Four years, two dozen drafts, and a ton of mistakes, I became an indie publisher on Amazon when over 1200 copies sold of my own book - “My Blue Front Door.”
Write small, think big.
I will be perfectly honest, I had not planned to publish at first. I had a full-time job and was busy hunting for the perfect home to make wheelchair accessible. A long-time dream of mine. But I had not expected the unconscious bias of realtors, inability to get into the homes, and much more. To cope, I started to write a daily log of my successes and frustrations.
Before I knew it, I had written quite a lot. I was encouraged by family and friends to share the content. As I read it, it went from angry rants to borderline inspirational porn. I had no desire for either to get out in the world. The writing needed a simple purpose.
I researched what books were out on the market for disability housing. The books started from the point of already owning a home and then how to make it accessible. None of the books addressed how to become a homeowner with a disability in the first place. What other materials I found on the internet were not very encouraging. This opened my eyes that the idea of homeownership for the disability community was not being addressed. Hence, by writing from the perspective of becoming a homeowner, I found a profound purpose for the book.
Progress is more important than perfection Even in the best circumstances, writing is an uphill battle. While many failed authors believe that life events are to blame for not finishing, that's only part of the reason. The truth is, you are your own biggest critic and time consumer. You will need to be realistic about how many pages per week you can write. The last thing you want to do is to overshoot the amount of progress you believe you can do. Remember, progress is only progressing if each page written builds upon each other.
Finally, you will be tempted to ensure that every page is completely polished. It sounds like a good idea. But its more like cleaning the refrigerator when you should be cleaning the toilet. You need to get your thoughts down on paper first or you will lose them.
Get the right tools and help You may be inclined to pull out paper and pen to start writing immediately or using Microsoft Word. That's what I started doing but found it difficult to shuffle chapters around when you need to reorganize. Therefore, I would recommend buying Scriviner software. Scriviner, while not the most user-friendly at first, provides you the ability to easily save research. It also allows you to create index cards to easily reorganize sections. But the best part is that the program will provide the right page format that you will need to publish.
No matter how well you edit your manuscript, you need to have someone else look it over. Fiverr was my one-stop-shop in getting help with editing and more. Fiverr is a website to hire editors, writers, and graphic designers. I used this website to hire an editor and a graphic designer to design my book cover.
Opportunity over Profits
Making money from your book may seem like the ultimate goal. However, a book can be a great springboard into a small business. Why? A book, whether you self publishes or not, gives you credibility about your topic. For me, my book has led to a small side business inaccessible real estate business and advocacy for independent living. I have created a blog, a podcast (Accessibility Is Home), and now I am selling my first wheelchair-accessible home. By being able to direct realtors, architects, and house hunters to my book is far more effective than any business card.
Image credit: My own design