How to write a GREAT BOOK: And Succeed As A Self-published Author.
Updated: Apr 2
My dear fellow authors
Hope you are all doing well.
As I promised you, I will be sharing with you my experiences and tips so as to help you all succeed with your books. There is no one else who will understand and speak the same language as you, but another author, because we all have the same vision: To sell as much books as possible.
My name is Audrey Lavigne and I am very new to all this. Yes, I only started last year 2020. I published my first book on the 13th of October 2020, and I have published 3 books so far. They are only available as ebook and paperback on Amazon, and they are also in 3 bookstores and 5 other local stores in my country, Seychelles.
So far, I have sold over 500 books. (¼ on Amazon and the rest locally through stores and book launch events.) It’s not a lot for some, but for me I think I have done quite well considering the facts, that my country has a population of less than 100 thousand.
The greatest satisfaction is knowing that my books are making a lot of kids happy around the world. moreover, I have learnt a lot and I am still learning, and the biggest joy is that I have made friends with a lot of other authors when I joined groups on Facebook. They have been supportive, and that’s why I feel that I should also support other authors like you, so that you all succeed too.
So, let’s get started.
There is no magic to it and there are a few things that need to be done for sure.
First and foremost, you need to make sure that your book is PERFECT. Yes, there is no such thing as perfection, but let’s agree to make it ‘AS CLOSE TO PERFECT AS POSSIBLE.’
Hence, the topic I will start off with is:
How to write a GREAT BOOK.
1. Research and put your content together.
Before writing a book, I am sure that you have an idea of what you want to write about or something must have inspired you.
As for me, it all started during the lockdown early last year. I am from the Seychelles, one of the smallest countries in the world, located in the Indian Ocean. If you do not know Seychelles, you should google it and add it on your bucket list for a holiday you will never regret.
However, our economy depends 75% on tourism, and sadly due to Covid-19 situation, tourism is very bad. I was so sad to see that no one is coming here to visit our beautiful country. Hence, I decided to write a book, using my real cute dog as the main character, whereby he visits different islands of Seychelles. My idea is to share the beauty of these islands to the world so that when every thing comes back to normal, they will come and visit Seychelles.
So, if you haven’t got a copy yet, just grab it from Amazon: JASPER THE ISLAND HOPPER. The first book in the series is FREE today the 14th of Feb, because today is not only Valentine’s day but also International Book Giving Day.
And my next book in the series of Jasper, An adventure on Praslin, will be FREE on Tuesday the 16th of Feb. Kindly leave a review. Thank you in advance.
Let’s move on…
I am sure that you all have a great message that you want to share through your books. All you have to do before writing, research about the topic well, so as to ensure that you are passing on the right message. It should be clear but strong to make sure that you grab the attention of your audience, because if someone likes your book, trust me, he will talk about it and share it to his friends, family, and others around him. This will lead to more sales! Isn’t that what you want?
2. Know your audience…Types of book: all depends on your audience.
Next, you need to know your audience you want to target.
If you are going for adults’ non-fiction, make sure that you know your topic very well. Being an expert in the field or at least have experienced it, is a bonus, because people will believe in you more. However, you can still write about anything, as long as you do a lot of research and give credits to anyone who share inputs. Don’t forget to reference your work.
I am almost done with one: How to earn a degree from home. I simply want others to succeed too. After I spent 5 years of my life studying online, now I have a Bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in Business. I will keep you updated as soon as this one is ready too.
If you are targeting adults’ fiction, make sure that you have passion for what you are writing about. Because most novels have more than 60,000 words, so you need to love the subject in order to finish one book. You cannot afford to stop half way.
For instance, I love romance suspense, hence the reason why I am half way through one, about a girl who will find herself investigating about the accident that put her into a coma for one month and killed her father. She found out that the accident was intentionally planned by someone close to her. Who could it be? To be published before the end of the year.
Now, if you are opting for Children’s books, you need to know how old your message is for so that you can choose your type of books and number of words. Children’s books are read and bought by adults, so ensure that your books are very convincing for parents, teachers and libraries.
0-2 years old Board books - up to 300 words
2-3 years old Young picture books – up to 500 words
4-8 years old Early readers picture books – up to 1000 words
8-12 years old Chapter books/ Middle grade – up to 40,000 words
13-18 years old Young adults. No limit.
Now, your book size and shape also depend on your topic:
Landscape/ horizontal = better for books about journey for instance.
Portrait/ vertical = more for sharing emotions, and for chapter books, fictions and novels.
Square = better suited for non-fictions and education.
3. Work on your Manuscript: Always remember to EDIT, EDIT, and EDIT.
First write your goal: your main idea, your characters, and so on.
The font size depends on the age of audience. The most popular is 12 for adults and young adults. But choose 14 for chapter and middle grade books, and 20 for picture books.
However, always stay consistent with the size and type of fonts, or at least limit to 2 or 3 max.
After writing your manuscript, get two or three beta readers. You need to know if your book makes sense to others and if they think it will sell or not. Do not get a family member or a friend, because they will always make you happy instead of being honest sometimes. So, get someone you do not know at all but get legitimate ones.
Next, you must do one crucial thing. EDIT. One of the most important things to do is to edit your manuscript. Yes, even a children’s book needs editing.
Start with developmental editing, then go to copy editing. Finally do a proofread editing.
You definitely do not want a book with mistakes in there, as this will make it look cheap and will lead to bad reviews, and of course reduces your sales.
If your book needs illustrations, make sure you choose the right one depending on your topic, message and age group. Do not try to do it yourself if you do not know how to draw. Please get a very good illustrator. Of course, choose one who is affordable and to your budget, but not too cheap as well. Because illustrators work hard to make your book stand out. So, show them their worth and your appreciation.
Formatting your book according to different platform requirements is important.
Ensure, your book has a title page, dedication, copyright, author bio, ISBN: one for paperback and one for hardcover.
6. You need to work on a great cover.
I know when we talk about humans, we say do not judge a book by its cover, but when it comes to real books, the cover is the what will make your audience decide if he will buy your book or not. Therefore, your book will be judged by its cover.
Hence, first thing, make sure that your title is simple, short and readable. Yes, it must get the attention of your audience and it must have a big connection to the content of your book.
Next, your cover image must be very catchy.
Plus, ensure that your description and blurb are attractive and convincing.
After all you want to grab as much attention as possible.
7. Publish and Print.
Oops! I am so sorry, but this is where I will stop for now. I will talk about publish and print in another article. My next one will be in a week or two and it will be about how to prepare a launch team before publishing.
Until then, get to writing that great book you have in mind. One more tip: Read as much as you write, because the best authors are bookworms. You will get better at writing the more you read. And read the genre you want to write in.
Thank you so much for your time. Subscribe to my website if you want to learn more about self-publishing books. You may also send me an email if you have any questions. Can't wait to share more with you soon.
Ps. As a sign of appreciation, kindly grab my FREE book today and Tuesday. Don’t forget to leave a review.
Happy Valentine’s Day to you and your loved ones.