Okay, this blog post is long overdue. Becoming a published author is a topic I get asked about QUITE often, as expected, so I am finally getting around to answering all the questions in writing to have as a reference! My most current book is available on Amazon, check it out when you have a chance: Unapologetic; A Generation That Can’t Even.
Hope this helps anyone out there who is wondering what the initial steps are when it comes to publishing their book! Like I say every time, it aint “easy”, but it is definitely worth it if it is something on your bucket list to do! Here are a few questions a lot of you guys sent in and wanted answered:
First and foremost:
Q: Where do you even START when it comes to writing a book?
A: Haha! I mean seriously though, great question! I always considered myself somewhat of a writer, Communications was my major at Penn State, so I was used to banging out 20 page papers. However, believe it or not – I never set out to write a book! It wasn’t something that I had “always wanted to do”. Most people write a book and then seek out a publishing company, I did the exact opposite so my process was a bit different. I actually began with a blog in 2014 that eventually started receiving a lot of attention. I would get a ton of comments on my content and my writing style. As you can see, my writing is super lax, laid back and informal. I like to write exactly how I speak. People told me over and over that I should turn my blog content into a book. Coincidentally, around this same time, a publishing company approached me and I thought it was divine intervention! We decided to collab, but I honestly had no idea where to start! How the hell does one write a book? What exactly do you write a non-fiction book about? Well for me, I’ve adopted the idea that you write what you know – makes sense. For me, the topic of Millennials was a no-brainer! To start with, I am one, and I had already done SO much research on us, as a generation. I’m fascinated by how much has changed since our AIM and Myspace days and how technology has completely taken over our lives. So that was that. I was going to start my book on the Millennial generation as a whole, specifically hitting on topics surrounding how and why we are doing life so differently and most importantly; is it working in our favor?
The first thing I did was break my book down into chapters (like a Timeline), it helped me organize my thoughts and decide what I really wanted to delve into. I asked my peers what topics they found most interesting and had a ton of in-depth (wine included) conversations on the topics with as many people as I could, but I also wanted the book to be research-based so it wasn’t just opinion-oriented. I did a lot of research so I could incorporate all the stats! Then I started the process…write and cite, write and cite. After I finished each chapter I would send it to my editor at the publishing company to go over, slowly but surely the book started to come together….and that is how my process began.
Q: What are the difference between self-publishing and using a publishing company?
A: Well, I’ve done both. For my first book, The Millennial Hustle, I used a boutique publishing company in New Jersey. They were very easy to work with and helped me really put the book together! To be honest it was very helpful to have them there for the beginning stages. However, they take a huge cut of every book sold and unfortunately, they couldn’t sell my book on Amazon, which was crippling me (money-wise). I swear if I had a dollar for every time someone had asked me if they could buy my book on amazon… This was actually our turning point when we decided to part ways (no bad blood, strictly business). I actually had to discontinue the book I wrote with them, so you won’t see The Millennial Hustle for sale anywhere. However, I used that book as a starting point for my second book, Unapologetic, A Generation That Can’t Even, so all of the content did not go to waste. I decided with this second book that I wanted to be in complete control of it all so self-publishing on Amazon was the way to go. I used KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) and they make it very easy! However, I still needed an editor, not to mention a new cover, ISBN number, account set up etc. I found a lady who had previously worked with Scholastics and immediately hired her. She helped me with EVERYTHING I needed from editing the content, the cover photoshoot, to the graphic design of my book; she also formatted it for me and then is the one who uploaded it onto amazon at the end. She was seriously HEAVEN SENT and I happily refer her all the time (DM me if you’d like her info)!
Point-being, unless you excel in all of those areas I would highly suggest hiring someone, or multiple people, to do it for you so it gets done correctly!
Having my book on amazon gives me a direct web link that I can immediately send to anyone when they ask me about it. This makes it so much easier for me as the author and for consumers to purchase. So, my long winded answer: self-publishing is the way to go, in my opinion! What I love about amazon is that I can change the price or content of the book at ANY time and re-upload it. Also, you don’t have to print a set number of copies at a time, they print as the book is sold. That in itself is a game-changer!
Q: How much money do you make writing a book?
A: SPOILER ALERT: Unfortunately, I’m not Michelle Obama. Writing a book and publishing it on amazon did not make me a millionaire and to be honest, that was never the goal for me. I wrote my book to use as a point of reference in my life, as a building block to my brand, and as a personal accomplishment. I did not write my book to get rich, so until Justin Bieber decides to Instagram about it, I’ll be sitting pretty just how everything is now.
With that being said, getting my book into Urban Outfitters or similar has always been another goal of mine, so I’m still putting those vibes out there and if you have any contacts send them my way ;)!
More specifically, with amazon I get about 70% of every book sold, which is an AMAZING percentage in the book publishing world!
My tip, success comes with passion, so as long as you’re doing something you enjoy, whether that’s writing a book or not, it will never seem like a waste! Even if you don’t make a TON of money initially off of your product.
Q: When is your next book coming out?
A: This is the second most popular question I get asked! While I am SO flattered by this question, at the moment I do not have any other books in the works. Unapologetic came out May 1st 2018, so a little less than a year ago. As I stated before, writing a book is A LOT of work and to be honest, I’m enjoying having a blog again with no timeline or parameters! Short and sweet, I have no current plans to write another book, but who knows!
THAT’S THAT! I know this blog post was extremely bare bones, I tried to keep it as concise as I could. There is so much more that goes into the actual process, but these are the questions I received over and over and the ones I felt would benefit the majority who are just starting to dabble into the idea of becoming a published author and don’t know the basics. If you have any other specific questions feel free to DM me (as always) or drop a comment here below!
My last piece of advice, JUST DO IT! Start organizing your thoughts, start writing and before you know it, you will start to see a product at hand! Hope this was helpful and encouraging to anyone who is walking this same walk!