Write Your First Physical Book This Afternoon

Yes, you really can put together a physical book in one afternoon – and get it published on Amazon!

I've done it myself – and I want to take you behind the scenes of how I did it.

(here's the proof – 'Online Marketing Success – Volume #1: The Best Of The Blog')

But first I want to say something. Nothing adds credibility to you as a marketer in any niche than having a printed book published and available for purchase.Online Marketing Success Printed Book

It doesn't have to be a thick book.

It doesn't have to be the best book in the world (but, it does have to be well written and well presented).

It does have to reflect you and your interests.

And you have to know three things to help you create a perfect book:

#1 – How To Write Your Book

This is most important.

Now, you may be writing a great book that will sell lots of copies. I certainly intend to do that.

But, in my case, I wrote the book as a 'proof of concept'  – just to make sure that I knew how to put it together in a professional manner.

So, what you need to do is, compile the book (don't write it from scratch).

My first book is a collection of eight posts from this blog. They're eight of the best posts, they're well presented, and I've done minor formatting edits so they work in a printed book rather than online.

But, apart from that, they're untouched.

If you have at least eight posts on your blog, you can do the same thing. With pages for to cover such things as copyright and contents, there doesn't need to be that much content.

Even if you don't have your own blog, there are plenty of ways to put content together both legally and creatively.

#2 – How To Present Your Book

You just create your book in Microsoft Word, or whatever word processing software you prefer.

Don't try and get fancy and add lots of extra graphics – it's not worth it.

Look in any book you've already got on your bookcase for an idea of the format.

Choose a standard page size, set up the page numbering, a simple style for headers, and a simple style for the main text.

Here's how you structure the insides of the book:

  • Page 1 – Title Page
  • Page 2 – Brief Copyright Statement
  • Page 3 – Dedication
  • Page 5 – Contents (Automatically Generated)
  • Page 7 – Chapter 1
  • Final Pages – Resources (links to your site)

Start each new chapter on an odd numbered page. That means it will appear on a page on the right of the document.

Export the file as a PDF. From newer versions of Microsoft Word, this is available by choosing the 'Save As' option.

You also need to create a graphic which wraps around to form the cover of the book. As your book's short, you don't need to worry about adding text to the spine.

I purchased a graphic template and edited my details in so that my book would look different to the norm, but the solution I'm recommending will produce a cover for you if you follow a few simple steps.

#3 – How To Get Your Book Online

You use CreateSpace. CreateSpace is an Amazon service for printing books on demand. In effect, they're your publisher, and they supply you with an ISBN number for you book.

CreateSpace offers both paid and free options. My recommendation for a book like this is to choose the free option in every case. If you want to write a masterpiece then you might do more, but for getting your first book online, this is enough.

The process for listing books is quite straightforward. You fill in all the information that you want to be displayed on Amazon, choose a price (the percentage you will end up with after Amazon sales is quite small), then upload the contents.

You also need to create a cover. Amazon's tool for doing this is fine. The important thing to remember is to add text of your own, as well as one of your own photos (this is better than using one of the Amazon ones, but either take this yourself, or make sure you have permission to use it).

Think of the text printed on the back of the book as a mini advertisement, just like you'd see on any book you could buy in the bookshop.

You need to order a proof copy, which is sent to you through post. This is the only part of the process where you need to spend any money.

My proof, sent to the UK, cost about $8 and took one week to get to me. Most of that cost ended up as postage.

Once you then approve the proof (and my book looked excellent – with no hint that it was a 'Print On Demand' product), your book will go on sale, and after three of four days, the details will appear on Amazon.

The Finished Article

Here's a glance at what the product page looks like for 'Online Marketing Success – Volume #1'. I've made a few customisations, but generally this will look good out of the box if you follow the guidelines.

Online Marketing Success On Amazon

There's a lot more you can do with this strategy, with the ways you compile books, and the use you put the finished products to – but the first step is just to get a book online.

I'm currently investigating all kinds of other options and hope to report back with them here over the next few months.

