Learn why I’m back to writing and publishing books, what holding my first printed book was like, what self-publishing is all about, and whether it’s still worth it in 2023.
Tune into the episode or read the transcript below.
- Why I stopped selling my books years ago
- What made me come back to writing and publishing books
- The first steps I took
- The story of my first paperback
- What the first 2 books I ever wrote are about
- What makes non-fiction books easy to write
- The author who inspired me to offer paperbacks
- What I’m publishing next
- Are books profitable and is self-publishing the way to go?
- My best advice if you want to write a book
Welcome back to the show. This and some of the next episodes will be about a topic I haven’t covered on the podcast yet, and of course, it’s about what I’ve been working on lately. We’re all about sharing our journey here and the mistakes and lessons that go with it.
I’m back to publishing books. I’m saying back to because a few years ago I had more than 10 eBooks that were sold on Amazon and any other big publishing platform. I’m talking about non-fiction books, only in digital form, and in the self-help niche.
Writing has always been my thing and while publishing articles on the blog consistently for 10 years now, it made sense that I also wrote a book or a few. The first one was written and published in 2014, and then 2 or 3 more every next year.
At some point I was making $100 or so per month solely from books. Each costs just a few dollars as it’s an eBook and these are just the prices in the industry, but also you only earn royalties, not the full amount. So I had regular sales and the books were another way to grow my brand, have presence on more platforms, appear in front of new audiences, be able to serve readers and offer my content in a different format, and also call myself a published author.
These are the main benefits of publishing your own book so if you’ve been thinking about it for some time now, I can’t wait to encourage you to do it and share some practical tips in this and the next episodes.
Why I stopped selling my books years ago
Now, you might be wondering why I stopped offering my books. In the last years, I entered the course industry and focused mostly on that. I am teaching mostly business. The book royalties were a small part of my income and because of that and many other little things I was doing online but which still took my attention and needed maintenance and tracking, I felt like I was all over the place.
I wanted to simplify my business, cut anything that’s not quality enough and which doesn’t feel aligned, leave old things behind and be known for offering business programs, not self-help books.
So with those goals in mind, I removed my books from Amazon and all the other places I was selling them on, deleted my author pages and any mentions on my blog about the books, and forgot about it.
Why I want to be an author again
But my business journey has taken another direction. I can’t stop thinking and talking about personal development, courses aren’t easy to sell and they haven’t become my main income stream, and I was called to go back to where it all began – writing and blogging.
The last 3 months have been a reflective period for me and one where I look for direction and find myself and my place in the online business industry again. I felt called to come to what has always been my original assignment – being an author and writing and publishing books on both personal development and business.
I got excited and started taking all the steps. My creativity got back, I came up with plenty of ideas on what to do first, how to build my presence as an author again, where to publish and what, what to write later this year, and so on. And a lot has been happening behind the scenes in the last few weeks.
My first paperback
I remember thinking one day how cool it would be to hold a paperback version of one of my books. Then I wondered why I only published them as eBooks once and never went for physical copies. The answer is that I didn’t believe I was worthy of it and simply didn’t give myself permission.
Now things are different.
Shortly after having this thought and imagining holding a copy of my first ever book and feeling how it would feel (which is a big part of manifestation), I got to action.
I went back to the original manuscript, proofread it and made changes. I did my research to see what’s changed about Amazon. Then went through the formatting rules for both eBooks and paperbacks, redid the whole formatting of the book and created sort of a workflow that I’d follow for every next one so I don’t need to look everything up again.
During that time, I also signed up for KDP again, which is Amazon’s publishing platform, and set up my profile.
I uploaded the book and it got approved. Then I went ahead and created the book cover and uploaded the same manuscript for a paperback. I ordered an author copy and it arrived in 2 weeks or so.
So there I was. Holding a beautiful, physical copy of a book I wrote back in 2014. I gotta say it’s written very simply but I didn’t wanna make big changes to it as it represents who I was back them. My level of English was different, I was still living back in my home country and had no idea where I would be today. But my vision existed and some things have remained the same, which made me feel really grateful.
The first 2 books I ever wrote
Reading a book you wrote a long time ago is a very gratifying practice. It’s like you’re talking to a past version of yourself and loving it, knowing things were exactly what they were supposed to, and that’s how they are now, different but just perfect.
That book is called The Tao of Happiness and perfectly depicts what I was going through and experiencing back then, and the mental tools that helped me find peace in the present moment, find joy even though my reality wasn’t what I wanted it to be, and slow down and enjoy my days.
That’s exactly what I did. I created positivity from within, I found harmony, and I became happy.
