a book?

With Amazon self-publishing and other self-publishing platforms, the cost to publish is actually free. However, it costs money to hire professionals that actually produce a high quality book that you will be proud of.

For full details, read this guide on Self-Publishing Costs.

Can anyone write a book?

Yes, anyone can write a book and thanks to the rise of technology and self-publishing, anyone can publish a book as well.

Traditional publishers used to serve as the gatekeepers to publishing, holding the power to determine which books would be published – preventing many stories from not being shared, and many talented authors from not being recognized.

Thankfully, this antiquated system is no longer the only option. This also means that because anyone can technically publish a book, it is extremely important that you create a quality, professional book that’s of the highest standard.

You Wrote A Book!

And that’s it! Those are the steps to take to learn how to write a book from start to finish.

You can and will write your first book if you put forth the effort. You’re going to crush this!

Trust the process, create a consistent writing schedule, and use this practical guide to help you through the journey.

Are you ready to write your book?

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how to create an online course

How to Create an Online Course That Actually Sells (& Gets Results)

Thinking about creating an online course?

Wondering if online course creation is really as simple, and profitable, as the current market has led us to believe?

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, far away from the online world, you already know that the online education space is booming right now – not just for eLearning, but for self-education, too.

Many authors and entrepreneurs are monetizing their knowledge via online course creation, and while it’s easier than ever with today’s tech to actually create a digital course, there’s more to the process than may meet the eye.

You want to be sure to create a course that’s not only profitable for you, but effective for your students.

That means you want to create and sell an online course that is sustainable (you’ll make profits long-term), and results-oriented (your students will achieve what they wanted from it). 

how to create an online course

Learning how to create an online course that sells like crazy AND gets your customers or students results is the key to creating consistent success.

And while it’s definitely awesome to be able to just hop on the online course bandwagon, you want to be sure you’re doing it the right way. 

Let’s break it down in this complete guide on creating digital courses.

Here’s how to create an online course:

  1. Find Your Winning Topic/Course Idea
  2. Discover the Achievable Result
  3. Conduct Market Research
  4. Outline Your Course Content
  5. Choose a Course Hosting Platform
  6. Create & Develop Course Content
  7. Use A Beta Group
  8. Launch, Market, & Sell Your Online Course
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Create and Sell Online Courses That Are Sustainable

So, making an online course is easier than ever with the digital tools at our disposal. 

But that doesn’t mean you should throw up a bunch of content and just offer it for sale. 

As a former classroom teacher and instructional designer with some insight on what makes an online course successful for the long-term, I urge you to not cut corners where it counts. 

Learning how to create an online course that is profitable for YOU and effective for the student takes a specific strategy, and I’ll show you the basics on how to do this. 

But first, before you can begin, you need to understand the most important elements or qualities that make up a successful online course

These are the qualities that will make your course invaluable – and it’s why people will pay you again and again to consume your product. 

5 Qualities of a Successful Online Course:

#1 – Results

A successful course is one that gets real results for the student. This is the number one priority for you as an aspiring course creator.

Depending on the content of your online course, the results you get for your student may differ.

For example, maybe you’re teaching graphic designers how to build passive income. Or, maybe you’re teaching divorced parents how to effectively co-parent their children. 

The possibilities are endless, but make sure you start with the student’s results in mind.

#2 – Value

Your course content needs to be chock full of useful, relevant information and value. 

You want to be transparent about what topics are taught in your course, and never give misleading information or false promises about the course contents. 

Selling an online course that isn’t full of value is not a sustainable business practice, and your course may bring you money at first, but it won’t last if you don’t continuously improve it.

#3 – Learning Experience

In your online course, you are essentially teaching someone else about a topic you’re an expert in. 

Don’t misinterpret being an expert as being an effective teacher – sure, you can do both, but only if you’re intentional and understand the fundamentals of a positive learning experience. 

A successful online course is one that is organized and intentional in sequence for the student to follow, consume information, and actually learn.

#4 – Optimized For Continued Learning

Content changes, and in today’s world,  it changes quickly

This means that you can create a course with all there is to know about a topic at the time, but always be prepared to continuously update your course material

New technologies, information, and trends appear, and this can quickly make your course information outdated, so always be ready to stay ahead of the curve.

#5 – Not Plagiarized

Don’t learn how to create an online course of your own because you went and found someone else’s course material and think you can copy what they’ve done for your own gain. 

That’s called plagiarism, and it’s not good, nor is it legal. Always be ethical!

Just like you wouldn’t plagiarize when learning how to write a book, you shouldn’t plagiarize when developing your online course.

You can certainly use other sources and material to gather inspiration and research, but give credit where credit is due.

I wish I didn’t have to say this, but there are so many digital entrepreneurs that enroll in a course, just to copy it and re-create the original creator’s work. 

Now that you understand the fundamental elements you need to include in the creation of your online course, we can move on to the actual process. 

Steps to Create an Online Course

You understand the fundamentals of online course success, so let’s get started on the process. 

You should work through each of the steps involved in this process carefully, and don’t skip any of it if you truly want to set your course up for success. 

Also keep in mind that each step is a high-level overview of the process. To do this right, you’ll want to spend ample time working through each step, and learning more about online courses.

If you’re interested in an online education program that walks you through the course-creating process, check out our Course Building for Author program.

#1 – Find Your Winning Course Idea

Start with the big picture. What will your course be about? 

Maybe you have a general idea of what you want your course topic to be, or maybe you have a few ideas, and aren’t sure which direction to take. 

If you’re an author and have already published a nonfiction book, this process will be easier if you’re creating a course on the same topic.

A winning course idea is one that is useful, and able to be monetized. 

“What can I teach other people that they are willing to pay me for?”

To hone in on your winning idea, it’s important to ask yourself some guiding questions. 

Questions to find your winning online course idea: 

  1. What is your expertise? 
  2. What gaps in knowledge or skill do you find in your industry? 
  3. What’s in demand in your industry? 
  4. What have you accomplished, that other people can follow and get results from? 
  5. What is something important that you can teach another person with ease? 

Always remember, it’s not enough to know about a topic. You need to make sure the topic is useful for your target audience, and that it’s something in demand that they are willing to pay for. 

Be clear on your topic, and how you can monetize that topic. What you consider to be an “interesting” topic may not actually be interesting enough for other people to want to pay to learn about. 

While I do believe there is virtually a market for everything nowadays, the more abstract of a concept your course is, the harder it will be to actually market and sell it. 

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#2 – Discover The Achievable Result

Remember what I said about getting your student results? That is the number one priority for your course, so before you can start building anything, you need to know what that result is.

You can fill your course up with all types of information on the topic, but if at the end of the course, your student doesn’t know what to do with that information, you’ve failed as an online educator. 

“What is the #1 result my students will get from my course?”

Think about the result you can pretty much guarantee for your student. Don’t oversell it or exaggerate – ask yourself honestly. 

The result should be attractive (something someone actually wants to achieve), specific, and with a timestamp. 

Here are some helpful examples to give you a better idea…

Examples of achievable course results: 

If you’re not sure exactly what your achievable result is, that’s okay. You can crystallize this in the next section as you research more. But, you should have a starting point before moving on. 

#3 – Conduct Market Research For Your Course

Once you have a pretty good idea of your topic and the result students can get from your course, it’s time to make sure your course idea is actually marketable – or something that would attract your target audience. 

Market research is also essential if you don’t really know WHO your target audience is exactly. Research will help you define your audience, and hash out your course idea and content. 

It’s time to start doing some market research. 

Many people skip this step, and it shows. Their courses aren’t profitable, or sustainable. Don’t skip this step – no matter how much you think you know about the market. 

Market research strategies to get feedback for your online course: 

  1. Ask Questions. Conduct research by creating a list of questions, and reaching out to people in your target market for a discovery call to pick their brain. 
  2. Research Competition. Are there any similar companies or entrepreneurs offering a similar online course or product? 
  3. Online Forums. Check out online forums and communities such as Reddit and Quora
  4. Facebook Groups. Join Facebook groups on your topic. 
  5. Surveys.  Set up a quick survey with your top questions and send it to your email list with an incentive.

#4 – Outline Your Course Content

You have a winning topic idea, know your course concept is profitable, and know what results your target audience wants – awesome! 

Now you’re off to the races. It’s time to actually start working on your course content. 

You’re probably feeling overwhelmed thinking about all of the content you could include. To prevent scope creep, focus on your content with the end in mind. 

Using backwards design is an instructional concept many educators use to plan entire learning modules and lessons. It helps you keep a narrow focus on what essential information you need to teach your students. 

The topics you include in your online course, and the sequence or order in which you include this content, is very important to increase student engagement and results. 

Outlining your online course will also help you create your content quickly. Just like your book outline is a roadmap to writing your book, your course outline is a roadmap to building your course.

Here’s how to outline your course: 

  1. Create a mindmap of your course topic, and all the sub-topics it needs.
  2. Add sections to sub-topics as needed, usually 2-5 for each.
  3. Group and organize your subtopics into the most effective sequence, such as order of importance or related concepts, depending on your course topic.
  4. Go through and outline each section to follow a similar model, such as: Topic, Example, and Action/Takeaway (as a minimum).

#5 – Choose A Course Hosting Platform

A course platform is where you will actually be hosting your course content. It’s basically the “platform” or medium that houses your course content.

Your students will use the course hosting platform to actually access your online course material.

There are new course platforms and softwares continually offered, but right now these are the key players. 

These are the top online course platforms: 

  1. Teachable. Starts at $29 per month for the basic plan. Includes unlimited students, members-only community, instant payouts, training and support, and some integrated marketing features.
  2. Kajabi. Starts at $119 per month and includes landing pages, marketing emails, a website, templates, assessments, and support.
  3. Kartra. Starts at $79 per month and is an all-in-inclusive platform for course hosting, custom domains, landing pages, multiple products, membership sites and more.
  4. Thinkific. Includes a free option with plans starting at $39 per month. It includes course creation tools and hosting, membership platforms, email integration, and onboarding packages.
  5. LearnDash. A good option if you want to host your course on your own website platform, such as WordPress. Licenses start at $369. 
  6. Podia. Starts at $29 per month and includes your own storefront, online course hosting, email marketing, messaging, support, membership, and blog tools.

As you compare online course platforms, you’ll want to have a list of your “must-haves” versus your “nice-to-haves”, as well as a budget. 

For example, maybe you need a course platform that is all-in-one and can deliver emails, process payments, and includes customer support. 

Or, maybe you just need an online course platform to host your video on, and can manage the rest. 

Depending on how tech-savvy you are, what your budget is, and the time you can afford to spend on building your course, you want to be sure your online course platform will fit your needs.

Consider what you need out of your platform, finalize a budget, and research course platforms to determine which one is right for you. Take advantage of product demos and free trials for a hands-on experience!

#6 – Create & Develop Course Content

Using your completed course outline, it’s time to get started and actually create the content. 

Since you’re creating an online course, you’ll be creating videos for each topic, as well as some supplemental material, like PDFs, workbooks, etc. 

You’ll want to go through your outline and determine which sections need supplemental material so you can plan to create it (or outsource it), in addition to your course videos. 

Delivering your content in various formats is important to creating a successful course because people have different learning styles.

Some people retain information best visually, with video and images. Some people are auditory learners or verbal linguists, and some are a mix of different types. 

The better learning experience a student has with your material, the better results they will get, and the happier they will advocate for your course – which helps increase your profitability. 

example of online course content types

Here are the different types of course material to include in your digital course:

  1. Video. In online courses, video is the main medium for delivering content. Depending on the content, your video really shouldn’t be that long. People have limited attention span and focus, so make sure your video is succinct, to the point, and eliminates fluff. 
  2. Audio. You can easily have your video converted to audio. Many course creators have both video, and audio files so that people can listen on the go instead of having to sit and watch an entire video at the computer. Audiobooks could also be worth adding to this step.
  3. PDFs. Main points and summaries should be included in a PDF, so students can have the information readily available for reference.
  4. Workbooks. You can create engaging workbooks that include hands-on activities, prompts, or other resources for your course material. 
  5. Checklists. If a specific lesson is on a topic with specific instructions, checklists can come in handy. 
  6. Written Content. Some course creators make an entire lesson a written article, or blog-style, guide instead of an actual video. This is a good option as long as it makes sense for the topic and for your target audience.
  7. Infographics. Infographics help break down concepts into a digestible, visual form. Depending on your topic, it might make sense to supplement the material with an engaging, organized infographic.
  8. Images. Include graphics like screenshots or other images to help your visual learners.
  9. Charts and Graphs. Use these as a reference or to show examples of data. 
  10. Activities & Exercises. If you have specific, actionable takeaways for certain topics in your course, include activities and exercises as much as possible to help students really apply what they are learning.

There are many opportunities to create content in a non-video format, and you really should include a variety of content types! 

Keep in mind that you don’t have to create all of these different types of content for ONE section. It’s okay to have mainly video for each section, and include some written content or images for another. 

