Want to publish a book? I’ll guide you step-by-step

Quick: You’re self-publishing a book. What’s the very first thing you do?

If you’re stumped, you’re not alone. And a Google search will only make matters worse—all the top results are different companies offering pieces of a giant jigsaw puzzle that don’t even seem to fit together.

It can be overwhelming! I was certainly overwhelmed when I started in this industry.

But it doesn’t have to be difficult, either.

Over the years, I’ve fine-tuned a very simple but powerful 7-step system that makes self-publishing a book a lot easier.

As you can imagine, becoming a first-time published author is a powerful life experience. Running your hand over that beautiful, textured cover—with your name on it—and flipping through the crisp pages—filled with words you wrote—is a feeling of accomplishment that you’ll never forget for as long as you live.

And guess what? If you’re anywhere near finishing your first draft, this is all within reach.

That’s why I created my latest online course, “From Laptop to Bookstore: How to Publish a Beautiful Book to Amazon—in 7 Simple Steps!”

My advice: don’t try to blindly stumble through the self-publishing process, because mistakes can be costly, both in terms of money and time. I’ll tell you where to start, what to do next, and how to finish it all within about 90 days.

I’ve even created a Quick Start Guide—to help you move forward quickly on your publishing dreams—that you can download for free right here.

Even if you’re not quite ready to publish now, you’ll get a lot out of this, because you’ll have access to the course for a full year.

Check out my free publishing guide!

Fantasy author Kat Frost: This scene makes me “feel like smiling and crying all at once”

Fantasy author Kat Frost

Sajia Tiet’fa would give anything to die. She is an Eternal, cursed to come back to life each time she dies. Eternals are forced to fight battles not their own, and die over and over again until their minds snap; no one survives a hundred deaths.

Sajia is given a last chance to prove herself. Soon, she is leaping from death to death, closer each time to that fateful one hundred, caught up in a whirlwind centered around one man she can’t seem to get away from—even if she wanted to. Sajia embarks on an epic mission to change the course of the future, but the price might be too high. Just how much is she willing to sacrifice?

That’s the thrilling premise of Kat Frost’s latest fantasy novel, Born to Die. After making over 40,000 words’ worth of progress (yes, that’s forty thousand) during March’s ChapterBuzz 10K Word Count Challenge, it won’t be long before Kat is ready to add another published book to her repertoire.

Read on to find out why Kat’s favorite scene in her story so far is this one:

Kiernan stood up and faced me, holding out a hand.

I was an Eternal, a warrior. This wasn’t a warrior thing to do. No. I was Sajia Tiet’fa. What do you want, Sajia?

I took his hand as the violins introduced a new song, and he guided me onto the dance floor.

“Just follow my lead.” He smiled down at me, and the reason we were here faded from my mind. Left, right, back, twirl, catch his hand. The rhythm sang in my blood. He was right—this was easy. My feet floated over the floor, and I caught myself thinking: I could stay like this forever. The music soared and I spun and spun.

“Don’t fly away,” Kiernan chuckled, catching my hand and pulling me back into his arms. I laughed with delight. I’d never felt so happy ever before. “Saj…” His eyes were startled, and he hesitated slightly in the dance. “When you laugh…your smile…” I’d never seen him lost for words. “You’re beautiful,” he whispered, tightening his hand on mine.

I looked up into his face, breathless; stunned. I started to say something—but didn’t know what—forgetting to dance. This moment was magic, and the world froze for it. “I—” I began, but was interrupted by the big bell chiming over Varmouth. Midnight. The spell shattered.

We separated, loss tugging at my heart. We had a crown to steal and a world to save, but I wanted to keep dancing forever.

In Kat’s own words:

I love this scene because it’s both so happy and sad at the same time. She’s discovering love, happiness, who she truly is deep down and not what they’ve made her to be, and beginning to find a reason to live. But at the same time, she’s died 97 times and she knows that it’s only a matter of time before she loses it all. This scene gets me every time, and I feel like smiling and crying all at once.