In the book, I use the ancient wisdom of Taoism, Zen and Minimalism to help you stop resisting happiness and stop looking for it, only to find it’s been here all along, and to embrace it. It’s a book about going with the flow, gratitude, compassion, letting go, and contentment.
Then I went ahead and did the same with the second book I ever published, called This Moment. It’s about letting go of what was and will be so you can find contentment in the present moment.
I wrote it when I realized we create our own suffering by reliving past situations and constantly worrying about the future or living in ideals. So inside the book, I help you release all that so you can focus on the only thing you posses and can enjoy – this moment.
It will help you simplify, stop overthinking, be fully present and live an effortless life.
As you can see, these 2 books are on similar topics. That shows the period I was in back in 2014 and 2015 when they were written. These are the things I was working on and only then did I move onto topics like business, money mindset, manifestation, and anything else that I’m into today. But first, it was the simplest beliefs that helped me find joy in my days and be truly thankful for all that was around me.
So, about this second book, I’m waiting for the paperback to arrive now, which means it’s already published but the very final step is to see if everything appears correctly on the physical copy. I made some changes to the formatting this time based on what I thought could be improved after having the first book.
What makes non-fiction books easy to write
It sounds too quick and easy now but before you imagine some huge books containing hundreds of thousands of words and wonder how I do this, let me clarify something.
Non-fiction books are short and that’s what makes them easy to write. They are around 20-25K words, and with the formatting I used together with all the page breaks (meaning that the front matter contains a few pages, each chapter starts on a new page and so on), this turns into a 100-page book.
So it’s a small one. And I already had the manuscript, even formatted and edited, I just needed to proofread it one more time and see the current requirements of Amazon.
I consider this my a nice way to ease back into the self-publishing industry. When I outline and write a new book though, the process will be much longer, of course.
But now I’m also doing the things that need to be done once and creating systems.
I learned all I needed about publishing on Amazon and made decisions on what other platforms I want my books to be sold on. I learned about the differences between eBooks and paperbacks, played a lot with the cover design, followed plenty of requirements, chose book size and learned many fancy terms that only apply to paperbacks, and which I never needed to know before.
But I just love books so that made this whole experience really fun.
The author that inspired me to offer paperbacks
I just remembered another reason why I quickly decided to republish my books and be an author again, and why everything fall into place so quickly.
I’ve been reading more recently and 3 books that I now have are by Richard Dotts, who is one of the big manifestation teachers and a bestselling author.
The first book by him that I got was 100 pages, and written simply. It reminded me of how I write actually, and as his topics are exactly what I love the most too, I could imagine creating something similar.
I finished it quickly and got just 1 to 3 big ideas from it, but which were game-changing if applied correctly and consistently.
That’s when it hit me – short books also deserve to be offered in paperback format. With Kindle Unlimited, many people get that same book for free. Or you can just buy it for a few dollars and read it online.
But I order physical copies and I underline when I read, it’s just my thing. I also love keeping the book and coming back to it. And if I love it, so do many others, even in times like now where most reading is done online.
So you don’t need to create a 300-page book filled with research, teach new and complex concepts on every page, and aim at making it a bestseller.
Instead, you can cover one small part of what you teach, write simply, get to 15K-30K words, format it well, and publish it. It’s then more affordable and the paperback lovers will have an option.
Plus, offering it as paperback is a click away. You can use the same manuscript as for the eBook, you just need to get the front and back cover right.
So that’s the story of how I got inspired to publish books again and even tried physical copies.
Read also: Interview with MENSA Member, Business Coach and Bestselling Author Catherine B. Roy
Next, I have a plan to publish 2 more of the books I already wrote years ago. I did a lot of thinking as to which ones are worthy of being published and quality enough and what can actually be valuable to readers.
I won’t be writing new ones just yet but I have ideas on what they will be. It’s usually based on what topic has had such a strong influence in my life that I learned a lot about it, practiced what I learned and changed the situation and myself as a result.
It’s only when I’ve gained experience and have reflected on everything that I can write a book about it. That’s also when I’ve created step by step processes that might help you if you’re going through something similar, and have used strategies and mindset shifts that will make it all easier.
I never published business books though but that’s the next logical step. I already have ideas for a few and it won’t be that much work as it’s not new content. It’s what I teach inside my courses and what I have so much experience with, that it makes total sense to repurpose that content and turn it into books.
These projects will happen later this year, though, as I wanna take my time with each book and actually launch it and create some buzz around it.
