I want to tell you about my experience of becoming an author.
I’ve started my way with an animation blog. It’s purpose was to teach people about the making-of animation. I’ve mostly used video tutorials and in-depth articles, and writing a book wasn’t even on my radar.
My misconceptions on writing a book
Here’s what I thought writing a book was like:
You sit in front of a typewriter (or your laptop) everyday for 2 years writing and writing. You then have a finished draft, which you take around town looking for a publisher. Then 2 things can happen:
- You finds a publisher, and become a successful author.
- You don’t find a publisher and waisted 2 years of your life.
These scenarios have a kernel of truth in them, but they are not a reflection of reality. This made writing a book seem impossible in my eyes.
I think many people would agree with me on this, don’t you think being a published author is a near-impossible achievement? That’s how it seemed to me.
After getting deeper into the world of online marketing I’ve learned of people who are writing really successful ebooks and self publish them on their sites. You might have never heard of them, but they make a great living selling to their audience directly on their blog/platform.
Why wouldn’t it work for me?
The great thing is about having a blog for over a year is that you have a TON of content.
All I had to do is figure out which content resonated the most with my audience, collect it and repurpose it, package it under a certain theme or subject, fill in the gaps with new content and viola – I had an ebook.
And it only took me 3 months to do it.
The process of blogging your way to an ebook is so simple and efficient it’s insane.
Hopefully you already have some sort of platform like a blog, YouTube channel, Medium account or Facebook page on which you distribute content. If not – get one.
Use this platform to publish content on a consistent basis (preferably no less than once a week) and don’t stop. The worst thing to do is stopping.
Locate the best content
Try to figure out what content works with your audience. What are they responding to the most. You can check that with Google analytics or any other tool you use to track your statistics. If you don’t track any statistics – start immediately.
My most viewed page (and still is) is an epic article I wrote called Animation Beginners Guide, which included all the things you want to know before getting in to the world of animation.
This article was so successful, it’s responsible for about 3rd of my traffic, it’s ranked number 1 in Google for “animation for beginners” and TImeOut New York wrote about it. I knew this is where I should be aiming for.
Guess what I named my ebook? Animation For Beginners.
I was already ranking high on Google for that term! Do you see what I mean when I say it’s like cheating? You check what content you have works extremely well and you base the ebook around it.
This might take a while to find. You might not find that golden piece of content yet, or maybe you haven’t produced it yet. That’s ok, these things take time. Keep at it.
Write an outline
Start writing an outline around that topic you chose. This have 2 purposes:
- Check to see if you have enough content to fill a book around the topic.
- Have a better idea what size of project you’re dealing with.
When I started the ebook it was actually a different one. It was about Making an Animated Short. After writing the outline and trying to fill in the content I quickly realized I don’t have enough to fill a whole ebook about this subject. I then decided to change it to Animation For Beginners.
A great way to come up with ideas for the outline is to collect all the content you wrote about that relates to that subject and add them in. Then you look for what pieces are missing between topics and add them.
This process makes it easier than writing a book from scratch because you already have some of the material written, which you repurpose for the book.
Write the book
You then sit down (daily) and keep writing the content for each headline of your outline. Some of the stuff you take from old content and change it to fit the book, and some stuff will be brand new writing.
The reason I like approaching it like this is that is feels more like writing blog posts than a book, which makes it less frightening.
After a few months – you’ll have a book.
How is my book doing?
It’s pretty amazing to have a book published. Even if it’s self published.
I’m now selling it on both Amazon and iBooks, in addition to my own site, and it feels pretty awesome.
One of the most amazing things about self publishing is something many people don’t really think about. The revenue share.
I don’t know if you know this, but writers get a very small amount of the earnings from each book. A VERY small amount. Almost non existent. This means that they need to sell a ton of copies to make good money from it. In fact, many writers have other income streams like teaching, lectures, speaking gigs and freelance writing for papers and magazines.
I felt that first hand after posting my eBook on Amazon. The books costs $27 and I get about a third of it. That’s insane.
But when people buy it on my site, do you know how much I get out of the $27? $25.4. I pay a tiny processing fee and that’s it.
So why even bother publishing on Amazon too? Well, I didn’t at first, but I figured it could only get me more exposure, and it’s not like the people who find my book on Amazon were to necessarily stumble upon my site as well.
Besides, there’s something fun about having a book on Amazon, isn’t it?