The key is just to have a variety of content to help all learners.

Remember, you don’t have to create all of this content yourself. You can always hire a professional freelancer to help with this. 

Once you have all of your content created, it’s time to upload it to your online course platform!

different types of course material

#7 – Use a Beta Group For Your Online Course

Once your course content is created, uploaded, and ready to go – it’s time to do a trial run. 

Testing your course success with a beta group is crucial! 

This means that you will let a small group of people in your target audience have “first dibs” on taking your course. Some course creators offer the beta group the course for free, in exchange for feedback or a testimonial to use in marketing material. 

Other course creators might charge a highly discounted price, in addition to requesting feedback and testimonials. 

The point of testing your course with a trial run is to gather any input from your target audience to see what you need to improve with your material. 

A beta run allows you the opportunity to go back to the drawing board before you have your big course launch and release it to the public. 

Don’t just pay attention to the negative feedback, keep an eye out for the positive feedback, too! 

Ask your beta group what they loved about your course and what helped them the most – this will be important as you develop your marketing and sales materials! 

Once you’ve gathered essential feedback from your beta testers, implement any changes needed to your course. 

#8 – Market, Launch & SELL!  Your Online Course

You have a successful course. Now it’s time to launch it to the world, and impact lives. 

In order to get results for your students, you need to actually have students! This means you need a solid marketing and sales plan that is sustainable. 

You’ll also need to create a launch plan to build momentum for your course, and create some buzz around your brand. 

Here’s what you need to plan for: 

#1 – Marketing

Create a strategic marketing plan for your course – not just for your initial first sales, but after.

How will you ensure your course keeps on selling even after you launch?

Think of your book marketing strategy. What aspects are successful, and how can you translate that to your course?

This is the area you’ll want to carve out specific marketing strategies for your social media, blog/website, email list, and more. Similar to how you set up a book funnel, you’ll also need to strategize for your course funnel. 

#2 – Sales

Once your marketing is set up, you’ll need to take care of the sales logistics, targets, and procedures.

What is your sales strategy, and how will you actually sell the course? Your sales strategies will be specific to your target audience.

#3 – Launch

If your marketing plan and sales plan is solid, you need to create a winning launch plan to release your course into the world.

A launch plan for your online course helps you sequence out the events that lead up to and beyond your launch date (which is when your course is officially released and up for enrollment).

There are many different types of launch strategies available, so you’ll want to make sure you use the ones that will be most effective for your target audience.

So, now that you have the essentials on how to create an online course, what are you waiting for? 

I know, it’s a lot – and it can be overwhelming, which is why you should start the process now if you want to actually get a headstart on your project. 

If you’re looking to accelerate the process, reduce the overwhelm, and get a clear step-by-step process of how to do everything mentioned in this blog post and more, we have just the online course for you! 

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What other questions do you have about how to create an online course? 

book printing services

Book Printing Services: Author’s Guide to the Best Book Printing Services

Looking for book printing services?

If you’re at the stage in your self-publishing journey when you’re ready to release your book into the world, it’s time to think about book printing services.

These are specialist companies that take your manuscript and turn it into softcover or hardcover print books.

There’s something special about the moment where your book stops being digital words and images on a computer screen and is instead something you can hold in your hand. 

However, not all book printing services have been created equal! There are good and bad options out there. It’s worth taking the time to do your homework and consider your options, as you don’t want to put off your readers by offering a low-quality print book!

We’ve gathered everything you need to know about using a book printer as well as some suggestions of companies to consider.

This guide to book printing services covers:

  1. What are book printing services?
  2. How to choose between different book printers
  3. A quick guide to BookBaby
  4. A quick guide to IngramSpark
  5. A quick guide to KDP Print
  6. What type of books can I get printed
  7. How much does it cost to get a book printed?

Let’s get started!

What are book printing services?

A book printing service is simply a company that can take the digital manuscript file for your book and turn it into a print copy. 

Most companies that print books work in one of two ways. 

  1. Print-on-Demand Book Printing. This model of book printing involves only printing a physical copy when an order is made. 
  2. Offset Book Printing. Offset printing involves producing a large batch of print books in one go, with order quantities typically in the 100s. 

The pros and cons of Print-on-Demand

Many self-publishers will find that the print-on-demand model of book printing is the most suitable for their needs.

Print-on-demand has the advantage of only printing the needed quantity of books. There is no buildup of inventory just sitting around. Also, many print-on-demand services are integrated with sales and distribution channels. This means that it is seamless for a book to be ordered, printed, and shipped. There is no need for extra work or effort on the part of the self-published author.

The disadvantages of print-on-demand are that it often ends up being slightly more expensive per copy than with offset printing. This is due to not being able to take advantage of the economies of scale that a large offset printing order represents.

The pros and cons of offset printing

Offset printing is an option typically used less often by self-publishers, but it is still offered by most large printing services, so we’ll take a look at its pros and cons here.

The major advantage of offset printing is it often ends up being cheaper to print a large number of books in one go. Quantity discounts can end up being significant.

Offset printing also has its disadvantages. One of the major downsides is it doesn’t allow for fluctuations in demand. If you order a large number of print copies of your book, but then it doesn’t end up selling, you end up stuck with piles of books just sitting around. Also, there is the possibility of your inventory of printed books being damaged before they are ready to be sold.

For most self-publishers, we recommend the print-on-demand model. However, you might wish to make print-on-demand your major means of book printing, but also order some print books to have on hand. These can be used for sending to fans or giving out to people at events

Now that you know the basic idea behind a book printing service and the two major ways it operates, let’s consider how to choose between different companies.

How to choose between different book printers

It can be overwhelming to know which company to choose to print your book.

Related: Best Self-Publishing Companies

And it’s a decision that really shouldn’t be rushed into! Choosing the wrong printer does your book a disservice. All of the time and energy you put into writing it should be rewarded with a high-quality end product. But how can you go about making sure that’s what you get?

Before you reach out to different book printers and risk getting taken in by their sales pitch, it’s worth taking the time to ponder your answers to the following points.

  1. Am I looking for print-on-demand, offset printing, or both?
  2. Do I have requirements for paper quality?
  3. Do I want the option to print both hardcover and paperback books?
  4. Does my book have images that need to be printed at a certain resolution?
  5. What genre is my book? Do I want a printer with experience in this genre?
  6. Am I willing to pay more to get a higher quality book?
  7. Do I want a printer that has integrated sales and distribution capabilities?
  8. What kind of customer service channels do I want for my book printer?
  9. What is my budget for book printing?

It’s worth not only thinking through the answers to each of the nine questions but also taking the time to write them down.

When you do this, you have a clear set of guidelines to assess different book printers on. It can also help you make a clear, rational comparison if you feel torn between two or more different options.

After you have your answers, read on to discover a few specific companies that print books.

A quick guide to BookBaby Printing

BookBaby is one of the biggest names out there when it comes to book printing services for self-published authors.

We’ve gathered together some key information about BookBaby so you can decide if they are worth exploring further.

Does BookBaby offer print-on-demand?

Yes, BookBaby is one of the main specialists when it comes to print-on-demand book printing for self-published authors. 

BookBaby has retail partnerships with some major names in the bookselling world such as Barnes and Noble. When a customer orders a print copy of your book through one of those stores, BookBaby prints it and handles the logistics for you. 

Does BookBaby offer offset printing?

Yes, BookBaby recommends authors start with a minimum of 500 copies when using their offset printing services, but state that the best value comes from ordering 1000 copies or more at a time. 

What kind of books does BookBaby print?

If you want to make sure your specific type of book is something BookBaby can handle, the company specializes in:

  • Paperback books
  • Hardcover books
  • Children’s books
  • Christian books
  • Photography books
  • Poetry books
  • Cookbooks
  • Coloring books 

There are many more specific genres and book styles handled by BookBaby, so take a closer look if you want to see if they have examples of your type of book. 

How much does it cost to print a book with BookBaby?

BookBaby has a calculator you can access here to get a custom price for your type of book and size of order.

To give you an example, BookBaby states they can print 100 US Trade size softcover books with a gloss cover finish for $570. 

A quick guide to IngramSpark Book Printing

IngramSpark offers a wide range of services to self-published authors, and book printing is one of them.

You can check out our full exploration of IngramSpark here, or read on to discover the most important information about their book printing capabilities. 

Does IngramSpark offer print-on-demand?

Yes, IngramSpark offers a print-on-demand option.

The way it works is that you upload everything needed for a print book into the IngramSpark dashboard. This involves your interior formatting, book cover etc. Then, when someone places an order, IngramSpark prints a copy of your book and ensures it is distributed correctly. 

Does IngramSpark offer offset printing?

Yes, you can order a large quantity of books on an offset printing basis from IngramSpark.

What kind of books does IngramSpark print?

IngramSpark publishes books of all different genres and types.

Instead of genre, the customization available with IngramSpark comes down to:

  • Ink quality. A choice of black and white, standard color, or premium color ink. 
  • Paper color and weight. Creme, white, or groundwood paper available in different weights.
  • Book cover options. Paperback or hardcover book covers.
  • Book textures. You can opt for matte, gloss, or digital cloth for your IngramSpark book cover. 
  • Book binding. Perfect bound, saddle stitch, or case laminate bindings available.

How much does it cost to print a book with IngramSpark?

IngramSpark also offers a calculator tool so you can get a custom quote on how much your book printing needs will cost. 

However, as an example, we calculated the costs of 100 copies of a black and white paperback with a gloss color cover, which came in at $477.50 with shipping and handling costs factored in. 

A quick guide to KDP Printing

KDP Print is the book printing service associated with Amazon and its Kindle Direct Publishing service.

You might have heard of a service called Createspace that was associated with Amazon and offered book printing. This has now been absorbed into KDP Print. There is no separate Createspace service in operation anymore.

So what do you need to know about Amazon’s book printing service?

Does KDP Print offer print-on-demand?

Yes, KDP print allows you to sell books on a print-on-demand basis. This is flawlessly integrated with the Amazon sales environment, so is convenient for authors and readers alike. 

Does KDP Print offer offset printing?

Yes, as a KDP Print author you can order wholesale quantities of your book on an author copy basis. 

What kind of books does KDP Print print?

Unlike the other book printers featured in this guide, KDP Print only offers paperback printing for your book. If you are looking to get hardcover copies, you should consider another service. 

How much does it cost to print a book with KDP Print?

KDP Print offers authors a 60% royalty on paperbacks sold on Amazon and its distribution channels, less the cost of printing.

There is an option to sell your KDP Print books more widely. To take advantage of this, you need to select expanded distribution when you set up your book. However, if you sell KDP Print books through channels other than Amazon, you only receive a 40% royalty as opposed to the 60% received for selling through Amazon. 

You now have a quick insight into three of the biggest and most popular book printing services in business today. Be sure to check them out directly and reach out to the companies with your requirements before you make your final choice. 

What type of books can I get printed?

A lot of indie authors focus their author career on selling eBooks. After all, with eBooks there are no printing costs, no need to factor in the cost of postage, and no need for inventory.

However, although you should make eBooks a part of your author strategy, you’re missing out on a valuable opportunity if you overlook print books.

For starters, some people simply don’t like to read eBooks. They might have been the perfect reader for your book and left it a fantastic review, but never got the chance as it wasn’t available in print!

Aside from readers who have a strong preference for print books, some book types are much more suited to hardcopy than eBook.

If you are interested in writing any of the following, you really can’t afford to focus on eBooks alone:

  • Study guides
  • Coloring books
  • Photography books
  • Cookbooks
  • Puzzle books

At the very least, we recommend that authors offer their books in paperback through KDP Print and Amazon. Seeing as most of your sales will probably come from Amazon anyway, taking the extra time to set this up is almost always worth it. 

How much does it cost to get a book printed?

The cost of getting your book printed can vary greatly. It depends upon if you opt for a print-on-demand or offset service, whether you want paperback or hardcover, and the quality of ink and paper you want to use. 

To give you a few examples from the major printers featured in our guide:

  • BookBaby can print 100 softcover books for $570
  • IngramSpark can print 100 softcover books for $477.50
  • KDP Print charges 40% of revenue plus printing costs for its print-on-demand service

Because there are so many variables impacting the cost of printing, it’s worth reaching out to book printing companies directly to get a quote. Don’t be afraid to negotiate and shop around for the best deal!

Choose the best book printing company for you

Hopefully, you now feel ready to choose the right printer for your book.

We would love to know your experience and how you get on.

Which company are you thinking of using? What attracted you to them?

Have you had any good experiences in the past? Or what about things you wish you did differently?

Feel free to drop a comment and share your thoughts on book printing and which service to go for!

best self publishing courses

Self-Publishing Courses: Top 5 Online Publishing Courses for Authors [UPDATED]

Why are there new self-publishing courses popping up on the market each day?

Because the self-publishing industry is hot, and gaining traction at record speeds!

The time has never been better to write and publish a book, especially in the booming world of books and publishing.

