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Important Things You Should Realize Before Writing a Book

Writing a book, for most, is a task that seems impossible. Writers dream of becoming a hit author and making millions off their books—whether published through a big publishing house or through a service like Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing.

Whether you’re writing nonfiction, short stories or poetry, getting all of your thoughts down on paper can be intimidating and tough, especially if you’re not the most confident writer. So how can you overcome these barriers and write a great book?

Realize that these things take time.

Books aren’t written in a week. And even if they are, can you imagine how many waking hours it took to write that book in a week? There was probably no sleep and way too much caffeine. Most authors don’t realize, especially in their first books, that writing takes an incredible amount of time, even if you’re really good at it.

I personally have set a page goal for every day that I’m not freelancing full-time. For example, if you find yourself with a day off, try writing an entire chapter before heading out of the office (at home or at an actual office). It can take a couple of hours and it may be a rough draft or outline, but it’s progress.

Realize that it’s probably going to be bad the first time around.

It’s rare for someone to write pure literary genius on their first go. Realizing that rough drafts or even polished drafts will often be changed later is an important step that keeps you from becoming too attached to existing work. Yes, it took a lot of time to write that chapter, but if the setting or characters feel out of place or overwhelming, it could probably use some additional work.

Furthermore, it’s okay for some chapters to require a total rewrite. It’s not uncommon for writers to suddenly see a more interesting path or direction for their book that requires a bit of a redo.

Realize that you don’t need an agent to publish.

The world of eReaders like the Kindle has completely changed the ways in which an author can publish. For example, with Amazon’s KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing), authors can publish their own works for free and still earn royalties when buyers purchase through the Amazon Kindle store. Authors can make changes to their book at any time even after it’s published and can reach a huge market of Kindle readers.

Authors can choose their own price and royalties and which countries to publish in.

It’s important to remember however that KDP does not come with an editing service; as such, many of the titles available on the Kindle store are flooded with typos and grammar mistakes. It may be worth your money to have a freelance editor glance over your book just to make sure there aren’t any blaring mistakes before you publish. It may also be in the best interest of the author to have a cover image commissioned or created by a third party on sites such as Fiverr. 

Realize that you don’t need to set the price high to make money.

Most authors make the mistake in KDP of publishing a book and then setting a $10 - $15 pricetag on it. Not only is this not the best way for authors to start out, but it can also raise the risk of negative reviews left on Amazon about your book.

Instead, try pricing a book at around $2 to $3. It may seem meager, but people shopping on the Kindle bookstore may not be looking to spend $10 on an author they’ve never heard of.

Eliminate the barrier by setting prices a little lower. Depending on the percentage of royalties you choose, you may even make more money with a lower price tag. This is especially true for authors pushing out their first book; it may not pay the bills right away, but as you gain reviews and a following, you can adjust the price of your products accordingly.

Creative Commons licensed (BY) flickr photo by RowdyKittens.

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