Updated: Nov 6, 2020
Honored and grateful to share, "HELP THEM UP" just sold it's 100th copy on Amazon!
14 steps to write a self-published book on Amazon KDP
First off, I'm sorry for the corny title but thought this was the only day of the year I could use that joke, and it was perfect timing, so here we are :)
I've had a few people reach out about the process of writing my book, "HELP THEM UP".
The book started as a passion project and turned into something that I truly believed could add value to others. If the book helps one person, writing it was worth it to me. On June 4th, 2020, I told my twin brother, Ben, "I am going to write a basketball leadership book" and he replied with a surprised look on his face, "Ok. Good luck with that. Let me know if you need any help!" He walked away and my heart began beating very fast! I knew if I told Ben I would do something, I would follow through and do it. However, it was a long road ahead before the book was released on October 22, 2020.
Here is my step by step breakdown (feel free to reach out if you want more in depth information!)
1. Your PURPOSE for writing the book, needs to be STRONG.
-This book was dedicated to my dad and written in his honor. It was easy to start...not easy to put the work in, day in and day out, to finish it. Thinking about him gave me a lot of strength and helped me stay patient and focused.
2. IDEA - what information/story do you want to write about?
-I have been doing research for the past 8 years learning about championship cultures not knowing it would lead to a book...but I'm very grateful that it did.
3. TIME & MONEY- you have to be willing to invest your time writing your book. We all are given the same 24 hours in the day.. how are you managing every precious second? How much money do you have in your budget to pay for professional services to assist in making the best book possible?
4. MANUSCRIPT - (as a first time writer, I learned that word just means the document of your book!) I wrote my manuscript in google drive so it saved automatically. I asked family and friends who I trusted to read my final draft. A strengths finder test once shared with me that I am an "includer". Because of that, I asked a lot of people to read my manuscript which grew in length from 20 to 50 to 80 pages (the final book is 129 pages). I have great people in my life and appreciated them adding their insights which made the book so much better. It was 100% a team effort and collaboration to get the book done, which I loved, because it gave me a reason to talk to my favorite people!
TESTIMONIALS - I also asked that same group of friends/family to pick their favorite potential "titles" and "subtitles" from a list I sent for the book. Along with that, you need to think about asking people in the genre/field you are writing about to write testimonials. I was extremely fortunate to receive a few sentences each from some very well respected people in coaching and leadership. Think about what your paragraph on the outside backcover is going to say and how you will grab someone's attention from the first sentence!
6. SELF-PUBSLISHED! How do you want to publish it? I chose to self-publish through Amazon KDP which requires a few steps after you make your free account. The other option is to go through the "traditional publishing" route where they read some of your book and decide if they want to work with you (I don't know much about this!) Amazon KDP customer support answered all of my questions...and I asked a lot. They call you back almost immediately after you type in your phone # on the support page and they provide a ton of videos to help teach you the process as well.
7. EDITOR - After you have a finished product, you need to hire a professional to take an extensive look at your manuscript. 2,911 revisions later...my FIRST ROUND of edits was done. Money well spent!!! I made the necessary changes and after a few more rounds, they sent me the polished version of "HELP THEM UP". A family friend connected me with a self-publishing company that edited my book. It took about a month for them to review it. The money I invested in the editing was definitely worth it!
8. FRONT/BACK COVER - The front cover design of the book is incredibly important! Fortunately, I have a lot of books in my house. I researched books in my genre online and came up with a few unique ideas. HOWEVER, I cannot take credit for the phenomenal job my cover designer did. I connected with him through a website, that has graphic designers that you can reach out too, and they will collaborate with you. I shared my ideas of what I wanted and he created a book cover that embodied what it means to be a great teammate/leader. I really wanted the colors yellow and orange. Yellow represents optimism and orange symbolizes joy, enthusiasm and encouragement. Those are the "positive vibes", as I like to refer to those, that I wanted this book to convey with the cover.
9. FORMATTING - The publishing company that edited my book offers full-service to do everything that's needed for the book, but it was not in my budget. I used another website and found someone who had experience with Amazon KDP formatting for the paperback and e-book. This is the person who can add a little swag to the inside while also making it look very professional with font, spacing, etc. My twin brother Ben added some sweet diagrams so shoutout to him for that!
10. THANK YOU section - This is the part where you can give shoutouts to people who helped you along the way. I am very grateful to have met so many amazing people in my life that share similar values and beliefs and enjoyed including them!
11. RESEARCH - the internet helped me immensely! Google & YouTube were two of my closest friends for the months I spent writing the book. SO many people have gone through the writing and publishing process and offer so much helpful information...for FREE!
12. MENTOR - I felt LOST. Through my research, I came across a YouTube video. I listened to the video and learned that the guest being interviewed was a woman who had written not one, but three books! She also worked with sports teams to help improve individual and team performance which is what I wanted to do. I reached out to her and she walked me through the process. At a time when I truly needed someone to "help me up" and lead me in the right direction, she graciously stepped up, and the rest is history.
13. ACCOUNTABILITY TEAM - As I mentioned, I had a lot of people support me through this book journey. Almost every week, I would have at least one person ask me,"how is the book going?" which encouraged me to keep pushing forward.
14. AMAZON - you made it...but wait! You think you have done it. You made it through the gauntlet of finally publishing your book and then you get asked a ton of questions: trim size? (I went with 6x9), white or cream paper (cream - easier on the eyes to read), price of book (compared to other books in my genre) and a few other things. You can order physical author copies of your book before you publish it to amazon buyers. While having the book in my hand and reading it out loud, I discovered I wanted to say things a little differently. I even gave the paperback proof copy to a friend to read and he offered some great insight. I ordered 3 different shipments of author copies over a few weeks, before I felt confident to publish it. Having the book in my hand, the first time, was a MOMENT that I will remember for a long time, because my mom and I opened it together!
Lastly, I am humbled to share that “HELP THEM UP” sold it's 100th copy through Amazon, exactly a week after it was published! I am overwhelmed with gratitude for everyone that has supported me and very excited to hear everyones feedback.
Never underestimate the power of positive energy, kind words, and a smile!
Amazon Book Link: