How I published a book in 34 days for under $100

How I Published a

“The profession of book writing makes horse racing seem like a solid, stable business.” ~ John Steinbeck

On 24 September 2015 I got back the transcripts for a weight loss video series I created called, Primitive Dave’s Crazy Ass Weight Loss Tips. This is the free weight loss program I put together to help people get some real, permanent weight loss results. I decided to get transcripts of the videos made because I realized I was leaving out the hearing impaired. When I got them back I saw that the word count was about 1,000 words more than my first book, The Complete Guide to Primitive Eating. Right then and there, I realized I had another book. So, I put my original second book, Mira!, on hold and got to work.

The first step was to clean each tip and make them into chapters. This was the hardest part. The audio from a video does not transfer very well to written word. I had to remove parts that were visually relevant and had take out the audible pauses. The transcriber took out all the “umms” so, I didn’t have to worry about them. Good thing too, because I have a problem saying “umm.” Also, I had no idea how much I use the word, “alright.” You’d be surprised how much time it takes to highlight a word and hit delete, when you have to do it about a million times. After I pushed through and got all the chapters rewritten, I wrote three more chapters all in one night. This was the was easy and made me realize that transcribing audio is not easier than writing from scratch.

Once I had all the content written it was time to start spending money and hire people to do all the work I couldn’t do. I decided to do a little experiment and have all the work done via fiver.com. I highly recommend using this website if you are on a tight budget but I have to admit, even when I’m rich, I may still use fiverr. You literally have access to some of the most talented people in the world right at your fingertips. Unfortunately, in some cases, you get what you pay for. I give examples of this below.

“No Workout” graphic: $15. In order to submit my request for a book cover, I had to have a picture. I searched my personal DSCF2436photo bank but didn’t find anything I liked. I got on social media and made a request for some ideas. This didn’t workout so well. The best idea I got was me naked eating bacon. Obviously, me naked would not sell many books but I did like the bacon idea so, I took some pictures of me with a piece of bacon. They didn’t work out for the front cover but one did make the cut for the back.

I was also struggling with the title. I was going to call it The Crazy Ass Weight Loss Book but wasn’t 100% about it. Of course, I couldn’t get the book cover made without a title so I had to come up with a title fast, if I wanted to make my 31 October deadline. One of the original tips was, Don’t work out so much. I mistakingly titled this chapter Stop Working Out somewhere in the process and when I went to correct it, I realize that would make a great title for the book. With NO_WORK_OUT_Rightthe new title I knew exactly what I wanted on the cover, a “No Workout” graphic.

I submitted my idea and sent some examples to a designer in the UK. The cost was $5. Because I was kind of picky and kept sending the graphic back for revisions when I got the final product, I decided to tip her $10.

Book cover: $5. With my new title and the perfect photo, I submitted my request for the book cover to my man, Ravi, in India who designed the book cover for Mira!. The cover came back four days later and was perfect. No revisions needed.

3D book graphic: $5. The same time I requested the book cover design I went ahead and requested a 3D graphic of the book. They both came back the same day.

First proofreading: $15. On the 26th of October I sent the manuscript off to someone in U.S. who I thought would produce a ready to publish copy of the book. I got the proofread copy back three days later and when I read through it, I found way too many errors. I had a feeling it may have been too good to be true. Proofreading can cost up to $4.00 a page. In this case, I got what I paid for.

Second proofreading: $15. It was now 29 October. I had to find someone to proofread my manuscript and get it back to me ASAP so I could then send it to someone to format it for kindle. I didn’t have time to mess around. I found someone in India who would do it for the same price. You’d think I would have learned my lesson but $15 goes a lot further in India than it does in The United States. On the morning of 2 November, I woke up to my “ready to publish” manuscript in my inbox. After ordering my first cup of coffee, I read it and found more errors. I spent that entire day doing read throughs and making corrections myself.

I decide to forego hiring someone to format the book for me and decide to tackle it myself. Although it may have been worth the money and would have saved my brain from being fried, I did not want to wait the 10 days it was going to take to get the book back. Late on the night of the 2nd, I submitted my book to Amazon. When I woke up in the morning it was live.

Third proofreading: Free. After purchasing my book and reading it, my internet friend, Jeff Sandquist, emailed me notifying me of three errors he found. Thanks, Jeff. Because I formatted the book myself, I was able to immediately make the corrections and re-submit the book to amazon and Kobo.

First Paperback book cover: $20 The day after I racked my brain trying to figure out how to format my book for kindle, I decide to try to format it for paperback, something I said I wasn’t going to do. The thing is, even though we are in the age of e-readers, people love actual books. And, for some strange reason, people want signed copies of my book. While I worked on the book I sent in a request for the paperback book cover. I struggled with doing this myself last time. The end result was a good looking cover but without anything on the spine. I decided to pay for it this time because I wanted to the title and my name to be on the spine, something I could’t do myself.

After many revisions and keeping the Canadian designer up late, I got the final paperback cover the morning of the 5th. The paperback version of the book was live on amazon later that night.

Second Paperback book cover: $10 Remember my man, Ravi, in India who designed the cover? I wanted to see what he could do with the paper back version. I decide it would be worth the money to see if he could do a better job. As of the writing of this article, I have yet to get it back. I have a feeling it will look great and will be the final cover for the paperback version of my book.

Total time from the when I got the original transcripts to the day I published Stop Working Out! on amazon was 34 days. The total cost was $85.

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