10 Things I learned from completing my own challenge to publish 5 books in a month
I ended up reading 4-5 eBooks about publishing on Amazon and several vanity-press / promotional eBooks as well. I realized it was possible and then stated on NotePD that I would do it. That was the forcing function that I needed! I had been saying "Gee, I should write a book" for years without real progress.
I accomplished WAY more than I thought was possible in a month. I also have a full-time day job and only worked on the books for about 15 - 20 hours a week. I was inspired to pivot my idea for a music education company. I also launched a website with branding for this venture, a Substack (with nothing on it), a YouTube Channel (with nothing on it) and a GitHub (with nothing in it).
This process, combined with reading and daily NotePD has led to many new ideas. I did not complete the books that I had thought about writing as part of this challenge but I can publish a "good" book every month for the rest of the year (new challenge!).
Thanks to my new focus on "production and shipping" over "perfection and wishing" this site took me about 20 minutes to make.
I ended up publishing 6 books. I had only thought of 2 of them when I started.
I kind of cheated as 5 of these are more "workbooks" than books (100 identical diagrams) but they are useful: I bought one for myself. I have another guitar book that I am 3/4 of the way through but it will take a little more time to complete. I want it to be good: I am trying to write "the book that I wish I had."
"Clockwater City: Warship's Wrath" is the first book that I published. It is a "graphic novel," and I used AI images. Interesting to write but definitely more of a hobby than something that would ever make money.
I have a few other "artsy/fiction" books like this that I started and then abandoned to get to 5 published books in a month.
1. Declaring that you will do something in public is highly motivating
I also wrote it on my whiteboard and looked at it every day.
2. When I made that declaration, I only had vague ideas of what books I would publish
3. Having the goal of "five books in a month" really helped me stay focused
I was constantly thinking and using my subconscious to accomplish this goal. I scrapped some ideas that would take a lot of time and focused on automation and standardization.
4. I made one useless book and learned a lot, then I made a series of workbooks where I used automation
My first book was a comic book. It is OK but I would not even ask my mother to buy it.
5. By pledging to write a lot of books, I was not so attached to any of them
I was able to focus on the process of shipping instead of "feeling my muse"
6. Keep your costs low, don't expect much
I bought software to help me create attractive diagrams. I used a free trial of stock footage to get good images. I took a selfie for my author photo. I used free authoring tools or ones I already had but I did not hesitate to spend money on other tools that would save me time.
7. A series of books is a way to write a large number of similar books with a template
I like music and guitars and know enough to teach someone else (I have a BA degree in music). Also, there are thousands of variations of things that you can do on a guitar. I scripted the production of the workbooks: I made a layout and then built each book using simple automation.
When using chatGPT you can create a series of non-fiction books or a serialized story, or what Amazon calls a Vella.
8. Amazon tools are easy to use and free
I made attractive covers and book layouts in just a few minutes. Click to publish and the entire process is highly automated. With a few more clicks you can release paperback and hardcover books.
9. I gave a few fiction books a try written with a lot of AI but I wanted to write useful books that could make a little money.
Fiction books don't sell, at least not to me. However, people always want solutions to problems. I might try some sci-fi stories as a hobby but I would have very low expectations for sales.
10. The hardcover print on demand book is beautiful
The print quality is excellent. After uploading the file three days ago, I just got it in my hands: it would have cost me more and taken almost as long to print it on my printer at home.
11. After publishing one I realized that it was something that I could do over and over again
I could pretty easily publish 10 books a year, depending on their complexity.
12. The books are for sale instantly all over the world. This is completely free: publish and promote
This is night and day difference from just a decade ago. You would have had to do a small print run and be out $3-5,000 and lots of time before you sell a single book. It would not have crossed my mind to sell a low volume book overseas: it would have been prohibitively expensive.
13. Amazon gives out a lot of prizes: My Book is a #1 New Release!
I downloaded this on my Kindle, I think that was enough to make me a #1 author this week lol. I just happened to look at the listing. Pick an obscure category and be a leader!
14. “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.” - Abraham Lincoln
I spent the first 3 weeks or so learning and experimenting and then produced 5 of the 6 books in the last 10 days.