The perfect student for a self-publishing course might be in these situations:

  1. You’re thinking of writing a book, but are stressed about navigating the self-publishing process all on your own.
  2. You’re familiar with how to self-publish, but you’d just like some expert guidance to make sure you’re actually doing it right.
  3. You’ve already self-published a book, but you want to stay in the loop with industry trends and best practices.
best self publishing courses

If either of those scenarios describe you, then enrolling in one of the best self-publishing courses available will be a worthy investment for your author career.

Here are the top 5 self-publishing courses on the market:

  1. Self-Publishing School with Chandler Bolt
  2. Authority Pub with Steve Scott and Barrie Davenport
  3. Self Publishing 101 with Mark Dawson
  4. Your First 10,000 Readers with Nick Stephenson
  5. Tribe Writers with Jeff Goins
best self-publishing courses

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Why you should consider self-publishing courses

There is a lot to know beyond writing a book. Not to say the writing part is easy, but you will have greater confidence in writing and publishing your book with connections to a support network walking you through the steps.

After writing the book (which is a process in itself), comes editing the book, getting your cover perfectly designed, and the rest of the book production and publishing process.

And let’s be honest, once your book is actually published, the work definitely doesn’t start there. You have to effectively market your book, too!

With so many steps to learn how to become an author the right way, it’ll be worth it to spend some money in your publishing budget towards an educational online course.

What you spend in dollars, you will earn back in time and effectiveness.

To get your book to the publishing stage takes a lot of work. If you are not familiar with everything needed to self-publish a book, you could end up spending more money than planned or, unknowingly fall into the hands of a deceiving vanity press publisher that waits for new authors desperate to publish.

Here are 5 reasons to invest in a self-publishing course:

  1. You will save time publishing your book the right way, and cutting back on hours spent researching.
  2. You will be given a step-by-step proven process to self-publish your book.
  3. You can avoid the steep learning curve of self-publishing by not relying on trial and error.
  4. You learn to master a skill that can be applied for any future books you publish.
  5. You can network with industry professionals, expert authors, and other writers going through the course.

Although all the best online self-publishing courses here come highly recommended, the course content and purpose of each course varies depending on several factors.

self-publishing course benefits

The best self-publishing courses for you will depend on these 3 factors:

  1. What you need as an author. Are you writing your first book? Scaling up your author platform to 6 figures a year?
  2. Your budget. How much cash are you willing to invest in your self publishing business?
  3. Your expectations. What are you expecting by taking an online publishing program? A strong return on ROI? Can the course deliver on its promise?

Don’t let haste or desperation lead you to a bad decision when it comes to your book writing goals. Do your research on each course, so that you are confident you’re making the best decision for you. Ask yourself certain questions to help decide what exactly you need from an online self-publishing course.

Consider these questions when deciding which self-publishing course to enroll in:

  • Are you writing a book? If yes, have you finished your book?
  • Are you ready to launch and earn passive income from book sales?
  • Do you have a plan for marketing and selling your book to international sites?
  • Are you building an email list of raving fans through your book empire?

Depending how you responded to the above, this should give you an idea on what course to enroll in.

Why Self-Publish Instead of Traditional Publish?

Deciding between self publishing vs. traditional publishing will boil down to what the right option is for you as an author and writer.

Here are 7 reasons to consider self-publishing your book instead of traditional publishing:

  1. Writing a book makes you an authority in your area of expertise.
  2. Self-publishing a book, or series of books, creates an additional income stream that could lead to a full-time career as an author within 6-12 months. Publishing your book through one of the big 5 trade publishers could take years.
  3. Self-publishing lets you build your own business at your pace with the freedom to make key business decisions.
  4. You can potentially earn more because it is easier to scale up when you have control over marketing and book launch pacing.
  5. Get tax breaks by forming your own business and working from home.
  6. Publish more, and publish faster. This means the potential to earn more in a shorter amount of time and scale up your email list at a faster rate: The key point here is, it’s faster all around.
  7. Zero rejection letters. That’s right, you can never be rejected as a self-published author.

Some of the big titles available today started out as self published books before being picked up by a major publishing house. Recognize any of these titles?

  • Fifty Shades of Grey—E.L.James
  • The Tale of Peter Rabbit—Beatrix Potter
  • The Martian—Andy Weir
  • The Shack by William P. Young
  • Eragon by Christopher Paolini
  • Swann’s Song by Marcel Proust
  • Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur
  • Switched by Amanda Hocking
  • Still Alice by Lisa Genova
  • The Celestine Prophecy by James Redfield
  • Hacker series by Meredith Wilder
self-published books

So yes, self-publishing can be a great path to launch your writing career, just like those authors experienced.

How Do I Choose the Best Online Course?

As a self-published author of 12+ books, I know firsthand what it is like to navigate through all the steps involved in writing a book. And writing the book can be the easy part!

Now, you might be thinking to just do it yourself without help from any of the self-publishing courses. I did this too, and I made a lot of mistakes that could have been avoided had I invested in a course with a built in blueprint.

This is why I have put together a solid list of the best self publishing courses on the market today. Only the best made this list because I know what it is like to waste money on courses that went nowhere.

self publishing courses

Which course is best for you?

I have personally been inside each of these courses so I can share with you first hand the pros and cons of each.

Is a self-publishing course really necessary?

Good question! The answer will depend on what your end goal of writing and publishing a book is.

Publishing can be difficult with lots of moving parts. You start to feel like a juggler with too many balls in the air!

The good point of joining a course is, you are not alone. And, without support like a launch team to help launch your book, it is easy to make mistakes that could otherwise be avoided.

So, this is why we bring you this list of professional experts, each with years of book writing experience and marketing confidence, sharing with you the best strategies for writing, launching and selling more books.

And yes, despite the flood of material out there these days, you can make money from self publishing…if you do it right and learn from the best.

Use this criteria when researching the best self-publishing courses:

  1. Vetted Instructors. The instructors for these self publishing courses are multi-bestselling authors with the sales and platform to show it. They are trusted by the industry with solid reputations for being honest and driving their business with integrity.
  2. Up-to-date Course Content. In an industry that is constantly changing, publishing courses can become outdated within a year. The courses here are updated regularly with additions and updates every few months.
  3. Author Testimonials. Based on industry reviews and student satisfaction, the self publishing courses are praised and recommended from authors who have been through the programs.
  4. Whitehat Strategies. The strategies and business practices of the owners do not break any rules pertaining to Amazon’s rules and are morally sound.
  5. Professional Quality. The material, content and overall course is professionally packaged and high quality.
  6. Customer Service and Support. When you run into trouble, you want to know that you can talk to someone and get everything sorted quickly and efficiently. No fuss.

Take note: Several courses are open for a limited time only at certain times of the year. The enrollment period is usually every three months, but this varies.

Ready to dive in to the top 5 self-publishing courses on the market? Let’s review them!

 Self-Publishing SchoolAuthority PubSelf Publishing 101Your First 10,000 ReadersTribe Writers
Program Several to choose from6 Modules + Bonuses8 Modules + Bonuses6 Modules + Bonuses4 Modules + Bonuses
CostDepends on program$597$497$597Premium: 12 monthly payments of $99; Standard: 12 monthly payments of $49
AvailabilityAnytime, but must meet course requirementsAnytimeOpen every 3-4 month cycleAnytimeOpen a couple times a year
Target StudentBeginner to AdvancedBeginner to IntermediateBeginner to AdvancedIntermediate to AdvancedBeginner to Intermediate
Added PerksIndividualized coaching, Hardcopy Workbooks and Goodies BoxAdvanced supplementary materials & HD VideosBonus tech library and Facebook groupAccess to expert author interview, bonus course, & Facebook groupCommunity group, Facebook group, & Live conference calls
What You'll LearnHow to write, publish, and market your book (nonfiction or fiction)How to publish a book and build an author platformHow to write, launch, and market a quality bookAdvanced marketing tactics for your published bookHow to find your voice and build an author platform

#1 – Self-Publishing School with Chandler Bolt

self publishing school

Self-published entrepreneur Chandler Bolt quit college back in 2014 and set out to write a book called The Productive Person. The book was hugely successful and Chandler soon set up an online course to help authors self publish their books…in just 90 days!

Yes, the professionals at Self Publishing School are making big claims: You can go from blank page to published book in as little as 90 days. To date, close to 5000 authors – from fiction to nonfiction to children’s books and memoirs – have been through the course since it started in late 2014.

The online publishing course has been featured by INC 5000 as one of the 5000 fastest-growing private companies in America.

With this comprehensive go-at-your-own-pace blueprint, the school has created an easy-to-follow system to take you from first-time author to course creator with three pillar courses available. You will be guided through a variety of topics, from how to have an author mindset, to how to finish your manuscript, to how to optimize your Amazon Author Page, and more.

Breakdown of Course Content

When Self-Publishing School first started out they had a basic course for writing and publishing a book. There are now four premium courses to choose from on the platform, including a full fiction course piloted by successful self-published fiction author RE Vance.

Become a Bestseller—Blank Page to Published Author: From blank page to published author, write and publish your nonfiction book in 90 days with this course. There are 3 modules to walk you through the program with over 4 hours of video, bonus content and an outsourcer rolodex to assist with hiring professionals for all phases of the book production.

  1. Writing
  2. Book Production
  3. Marketing and Publishing

Fundamentals of Fiction: Write and publish your high quality fiction novel with this course, which includes a focus on fiction elements such as storytelling, plot development, and more.

Sell More Books (SMB): For authors that have already published a book and are focusing on book marketing and promotion to achieve sales results.

  1. SMB Launch Strategies
  2. SMB Email Marketing Strategies
  3. SMB Foundation Strategies
  4. SMB Author Brand Strategies
  5. SMB Advanced Marketing Strategies

Full-Time Fiction: For published fiction authors who are looking to grow and scale their author platform and fiction writing career with advanced book marketing strategies.

Course Building for Authors (CBA): Building a course from your book? This premium course is made specially for those authors ready to take their platform to the next level.

  1. Plan & Develop Your Course
  2. Create and Upload Your Course
  3. Market and Sell Your Course

Each course comes with its own customized, professional workbook. The best part of these courses is that you will be assigned a personal coach after being accepted into the program.

online publishing training

Course Details

Cost to Enroll: Speak to an SPS representative to discuss best course options and pricing.

Availability: If you meet the course requirements you can start right away

Target Author: Writing your first book, advanced or pro authors. SPS has courses to cover any level.

Enrollment Availability: If you qualify for access to the course, you will speak to a strategist who will set you up with the best course to meet your publishing goals.

6 Reasons to Enroll with Self-Publishing School

  1. The one-on-one personal coaching that comes with each course [VIP 2.0, SMB and CBA]. You will get the best results by working with a professional student success coach.
  2. One hour clarity call with your coach to drill down into your book idea.
  3. Weekly live online mastermind group with Chandler Bolt
  4. Customized workbook comes with each course
  5. Mastermind Facebook Community of 2000+ active participants.
  6. Premium courses to meet your publishing goals

Self-Publishing School has a long track record of successful students that have written, launched and turned their dreams of being published into a reality. The course is fast-paced and doesn’t waste time on details.

Even if you decide not to enroll in a course with Self-Publishing School, take a look at some of the helpful blog articles and tools available for free, like this Book Profit Calculator.

Check out this review of Self-Publishing School if you want more details about the company.

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#2 – Authority Pub Academy With Steve Scott and Barrie Davenport

authority pub academy

Steve Scott [also known as S.J. Scott] is one of the biggest names when it comes to self publishing. He has been marketing online for a long time and when the eBook craze started back in 2011, Steve was one of the first authors that as in there doing it.

Related: Authority Pub Academy review

Steve Scott has published over 70 books and has been branded as the “Heavyweight of Self Publishing.” He runs the blog Develop Good Habits. Together with his writing partner Barrie Davenport [Live Bold and Bloom], Steve and Barrie created Authority Pub Academy.

With the combined talents of two bestselling authors, Authority Pub is everything you would expect it to be: A self publishing course that is focused on teaching authors to write and publish, not just a book, but focuses on building out an author platform.

self publishing courses

In today’s overwhelming jungle of books, with thousands being published daily, Steve Scott recognized the importance of turning your book platform into a brand and a book business.

This is the strength and focus of this course, and there are loads of videos, downloads and information taught from two authors that have been engaged in the self-publishing business from the beginning.

Breakdown of Course Content

Authority Pub Academy is made up of 6 modules:

  • Module 1: Setting the Author Mindset and Building a Writing Habit
  • Module 2: Niche Focus and Researching a Perennial Bestseller
  • Module 3: Outlining, Writing a First Draft and Editing
  • Module 4: Pre-Publishing and Setting Up Your Book in KDP
  • Module 5: Lead Magnets, Reviews and Launch Strategies
  • Module 6: Advanced marketing and Scaling Up Your Author Library

Authority Pub is a plethora of knowledge and both Steve and Barrie have learned everything through years of trial and error. Authority pub is a “one-stop resource to help writers streamline the whole process.”

