Writing Your First Ebook and How to Overcome Your Initial Fears. Ask Me Anything!

Roxana Guy
Sep 3, 2018

I published my first ebook in June of this year (2018), and it went better than I thought.  No, I still make less than I want, but it's nice to tell people that I've written a book.  I'll tell you, it's been harder writing a second book than it was the first only because of time and exactly how to go about writing even better each time.  

But maybe you're like I was.  You really want to write a book, but you don't know where to start.  Should you write an actual book (hardcover or softback)?  Or should you start with an ebook?  If you have questions on where to begin, this AMA is just for you!  

And just in case you're wondering, here's my author's page on Amazon.  If you decide to purchase my book, great!  But don't feel obligated.  Rather, this page is just to show you that you, too, can become a professional, credible author as well!

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In your opinion what would change the way e-book writers are treated by consumers, and not seen as junk writers?
Sep 5, 4:46PM EDT0
What makes an e-book stand out from the others?
Sep 5, 1:27PM EDT0
How successful can a new writer be publishing an e-book? What steps need to be taken for a new writer to be successful selling their book?
Sep 5, 8:17AM EDT0
Do you see yourself writing about practical things people need to hear on their everyday living or do you one day see yourself publishing a book for entertainment?
Sep 5, 7:53AM EDT0
Is there anything about the author's life that you think is misunderstood by the public?
Sep 5, 6:37AM EDT0
Would you have taken the opportunity to go down the traditional route if that had been a possibility?
Sep 5, 2:58AM EDT0
Why do you like to write? What keeps you motivated during creative slumps?
Sep 4, 8:13PM EDT0
What are the upsides and downsides to publishing an e-book?
Sep 4, 2:40PM EDT0

I'll start with the downsides since I like to leave on a positive note.  The downs of publishing an ebook is that many people judge you as a junk writer.  They assume you couldn't produce quality work because it's an ebook piece.  Clients also become annoyed that you're not offering a free ebook.  Many times, people, especially blogging clients, believe that your services should always be free and that your business is actually more of a hobby.  

It's frustrating when you work hoping for success and a way to earn a living that everyone thinks your writing should be free.  

The upsides to creating an ebook is the speed of publishing.  You write the book, edit, and bam!  It's live!  No, one book is not going to give you enough money to retire.  However writing multiple books and publishing them on multiple platforms will give you a reasonable stream of income.  It's kinda nice going to bed and waking up to a royalty check every once in a while.  You did all that work and now you have a slightly passive income while you live your life doing other activities (like your kid's soccer games or that girls night out you used to put off all the time).  So there are lots of positives and negatives to writing an ebook!

Sep 4, 5:31PM EDT0
Unfortunately some people are so driven to bring traffic to their sites that they buy ebooks only to pubish them for free on their sites. Is this something that worries you? What steps have you taken to patent your work?
Sep 4, 9:50AM EDT0

Sadly, there's no fool proof way to keep someone from stealing your works.  There are some thieves that are just out there to steal, and since it's online, they can.  But there are a few ways to reduce your risk of being stolen.  

First, contact their payment processor like PayPal, for example.  You can request that payment processing be stopped for their account holder making it difficult to restart payments down the road.  

Try digital services like Amazon or EJunkie where they'll actually go after pirates who plagarize.  

Try ebook encryption software like Lock Lizard to reduce piracy as well. 

Lastly always check from time to time with plagiarism sites to see if your work shows up anywhere else.   This can lead you to try legal action like suing or having their sites and services shut down.  This will help tremendously.

Sep 4, 1:13PM EDT0
Do you feel there is more of a sense of community with self-publishing than there is with traditional publishing?
Sep 4, 7:50AM EDT0

I feel like it's a way you can build your own community!  In some ways, there's this depersonalization when you publish the traditional route.  There's book signings and meet and greets, but it's more like a celebrity show than a community.  

Having an ebook is something you can offer your audience as a more personalized read.  My goal with Just Add That is not just a blog but rather a heart to heart conversation with a friend.  My symbol is a heart with a coffee mug, and I chose that because when real friends chat, it's deep conversation and usually a long chat.  

I wrote my book, The Value of Time:  Mastering Time Management For A More Productive Day, because I had a podcast listener that was struggling in college.  Her family was already giving her enough pressures about college, and she was working multiple jobs just to stay afloat.  She really needed a book to decipher what's important and what can go.  

I was the exact same way when I was her age in college, and I knew there had to be others that had similar struggles.  My book was my way of connecting and growing my audience in a more personalized way.

Sep 4, 12:51PM EDT0
What percentage of your sells through Amazon do you get to keep?
Sep 4, 4:25AM EDT0

I keep 70% of my sales, so Amazon is making 30%.  Not a bad return!

Sep 4, 12:52PM EDT0
What are the advantages of choosing to publish ebooks over printed books?
Sep 4, 3:57AM EDT0

Personally, I think an ebook is faster.  We live in a society of instant gratification, and when you self publish your ebook, it's scary but exciting!  You go through all this work writing, editing, etc. and when it comes time to publish your work, you become nervous.  

You question every letter, every word wondering if it's good enough.  And when you hit publish, it's suddenly live!  And then it gets exciting.  

Published books are far more polished because once it goes to print, that's it!  You have later editions with later edits, editor's notes, etc.  And you can do those things with self publishing.  But no matter how you publish your book, there's nothing like that first feeling!

