Last Updated on by Michael Brockbank
Roughly 30 years ago, having your name on the spine of a book was considered quite an illustrious accomplishment. Thanks to the power of technology, it’s quite easy for anyone to write and publish a book nowadays. However, not all of them are best sellers.
In reality, anyone can write and publish a book on sites like Amazon. You could go so far as to sell eBooks from your own website and not worry about adhering to content restrictions.
But will it be a good book?
Well, that will depend on whether you’re able to connect with your audience. Writing a book is similar to building a successful blog. It’s all about how you engage the reader and if you can keep them coming back for more.
In the case of a book, it’s about binge-reading chapters.
Can Anyone Write and Publish a Book?
In today’s technology-driven world, virtually anyone can write and/or publish a book. As long as you have somewhat of a vague idea, all it takes is a bit of time to get something on the virtual shelves of Amazon.
In fact, there are several ways you can get going right now without a college education or even having a firm grasp of grammar and spelling. Though, these would be of great benefit to pushing out something people want to read.
Why is it so easy to get a book published today?
Technology at Your Disposal
There is an app for just about everything. Don’t know the intricate workings of grammar? Use Grammarly to help write your book. Need some ideas about what to write? Check out one of many plot generators.
You can even create your own eBook cover art simply using the free version of Canva.
Nearly every aspect of writing and publishing a book can be addressed with Internet-based tools. All it takes is for you to decide which one is best for your needs.
Ghostwriters and Freelancers
You don’t need to write the book yourself. It doesn’t take much to find ghostwriters and freelancers to help you put together a story that you like.
In the past, I’ve been asked a couple of times to ghostwrite for someone. Though, I turned them down because they weren’t willing to pay what I’m worth.
You gotta know your value.
In any case, you can find professional writers all over social media, freelancing websites like Fiverr, or using job board sites. But keep in mind, you get what you pay for in most cases.
Write a Blog, Publish a Book
Have a blog that you’ve been working on for a couple of years? You can easily convert that content into an eBook within minutes.
For instance, you can use certain plugins with WordPress to pick and choose what blog posts you want as “chapters” in your book. After a few clicks of the mouse, you’ll have a PDF or ePUB file immediately ready for eReaders.
You can go so far as to submit those files to Amazon and have a printed copy of your book.
Costs Nothing But Time to Get Started
I was able to write and publish my first book, A Freelancer’s Tale, without spending a single dime. Though, I really should invest something into marketing so I can get it in front of more people.
My point is that you technically can publish your novel for free. While there are some things that are so much better if you pay, such as editing and cover design, it’s not an absolute necessity to publish the book.
Going the self-publishing-route can help get your foot in the door while giving you time to save up for those extra expenses. Then again, you could inadvertently publish something riddled with issues, which can earn you a bad reputation.
8 Things You Need to Write and Publish a GOOD Book
You can see just how easy it is to immediately get yourself started as an author. But what about writing a book that is well-received? Well, that takes a bit more work on your part.
Just because you hammer out an 80,000-word story doesn’t mean readers are going to flock to the Amazon page. There’s a bit more involved if you want to put out something that people want to buy and share with family.
So, what goes into crafting a good book that will fly off the shelves?
1. Have a Great Idea for the Story
It all starts with having an idea for your story that you feel people will want to read. Of course, a lot of this centers around your style as a writer and what your target audience expects.
This aspect is one of the things that make blogging and writing books similar. Your audience is who will drive a book’s success. If it’s not what they expected, it won’t perform nearly as well.
Also, keep in mind that unique topics are ideal. Sure, there are plenty of tropes that seem to perform relatively well. But something no one has read before is far more memorable.
2. The Ability to Articulate and Deliver a Gripping Tale
To write and publish a good book, you need to be able to engage your audience right off the bat. If you can craft a “real page-turner,” then you can easily build a strong and dedicated fan-base.
That’s not as easy to do, especially if you’re relatively new to writing. And what you think is a page-turner may be far different from your audience.
The best you can do is try to deliver a story that keeps the reader focused on the book for extended periods of time. This comes down to honing your style and skills as a writer. It’s not something that is going to happen overnight.
3. A Proper Handle of Spelling and Grammar
While writing, having a solid grasp of spelling and grammar is very beneficial. However, you can still spell everything correctly but use the wrong word to describe the storyline.
If you read my earlier version of VII, you’ll see all kinds of properly-spelled words that are incorrect.
Luckily, tools like Grammarly or Pro Writing Aid can help reduce the embarrassment of publishing a jumbled mess of text. In any case, you need to have a good handle of actually writing something that is legible.
4. Time to Write and Publish the Book
Do you have time set aside to write your book? The amount of time you’ll spend every day depends on what kind of time you can free up. And it’s much harder when you have children, go to school, and balance a full-time job.
In my case, I have a full day of clients, blogs, and videos to address. So, I set blocks of time in Asana to make sure I can get everything I need to do in a timely manner.
Yet, you don’t want to rush a book. It’s better to take your time for something amazing than to push something out that was incomplete.
5. A Good Editor (semi-optional)
Perhaps the most difficult part of publishing a book, aside from marketing, is editing the manuscript. This is when you polish up the book and get it ready for the masses.
Finding a good editor could mean the difference between an amazingly structured novel and a complete flop.
The reason I say finding an editor is “semi-optional” is because of how the world works today. You can still put out a poorly-written, error-ridden novel and still be ultra-successful with your target audience.