Course Details

Cost to Enroll: $597 or 2 payments of $348

Availability: Anytime

Target Author: If you are just writing your first book, or already published and looking to scale up your author platform with more content and strategies that increase long term growth, Authority Pub is for you.

6 Reasons to Enroll with Authority Pub Academy

  1. Advanced supplementary materials includes WordPress blog setup mastery, Canva tutorial, email walkthrough using Aweber and Evernote tips for productive writing
  2. Course content professionally delivered via high definition videos supported by quality downloads
  3. Solid case studies and examples of writers who have made it work
  4. Effective advanced marketing strategies to scale up your books
  5. The course removes any guess work and provides students with a clear roadmap
  6. 30 day money back guarantee

#3 – Self-Publishing 101 with Mark Dawson

Self Publishing 101

I became interested in Mark Dawson’s platform as a big fan of his John Milton action series books and Isabella Rose thrillers. If you’re looking for a great read this weekend, I’d highly recommend these books.

Related: Full Review of Mark Dawson’s Course

As a traditionally published author who used to write for a big firm, Mark Dawson started self-publishing his action and thrillers and, to date, has sold over a million copies. His monthly author salary in 2015 was $450,000 a year.

So, who better to learn the craft of self-publishing than an established author with both a library of successful bestsellers and the income to show it. This brings us to Self Publishing 101, Mark Dawson’s course for authors.

mark dawson books

If you are new at self publishing or have been publishing for awhile, this course has something for everyone. You will learn the basics as well as advanced marketing strategies to scale up your author platform.

With Self Publishing 101, you’ll will write, launch and market a quality book that sells. Although Mark Dawson is mainly a fiction author, the course can be customized for nonfiction writer’s. The same marketing strategies apply to both.

Breakdown of Course Content

Inside Self Publishing 101, the course is broken up into 8 modules that includes:

  • Build Your Platform
  • Pre-Publication
  • Amazon Exclusive or Go Wide
  • Go Wide
  • Generating Traffic
  • Advanced Teams & Launching
  • Getting Reviews

As additional bonuses, there is also a tech module that walks through how to build a website, lead magnets, email service providers, and formatting your book.

The best part of this course is the system Mark teaches for email list building through an author website. Building an email list is critical to the success of any author, and Mark and his team have these bases covered.

Course Details

  • Cost to Enroll: $497 or 12 monthly payments of $49.00. Comes with a 30-day money back guarantee.
  • Availability: Closed after enrollment begins. Cycle is every 3-4 months.
  • Target Author: Beginner, intermediate and advanced authors looking to build a rock-solid fan base through email list building and advertising.

6 Reasons to Enroll with Self Publishing 101

  1. Extensive material into understanding the Amazon algorithm
  2. Focuses on subscriber communication and building an email list
  3. Bonus tech library with an introduction to using advanced apps and tools
  4. Active Facebook group with high response time
  5. Additional bonus materials, such as “Writing Copy for Facebook Ads” module
  6. Reasonably priced course for the value it delivers

#4 – Your First 10k Readers with Nick Stephenson

first 10k readers

If you are looking for a comprehensive, in-depth, no-holds-barred course on marketing tactics, Nick Stephenson’s Your First 10,000 Readers is that course.

Related: Full Review of Nick Stephenson’s Your First 10K Readers

Created by a bestselling fiction author, Your First 10k Readers is a different beast from the other best courses listed here for one defining reason: It isn’t about writing your first book.

The course assumes you already have a book, or a library of books, and now you want to take what you’ve got and line it all up in order to grow your list to a 10k readership…and beyond.

Your First 10k Readers is really better suited for the more seasoned author. It gets into the nitty-gritty of the Amazon algorithm, merchandising, keywords and niche marketing, email marketing, landing pages, giveaways, and what Nick calls “You’re secret sauce.”

So yeah, there’s a lot going on here.

Let’s take a look inside.

Breakdown of the Course Content

The course consists of 6 modules that you can work on at your own pace.

The self-publishing course modules are:

  • Module 1: Rule the Retainers. This includes Amazon Algorithms, Merchandising, Broad Reach VS KDP Select, and Pricing.
  • Module 2: Generate Endless Traffic. This includes Keywords & Niches, Using Free Books, Smart Promotions, and The Author Dream Team
  • Module 3: Convert Traffic Into Fans. This includes Traffic Funnels, Optimize Your Website, Giveaways, and Events Marketing
  • Module 4: Build Engagement and Sell—Without Being “Salesy”. This module includes Why Readers Don’t Buy, Priming the sale, Scarcity, the Secret Sauce, Social Media Mastery, Getting Reviews, and Auto-Responders
  • Module 5: Launch Strategies. This module includes Launch Teams, Building Buzz, and Launch Day
  • Module 6: Facebook Advertising. This module includes Intro to Power Editor, How to Track Results With Pixels, and Ninja Tricks.
self publishing course training

In addition to the 6 core modules, there is also a wide range of bonus content that includes rock star author interviews, email swipe files, and tools of the trade bonus section.

Course Details

  • Cost to Enroll: $597 or 12 monthly payments of $59.00. Comes with a 30-day money back guarantee.
  • Availability: Enrollment anytime.
  • Target Author: Intermediate and advanced authors needing advanced tactics to scale up author platform and build your publishing business into an empire

6 Reasons to Enroll with Your First 10k Readers

  1. Author interviews with big industry authors Mark Dawson, Joanna Penn, Simon Whistler, Bryan Cohen, and Nick Loper
  2. A powerhouse of book marketing tactics for both fiction and nonfiction authors
  3. Video content is high quality, fast-paced and engaging
  4. Private Facebook group that is highly active and engaged
  5. Bonus courses, such as “The 60-Day Author” for writers who haven’t published yet
  6. Members cheat sheet that breaks the course down into a comprehensive blueprint

#5 – Tribe Writers with Jeff Goins

tribe writers

Jeff Goins is the best-selling author of five books including The Art of Work and Real Artists Don’t Starve. He is the owner of where he shares his thoughts on writing, life and creativity.

Read our full Tribe Writers review.

With a successful blog and five bestselling books, it isn’t any surprise that Jeff has a writing course to market to his raving fans of authors: Tribe Writers.

Jeff’s course is packed with material. With the formula presented in Tribe Writers, you as the author can create your own path to creativity. There are twelve steps of a tribe writer that allows you to tailor fit the best plan while keeping your unique voice.

self publishing course

Tribe Writers is broken up into four individual modules:

  • Module 1: Honing Your Voice
  • Module 2: Establishing a Platform
  • Module 3: Expanding Your Reach
  • Module 4: Getting Published

In addition to the four modules, you also get:

  • Exclusive interviews with over a dozen authors, bloggers, and publishing experts
  • Access to the Tribe Writers community of 6000+ members
  • Live conference calls to ask questions and get help
  • Downloadable PDF workbook that summarizes every lesson
  • Admission to a private Facebook group only for students

The modules take about two weeks to get through but you can move at your pace.

This course comes with five additional bonuses to support you including You Are a Writer eBook + Audiobook and The Perfect Book Launch.

Where Jeff’s Tribe Writers is different from the other courses is, a strong emphasis on honing your ideas and creativity as a writer to create a unique brand. There is a strong foundation for support and networking with hundreds of other authors.

6 Reasons to Enroll with This Self-Publishing Course

  1. Loaded with tools to help get you started
  2. Community of writers to help you when you get stuck
  3. Lots of valuable content and expert interviews included
  4. Designed to show you how to find your voice and audience
  5. Monthly conference calls to keep you on track
  6. Supplemental material, like “12 Steps of a Tribe Writer” that clearly outlines the expectations of the course.

Which self-publishing course is right for you?

The best publishing course for aspiring self-published authors you decide depends largely on your goals as a writer.

Are you writing one book only and need a step-by-step process to guide you through to published author?

Self-Publishing School could be a match. Keep in mind they do have additional courses for marketing and business including Sell More Books and Course Building for Authors.

Do you want to build a solid library of books and focus on your author platform? Authority Pub Academy could be your best match. Let Steve Scott and Barrie Davenport guide you towards your success of being a multiple bestselling author.

Do you want to learn the essence of email list building, creating an author website and setting up landing pages that convert readers into subscribers? Self-Publishing 101 could be the best choice to make.

Need more advanced marketing tools from one of the best in the business? Your First 10k Readers is the path you might consider, and…

Interested in a course that focuses on honing your creative writing talent while showing you how to connect with your unique voice? Tribe Writers with Jeff could be the best option.

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Or, you might decide you need two self-publishing courses, combined together for maximum impact.

So now, make a choice. You have been sitting on this long enough. Your book won’t write itself and if you have written it already, take it to the next level.

Are you going to write the next perennial bestseller?


Self-Publishing in 2021: A Beginner’s Guide to Self-Publishing Success


Self-publishing is taking the book world by storm… so what is self-publishing exactly?

If you’re a writer researching how to publish a book, you’re taking the right step by weighing all of your publishing options.

Self-publishing has become a household term for writers and authors all around the world, thanks to technology.

Being a writer in today’s digital age means you have more options than ever on how to become a published author—self-publishing being among the best for those that want full creative control over their book.

What’s the big deal, you ask? Well, until recently, writers didn’t have much of an option outside of traditional publishing if they wanted to write a book.

The problem with traditional publishing is that it’s insanely competitive, and there are a lot of hoops to jump through to even have a chance at getting your book accepted by a traditional publishing house.

But now, the game is changing, and it’s never been easier for writers to self-publish their book.

In this comprehensive beginner’s guide, we’ll walk you through the major points you need to know about publishing a book on your own and how to get started.

Here’s everything you need to know about self-publishing:

  1. What is self-publishing?
  2. The history of publishing
  3. Self-publishing a book today
  4. Traditional publishing vs self-publishing
  5. How much does it cost to self-publish a book?
  6. How to self-publish a book
  7. What are self-publishing companies?
  8. Where to self-publish your book
  9. Self-publishing industry trends

What is self-publishing?

Self-publishing is the act of publishing media, especially a creative work of art, as the author or artist, without the use of a publishing house or company. Self-publishing is commonly referred to in the author and book publishing industry, but people can self-publish other works of art, such as music and visual art. In terms of self-publishing a book, an author writes a book and complete the entire publishing process themselves, such as editing, designing, and formatting the book without the aid of a traditional publishing company.

An author that publishes a book on their own typically has complete creative control, higher book royalty rates, and full autonomy over the publishing process. To self-publish, an author will publish a book at their own expense using a self-publishing platform, such as Amazon’s KDP, and typically maintains full rights to the book.

In short: As a self-published author, you will oversee the entire book writing and production process, from start to finish, at your own expense, and with full ownership of your book rights.

Here are the steps on how to self-publish a book:

  1. Write the book
  2. Self-edit the book
  3. Professionally edit the book
  4. Format the book
  5. Get illustrations (if you’re writing a children’s book)
  6. Get a book cover design
  7. Market the book
  8. Keep up with book maintenance
  9. Work with a self-publishing company if you so choose

However, the steps to self-publish don’t actually mean that you will do all of those tasks yourself, but rather that you will oversee and fund the entire process.

Because the entire book writing and production process is your responsibility as a self-published author, it’s important to make room in your publishing budget to hire professionals for the services you need, such as book editing and cover design.

what is self-publishing

The history of publishing

Now that you know what is self-publishing, it’s important to realize that authors weren’t always able to publish a book on their own.

Let’s embark on a quick journey through the history of publishing, which can help you understand how self-publishing is revolutionizing the modern author’s journey.

To start, think about the role of storytelling and writing books in our society, and it’s importance in human culture and history.

The earliest humans used storytelling as a means of sharing information – and we continue to do this today! The importance of storytelling hasn’t changed, but the way we share these stories has.

First, early humans inscribed text and symbols on ancient clay tablets to share information. In fact, the oldest known published story dates back to 18th century BCE!

Then, humans began writing, and people copied stories down by hand to preserve and share them.

The birth of traditional publishing

Next, the printing press was created in 1440, which was a breakthrough technology in making books widely distributed. Thus, the traditional publishing industry as we know it came to be.

In the past and even still today, traditional publishers buy certain rights from the author in order to publish the work.

However, this took the power away from the storyteller, since the traditional publishers served as a “gatekeeper” – ultimately deciding which books would be widely shared, and which would not.

But along came the digital revolution. As with many aspects of our society, the internet revolutionized many industries, including publishing.

The rise of self-publishing

So, what does it mean to publish a book yourself and how has it changed?

Well, it has evolved throughout the years, and there are a few important events that led to its rise in popularity today.

Here are the three phases of self-publishing:

  1. Step 1.0: This phase began in the 1990s, when eBooks began to be sold online. During this time, desktop publishing and print-on-demand technology came to be.
  2. Step 2.0: In 2007, Amazon launched the Kindle eReader and Apple released the iPhone. These two devices changed how people read books.
  3. Step 3.0: The industry is headed towards this third wave, which is characterized by direct sales from author to reader. We’ll cover more about this in a later section.