We’re looking forward to seeing this book in print! For now, be sure to read it as it evolves in real time on Kat’s ChapterBuzz page.

Author Interview: Fiona Una, master fantasy writer

Author Fiona Una brought it in March when she participated in the ChapterBuzz 10K Word Count Challenge with her current novel-in-progress, Nightingale: Section 1 of the Grimoire.

Tasked with writing 10,000 words that month, she decided that producing over 13,000 would be much better, and ended up carving out quite a chunk of her novel. So far she’s shared the first chapter publicly, but we’re looking forward to reading the rest very soon.

I was curious about her project, so I asked her a few questions.

Fiona, can you tell us briefly what Nightingale is about?

Rogue is just an honest thief. Seryna is the Prince’s daughter carrying a heavy burden. Together they agree to help each other out in an encounter that should have let them part ways. But fate disagreed, and suddenly Seryna and Rogue find themselves on an unplanned adventure that will, in time, lead them to the purpose they had both desperately sought.

From what you’ve written so far, what’s your favorite passage?

I love this passage because instead of Rogue deciding to help Seryna because of destiny and fate or whatever, it alarms her more that the girl is in a tavern drinking. You can almost sense that Rogue feels responsible for Seryna, which is why she didn’t really argue about helping her. Then later on in the tunnel, she reminds me of a mother who has been asked to pick their child up from school early because of misbehavior.

“When you say ‘conscripted,’ I’m guessing it isn’t the type where I can just disappear for a few days and then go home.”

“You can either assist Seryna with her goal, or you can be conscripted into a lifetime of service under my leadership.”

“And why do you care about Seryna?”

“She will unite a cause that we desperately need, but she will fail without you.”

“I tried to tell her that going to the Mountain was dangerous–”

“Getting to the Mountain will be a trial on its own,” Vallonya said, “So you’d best hurry up and meet her before she gets any further.”

“So where is she?”

“Where you last left her. She’s quite taken with the tavern actually.”

“Please tell me that doesn’t mean what I think it does.”

Vallonya smirked, “Good luck.”

And that was how Rogue found herself stuck in a tunnel again, cursing and swearing for the entire two-hour journey, whilst marvelling about her ability to get back into the jeweller’s passage.

Lirionport was a small town on the coast, much further down the Vexvoid Mountains, and was originally built by fishermen who recognized the value of fishing on the Lirion Expanse. It reeked of seaweed and fish, but it was generally a friendly town, mostly populated by humans, but occasionally you would see the odd elf or even on rare occasions, dwarf, trying to start a life by picking up work when they could find it.

Be sure to check out Nightingale, Fiona’s story-in-progress!

#1 on ChapterBuzz this week: “Jungle” by Steve Boseley

Author Steve Boseley

People are going wild for Jungle, a novel by Steve Boseley, over at ChapterBuzz!

It’s a story about two children who purchase an ancient book—itself called Jungle—that allows them to sample life in the rainforest without leaving their bedroom.

What a creative premise, I thought as I started reading, and soon I was wrapped up in a riveting tale that’s not just compelling, but also well written. Steve Boseley masterfully sets the stage for what promises to be a grand adventure, keeping the reader constantly in suspense as the kids’ book slowly reveals its magical power.

I’m hooked.

Have a good read and help Steve keep his #1 spot! At ChapterBuzz, the simple act of reading is what makes a book popular.

Congrats, Steve!

There will be no stopping this writer from achieving her dreams

Author Sibille Rose

Sibille Rose is a hard worker. In addition to putting in over 70 hours at her job some weeks, she still finds the time to write and participate in our Facebook authors’ networking group. By the way, her pen name, which is pronounced “Si-bill-a,” comes from the names she went by in her high school language classes: Sibille in German and Rosa in Spanish.

