How did you write this book?
The idea for a book takes a few months to coalesce into a series of scribbled notes. One day you sit and list all the topics you want to address, then break those down further into what become chapters. Later each chapter contains bullet points which are then arranged in an eye-pleasing manner.
Researching all these bullet points comes next. One line may take a whole session to get the correct information. For example, in the chapter on Bed Placement, you have to learn all about Egyptian cotton’s thread counts and how they have been manipulated in recent years. And you don’t want to know how much I now know about mosquitoes, or bed bugs. I could kill all conversation at a dinner party and be asked to leave.
Finally it was time to write.
The first draft is best written, like an express train, getting words down and not looking back. Don’t re-read yesterday’s work or you eventually grind to a halt. Stopping to make things look nice is a waste of time, because the finished draft will hardly resemble the first draft at all. Don’t tackle the foreword and final chapter until the end of the third draft, since you have no idea of what you are going to have.
After the first draft was finished (about 2,000 words a day on average meant that it took at least a month and half) it was time to print it out and leave it next to the television to mellow. Being able to glance across and see 240 pages (single spaced to save paper) gave me a sense of achievement for the six weeks it’s fermenting.
Then on to the second edit. Reading it right through, in one sitting if you can, gives you a handle on the work … and you are amazed by how much you are learning. Some of it you remember every line on a page, elsewhere you feel that someone has slipped in a whole page that you’ve never seen before. It was a great exercise.
The second edit began and you start hacking, aiming to reduce the word count by 10% as you tighten as much up as you can.
The third edit is where you polish lines where you can. Add the foreword and last chapter since you now know what the work looks like. It’s after the third edit that you send a few copies out to trusted readers to get the first feedback.
Fourth edit killed all the adverbs and tightened text and fixed glaring errors that your first readers noticed.
Then it was sent out to the real editors. This is where you get what you pay for. I am going to have to sell eight hundred books to pay for my Canadian Editor, but Editors are worth every cent. As an author you are too close to the work to spot the faults that are bread and butter to these guys; and they force you to make the text more understandable. As well, Nichole turned translated my Australian English into American English to please the eyes of the largest target audience. Sadly, she also made me kill some of my best lines, and a joke that had me smile myself to sleep one night; but she was right. It detracted from the point.
The sixth edit accepted thousands (and rejected two of) her changes.
The seventh edit fixed formatting of the bullets in the ‘Recapping” sections.
The eight run-through was a complete scan of the text for mistakes. Now I have seen it all as a complete work, I could finish writing the final chapter: “What’s Next?”
The ninth added all the footnotes and completed the ISBN details.
Working backwards, the tenth edit checked that every footnote link actually took the reader to the correct location on the internet. Afterwards, producing a Kindle file to see how it looks (again), and skim through the 3,400 kindle swipes (again). Starting to get sick of this book.
Next was the cover design. This book was easy. I hit upon the cover every time I have woken in the middle of the night in the New York Sheraton Hotel & Towers on the corner of 7th and 53rd street. I knew crew would get a kick out it. Pilots of the 727, 737 and 747 and 757 have called those “Boeing Time!” as they wake up in the morning and looked at the digital clock beside the bed. But it’s only the long-haul crew who regularly see the Airbus model numbers in the dark beside their beds: 03:18, 03:19, 03:20, 03:21 and 03:30, 03:40 and most recently, since the A350 became airborne: 03:50.
While I can take the photos, do the layouts and Photoshop, it’s is best to use a professional to do the photoshop etching, and this time I used a guy in Pakistan who is a Photoshop guru. You can get amazing things done for $5 a gig of fiverr.com.
Scrivener is the writing program I use, and it can compile everything needed to upload the book into the Amazon Kindle network. Eventually it is online, and you sign-up for the Kindle Direct Publishing marketing program and also format a new cover and text for the paper copies to be produced with Createspace. But being up there doesn’t sell books. Although you can’t help buying a box of the paperbacks yourself, to carry around and show off to friends.
I was lucky to secure the website name in November 2014 and produced the website myself using RapidWeaver, the same program I use to update my other website. Thanks to Nic from my web hosts: Hostgator. Not only are they reliable, but their 24 hours live chat help service is invaluable.
Waited a month for approval from my employer to use my real name and airline and the number of edits grew to eighteen. They respectfully request that I remain anonymous and leave their name out of any publicity whilst I still work for them; but wished me luck with the project. That is good, they didn't try to censor anything.
Then, to attract attention before the launch, I am using the services of Tim Grahl to add pop-ups, get an email machine happening and build a substantial email list. Facebook and Twitter don’t sell books, email does; but you have to use social media to keep your friends up-to-date and offer them free copies.
Working with an email list you can give people the chance to download the book for free for a certain number of days, in the hope that it will attract a wider audience, and maybe get you some all-important book reviews. There are heaps of strategies for marketing and they continue to be run.
Next project is the audiobook for sale through audible.com at the same time as having the book translated into German (the second largest ebook language) and then Spanish for sale on the other kindle markets.
Eventually, after the Kindle marketing project finishes (they get exclusivity for 90 days) the book will be made available on other devices and websites.
Far off on the horizon is a series of YouTube videos to direct enquiry to the website and through to Amazon.