Self-publishing a book today

Today, writers can use powerful technology and the internet to self-publish a book and share their stories with a global readership.

Traditional publishers no longer control the storyteller’s narrative.

The only one that decides when to write and publish a story is the author themselves.

In fact, the $1 billion self-publishing market is evidence that it’s become the first choice for many authors.

With today’s growing industry, the road to being a self-published author has widened considerably.

self-publishing quote

Traditional publishing vs self-publishing

It’s important to understand the differences between self-publishing versus traditional publishing as you determine how to navigate your own author career.

In order to see the big picture and decide which route you will pursue for your own author career, taking an in-depth look at what exactly each publishing type entails, as well as the pros and cons of each, is crucial.

What is traditional publishing?

In traditional publishing, you first need to land an agent, which can be a very competitive and time-consuming process, with no guarantees. Once you have an agent, you need to find a publisher to accept your manuscript, which is also a very competitive and lengthy process (and again, no guarantees). Then, the publisher will offer you a contract that essentially buys the rights to your book.

The publisher will take care of the publishing process from editing, formatting, and designing. You earn royalties based on how many books sell.

Here are the steps to traditionally publish a book:

  1. Secure an agent with a query letter.
  2. Secure a publisher with your manuscript.
  3. Agree to the publishing contract (if offered).
  4. Publisher buys the rights to your book and publishes your book at no upfront expense to you (the author).

These are some pros of traditional publishing:

  1. Less upfront costs for the author. Since the publisher handles the production expenses, the author doesn’t worry about paying directly out-of-pocket so the cost to publish a book is less.
  2. Social prestige.  Having publishing connections means your book will be easier to get into major bookstores. It can also be validating for some authors.
  3. Less responsibilities. You write the book, and let the publisher deal with the rest (ideally).

These are some cons of traditional publishing:

  1. Extremely competitive. The chances of being traditionally published are very slim, and it’s very challenging to be accepted by a publisher.
  2. Less earnings. Royalty rates are often significantly less for authors in traditional publishing.
  3. A ton of rejection. To even be considered by an agent or publisher nowadays, writers often must have a social following or fan base.
  4. Not much marketing support. The publishers handle the actual book publishing, but marketing is often left up to the author.
  5. Less creative control. Authors typically don’t have any say-so in the final product. So, your book may be edited and designed without your input.
self-publishing vs traditional publishing

Publishing a book on your own

To recap self-publishing, it goes something like this: You write a book, you have the book edited, formatted, and designed.

Then, you have a printer or publishing platform publish your book, while you market the book and do book maintenance.

As with anything, there are some advantages and disadvantages to consider, which we’ll cover in the next section.

Pros and cons of self-publishing

When you choose to publish a book on your own, it can be rewarding for a number of reasons. In fact, many self-published authors chose this route simply because of its many benefits.

However, there are also some cons to publishing a book on your own, which we highlight in this section. It’s important to be mindful of the possible advantages and disadvantages as you decide where or not to self-publish your book.

Pros and Cons of Self-Publishing Breakdown:

Pros to self-publishingCons to self-publishing
No gatekeeper Less support
Your own timelineNo one is pushing you
Complete creative controlMore upfront costs
Greater earning potentialStigma
Higher royalty ratesMore responsibilities

Here are the pros of self-publishing:

  1. No gatekeeper. There isn’t anyone standing in your way of getting your book published. The only person that can stop you from sharing your book with the world is YOU!
  2. Your own timeline. Authors that publish on their own can get their book to market quicker than the traditional publishing process.
  3. Complete creative control. You have the final say in how you want your book to be edited, formatted, and designed.
  4. Opportunity for greater earning potential. Royalty rates on publishing platforms like Amazon are significantly higher than traditional publishing rates.
self-publishing pros

For some authors, publishing on your own can have its downsides. Be sure to consider your own needs and preferences as you weigh the possible cons.

Cons of self-publishing are:

  1. Less support. It’s all in your hands, which can be very scary for some authors. It can also be lonely without a supportive community.
  2. No one is pushing you. It’s up to you to set your own deadlines, make realistic writing goals and get the ball rolling on your published book.
  3. More upfront costs. Self-published authors hire professionals for publishing services like editing and designing.
  4. Stigma. Because traditional publishing has been the standard for so long, self-published authors are considered the underdog. The stigma often has to do with the quality of self-published books. This is why it’s so important for self-published authors to pay for professional services.

If you’re curious to know whether traditional publishing or self-publishing has greater earning potential, try using our Book Royalties Calculator!

Book Royalties Calculator

1. My book will be published by a...

Traditional Publisher
Indie Publisher
Self Publishing Platform

2. My book will be an:


3. My royalty rate will be:

*Please note that this royalty rate is based on the market averages for paperback books. Actual royalty rates for traditional and indie publishing can vary by author depending on several factors.

4. My book's retail price:

5. The # of books sold:

Your Results

Your Profit per Book Sold


For books sold, you earn:


For 1,000 books sold, you earn:


For 10,000 books sold, you earn:


Royalties Comparisons for 10,000 books sold


How much does it cost to self-publish a book?

Since the author oversees all aspects of the process, the costs to self-publish a book will vary. You can self-publish a book for as little, or as much money as you can afford. On average, the costs to self-publish a quality book will be about $1,500 – $2,000 depending on the professional services you use during the publishing process.

Many platforms to self-publish are actually free to publish your book, but where the costs accrue is during the editing, illustrating, designing, and marketing phases.

Related: The costs to self-publish a book

Several factors affect how much it costs to self-publish and it really depends on each author’s needs.

This means that you can determine the budget when publishing a book on your own. Just remember – don’t cut too many corners as this could negatively affect your book’s quality!

The actual cost to publish a book yourself is free on self-publishing platforms like Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP).

Related: Amazon Author Central

cost to publish a book

But at the minimum, authors need to hire a professional editor and cover designer.

Related: Copy Editing Guide

For example, the table below covers the average cost of common professional services used to self-publish a book.

Professional Publishing ServiceAverage Cost
Book Editing$300 to $1500
Book Formatting$50 to $300
Book Interior Design$100 to $500
Cover Design$100 to $600
Marketing Promotion$0 to $500

Again, it all falls back on you as the author, and what your motive is for publishing your book.

Are you looking to build a career? Then you’ll want to invest in hiring experienced professionals that can provide the best quality, this may include investing in a self-publishing company, like Self-Publishing School, to help you do it right.

Related: Author Salary Detailed Report

Other fees might be included, such as purchasing an ISBN for your self-published book, which is required if you want to get your book in libraries and bookstores.

You can use this Book Profit Calculator to determine how much you can make off your book based on your book price and royalty fees.

Other services you may need to budget for as you consider how much it costs to self-publish are marketing tools to promote your book.

How to self-publish a book

Successfully publishing a book on your own can be a time-consuming process, but it’s usually a lot quicker than the traditional publishing route.

While it does require time and effort, the good news is that the self-publishing method can be pretty clear cut.

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Here are the basic steps for how to self-publish a book:

  1. Write a book
  2. Choose a title for your book
  3. Hire a book editor
  4. Finalize your manuscript
  5. Hire a book cover designer
  6. Decide where to self-publish your book
  7. Format & publish your book on the platform
  8. Plan and launch your book marketing campaign
  9. Price your book
  10. Continue to promote, market, and & distribute your book.

Remember, this is a condensed process on how to publish a book yourself. You’ll want to educate yourself on the best process for each step to avoid making certain publishing mistakes.

why self-publish

And you’ll notice that many of the steps involved can be tailored to your specific situation.

For example, you can hire a book cover designer, or with the right tools and skill, you can make your own.

It’s important to dive in deep to each step when you are working through the self-publishing process.

What are self-publishing companies?

A self-publishing company helps authors self-publish books through the use of technology, services, education, and other means. There are three main types of self-publishing companies on the market today, such as: publishing platforms, author services, and self-publishing education companies. These companies are mostly for-profit, and depending on the type of services offered, can assist authors and writers in using a publishing platform, helping with editing and other publication services, and assistance with navigating the publishing process and industry.

These are the main types of self-publishing companies:

  1. Self-publishing platform: This is the actual medium that you will publish your book on, which we’ll explain more about in the next section.
  2. Author services: These are companies that provide author services such as editing, formatting, and designing. They’re like a one-stop shop for book publishing services, such as Reedsy. It can also include tools, like Publisher Rocket. Please do your research before using these types of services since many can lack transparency and quality.
  3. Self-publishing education: These are companies that teach authors how to self-publish a book. Since successful self-publishing can be tricky to navigate, these companies exist to provide authors with learning resources and mentorship. Self-Publishing School, Self-Publishing 101, and Your First 10K Readers all offer guidance if you want to do it yourself, but need a bit of hand-holding.
Company Type
Self-Publishing PlatformPublishes & prints booksKDP,
Editing, designing,
formatting, etc.
Self-Publish EducationTeach authors to self-publishSelf-Publishing

Related: Best Self-Publishing Companies

Where to self-publish your book

Because there are many platforms to publish your book available, it can be confusing deciding which self-publishing company to actually choose.

However, there are some self-publishing platforms that offer services that you may or not may need. Not every platform is the same, so once you have a solid understanding of the type of services you seek from your publishing company, the easier it will be to narrow down the options and decide where to publish your book.

First off, you’ll need to know the two different types of platforms: retailers and aggregators, which have some overlap in services they offer, but there are some fundamental differences as well, which we’ll cover below.

Tips on where to self-publish your book:

  1. Decide between a retailer or aggregator company
  2. Determine your publishing budget
  3. Choose the type of book you want to publish
  4. Select the best publishing platform based on your region
  5. Figure out which markets you want to reach
  6. Decide your end goal for publishing
  7. Research company reviews
  8. Determine your technical skills and if you will need more assistance

Self-Publishing Retailers

Book retailers are platforms that host and sell your book directly. With a retailer, you will upload your book and it will sell directly to readers on the platform. Examples are Amazon’s KDP, Apple’s iBooks, and Kobo.

Here are the most popular self-publishing book retailers:

  1. First, Amazon’s KDP has the most retail power. It dominates the self-publishing market with over 80% of the eBook market. When considering where to self-publish, KDP is a must. You will get paid 35% or 70% royalty rates, depending on which you choose.
  2. Next, Apple’s iBooks is steadily gaining more traction for self-publishing. It’s reported to have 10% of the market. If you use a Mac, this could be an option on where to self-publish. You will be paid 70% royalty rates.
  3. Then, there’s Kobo which holds a small but powerful percentage. But it has access to an international market, so don’t pass it up! To have your book available in Canada and over 190 countries, consider Kobo when figuring out where to publish. Royalty rates depend on the price of your book.
self-publishing companies


Book aggregators are mediums that you submit your book to, and they send it to retailers and libraries all at once. While it may be more convenient so you don’t have to figure out where to self-publish, the cost to use these companies may be higher.

These are examples of self-publishing book aggregators:

  1. Smashwords
  2. Draft2Digital
  3. PublishDrive
  4. Lulu
  5. BookBaby

Decide where to self-publish your book after assessing which markets you want to reach, as well as your budget and needs. Some authors even use a combination of retailers and aggregators to publish a book on their own.

Self-publishing industry trends in 2021 and beyond

All this talk about the past and the present, but what about the future?

It’s safe to say that self-publishing is not a fad – it’s here to stay as long as the internet is around, and will only continue to evolve.

In fact, the industry is now entering Self-Publishing 3.0. This phase will be direct sales from author to reader by way of subscription models, crowdsourced funding, and other income streams.

To summarize, self -publishing trends focus on the increased opportunities for authors to use technology and the internet to build sustainable businesses and writing careers.

Some forecasted industry trends for self-publishing in 2019 and beyond are:

  1. Direct author to reader without any middleman
  2. The rise of the “authorpreneur” and indie authors
  3. Blockchain technology
  4. Decline of major publishers
  5. Expanded eBook subscriptions
  6. Less stigma
  7. Voice marketing as a new avenue for authors
  8. Increase in self-published books in the retail world
self-publishing trends

A clear best choice for aspiring authors

The key takeaway is that self-publishing allows authors to publish their writing and share their stories with the world.

If you can make time for writing, execute on a publishing strategy, and invest in the quality of your book, you can create a legacy from your book.

Whether you want to write a nonfiction book, write a novel, or create a children’s picture book, the options for publishing a book on your own are virtually limitless.

In fact, you don’t even have to pass through the traditional publishing gatekeeper to become an author.

Today, writers and storytellers are more empowered than they ever have been in history.

Are you ready to self-publish your book?

self-publishing school review

Self-Publishing School Review: A Report at Chandler Bolt’s Self-Publishing School

self-publishing school review

If you’re looking for a Self-Publishing School review, it’s probably because you’re an aspiring author looking for a self-publishing course on how to write and publish a book.

