HOW TO PROFESSIONALLY SELF PUBLISH YOUR BOOK: AN EXPERIMENT

Hello. My name is Bruce Paulson and I am not a writer. I am not an author of any sort and I have no training in writing or publishing. But I am going to self publish my book and I want it to look as good as any book from a major publishing company. And I have no idea what I’m doing or how I will accomplish this task. But I am stubborn, I’ll figure it out eventually.

WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS?

Why do I want to self publish a book when I’ve never written anything longer than an email? What gives? Here’s the short version:

In 2012 I was crushed by an avalanche while skiing at a ski resort. I died, then, for reasons unknown I came back. When I came back it was painful. I broke every bone in my face and I was drowning because my lung had filled with blood. I got pulled off the mountain and sent to the hospital where I had a bunch of surgeries. My life changed, I had nothing, I had hit bottom. My family was by my side, they picked me up. Then friends and coworkers and all manner of people came out of the woodwork to help me out.

Through a period of intense self examination I realized I wanted to change my life. I looked back on my behavior and was not impressed. I realized that I was always complaining and that most of my problems in life were a result of being consumed by self pity. It was time to change. I wanted to show the people that helped me out that they didn’t waste their efforts. My goal became to create value for other people, instead of thinking about myself all the time.

Several people encouraged me to write a book. I’d reply, “Yeah right.” I had no intention of writing a book. I had read a lot of books but I don’t write books. Authors write books. Smart people and famous people write books. Bruce does not write books.

A family friend who is a pilot and all around smart guy, a person I greatly respect, told me about Charles Lindburgh. He said Lindburgh wrote his first book after he made his historic flight across the Atlantic. Lindburgh also wrote an autobiography much later in life. My friend told me he liked the first book better than the last, even though the writing quality of the autobiography was much better. He encouraged me to write a book.

So I wrote a book. Sort of. I wrote what the author Anne Lamott calls “a shitty first draft.”

I’ve got 152,000 words of ramble. I explain what happened in the avalanche, the surgeries, my Mom and sister in the hospital, my experience with medical care, insurance, and tricks I learned to reduce medical bills. I keep going on and on about my thoughts on the Recovery process, physical therapy, the realization of self pity and the fight to get rid of it, really understanding how life is not fair, and my desire to create value for other people. The shitty first draft is mostly done.

THE EXPERIMENT

Now I need help. Now I need constructive criticism. Now I need an editor. Now I need to get out of my comfort zone and figure this whole process out.

The publishing industry has undergone radical change over the past few years. The internet has destroyed the gatekeepers. I don’t need to hope that a publisher likes my book and decides to publish it. I can take my manuscript and treat it like an entrepreneurial venture and publish it myself.

But this process takes more work. And capital I don’t have. I will have to raise money, I will have to find an editor, I will have to learn how to format, and I will have to learn how to market this thing, and bunch of other stuff I don’t even know of yet. I am starting from scratch. I have no background in any of this, I’m a ski bum and I ship wine for a living. This will be one heck of a learning experience.

It would be much easier to fail and do nothing, to leave my manuscript saved in my computer and never show it to anyone. But then I think I’d let down a bunch of people who helped me pick up the pieces. So I’m going to try this thing. If I fail then I fail, but I will fail trying. And I will learn. I always learn more from my failures than my successes.

THE BLOG

I will post everything about the process here on the blog. I figure if I’m successful in publishing my book then anyone can do it. I will tell you what worked, and what didn’t. I’ll break down every step of the process. I have no idea what I’m doing so I welcome feedback. I’ll be using the blog to test ideas like the title and the cover. I’m interested in putting together a high quality finished product, again feedback will help. If you’re an author and have experience self publishing, I’d like to hear your ideas. If you’re experienced with formatting or designing websites, drop me a line. If you’re an expert at marketing, especially direct-response, I’d love some good advice. Or if you just like reading books and have some suggestions let me know.

Hopefully this will become a source of information for you if you want to publish your own book. You should write and publish your own book. You have a unique story to tell and a book is the best way to get it out there. Let’s see what happens…

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