During the recent ChapterBuzz Writing Challenge, Sibille made plenty of headway on her novel, A Crack in the Mirror.

What’s it about, Sibille?

Claus has been a thief since the death of his parents when he was seven. Twenty years later, with Daniel’s “help,” Claus discovers his father’s secret and his own true nature. Claus must develop this new ability and face the kingdom responsible for his parent’s deaths and which is now intent on destroying magic completely. Can Claus save the creatures he has come to view as family and friends?

What’s your favorite part of the story so far?

From Chapter 1:

“Well done. Well done. Well done,” another voice sounded from under the cover of the trees. “I knew you had it in you.”

Daniel materialized out of the shadows, stepping around the unconscious bodies of the guards, clapping for Claus’ spectacle. There was not a speck of dirt or a scratch on the man. The three stared at one another: Claus panting for air, his chest felt ragged from the burst of energy; Verica fighting between joy and rage at seeing Daniel unscathed; and Daniel smirking like a pleased toddler.

“What the devil are you talking about?” Claus shot at Daniel once he could capture enough air. His body still shook with the remnants of rage. “We thought they had caught you. Why’d you leave us alone in that place?”

“Calm yourself, Claus. We don’t need anymore outbursts. Another one may very well kill you at the present moment.” Daniel mused. He looked thoughtful as he nudged one of the guards lying near him with his boot. “To be honest, I wasn’t expecting it to be so powerful. I hope you didn’t kill too many of them.”

Startled, Claus looked around at the bodies. He hadn’t thought of that; he hadn’t thought of much to be honest, only that they were safe now. Nausea sprang in to his throat and he fought not to be sick. He had never killed anyone before. Killing was the profession of evil people, not of thieves. And he was just an honest thief, nothing more nor less.

Why is this your favorite?

I chose this passage because I feel it gives an overview of my three major characters at this point. The passage gives a bit of humor to a tense situation with Daniel’s appearance, and it also hints at enough of what happened previous to this point to have readers asking questions that, I hope, will drive them to read the whole story. I also just had a lot of fun writing this moment.

And we’re having a lot of fun reading. Thanks, Sibille!

Check out Sibille Rose’s work on ChapterBuzz:

How long will it take to write your novel?

Have you thought about what it would be like to see your name on a book cover? I mean, really thought about it?

In my coaching and publishing business, I’ve talked to many writers who are very excited about “one day” being published.

But they have no strategy for getting there.

There are a variety of reasons for maintaining a vague writing schedule: the unpredictability of life, not knowing how to publish, and even fear (of releasing a flop, for example—although I continue to tell my clients that the more feedback you can get on ChapterBuzz the better, especially in the early stages).

So what’s the trick? Be bold and set a date.

Of course life is unpredictable. Of course there’s more to learn about publishing. And of course you may experience some fear. But when you tell life that you’re gonna do this—no matter what it throws at you—some funny things happen: you start finding the time. Learning opportunities come your way. You stare down fear and it just…evaporates.

All when you decide that you’re going to do this. And what better way to start than by setting a date?

To be clear, this is not a firm release date, but more of a target date. And to figure it out, just think about how many words you can realistically write in a week or in a month, knowing that most novels are around 80,000 words. Build in a month for life’s craziness and that vacation you have planned. Then add 3 months for editing and publishing, and there’s your date!

Are you bold enough to set a date? Let’s hear it down in the comments!

Are you the next Author of the Week?

Each week this spring, I’ll be featuring one author interview a week, and I invite you to apply!

The readers of this blog, What Inspires Your Writing?, would love to know more about you: how you keep yourself motivated to write, what your creative inspiration is, and how you overcome challenges in your writing life.

Would you like some extra exposure for your writing? More readers on ChapterBuzz?

You don’t have to be a published author yet, just someone who is actively heading in that direction.

Check out these excellent examples from past features:

Find out how to apply here! I look forward to posting your interview for all to read.