Publishing a book – what I’ve learned

John AdamsI’ve just published my first ever book. It’s called A modern father (…and dad blogger) and it focuses on my life as a stay at home dad. As the title suggests, however, I couldn’t resist writing just a little about being a dad blogger.

Getting the book into print has taken over my life and placed me on a huge learning curve, even though the title only stretches to 60 pages. Although I’ve only done this the once and can’t claim to be a publishing expert, I thought I’d write something about the main points I’ve learned during this exercise. I often hear bloggers say they’d like to publish a book so I thought others might be interested to hear about my experiences (and mistakes I made).

Getting this title into print took a Herculean effort. In fact one of the biggest things that struck me was how many people were involved in the process. My name may be on the cover, but loads of people were involved and without their help, it wouldn’t have happened. That’s the very first point I’d make. The others are;

Anyone can do it, but it is time consuming

Self-publishing systems such as CreateSpace, Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) and Lightning Source mean anyone can publish a book and you can do it for free. You don’t need to wait for a publisher to discover your writing.

There are all manner of debates and theories about which systems are best, but I chose CreateSpace for the paperback and KDP for the ebook version. I did this largely on the basis they are Amazon-based systems and I’d get the greatest reach.

Rather like launching a blog and getting used to the content management system, I think you have to play around with these applications and get used to their idiosyncrasies. I set up test versions of my book and went all the way through the publishing process before doing it a second time for real. This was well worth the time and effort.

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Writing is easy, it’s everything else that takes time

I wrote the majority of this book in a week. It was the proof reading, editing, formatting and cover design that took all the time; especially the formatting. If you’re using CreateSpace and KDP, prepare yourself for a lengthy formatting process. It can all be done in Microsoft Word but rest assured it’ll take you a few days.

Work with a proof reader

I was fortunate to work with a new publisher called CronxBooks and these guys proof read and edited the book. I was 24 hours away from publishing it when Serena, head honcho of CronxBooks, got in touch; “Where were the page numbers for the paperback version?” she asked.

Sure enough, I had completely overlooked this. If it hadn’t been for Serena’s intervention I would have unleashed a paperback on the world with no page numbers in it.

Get feedback

In addition to working with proof readers, I also asked three trustworthy individuals to read the book and give me feedback. These were Darren Coleshill of Onedad3Girls, Vicki Psarias of honestmum.com and Glen Poole, a published author and the man behind the InsideMAN blog. Their feedback was incredibly valuable. Changes were made, some of them quite significant, based on the feedback these guys very kindly provided (thank you, thank you and once again, thank you).

Don’t underestimate the appeal of the paperback

I wrote this book assuming the ebook would be most popular. To my great surprise, the paperback is, at this point in time, fractionally outselling the Kindle version. This was entirely unexpected but I’m glad I went to the effort of putting together a hard copy as there’s clearly plenty of life left in this format.

Marketing the book; even more hard work

This is my first book. I am a new and unknown author. Selling this book is presenting me with a major challenge. While I have marketing support from CronxBooks, the agreement between us is that promotion is largely down to me.

Luckily I have PR experience but I’ve had to write and issue media releases and undertake media interviews (the highlight thus far; being interviewed live on the radio by none other than Anne Diamond!). This isn’t an exercise in vanity publishing, I want this book to sell so these things must be done, but it has piled further pressure on me. Fitting it round the kids and family has probably been the hardest part of all. I will make the following confession; I have barely done any housework in weeks and the house is in a dreadful, dreadful state because I have been kept so busy.

And finally…

It’s been incredibly hard work. It has, however, been fun and it’s been great to see something I’ve written in print. I’ve always wanted to write a book and so for me, it’s an ambition that I’ve fulfilled and it’s also a further diversification of my blogging activities.

I’m glad I’ve done it. I’m just hoping at some point I can find the time to have a drink to celebrate as it’s still dominating my life!

A modern father (…and dad blogger) is available on Amazon. For a limited time the Kindle version is available for 99p and the paperback £2.75.

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About John Adams

John Adams is a married with two young daughters. He has been a stay at home dad for almost four years. John started blogging back in 2012 after being invited to one-too-many "mother and toddler groups." This inspired him to write about the issues he faced as a stay at home dad and the gender barriers men face as parents. John continues to write about lie as a stay at home dad. He also writes about every aspect of parenting; schooling, education, pregnancy and birth, childcare and so on. Over time he has broadened the focus of his blog so he now writes about family finances, photography and occasionally covers men's style and fashion. John was originally a journalist. He concedes, however, that was a long time ago.