As you research how to write a book, you’ll come across several self-publishing companies. And more than likely, one of them will be Self-Publishing School.

A quick Google search that includes the term “self-publishing” will likely land you on one of the company’s resources, whether it be a blog article, a YouTube video, or an advertisement.

Or even other reviews of Self-Publishing School!

So, let’s take an honest look at this self-publishing education company.

A note about this self-publishing company review…

We’ll review other self-publishing companies in a different article. For this particular post, we’ve only got our eye on Self-Publishing School, simply because wanted to provide a detailed report on each course offering.

A Note To Our Readers:

We want you to make informed decisions when it comes to how and where to invest your money. That’s why our mission is to help educate authors on the various self-publishing companies and services that are on the market today.

Our reviews are meant to be unbiased, 3rd party reviews. In full transparency, we are part of the Self-Publishing School family, an online education company for authors and entrepreneurs looking to write and publish a book.

First off, it’s important to understand that this isn’t an in-depth review of one specific Self-Publishing School course.

What are Self-Publishing School’s product and course offerings? There are a few! And we’ll cover each one in this article.

If you didn’t know already, the company has a variety of author education programs, all geared towards authors, including:

  1. BAB Self-Publishing – Where nonfiction-specific authors can write, market, and publish their books within 90 days, all with 1-on-1 coaching from expert bestselling authors.
  2. Fundamentals of Fiction – Aspiring fiction authors will learn the ropes of fiction writing and publish their first fiction book with 1-on-1 coaching from a bestselling fiction author.
  3. Sell More Books – Authors who have already published a book will learn how to market their books and maintain consistent, 4-figure sales months.
  4. Course Building for Authors – Authors who wish to advance their book into a business will learn how to make courses and what it takes to sell them using the same exact methods Self-Publishing School uses itself.
  5. PR & Speaking for Authors – Authors who have published a book and are ready to take their book promotion and business to the next level will benefit from this program, which teaches you how to land more publicity and speaking opportunities as an author.
  6. Author Advantage Live – A writer’s conference specifically for self-published and independent authors where you will learn, strategize, and network to build a book business.

With that said, this is a collective review of Self-Publishing School’s online courses, so that you can decide which program might be right for you.

self-publishing company

Is Self-Publishing School legit?

Yes – Self-Publishing School is a credible online self-publishing company that offers comprehensive courses for authors.

Self-Publishing School is an online education company geared toward aspiring authors, and those that are already self-published. The courses are built up around Amazon self-publishing.

If you’ve decided to go with self-publishing versus traditional publishing but aren’t sure where to start, Self-Publishing School is worth checking out.

The team’s mission is to help you bring life to the book you’ve always wanted to write.

And to help you start doing the work needed to share your book with the world.

Self-Publishing School takes an interesting angle with their inclusive approach. Their message is that you don’t need to be the world’s best writer to publish a bestseller.

In fact, the company’s CEO, Chandler Bolt, makes it clear that he hated writing. Yet today, he’s a six-time bestselling self-published author.

In a booming self-publishing industry, Self-Publishing School was listed as one of INC 5000’s fastest growing private companies in America.

Small but mighty, Self-Publishing School may be on track to dominate the industry amidst other self-publishing companies.

Here’s a peek at the company’s “About Us” page:

self publishing school review chandler bolt

How is Self-Publishing School different from other self-publishing companies?

When considering self-publishing companies and which program to take, it’s important to understand the different types of business out there.

You can scour the internet to find a list of the best self-publishing programs in the industry, but chances are, each will serve a different purpose.

In an effort to clear up some of the confusion, we’ll explain the difference between the various company types on the market today.

These are the main types of self-publishing companies:

  • Self-publishing platforms: This is where self-published authors actually upload their book to. Think Amazon self-publishing (KDP) and Apple’s iBooks.
  • Self-published author services: These are self-publishing services that provide authors with the services needed to publish a book. Think of it like a one-stop shop for book editing, designing, and illustration services.
  • Self-publishing education: These are companies that teach authors the skill of how to self-publish a book successfully. Self-Publishing School falls under this category.
self publishing companies

Who is Self-Publishing School for?

If you want to learn a tried-and-true method of how to write and publish a bestselling book with Amazon self-publishing, then Self-Publishing School might be right for you.

If you have the drive to do-it-yourself, but want a bit of handholding and mentorship, then you can definitely benefit from one of their courses.

Types of people that can use Self-Publishing School programs are:

  • Entrepreneurs wanting to uplevel their business and gain new leads
  • Writers who want to publish multiple books and build passive income
  • Authors who want to create a sustainable business
  • Anyone who wants to share their story

Self-Publishing School Review: The Programs

As mentioned above, Self-Publishing School offers a variety of programs geared toward helping authors expand their personal book businesses. Let’s dive in a little deeper into each of the Self-Publishing School programs.

Become a Bestseller Online Course

Hailed as the company’s flagship program, VIP 2.0, guides you through the entire self-publishing process. It includes step-by-step tutorials and personalized coaching sessions.

This self-paced course is most similar to other online programs from other self-publishing companies on the market today in the sense that it is an introductory course for beginners new to the self-publishing scene.

With its three phases (Writing, Book Production, and Marketing and Publishing), it’s a comprehensive program that covers the nuts and bolts of writing and publishing a book. And it’s geared towards non-fiction writers who want to do it in as little as 90 days.

By the end of this course, you’ll know how to write a book, and how to publish an eBook and physical book on Amazon.

The Self-Publishing School coaches, regarded as industry experts and authors, help support you with individualized, private sessions throughout the duration of students’ publishing processes.

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An additional perk included is access to the company’s private Facebook group community, where you can connect with a robust self-published author community. There are also weekly live sessions, and members lean on each other for support and encouragement.

This VIP course recently received a facelift, so it’s been updated with new content and features.

For example, depending on which program you enroll in, a goodie box will arrive on your doorstep shortly after. This includes a physical workbook full of guided exercises, which really sets the company apart in this Self-Publishing School review.

If you want to write a nonfiction book, this comprehensive starter course might be valuable to you.

self-publishing school box

Fundamentals of Fiction Course

Like VIP 2.0, Fundamentals of Fiction is an online introductory course that will guide you through the self-publishing process from start to finish.

However, this course is particularly for aspiring fiction authors.

This self-paced course includes components that make it suitable for novel writing, as opposed to non-fiction writing. Tutorials on storytelling fundamentals, and development can be found in this course.

If you need fiction development lessons, such as writing the setting of a story, and using figurative language, then this might be the course for you.

Many other self-publishing companies have introductory courses that teach you how to write and publish a book, but it’s important to take a course that’s geared towards your book’s genre.

This ensures that you’re going to get the most out of the course, because the content is more aligned to your individual needs.

Like VIP 2.0, this course also includes personalized coaching sessions, and access to the Mastermind Community along with a private Facebook group for only the fiction authors.

If you want to write a fiction novel or a children’s book, this course may be especially beneficial for you.

Sell More Books Course

Think of this program as a graduate-level course; it’s the next level up from the starter programs.

The Sell More Books course is designed to help you do exactly that – sell more books. It’s for authors who already have a book, and are ready to dive in deep to their book marketing strategy.

The instructional materials and training videos cover book launches, email marketing, building an author brand, and advanced marketing strategies.

Also recently updated, the content is up-to-date and will be continuously expanding. It also includes a physical “playbook”, which is a planning and strategy guide that walks you through the course.

Just like the other two courses, this one is also self-paced and includes one-on-one coaching sessions.

If you’ve published your book and want to grow your business and increase your passive income, then this program might be for you.

self publishing school workbook

Course Building for Authors

The newest course available from Self-Publishing School, Course Building for Authors is also considered a graduate-level program.

Contrary to its name, it’s not just for authors, but also for entrepreneurs, influencers, and industry experts looking to create and sell their own online course.

Online courses are all the rage right now, and there are a ton of “how to create a course” courses out there. But this program is unique for a couple reasons.

First, building a course is a huge opportunity for authors looking to build a sustainable online business.

Second, you’re learning from one of the few self-publishing companies that has actually built its entire foundation on the premise of online courses. So, it’s safe to say that the Self-Publishing School strategies have been successful thus far.

Included in this course is a physical workbook that you can use to follow along with the online videos, complete with exercises and bite-sized information on each section.

If you’re looking to grow your business and have the passion to share your knowledge with others, then this program might be for you!

self publishing school courses

Children’s Book School Program

This new Self-Publishing School program is specifically for aspiring children’s book authors.

It includes the online course, 1-1 expert coaching with a bestselling children’s book author, and a mastermind community.

If you want to learn the entire process on how to write, publish and launch an award-winning book for children, this program might be for you.

PR & Speaking for Authors Program

A more hands-on, advanced course for authors looking to grow their platform, master public relations and land speaking gigs.

This program includes a course, 1-1 coaching, and complete guidance on how to land more speaking gigs and interviews.

Full-Time Fiction Marketing Program

The newest course from Self-Publishing School, this program is specifically for the published fiction authors who want to create and implement an advanced marketing plan to generate a full-time income.

It includes the online course, 1-1 coaching with an expert fiction author, and complete guidance on building out your marketing plan.

How much does Self-Publishing School cost?

You can go to the Self-Publishing School website here to view pricing, as they may vary for their range of programs. These costs include the complete self-publishing course, group coaching, individual coaching, mastermind community membership, and any supplemental materials, including live group workshops.

Since there are a few different course offerings, the price varies depending on which product you are interested in.

You’ll want to consider the course you purchase along with the package you choose to determine the cost of Self-Publishing School.

self publishing school review

Self-Publishing School Reviews: The Good

There are a few reasons why Self-Publishing School has a leg up in the self-publishing education industry, such as:

1). Comprehensive, without information overload

There is a ton to know about the self-publishing industry, and it’s rapidly changing.

The starter courses are great at giving you the nuts and bolts with actionable steps.

Sure, one could argue that you can learn all there is to know with tons of research and trial-and-error, but all that takes time and effort.

If you don’t have the time to waste on that, these courses are a great start.

2). Designed to achieve a specific result

Each course is developed to help you reach a certain goal. Other self-publishing companies offer “one size fits all” programs, which doesn’t always get you the results you need.

Whether you’re wanting to write and publish a book in 90 days, grow your book revenue, or create your own course – each program delivers a different result.

Which means you can really hone in on what results you want to get out of the course.

3). Continuous improvement

Content is frequently updated, old courses are being redesigned, and new courses and products are sure to come down the pipeline.

This is exciting because even if you don’t find anything you’re looking for with their current course offerings, keep an eye out because Self-Publishing School will likely be rolling out new products in the future.

4). Extra perks

What truly makes Self-Publishing School stand out from competing self-publishing companies is the additional resources. The extra perks that come along with the programs, such as the workbooks and community access, are extremely valuable resources.

With so many online courses on the market today, Self-Publishing School is one of the few that actually mails you a box of goodies when you enroll in eligible courses.

5). Personalized, one-on-one coaching with a self-publishing expert

With the “online course” phase booming right now, self-paced courses oversaturate the market. While it’s convenient to be able to take them at your own speed, this isn’t always effective.

Too many people pull the trigger on self-paced courses, only to never actually finish the course.

Many of us need someone to hold us accountable, and some of us just need that extra push or hand-holding.

With Self-Publishing School’s coaching system, you get the extra support and guidance needed to successfully work through the process, which isn’t provided by other self-publishing companies.

6). Active, hands-on team

The team is super passionate about what they do, and are active in the Mastermind Community. As a result, they listen to feedback and continuously work to improve the company.

Whether you need guidance in the program, have a question, or a technical support issue, there will be someone ready to assist you.

review of self publishing school

Self-Publishing School Reviews: Room for Growth

No program out there is perfect and Self-Publishing School is no exception. While their results are outstanding, we found a few areas for improvement in our Self-Publishing School review.

1). Price

The price is high compared to other self-publishing companies. But keep in mind that the other self-publishing companies are likely not including the coaching sessions, extra benefits, or additional support that come with Self-Publishing School.

The prices are not listed on the site itself, so if you’re considering Self-Publishing School, book a call to discuss all the details. Which leads us to our other point…

2). You have to apply first

Unlike other self-publishing companies where you can enter your payment information and instantly get access, Self-Publishing School has a “vetting” process, so to speak.

While this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it can be inconvenient for students that are ready to pull the trigger, which is why it’s worth nothing in this Self-Publishing School review.

First, you’ll have to schedule a phone call with one of their publishing strategists to discuss whether it’s a “mutually beneficial” idea to have you take their course.

While this can be off-putting for some, the call can be helpful for you even if you decide not to join the program.

And the company is always adding new features, so maybe there will be a digital application option in the future.

3). Focused on Amazon KDP publishing platform

For the courses on self-publishing, the material centers on the Amazon publishing platform, Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP).

It makes sense, since Amazon dominates the self-publishing market today. Many self-publishing companies also focus on Amazon self-publishing, so it can be an industry standard.