Sep 4, 12:56PM EDT0
What is your average cost in producing a title, editing and cover design, eBook conversions and publishing online etc?
Sep 4, 2:31AM EDT0

Personally, my costs are low (somewhere between $200-$300).  I was lucky enough to have friends with editing backgrounds to help me.  But it's not the same as hiring a publisher (where you pitch your work, promote, and convince them to publish you to earn a dime).  Places like Book Baby can start somewhere around $600+ to publish a book.  So it can cost more than publishing yourself.  

The cover design can cost as little or as much as you like.  If you hire on Fiverr, for example, you could get someone to design your cover for $5 while others may charge over $1000.  Mine was more on the lower end, but this is talking about my first book.  Make sure whatever you invest that you will earn a decent return.  

Sep 4, 5:36PM EDT0
As a new author, what is your favourite part of the writing and publishing process and why?
Sep 4, 1:21AM EDT0

My favorite part has to be discovering the why in writing a book.  I didn't think sequel to my first book.  All I thought was let's get this thing published, done and over with now!

But as I was in KDP and putting in all my information, I started to see a future and ways to add to my book that I never thought when I was writing it.  I had questions from readers, friend and family that I thought, "I really needed to put that in my book.  I really need a second book!"  

So as I am finishing my latest book, I am starting to feel other books coming into my mind and my heart.  It's almost like you can see what's about to be written and what needs to be told.  

A random conversation I have with one of my BFF's will sometimes inspire more writing.  Or one of my guy friend's who's struggling being a single dad, and his schedule is everywhere since he divorced his ex.  

So to answer your question, my favorite part of writing is thinking there's just a little more information that I can give than I did before.  And I wonder who will I help next?  The more I write, the more I want to publish more books.  And that definitely keeps me excited!

Sep 4, 1:00PM EDT0
Many writers rely on editors to make their books better. Did you get any help in editing your book? How do you value the importance of having an editor?
Sep 4, 12:57AM EDT0

I did have help editing my book.  While I asked friends and family to help, it surely did help to work ins a school system where you have a friend (or two) that happen to be English teachers!  I can't tell you how many times my book bled red, but each time, I could feel it coming together.  

So to answer your question, editing is critical!  However, don't become so obsessed with editing that you never publish your work.  Because your story needs to be told!

Sep 4, 1:02PM EDT0
What is the most challenging aspect of being a self-published author?
Sep 3, 5:09PM EDT0

I think the most challenging aspect of being a self-published author is hitting your own deadlines.  There isn't a supervisor who says, "Hey, I have to have this in (insert time frame), and it needs to be on my desk yesterday." 

Even though my book was about time management, you have to keep yourself on task and topic especially with everything else going on in life.  Soccer practices and music lessons are still there for your kids.  School and daily activities as well plus you have to make time for yourself and your spouse.  

Know your deadlines, and be ready for any changes that may come along the way.  While putting off a day may not seem like the end, it could be if there was a special promotion you were hoping to hit.  

While life will always happen, having your time utilized and planned ahead will help you when unexpected life events happen.  

Sep 3, 7:47PM EDT0
What is the preferred number of pages or possible number of words for an ebook?
Sep 3, 2:24PM EDT0

My rule of thumb is a minimum of 10,000 words.  Why?  Because I knew that I could write that many originally and hit my goals.  

But many statistics actually say that short ebooks are not as preferred as longer ebooks.  The average selling ebook is usually anywhere from 100,000 words to 125,000.  But it isn't always doable especially when you are first starting out.

Sometimes, there is so much information that a person has, it's easier to pump out longer books and push those words.  But don't focus so much on the actual word count as much as the quality of your book.  Words will come to you, but never sacrifice your message just for more (or less) words.  Allow yourself the delight in writing and getting that first book out there.  

Sep 3, 7:51PM EDT0
How was your experience using Kindle Direct Publishing?
Sep 3, 10:15AM EDT0

Honestly, it was amazing.  Both KDP and NOOK were both easier to upload than I originally thought.  You literally fill in the blanks as you go, upload your cover, upload your book, set your pricing, and you're done.  I think because I didn't know what I was doing, it took about 15 minutes, so as long as you have everything ready to go, you are live in a mere matter of moments.  

Plus, having that author page is pretty exciting to set up as well.  I recommend it for everyone!

Sep 3, 10:51AM EDT0
What are your thoughts about the print-on-demand services for book buyers? Are these services bringing printed books back to life?
Sep 3, 8:44AM EDT0

I think Print-On-Demand services are great!  I don't know that they're bringing the printed book back so much as they're making your book accessible to more people.  Even though we live a tech heavy society, there are still millions (maybe even billions) of people who do not have access to digital information and while many of those can read, not all can (plus language barriers, etc.). 

But the idea that your book can be tangible whether it's digital or a physical copy is amazing!  Self publishing is daunting but liberating, too.  It's not the same as being promoted by large publishers, and you have a lot of grunt work.  But POD's definitely help in a tremendous way!

Sep 3, 11:14AM EDT0
How does it feel when you finally clicked upload and had the book out of your hands?
Sep 3, 8:40AM EDT0

Honestly, it feels exciting!  It's like your first kiss or your first paycheck exciting.  It also feels slightly liberating as well knowing that you did that and published that!

Sep 3, 10:49AM EDT0
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