My First Experience Self-Publishing A Book

Today I have an Amazon Author Page. I have a self published book (The Selfie Princess: A Social Media Satire); albeit a short book, it is on Amazon and people have paid real live currency to read it. I have a mailing list just for people interested in my new books.

I had none of these a week ago.

These are the product of my new life vision to “stop wishing and start doing.”

Whatever it is I want. I’m going after it. That’s what all99life is about and what I want to convey to my readers.

There are no limits besides those we set on ourselves.

I was doing a podcast with my friend B Dub about how awful it is going to a job you hate every day and how he broke free from that. I mentioned during our chat that my big goal was to publish something. I said I had something in the works. I didn’t. That was April 2.

On April 10 at 5:05pm I text a couple of my friends “I need a plot to write about. I need a conflict. I don’t give a fuck what it is.” 20 minutes later I sent them a picture of word document I had typed on my laptop with the words “Mermaid Princess” up top. Under the title was a brief plot outline.

So I had my mermaid plot and I started writing. I was going to publish a book. I didn’t care what it was about. I knew I wouldn’t be deterred, just like when I decided to lose weight and get some stomach bricks; and simultaneously become the number one sales agent at my job. I set a goal and that goal was to write a short story of about 5,000 words and have it online by May 15.

Again, just like with my weight loss, I had to learn by doing.

I scrapped two or three full story plots before I finally landed on what would become The Selfie Princess. I thought with a basic plot it was smooth sailing from there on but it was harder than I thought.

I had questions pop up like, “Did they have cigars in medieval times? Did they have whiskey? What did they eat? What the hell does a Prince do with his day? What is a serf? What clothes do they wear?” These were all little nuances I had to look up in order for my story make just a little bit of sense.

I discovered writing a book with Microsoft Word sucks and I bought Scrivener. I took out an old whiteboard and covered it with four major plot points and notes. Using different colored markers, I added characters in one corner and the setting in the other. I wrote every day. Success comes from a million tiny pieces, not something one accomplishes overnight.

Then I had a setback.

I wanted to write about 5,000 words. I looked at my word count and it read 8,000 and the story was nowhere near complete. I text with my friend Dan about which way to go, scrap most of the project or turn it into a full on novel? Or maybe make it into a series? I had so much more I wanted to write. He liked the idea of a series. I did too. I really liked it. I was brimming with ideas. We talked about the possibilities at length. My first thought was, “I’ll have to push back my deadline.” It was already April 21st.

“No way. My whole life to this point has been nothing but pushed back deadlines. ‘Tomorrow…’ was my favorite expression. Never again. I won’t go back. I said I’d have a story out by May 15 and, dammit, it will go out May 15. I won’t live another day talking about some eventual life I’ll live in.”

I text Dan back this exact text, “It’s tempting to ‘grow’ it, but I think it’s important to do what I set out to do, and that’s get something published.”

A couple days later I was almost finished and then…

…another setback

I text my friend Dan again on April 25, “It is done. I have written all the way to the end. It is very evil… …I dunno if I can publish this.” The ending was dark. It wasn’t what I had hoped for at all. The characters had taken over the story and the ending turned into The Prince delivering a visceral tongue lashing to The Princess.

I sat in front of them, the last few paragraphs on my screen. Then end had taken me days to complete. I didn’t have a lot of time to dedicate to my writing so I worked it in every chance I had. It was April 25 and I was right on schedule, but I knew I had to rewrite the end. This made me nervous as I didn’t even know how I would publish it yet. I was trying to allow myself enough time to ship the final draft off to some beta readers while I researched how to actually publish it.

I thought a lot about how to change the end without having to tear the whole thing to shreds. I finally came to a compromise, rewrote the end, and on May 6 I sent the draft to about five people to beta read for me. I want to take this moment to thank those individuals for their invaluable help and definitely thank them for putting up with me constantly bugging them with questions about changes and edits.

The Learning (Doing) Process

I knew then that you could read one million books but if you never employed their teachings you would have wasted a million books worth of time. I knew that I would figure out the bulk of this process by doing. I would just start working until I hit a roadblock and then figure out how to overcome that thing. That was my plan and I hit several roadblocks.

I did read two books to get me prepared for self publishing. The first was Write. Publish. Repeat. By Johnny B. Truant and Sean Platt and the second was Let’s Get Digital by David Gaughran. I cannot recommend these books enough for anyone considering self-publishing. These were all the guides I had. They told me about Scrivener. They told me about Kindle Direct Publishing and they told me about KDP Select. The rest I kind of made up as I went. I learned by doing. I got my hands dirty. And it felt awesome.

All99life is entirely built on that premise: Don’t wait, don’t watch, don’t hope, but instead, DO. Just start.

Get yourself immersed in whatever it is you want to do and just do it. It doesn’t matter so much the result especially if it is your first attempt. The point is you will blow yourself away by seeing how accomplishable your dreams are, even if it turns out a little sloppy. And you’ll learn. You’ll learn so much but you’ve got to start.

I’m going to keep learning and growing. I’m going to keep chronicling my journeys here for you to see that if you just put your mind to something, if you just decide, if you just set a goal and break it into small goals, you can do whatever you want.

I know you can do great things; probably way greater than the things that I can do. I’m just here to be your muse. You have all the potential and talent. Go exercise it.

And buy my book 😉

(Definitely leave a review, too. Reviews are very very very very important. I need a zillion reviews.)

About the author

Kyle Milligan

I'm Kyle Milligan. I really enjoy writing. I wrote a couple novels (The Hang-Ups and Hangovers series) and now I blog frequently on a bunch of different websites. I also enjoy lifting heavy things and and writing about it.

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