But for some people who want to focus on other platforms, you’ll likely have to do some extra research.

4). No “Done-For-You” packages

Since Self-Publishing School is an online education company, they actually aren’t like some self-publishing companies on the market that provide actual author services.

If you’re looking for a one stop shop to have your book self-published, edited and designed, then Self-Publishing School isn’t for you.

5). Video quality

The bulk of the course content is in video format, which is standard for online courses on popular platforms like Teachable.

But some of the Self-Publishing School videos can be a bit lengthy. Many of the videos follow a screen-share format, where the speaker is talking to you directly, so at times it’s not the most engaging.

Some videos also don’t seem to be scripted, so it can be similar to a casual conversation, which means the speaker may get sidetracked.

If you are a visual learner, and process information more through reading, this might be inconvenient for you. But, many of the videos include transcripts so that you can read along if needed. You can also increase the video speed to skim over parts quickly.

6). Lacks writing development support

Writing is hard! If you’re a writer at heart, you know the struggle with writing.

Actually writing a book and getting the words onto paper is more than half the battle for the author’s journey.

While Self-Publishing School courses can help you simplify the ideation and writing process, they don’t currently have a writing development course. There are sections within the programs to help you with certain aspects of writing, but it isn’t too comprehensive.

#7 – Reputation Management

Admittedly, one of the major areas of improvement for Self-Publishing School is in the company’s brand management.

There are several poor reviews on the company on various sites, including BBC.

However, it’s important to note that many of these reviews are from the same individuals, who seem to be angry from their experience with SPS and are very motivated to write negative reviews.

If you’re considering working with Self-Publishing School but are a little hesitant due to the reviews, I recommend you continue during research on the company from outside sources, pay attention to who is writing the review (if it’s the same person you are seeing on different platforms), and go straight to the source.

Book a free call with the Self-Publishing School team as part of your research, voice your concerns with the team, and determine your own opinion based on your experience and research.

Our Final Thoughts for This Self-Publishing Review

Now that you have a more detailed birds-eye-view with this Self Publishing School review, we hope that you have more clarity on what the company offers, and which course might be right for you.

Even though we laid out some of the pros and cons to the company, it’s important to consider your own needs and preferences.

For some people, some of the negative things mentioned in this article, aren’t necessarily a bad thing. So it really boils down to your own individual needs, and what you’re looking for.

If you are leaning towards joining Self-Publishing School, the next step is to schedule a call with one of their publishing strategists.

It’s cost- and risk-free, so you’ll be able to see if it’s a program worth joining.

And remember, before working with any self-publishing companies, do a bit of research before deciding.

Writing a book is life changing, and becoming an author is a choice you have the power to decide on.

Guide yourself in the right direction, invest in yourself when you’re ready, and put in the required work.

With that formula, you’ll be well on your way to being a self-published author in no time!

self-publishing company
how to write a novel

How to Write a Novel: A Blueprint for Crafting Your Story [CHECKLIST]

Wondering how to write a novel? 

Writing a novel is a dream for many people. But only a handful of could-be-published-authors succeed in writing, publishing and selling a book.

The compulsion to write is powerful, and for most serious authors, they must get those stories out and into the hands of readers who need them.

This is where you come in. The world needs your novel. 

Writing a book is hard work, and it takes more than a dream to make it happen. You must be willing to work hard every day to turn that dream into a forged reality.

How do I begin writing a novel, you ask? In this post, I’m going to dive into that. Every novel begins with an idea, and this idea eventually becomes a novel enjoyed by thousands of your most trusted fans. 

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Here’s how to write a novel: 

  1. Understand what a novel is
  2. Determine the type of novelist you are
  3. Start with a novel idea
  4. Read novels in your genre
  5. Set up a writing space
  6. Research your story’s idea
  7. Create a writing schedule
  8. Write the novel’s premise
  9. Create your characters
  10. Plot the key milestones in your novel
  11. Write your rough draft
  12. Edit your novel
  13. Revise, rewrite, and finalize
  14. [Checklist] How to write a novel

#1 – What is a novel? 

A novel is a work of fiction told through narrative prose focusing on characters, action (or drama) and a plot with a certain degree of realism.

A novel is structured with a set of master scenes, at least two pivotal complications (also known as inciting incidents), and the ultimate climax that blows everything off its hinges. You will have several master characters and minor characters interacting through dialogue and action to drive the plot forward with relentless speed.

The amount of words in a novel depends on the genre and type of book. Most books on average range from 60,000 to 90,000 words for most genres. 

Some books are considered novellas and contain less than 30,000 words. For example, Ernest Hemingway’s classic novella The Old Man and the Sea is just 27,000 words, whereas Stephen King’s longest novel, The Stand, weighs in at just under 473,000 words (after he trimmed 500 pages!). 

For a break down of how many words in a novel by genre, check out How Many Words in a Novel? Exact Word Counts Per Genre.

Now that you know what a novel is, it’s time to determine the type of novelist you might be.

#2 – Know what type of novelist you are

Knowing if you are a plotter or a pantser will influence your entire writing style, so we want to nail this from the start.

The Plotter

A plotter is someone who spends a great deal of time before writing the book, creating a detailed book outline for their novel complete with master scenes, pivot points, and character bio profiles.

A plotter writes out every detail down to the smallest scene with a clear direction of how the book will begin…and how it must end. A detailed plotter generally won’t start writing until all of these details are worked out.

J.K. Rowling, worldwide bestselling author of the Harry Potter books, is a known plotter. Other known plotters are John Grisham (The Firm, The Pelican Brief) and James Patterson.

So, what is a pantser? A pantser is…the opposite of a plotter.

The Pantser

In short, the term pantser means “writing by the seat of your pants.”

You start with a seed of an idea and a few notes. You have a loose outline and some scenes but other than that, you begin writing your story.

Well-known pantsers are Stephen King, Margaret Atwood, and David Morrell (First Blood).

So, depending on the type of writer you are, this would influence how much time and energy you spend on drafting out an outline, storyboarding or scene creation, and character development.

Plotter and Pantser in Combination

You might not be a detailed plotter or a seat-of-the-pants pantser, but maybe you fall somewhere in between. Most writers do. 

My style is to come up with the overall story, the main characters, several master scenes, and the beginning or opening scene. I have a brief outline and a tentative title. I start writing to get momentum moving forward. The story could take a number of directions, and the only way I can find out is by writing the story.

Momentum is key when it comes to writing. If you can see just beyond the outline, your imagination will fire up when you put fingers to keyboard (or pen to paper).

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#3 – Start with a novel idea 

Of course, every novel starts with an idea, or many ideas. Maybe you have a thousand different story ideas in your head or written down somewhere, but to move forward and write a novel, you need to commit to one idea. 

So, what’s the big picture of your novel? Try to write your novel idea in one sentence. 

It can be something broad, like: Tragic teen love affair that ends in suicide. 

Or, it can be something a bit more specific, like: Two teens, from rival families, fall in love and in a shocking twist of events, choose to die together rather than live apart. 

Whatever your novel idea is, write it down, and keep it at the forefront of your mind, even if all the details or concepts aren’t known yet. 

When it comes to story ideas, there are just a few rules to follow.

  1. It must interest you. You’re writing 60k+ words of this novel so if you lose interest, you’re stuck and then you’ll stop writing. 
  2. You have knowledge of this kind of book. If you write sci-fi, you must have read sci-fi a lot. Romance? You’re reading love stories every waking moment. Your passion for the book idea comes out of your passion for learning about telling this kind of story.
  3. Test your idea. Talk about it and tell people 
  4. Conflict: Can you identify the main conflict?

#4 – Read books in your genre

Stephen King said: “If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot. There’s no way around these two things that I’m aware of, no shortcut.” 

Agree with Stephen King or not, writers must read as much as they write. 

For one, it helps improve your book structure. By reading and paying attention to the structure of the books you like, when it comes time to write your own, this will come very naturally. This is true regardless if you are writing nonfiction, fiction or a memoir. Reading good writing helps you to become a better writer.

You need to read the authors writing in your genre to show you how it is done. If horror is a genre you want to master, you’d better start with Clive Barker or Edgar Allen Poe. Thinking of writing sci-fi? Pick up the books by Arthur C. Clarke (2010) or Frank Herbert (Dune).

Stephen King also says, “You can learn from bad writing as well: “Every book you pick up has its own lesson or lessons, and quite often the bad books have more to teach than the good ones.”

how to write a novel

What are the top five books you should be reading to help support you in writing this book?

If you want to practice writing technique, a practice strategy is to copy passages out of your favorite books. Just read and type. This gets you into the habit of writing (even if it isn’t your material) and is training for the writing to come in your own book.

This technique works when you’re stuck in writing, too. Or you have a fear of writing (what we refer to as writer’s block) so whenever you are struggling to move forward, grab a book from your shelf, open to your favorite scene, and start typing it out. Just don’t publish it!

#5 – Set up a novel writing space

Before you start to write, ask yourself if your environment is the best place for writing.

Is it clean or cluttered? Can you focus or is your room filled with distractions? Are you alone or do you have friends, roommates and family members surrounding you? Is your space creative or chaotic?

In my experience, if you live in chaos (ex: noise, distractions, beeps, a loud TV) you’re setting yourself up for failure. You won’t get far with writing before you’re doing something else.

Over the years, I have learned to recognize what works and what doesn’t when it comes to preparing myself for pounding out words.

Here are a few ideas to boost author productivity and make your writer’s space something you can actually get writing done in.

Here are some ideas to set up a novel writing space: 

  1. Display your favorite author photos. Find at least twenty photos of authors you want to emulate. Print these out if you can and place them around your room.  An alternative idea is to use the photos as screensavers or a desktop screen. You can change the photo every day if you like. There is nothing like writing and having your favorite author looking back at you as if to say, “Come on, you’ve got this!”
  2. Hang up a yearly calendar. Your book will get written faster if you have goals for each day and week. The best way to manage this is by scheduling your time on a calendar. Schedule every hour that you commit to your author’s business. What gets scheduled, gets done.
  3. Writing surface and chair. There are two types of desks and you should consider setting up your writing area with access to both. The first is the standing desk, which helps you avoid the unhealthy practice of sitting down for long periods. For sitting, you want a chair that is comfortable but not too comfortable. You can balance your online time between sitting and standing. For example, when I have a three-hour writing session, I do 50/50.
  4. Create a clutter-free environment. If there is any factor that will slow you down or kill your motivation, it is a room full of clutter. If your room looks like this, it can have a serious impact on your emotional state. I believe that what you see around you occupies a space in your mind. Unfinished business is unconsciously recorded in your mind and this leads to clutter both physical and mental. Go for a simple workplace that makes you feel relaxed. A great book I recommend for this is the 10-Minute Declutter: The Stress-Free Habit for Simplifying Your Home by S.J. Scott and Barrie Davenport. 

#6 – Research your novel idea

You started with a novel idea, and now it’s time to drill into it a bit more with research. 

For instance, I’m writing a story where the main characters become involved in an international scandal that takes them from the U.S. to Europe, from London to Paris to Athens. They are pursued by a hit-squad of assassins with a lot of sophisticated weapons. At the end of the book, the protagonists escape via a submarine from Russia, only to be pursued by another submarine that ends in a big battle 3,000 meters underneath the ocean.

But wait a minute…

I’ve never been to Europe. And I’ve never handled “sophisticated weapons” that shoot real bullets. Submarines? I’ve read about them in Tom Clancy’s The Hunt for Red October. How do I write a book that requires so much know-how?

Research is a necessary part of your book when you learn how to write a novel. It must be believable. This is true regardless if it is a reverse harem story, sci-fi or an underwater action-adventure.

The details must be right.

You might need to talk to people with first-hand experiences taking place in your book. There could be technical details involving planes, subs, trains, guns, missiles, or robots. Geographical details might include street names, shops on those streets, or knowing what a particular street corner looks like even if you’ve never been there.

Fortunately, we have the Internet. Most of these things mentioned can be found within minutes. The challenge is in not getting bogged down in endless information and too many details. 

An interesting fact: When Tom Clancy’s first novel, The Hunt for Red October, was published, one former Soviet-watching intelligence officer made an accusation that “Clancy must have had inside information from U.S. intelligence personnel who intercept Soviet communications.”

How else could someone know so much? 

“That’s a lot of crap,” Clancy replied. In fact, his basic sources were hundreds of books like The World’s Missile Systems, Guide to the Soviet Navy and Combat Fleets of the World. Clancy also learned a lot from a war game called “Harpoon,” which the Navy used as an instruction manual for ROTC cadets.

Bottom line: You can learn so much from the books in your local library (Yes, people still go there to read), the worldwide Web, and interviews can be one of the best resources of all. 

