Podcasting – How To Self Publish – Writing, Formatting, Publishing
In this second part of a series I wrote for Podertainment magazine, available on iTunes and at Podertainment.com I address the next steps in repurposing content from a podcast into a book.
How to publish that book
An overview of self-publishing for podcasters who like to Do It Themselves – Part Two
As a podcaster you know your topic area, you are an expert even if you don’t always feel like it. I know I have moments when I’m starting a new book that I think “there is not enough for me to write about.” Let me be blunt – that’s normal fear and I’m going to give you a method to overcome it.
When I am speaking on how to write, the speech is called How To Write A Book in 10 Easy Years (available on YouTube here) and I always share this timeline: spend 9 and a half years learning your topic, spend three months on a title, and three months writing the book. I’m joking of course but the reality is that for many if we’ve spent a long time becoming experts in an area, we have a deep and wide knowledge base.
Last month we covered steps one and two.
Step Three – Write the book
Here’s the method to overcome your fear: start with an outline. It can be as simple as a 1) Beginner Tips 2) Advanced Information and 3) Expert Ninja Warrior Tricks. Then flesh out those areas with more information. As you build up the outline you’ll see the areas where you can write more.
One of the ways to add quality content to your book is to make a list of the experts in your area that you’d like to have contribute written essays. many people are willing to help be part of a book by writing an essay about their favorite topic. This is basically what Jack Canfield did the Chicken Soup For The Soul series and they’ve sold a few books…..
Another great way that you already have loads of material is to interview them and then transcribe the conversation. You don’t have to do the entire interview, you just have to pick the best parts and present that as a “Highlights from my podcast interviews.”
When you are actually writing the entire book yourself, the outline will make it a much less scary process since you are writing just a series of short essays on each line item in your outline. This is where spending time on the outline will make the entire process smoother for you. I’ve found that the Outline feature of Word or Pages is a great tool once you’ve got the hang of it.
Lastly, I suggest you cultivate the habit of writing every day for 15 – 30 minutes. It is amazing at just how quickly you will be done with a book. I tell my students to set a timer so that they don’t have to worry about it Just “set it and forget it.”
Step Four – Produce the book
I work in Office when I’m on a Windows machine and I use Pages when I’m on my Mac. Both programs are fine for the writing of a book. If you are good with design you can even lay out the book, but it requires a bit of forethought. Think of how your book is going to be distributed. Is it going to be only a PDF? Then a standard page size is fine.
If you are creating an Ebook for Kindle or Nook then formatting is crucial to set up at the outset and to adhere to it strictly – this is because the electronic and fluid nature of the reader demands it. In order for your book to be resized and to have the correct chapter links you must set this up and consistently maintain the structure or you’ll have a mess on your hands.
When you are producing a hard copy book, one that will be for sale through Amazon.com, or LULU, or Createspace, you need to be more aware of the requirements of the printers. Page sizes, gutters, formats and page numbering, along with table of contents and the various sections of a book need to be set out properly.
Over the past six books, I’ve done my own formatting, but I have also used a professional. For your first efforts and before you have a large audience I encourage you to do it yourself. This serves the dual purpose of getting it done, and teaching you what goes into making it look professional so that on your later efforts when you hire a professional, you see their value. Also having designed your own book, you’ll be able to communicate better if you’ve tried to do it yourself.
When it’s time to hire a professional I recommend using services like FIVERR.com and Craigslist to get price quotes. Remember for an electronic product like a book you don’t have to stay in your own market, you can be in Phoenix and use a graphic designer in Portland Maine. I’ve had great success going internationally for talent such as editors, artists and designers
When it comes to using images, you have a world of options today. There is the expensive world of Getty Images and their companion companies for stock images. For a less expensive option, try Creative Commons imaging licensing. This is also a legitimate way to acquire imagery which resonates with your title or book. It allows you use to images for free so long as you comply with the licensing requirements of the individual copyright holder.
I’m working on my latest book, The First Pancake Rule, and found an image in a magazine that I liked. I tracked down the photographer, Hilda V. Stellgård, and asked to license the photo and we came to an agreement – so don’t be afraid to reach out to people with art you like.
Step Five – Market the book
Once you’ve completed the writing and have a final layout for your book, in whatever format you’re using – the hard work really begins. Marketing.
The good news for you, is that as a podcaster the first and easiest place for you to start marketing is to your audience. You can either use a commercial dropped in the middle of your show, or weave the fact that you have a book available into your interviews on a regular basis. Either way is fine, and you’ll probably find that both work at different times.
The beauty of having a book is that you now have an excuse to reach out to other podcasters and ask to be on their show since you now have something new and exciting to talk about. This will help you build your own audience, and you will be of service to other podcasters.
Marketing your book can involve other not-so traditional methods like ads on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. You can also create a video book trailer and put it up on YouTube and run it before other people’s videos. I did this with my book What About Wally? Co-Parenting a Pet Wtih An Ex. It runs before pet videos and dog training shows.
Step Zero – Just Get Started
The most important step in this whole process though, is Step Zero. That’s getting started. No matter what you create, whether it is sloppy and has typos, or is edited to perfection, nothing will happen until you get started. I want to encourage you to add to your multi-media talents and get that book that is in you out.
Feel free to reach out to me at David@pisarra.com if you want to talk about your book or other project and let’s get you writing! If you need additional motivation, go to DavidPisarra.com and watch my videos on The First Pancake Rule and How To Write a Book in 10 Easy Years.