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18 Responses to Publishing a book – what I’ve learned

  1. Soila 12 February 2015 at 09:56 #

    Thanks for this John. Really, really helpful as I embark on my own publishing journey!

    All the best with yours and your next one and the next and the next…

    Soila

  2. Jess Paterson 12 February 2015 at 13:27 #

    Huge congratulations on getting published, John! And thanks so much for sharing these brilliant tips. Best of luck with making it a bestseller.

    • John Adams 12 February 2015 at 14:44 #

      Thanks for the good wishes Jess. I hope you find the post useful and good luck publishing.

  3. OneDad3Girls 12 February 2015 at 15:07 #

    Brilliant post, and thank you for the mention. It’s a brilliant book

    • John Adams 24 February 2015 at 12:54 #

      Thanks for your input Darren. It helped enormously.

  4. HonestMum 13 February 2015 at 11:24 #

    Huge congrats again John, it’s a fantastic book-honest, encouraging, inspiring-well done and thanks for the mention.

    • John Adams 24 February 2015 at 12:55 #

      Thanks Vicki. Your copy is now in the post! Thanks also for your feedback which was very useful indeed.

  5. Soila Sindiyo 13 February 2015 at 11:34 #

    Thanks for this John. Really helpful as I embark on my own publishing journey. You have managed to make this a much smoother ride for so many of us.

    Thanks again.

    Soila

    • John Adams 24 February 2015 at 12:56 #

      Very best of luck on your publishing journey. Just be prepared for a few late nights as it all comes together!

  6. Hayley Goleniowska 13 February 2015 at 13:57 #

    Congratulations to you and yes, it is harder than I ever thought possible. Our little book is only 32 pages, but was too highly illustrated for PoD templates so we bit the bullet and invested in printing 1000. Worth it though, but I have never been so afraid when it was launched. And as for the marketing side, that really is exhausting isn’t it.

    ps, left you a LinkdIn message with your Huff details. H x

    • John Adams 24 February 2015 at 12:57 #

      Thakns Hayley for the Huf Po details which I have now put to good use. This has been a major project but one I’m so glad I underook, as you clearly are also. I must go and check out your book.

  7. Adrian 18 February 2015 at 09:42 #

    Great advice. I need to focus on building my blog for now but hopefully one day I’ll be battling with formatting too! Amazed that you wrote the book in one week!

  8. John Adams 24 February 2015 at 12:58 #

    Good luck with the blog AND the book! If you can do it, it’s well worthwhile bridging the divide and going into the aalogue world too.

  9. Ashley Beolens 26 February 2015 at 12:12 #

    Interesting, I keep starting books and not finishing them (writing not reading) maybe I should finish one and try a little self publishing?

    Can I ask did you offer up review copies to many people or did you limit numbers (presumably there would be no cost to you for the Kindle editions?).

  10. John Adams 28 February 2015 at 10:05 #

    Yes indeed, I offered review copies. Essentially these were pdfs of the finished book I could email people. This has been a weakness though. I know I need to get some paperbacks sent out. I’ve issued a few, but I need to send a lot more.

    As for sending out Kindle review copies, as far as I’m aware that isn’t possible. There may be some mecahansim for it, but I haven’t discovered it!

  11. Anna @BombardedMum 04 March 2015 at 13:21 #

    A huge congratulations on writing a book!! A quick question: What are the advantages of self publishing as opposed to seeking out a publisher? I have edited and publicised a book – but not my own, that was time consuming enough! I can’t wait until it is my own. Thanks for the inspiration!!

    • John Adams 09 March 2015 at 05:38 #

      The main diference is that a publisher will, depending on the deal you have, pay all the costs up front. They will make their money back ouf of the profits of the sale of the book. If it doesn’t make a profit, they don’t get their money back. In other words, the publisher takes all the financial risk. I was originally going to work with a publisher on this basis but unfortunately that fell through.

      My overheads were not that high, but I did still have to pay for proof reading / editing. This is somehting you are strongly advised to do as even the most experienced writer doesn’t get their grammar 100% correct.

      The benefits of self-publishing are total creative control. You have no editor or publisher dictating you make changes to the book. It’s also a good way to bring yourself to the attention of publishers. If what I have read is correct, if you can self publish and sell 3,000 copies, the big publishers are more likely to offer you a lucrative deal.

      Those are just a few thoughts, but I’m not an expert! I’ve only done this once. Very best of luck with you own venture.

  12. Holly Gaunt 10 March 2015 at 21:05 #

    So glad I found this post. An interesting and informative read! I am hoping to do the same myself eventually. Congratulations to you and well done x