Here are some ways to research your novel: 

  • Visit your local library
  • Conduct interviews with real people
  • Gather data and info from “reliable resources” on the Internet
  • YouTube videos
  • Reading books in your genre (mentioned previously)
  • Refer to Atlases and World Almanacs to confirm geography and cultural facts

Keep it simple and to the point. Give readers what they need to know and no more. The best books to read use research to drive the story.

#7 – Establish a writing schedule

Before I set myself up with a schedule and writing goals for each day and every week, I would usually write when I felt inspired…and that wasn’t very often.

As prolific author William Faulkner has said: I only write when inspiration strikes. Fortunately, it strikes at nine every morning.”

So there you have it. There isn’t any magic or secret formula. You learn how to write a novel by writing every day no matter the weather condition or your shoulder aches.

The single biggest reason people don’t get a book written is lack of commitment to the writing process, and not the book itself.

How do you establish a writing routine? Well, some writers would say:

  1. Show up at your desk like any other job. 
  2. Take five minutes to review your story notes.
  3. Be clear on what you’re writing.
  4. Type the first word
  5. Type the second word.
  6. Continue typing for 30-45 minutes.

When I get asked the best way to write, whether you’re learning how to write a novel or a nonfiction book, these are the steps I teach writers.

Different authors have different writing routines:

  • Haruki Murakami wakes up at four a.m. and works for five to six hours
  • W.H. Auden would rise at six a.m. and would work hard from seven to eleven-thirty when his mind was sharpest.
  • Stephen King sits down to write every morning from eight to eight-thirty.
  • Henry Miller once created a writing schedule that included the steps to his daily routine. The first step is: Work on one thing at a time until finished.

Whatever routine you decide to follow, remember that the focus is on preparing to write. The routine you implement will be your method for building a successful career as an author.

Create a writing routine that works for you. What time will you write each day? How many words will you target each writing session?

#8 – Write the premise of your novel

Setting up everything to write is great. You made it this far! But we need a story to write, and at the heart of every story is an overall premise.

A premise is your novel’s “big idea” or “big picture view.” So the question is, “What is your story’s premise?

Write out the idea for your book in 40-50 words. I gave you a couple of samples here. This is your pitch and it has to be good. This nugget has to fire you up so you show up to write every day. 

Here are a few examples of story premises: 

  1. A group of Navy Seals are sent on a black-ops mission to investigate the discovery of a United States submarine that vanished over 30 years ago. After discovery, the SEAL team is infected one-by-one with a deadly virus that has found its way into the abandoned ship 2000 meters beneath the surface…
  2. A couple of paleontologists and mathematician are among a select group chosen to tour an island theme park populated by dinosaurs created from prehistoric DNA. While the park’s mastermind assures everyone that the facility is safe, they find out otherwise when the predators break free and go on the hunt.
  3. A young farm girl and her dog are whisked away to a magical land by a tornado, only to come face to face with a wicked witch that has vowed revenge for the death of her sister. The girl meets several friends along the way and together they journey to the land of Oz to find the wizard that can send her back home…

Did you recognize any of those story premises? 

#9 – Create your characters

Your characters help tell your story, and play a huge role in guiding readers through your storyline. 

It’s time to create your characters, and since each story has main characters and minor characters, we’ll walk you through this process. 

Knowing how to build life-like characters is a huge step in knowing how to write a novel successfully.

No matter which type of character you are creating for your novel, it’s important to make them believable. Think of the type of person your character is, and make them as realistic as possible. 

Initial questions to consider when you create a character are:

  • What motivates them?
  • What is their character name?
  • What are their flaws?
  • What is their purpose?
  • What do they look like?
  • What’s their personality type?

#1 – Create a Protagonist/Main Character

Every story needs a hero or heroine. But your main character doesn’t always start out as a hero. He or she may be an ordinary citizen one day and suddenly forced into a situation where they must take action or suffer the consequences.

Your protagonist must be…

  • Challenged throughout the novel. There will be a series of scenes described as incidents or pivot scenes when everything is changed when the hero will be challenged to act in a way that pushes them out of their comfort zone.
  • Realistic and believable. They have a weakness that makes them vulnerable.
  • In pursuit of a goal. By the end of the novel, this goal must be achieved.
  • Changed for the better. By the end, your main character will become a better person after winning against impossible odds.

Create a character portfolio for your main character. This includes personality type, physical features, recognizable habits, profession, and background. You don’t have to go into an extensive background check for the sketch. Save this for the actual writing of the story.

The conflict arises when your main hero’s goals and motivation conflict with everyone else, especially the antagonist villain. Your story will be crafted around this conflict, leading to the inevitable defeat of the villain, sometimes at the great sacrifice made by the hero.

You can use this to map out your character’s adversary, too.

#2 – Create an antagonist

Your antagonist is the villain, the bad guy, the character who is out to stop your hero/protagonist. Both characters have similar goals—to overcome the other in hopes of winning the big game, whatever that may be.

The antagonist is motivated by something they absolutely must have and are willing to go to any lengths to get it. This goal is revealed right away in the novel and becomes the driving force behind the novel’s pacing.

As with the protagonist, your villain’s motivation has to be so strong, they are willing to do anything, go to any distance, to achieve it.

This results in a massive, edge-of-your-seat climax. 

The essence of your novel can best be described as your protagonists’ world clashing with the antagonist. Both characters try to bring balance to this world by overthrowing the other. If you learn how to write a novel with this goal in mind, you will be on track to write a gripping novel with scene-after-scene built on conflict.

Related article: Character Development

#3 – Sketch out your minor characters

These are the characters that drop in and out of a novel, or they appear for a brief moment to deliver a message, play a part in the protagonist’s journey, but their appearance is brief.

If you are a pantser, you might just drop these characters in as you write as I do, based on a moment of imagination. For a plotter, your minor character might have a few lines buried inside your outline.

Make a list of your minor characters that will appear throughout the book. You don’t have to go into any lengthy descriptions. Keep details brief and remember: If your character isn’t engaged in the story, they shouldn’t be there.

#10 – Draft Your 5-Key Milestones

You have your characters mapped out. But now you need scenes for them to carry out the story. The next step in how to write a novel is to carve out the scenes and plot the events in your story.

In fiction, most novels follow the “5 Key Milestones Approach.” There could be dozens of scenes in your book, but the critical scenes are the events that turn everything around.

Here is the 5-Key Milestones Approach: 

  1. The Opening Scene/Setup
  2. The Inciting Incident
  3. The Pivotal Complication
  4. The 2nd Pivotal Complication
  5. The Climax

The majority of novels, TV shows and movies (depending on genre) follow this formula. Your readers are trained to expect this kind of pattern. So, we must deliver to satisfy their expectations. 

#1 – Opening Scene/Setup

The opening scene is telling readers the kind of story to expect. You must connect your reader to your character. Connecting a reader to a character is done in several ways. You can show off a strength, reveal a weakness, or share an in-character insight. Each of these gives the reader a hook into the character, helping them to understand why they should follow along.

Here are the steps to create an opening scene:

  1. Create a compelling first paragraph
  2. Introduce your main character
  3. Foreshadow the conflict
  4. Elicit emotion
  5. Leave the chapter on a cliffhanger (to keep them reading)

#2 – The Inciting Incident, or Point-of-no-Return

A decision is made or action is taken that changes everything. There is no going back after this happens. This is the event that sets the chase up or pushes the main character onto a path they have no choice but to take. This is known as the inciting incident. The inciting incident is the moment in your story when your hero’s life changes forever. It is the ‘no-going back’ moment, where nothing that happens afterward will return your hero’s world back to normal.

When this happens, it is full speed ahead and stays that way until the climax. The inciting incident is the doorway they walk through and can never return until things return to normal. That doesn’t happen until the end of the novel after the climax. But by then, your hero has changed and might decide she never wants to return back to the way things were.

#3 – Pivotal Complication: The First Slap

The first slap is the moment in our story when everything that our hero has gained is lost in one swift action. Your hero is brought down to nothing. All gains are lost, and your hero’s situation has never been bleeker. Readers need to squirm during this scene. Make your readers uncomfortable, and you will be distilling the storytelling down to perfect science.

#4 – Pivotal Complication: The Second Slap

If the first slap wasn’t enough, the second slap has to be worst. Just when your readers thing your hero has a chance, you take most of that hope away, save for a sliver.

In the second slap, we are setting up for the climax, which means that the hero needs to have an escape route. There should be some hope remaining. It is the “last chance”, the “only chance” for survival. If it fails, all is lost…

#5 – The Climactic Scene: “All Hell Breaks Loose”

No scene in your novel is as important a piece as your climax. Everything that has happened up to now has been building towards this climactic chaos. The reader must be so engaged with the climax that by the time they put down the book (or turn off the eReader) they are sweating bullets…and already searching for your next book on Amazon.

#11 – Write your rough draft

Now that you have all the groundwork prepared for your novel, it’s time to actually start writing.

I wish I could give you a magic formula for this step in the process on how to write a novel. There isn’t much direction here – you simply need to put pen to paper and start writing the story that lives inside you. 

All the prepping you’ve done now until this point means you are set up for success! You know what your novel is about, you’ve researched the idea, and you have your characters, plot, and overall storyline mapped out. 

It’s time to tell that story! This is where your writing schedule and the established writing space you’ve set up will come in handy. So go forth, and get to writing! 

#12 – Edit your novel 

Once your rough draft is written, it’s time for the editing process. First, you will self-edit your book, then send your novel to the editor for professional editing. 

Self-editing will take your book to the next level. It will also challenge you as a writer. The material you have spent the past three-months [or three years?] working on is ready to be brutally shredded. But we know this is okay. What is coming out through the other side will be a much cleaner, enjoyable read.

The first draft is the foundation of the book. The editing involves working with the real structure. 

Here’s how to self-edit your book: 

  1. Verbally read through to find any glaring errors. 
  2. Find areas where depth can be added to the story. 
  3. Identify any missing details or inconsistencies.
  4. Catch any repetition.
  5. Watch for showing vs. telling. 
  6. Avoid passive voice.
  7. Do a spellcheck and grammar check. 
  8. Don’t over edit.
  9. Make sure there is a logical flow and order. 
  10. Eliminate any fluff or unnecessary words. 

Once you’ve done a thorough self-edit, it’s time to hand your book off to a professional editor, to really trim away the fat and whip your book into shape!

The editing process can be one of the longest [and difficult] parts of writing. But it is here that you really grasp what writing is about.

During the editing stage, you can work through your fears and doubts. You can overcome the resistance to hold on to your work and ship it out to the world where it has influence.

#13 – Rewrite and revise your novel

Real writing is about rewriting. The rewrite (or revision) is the stage when your book really starts to take shape. Learning how to write a novel is just as much revising than it is actually writing.

Now that your rough draft is written and has undergone a series of edits, it is time to rewrite your book using the feedback you’ve received.

When it comes to rewriting, we don’t want this to take forever. In the old days, writers would spend a year or more rewriting their books. But that was before they had any tools, computers, or the Internet.

Your editor is probably the first person that will see your manuscript. They will (and should) give you the no-holds-barred truth about what needs to be fixed. This can be hard to take if you are sensitive to criticism, and many people are. 

So what do you do if you get your manuscript back and it has more red marks on it than white space?

Simple. You take it as constructive feedback and get to work. Maybe that isn’t the answer you wanted to hear, but there are two choices. You can question the corrections your editor has made, and in some cases, challenge them. Or, you can work through your manuscript line by line, accepting the corrections as you move through the book, making additions here and there.

Catching errors or story inconsistencies now is better than having readers catch them after they paid for your book. Trust me, I’ve been there, and I can tell you firsthand that it’s better to make it great now instead of later.

So, when it comes time to work through your editing, stick with your editor’s suggestions. Run through the book page-by-page, paragraph-by-paragraph, and line-by-line. Read it as if you are reading it for the first time.

Then, make the corrections, and rewrite any sections based on their advice.

When you are done, you’ll have a novel with a riveting storyline that is polished for your readers.

How to Write a Novel: Checklist

Now, if you have done your job as a good storyteller and author, you will have created compelling characters, intoxicating action scenes, and pivotal points in the story that keeps readers flipping pages.

You now have everything to start writing your novel, and while these steps are pretty clear-cut, they can still be difficult to complete.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed with learning how to write a novel, use the checklist below as a condensed version of the steps to reference.

Novel Writing Checklist:

  1. I have created a comfortable and inspiring environment to write my book
  2. My writing space has very little clutter
  3. I have selected at least five books in my genre to use as models for my writing
  4. I researched the heavy details of my book. The rest I can do as I write.
  5. I understand the basics of writing a novel
  6. I have determined that, when it comes to novel planning and writing, I am a plotter/pantser/50-50
  7. I have determined my writing schedule
  8. I am clear on the genre of my book based on my story IDEA.
  9. I have sketched out my protagonist and antagonist profiles
  10. I have a list of minor characters to include
  11. I have crafted at least three master scenes for my novel
  12. I am clear on the earth-shattering climax
  13. The book is ready for an editor
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Now that you know how to write a novel, it’s time to start writing!