I’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.
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.
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.
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.