Or, you and a friend could spend a month pouring over the details and polish it up to a point where it looks and reads well.
Though, this usually only works when you self-publishing your novel. Agents and publishing houses will scoff at trying to hand something over that they think is a horrific mess.
6. Appealing Cover Art
You’ve probably heard the saying, “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” And while that is a good mantra for a reader, it’s not the reality of gaining an audience. Especially if you sell your manuscript as an eBook on sites like Amazon.
People are often quick to judge virtually anything based on nothing more than visual appeal. It’s human nature, and you shouldn’t underestimate the impact of graphic design.
Now, I’m not saying that you need to hire someone with a BA in Visual Arts. But you do need a cover that relates to the storyline and is attractive to someone just browsing for something new to read.
7. A Strong Marketing Campaign
The reason why a lot of books don’t sell more copies is because of a poor marketing campaign. After all, no one is going to buy the book if they don’t know it exists.
If you go the traditional route to write and publish your book, agents and publishing houses do the legwork for you. If you’re self-publishing, it’s all on your shoulders. And it can be an extremely difficult process.
Don’t assume that simply broadcasting it on social media is going to earn you a ton of sales.
8. Understanding What “First Draft” Means
One of the best tips I can give any writer, whether you’re a blogger or an author, is to understand how a first draft works. You’re not going to write the book you’ll publish in the first round.
In other words, don’t expect your manuscript to be perfect.
Too many people will get hung up trying to craft the best story possible before the editing process begins. That’s what the editing process entails: editing the book.
Write the story and then go back to polish it up. One of the reasons why it’s important to get the story written is to help drive self-confidence and motivation. Don’t get stalled on making it perfect right from the start.
Self-Publishing vs Traditional Publishing
Today, there are two distinct ways to publish your book: traditional and self-publishing. However, self-publishing could also mean using a business that gets your book out to the masses while you pay out of pocket.
My sister, Angela Miller, had a terrible experience with her self-publishing company.
For me, self-publishing means everything I need, I do on my own. This also means that it’s an uphill battle the moment I finish writing the book.
In any case, let’s take a look at the two and see which is better for your needs.
Writing to Self-Publish Your Book
Everything you need to write and publish your book is available at your fingertips. Everything from the best writing apps to add campaigns can be set up in very little time.
Although every aspect is up to you or the company you use, self-publishing can be quite rewarding when done right.
Benefits of Self-Publishing
- Quicker to get your book published and available to read
- Can be done without spending money
- Many platforms use print-on-demand services (no up-front cash for prints)
- Easy to sell directly from your website
- No need to query or please agents
Writing for Traditional Publishing Methods
Going the traditional route to publish your book is one that many aspiring authors attempt. Although it’s much more difficult to publish your manuscript with a highly-respected publishing house, the benefits are worth the effort.
Don’t be discouraged by the hoops you’ll have to jump through to make agents and publishers happy.
Benefits of Traditional Publishing
- Is considered more prestigious by many readers
- Marketing and distribution are done for you
- Usually has a higher royalty pay-out
- Ensures the quality of your book is superior
- Essentially, you only worry about writing and editing
Should You Publish Low-Content Books?
A low-content book is something like notebooks, coloring books, crossword puzzles, day planners, or any other layout that has fewer than 500 words. And the Internet is saturated with videos and blogs about how you can make money with low-content books.
The downside to that is the actual saturation of the market. Because everyone is trying to publish their own low-content books as it is quite easy to do, yours can easily be buried deep within a massive online list.
Sure, good marketing can help get your book seen by more people. But be aware of the sheer competition that you’ll face for getting a few sales.
Now, I’m not putting down low-content books in general. In fact, I plan on publishing a few of my own just to experience the process and how well it works. Just keep in mind that you’ll need to find a way to set yours apart.
A lot of people have made a great deal of money with these types of books.
Why Do Some Think it’s Hard to Write and Publish a Book?
Writing a book is actually the easiest part of the entire process. It’s editing to make it a good book and marketing that makes the process difficult.
From those whom I’ve met, though, a lot of folks put too much emphasis on writing a best seller from their first draft. In reality, this is exceptionally rare.
Ask any successful author if they’ve ever had a first draft hit the best-seller lists.
It takes a great deal of effort to put out a good novel that people talk about in forums. But all of that effort starts well after you’ve written the first draft.
Then, you’ll spend time polishing up the story, fleshing out the plot, removing sub-plots that didn’t go anywhere, sprucing up the dialogue, and a whole lot more. As I said earlier, the novel you’re starting right now is not the one you’ll publish.
The point is that a lot of people get in their own way because of a misconception of instant success. Or, they think it’s too overwhelming to put in the extensive work to self-publish.
In the end, writing a good book is only as difficult as you make it. Especially when you consider all of the self-publishing writing tools at your disposal nowadays.
Should You Write and Publish Your Book?
A lot of us will dream about being great authors. But only a fraction will put in the effort to explore the possibility. Everyone who desires a chance to see what they can become should take those steps.
You’ll never know what you can do until you actually put in the effort to try. Who knows, you could write something that becomes a cult classic in 10 years.
Think of it this way; even the worst books of all time had buyers and readers. Some of which were turned into movies and will be remembered for decades to come.
- Days from Breaking Annual Traffic Record, How Did I Do It? - December 1, 2023
- What is Reedsy Discovery and Will it Help Publish Your Book? - November 9, 2023
- Are You a Pantser or a Plotter (Planner)? Does it Really Matter? - October 27, 2023