lessons from publishing my first book

It’s really nice to get your own book published, and especially to see it in print. You can say, “I created this.” If I were to do it again, here are a couple of things I would like to do differently.

First, I would like to get readers and reviews before I publish. Without reviews, you’re not going to sell many books online. A few friends and family are about the only buyers you can expect, and you can’t make a living from that. You can get legitimate editorial reviews for about $400. This also gives you a nice blurb you can put on the back of your book, in case people are buying from a bookstore. I’ve read about asking people you know to post reviews to Amazon as soon your book is published. Of course, you would need to give them a copy and time to read it first. Seems like a very good idea…. Now, my first book is rather niche. They say you should determine your audience first. I don’t know exactly who they are, but they’re out there. Can you hear me…?

I know how I react when I see something online with no reviews. I’m likely to pass it up. Is it because it’s no good? Of course not, but I just don’t know.

Second, don’t rush the release. I’m good at spotting errors in other peoples’ work. By the time I finished my book, I had edited and gone through the text so many times as to go “cross-eyed.” It’s probably best to set it aside for a few days and come back to it.

Granted, I wrote the rough draft in 4 weeks, took a break, and did heavy copy editing, more content generation, proofreading, interior layout, cover design, and everything else in about 4 more weeks. There’s a nice page of errata and notes on opcodebook.com, to set straight some of the errors from v1.0 of the book (now on v1.3). You might think 8 weeks is a short time, and I’d agree, but I had been working on the subject (the langur language) for a long time.

So, it is possible to write and publish your own book relatively quickly. It’s also relatively inexpensive with print-on-demand, but that’s a story for another day.