Have You Written Your First Book – Or Are You Compelled To Start?

It needn't be difficult if you're quick and creative, and I highly recommend it.

If you follow this system, you really can write your first physical book in an afternoon – and see it live on Amazon just a few short days after.

Let us all know about your books and what you've got planned by commenting in the box below.

Feel free to add any questions, and I'll be happy to answer whatever I can.

13 replies on “Write Your First Physical Book This Afternoon”

G'Day Thom, damned good idea.  I have several books currently on my website for free download which would make a good hard copy book.
I have another in production, sort of, and another completed but not published anywhere.

Time to put the head down, publish or be damned…
Thanks Thom.

Some great stuff here.  If you have more than one book that you want to put into paperback look at it puts your books on all the Amazons as well as many more web sites including Barnes and Noble.  A little more complicated to set up your book as you need an ISBN but you get paid in Euro's, £'s or $'s and you don't get that nasty USA withoholding tax..  Also you can set your own % that you get to keep.  I get back far more than createspace offers.  See my site if you need help publishing.

Hey There…
Thom I forgot to let you know that I really appreciated this blog post and am going to be using it in my business in the coming future. I just want to make more quality blog posts that I can actually package into a better book.
If you're wondering why I'm showing up as an "american" IP, I'm out of town for a funeral, so I'm in a business center at a local hotel.

I've been publishing my own and other people's books for going on 20 years now and here's the dirty little secret of the publishing biz: The big publishing companies have cut so many editorial corners that a self publisher, if he or she is willing to make the effort, can produce a book that's even better than those turned out by the major houses — better edited and with fewer typos.
Just pay attention to how the pros prepare the front matter (copyright page, table of contents, etc.) and the back matter (index) and you'll be way ahead of the game.

This is a great article. I've been hunting and gathering information on how to actually get my first book published. This is exactly what I was looking for.
I just recently made the decision to actually start writing my own articles on my own blog. What this means for me is that I actually do have original material to compile. I think this has been my most important decision since being online.
I am looking forward to reading the rest of your blog, and will subscribe. I think your info will be priceless for 2011. 
Thanks, Barbie

Thanks Barbie (and everyone), yes blogs are an excellent and very underused source of content. In fact, there's so much content around us now, and so much new material being generated on the Internet all the time, that could easily have a new home as a printed book. That would open it up to a whole new readership.

Even writing a book with new content doesn't need to be a big task, particularly if you start with the smaller information type books which are popular as online ebooks. There are a lot of keywords which would be almost impossible to rank for in Google, but are possible in Amazon (and the other book stores), and these can filter into the Google results over time too. This can actually be a better (and more cost effective) search engine optimisation strategy than building hundreds of backlinks.

I'm certainly going to be publishing more books now it's 2011, but I want to experiment and see what works best, and what doesn't.


wow that is seemingly simple. I'm actually excited about this post not for me but my fiance. He has been wanting to do a book for quite some time, he might actually have enough for a small one, so just to get his dream a reality would make for a cool present. If I can just get the transcripts without him knowing.

You make this sound so easy to do! I have done a lot of short story writings and articles. I think I might attempt a book on my next day off. Thanks for the inspiration.

I have no idea writing a book could be so easy. I have always been hesitant to do so because I am not the greatest writer and had thought that you have to be published. Now, I know that is not the case and I can't wait to try making a book on my own.

Very thorough and useful piece – thanks! I've considered doing an e-book for a while in the dating niche.

Kim, the dating niche is an excellent one to go for. There are no end of dating sites around, and people who want to know how to meet the perfect partner. I think there's a good market out there if you can aim it at people who are cash rich, but time poor, but wouldn't want to use a matchmaking service.
Do let us know how you get on!

I'm a bookworm and I'm always amazed on how authors can put all those words and stories even nonfiction materials in a single book. Well I guess you have to be creative and you have to decide what topic or theme you can write most about. I'm not much of a writer but these tips are amazing!

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