Now with my existing ones it’s a different case as I’m republishing old ones and using them as a way to practice the art of self-publishing. Which means for the rest of the year I can focus on creating the business books as well as writing new ones, and won’t worry about what the best margin size for printed books is, what the front matter of a book includes to be professional enough or what the ideal dimensions for a cover are so it appears correctly when printed.
So that’s what I’ve been up to lately. If you have any questions about self-publishing from here on, feel free to ask me of course.
Are books profitable and is self-publishing the way to go?
You might be wondering if books are a good income source. Well I wouldn’t recommend you rely only on that, but it can be a side income.
We’re talking about low-priced products here, though, so to actually earn a lot, you’ll need to sell a lot. That may require paid ads on socials, running a marketing campaign when launching, and hiring people to help. What I’m doing is the simpler approach and the benefits here are that this grows your brand in an interesting way.
Many people are blogging but not many dare to publish books. You are now known as a published author and people can find you through your books or contact you because of them.
Also, you add one more thing to your product suite, something really affordable but which can help your audience so much. So you get to make people happy and serve them, especially those who can’t afford a course or coaching but still want to learn more from you.
If you create a lot of content online but haven’t offered a paid product yet, this can be a great start as long as writing is your thing.
Being on big platforms such as Amazon has its benefits. You get an author page, and you get access to all the people who search for books directly there. Also, all the distribution is handled by them. You just set up your profile, upload your manuscript, add a description and pricing, and your book lives there forever.
When someone buys, that’s passive income for you, and every reader can then turn into a dedicated follower who later invests in something else you offer.
So books still sell. Even though there are so many published books, this isn’t a reason not to add yours to them. And while self-publishing might require you to do all the work and handle every single aspect of writing, editing, publishing and marketing a book, I still think it’s worth it.
Self-publishing is the way to go for 97% of authors, so it’s totally the norm now. There are wonderful tools to use and your book can still become a bestseller.
It’s easier than ever to publish a book now.
In fact, I was surprised to see how much things have improved in the industry since the last time I had profiles on different publishing platforms. Now it’s much simpler.
Amazon KDP’s process for signing up as a new author is seamless, setting up the legal and financial aspects is a no-brainer. They have a cover creator tool that you can use directly on their site, which is how I create the back cover and the spine of the book.
I was also happy to see how easy every next step is. They guide you through what’s next. Setting up the price takes seconds and you can immediately see the exact royalties you get per book for the different marketplaces, meaning for different counties.
The paperback is a click away after the eBook. Ordering an author copy is another click away. They also have some cool ways to promote the book and many other features that I won’t even get into now.
My point is that even if you’re totally new to this, you will get it and will follow the steps correctly simply because it’s set up nicely. When I first published my books back in the days, things weren’t that clear.
My best advice if you want to write a book
One final thing I wanna say is this: my best advice for you is that if you have a desire in you to write a book on a specific topic and publish it, go for it. All the income opportunities and the other benefits I mentioned can’t come close to this.
When there’s a desire in your heart, it was put there for a reason. And the most beautiful visions are ones that contain passion, mission, serving others, and getting paid.
For example, those books I wanted to republish now and the new ones I have in mind, aren’t just something I plan strategically. It’s something I know I’m meant to be doing, it’s what excites me and lets me write or edit or do other activities related to it for hours and hours while forgetting about the rest of the world.
The original idea for all this came exactly at 3 am during one sleepless night. If you’re a creator of any kind, you might know what I’m talking about.
Once inspiration hits, once you have that inner knowing and know for sure what the next step is, everything else is less important. It doesn’t matter how much the technical aspect of this scares you, it doesn’t matter if you feel imposter syndrome, it doesn’t matter that no one in your life will take it seriously, and it doesn’t matter if you’ll make a living out of it.
The challenges and the benefits are neutral compared to the original idea and knowing why you have to do what you want to do.
It’s all about the deeper why. And by the way, that’s exactly what the third book I’m republishing is about.
It’s called Finding The 1 Thing You Were Born to Do and it’s your guide to finding your true calling among so many other interests and daily activities; finding meaning in your days by doing work you love; monetizing your passion and having the ultimate freedom and independence by making money thanks to what you enjoy the most.
As you might know, this is the path I’ve chosen in my life and that brought me so much joy and the lifestyle of my dreams.
So the book describes my journey in detail and offers you practical advice on how to do the same. Your calling is calling you and you won’t feel satisfied until you uncover it and act upon it.
That book just had to be written back in 2016. It was something I had to share with the world and I deeply care about helping as many people as possible find their one thing and turn it into their career. As soon as I review the printed version of This Moment, I will move onto publishing The 1 Thing book, so stay tuned.