How to write a book and become a self published author in Nigeria

Instead of waiting endlessly for a traditional publisher, you can actually self publish a book online and make a living as an author, on your own terms, regardless of your experience, location or niche.

No, I’m not kidding you. There are tens of thousands of first time authors like you, doing this effortlessly. And personally, I’ve watched a number of debut authors create similar experiences for themselves so I’m writing from experience.

As someone who’s had a first hand experience on what it feels like to have a great book idea you want to share with the world but you never get to share it because the publisher doesn’t believe in your the idea, I feel deeply that everyone should be allowed the chance to publish their ideas regardless of their location, experience or economic status.

So, in this guide, I’ll be sharing with you, the steps you can use to break through the limits, self-publish online and share your ideas with the entire world, on your own terms.

Find your Why                         

To self-publish a book successfully; you have to find your why. This is one of the crucial first steps you have to figure out before hitting your keyboard.

This is where you answer clearly and succinctly, your why, what, who and how? Question!

You want to find out, why exactly am I doing this? What do I want to achieve with this book? Who is going to be reading this book and how can I get the best out of this book?

The reason you must find your why is because it sets out the tone for your book.

The moment you’re able to figure out why you want to write a book, what you want to achieve with it, who you’re writing for and how to get the best out of the book, it becomes easier for you to streamline your ideas, and stream of thought into logical patterns that will guide you as you put the book together.

It’ll also lead you to identify important factors that’ll influence the success of your book like your target audience, the scope of the work and even the duration of time and amount of effort you ought to put into it.

As soon as you’re able to identify these things, it then becomes even easier to sort out the other aspects of your book.

Get your Ideas Sorted

Now, that you know why you want to write this book, it’s time to get your ideas sorted out. This is another crucial step you must take; if you plan to successfully self publish a book online.

The reason you have to sort out your ideas is simple. The fact you have this million dollar book idea you want to share with the world does not always mean your book idea is going to sell exactly the way it is in your head.

I’ve had a number of aspiring authors share some of their most ‘exciting book ideas’ with me only for me to probe further and it turns out market realities does not really support the ideas exactly as it is.

So many times, we’ve had to fine tune ideas here and there. Add or remove certain parts, innovate and further make it even better and more appealing to meet the needs of the target audience.

This is what you’re going to have to do with your ideas.

Unless you’re writing solely for the purpose of writing, if you really want to write and make money off your books, then you have to think about putting together ideas that will be meaningful to your target audience.

Also, part of sorting your idea includes creating a mind map that sort of lumps up related part of the raw ideas into possible chapters or sections for the book.

Doing this makes it easier for you as you get set to piece each of these parts together, into a single work.

Write the Book

This is the actual work that will get the ideas off your head right into a book. So, to self publish a book, you have to take out time to write the book unless you plan to hire a ghost writer.

Thinking about writing out every aspect of your book all by yourself can be quite overwhelming. In fact, this is one of the main reasons most people have refused to write their books.

How to self publish a book in Africa
Writing a book can be overwhelming but you can decide to write it in parts | Image credits: Ono Kosuki/Pexels

To make things easier for you, I always tell clients, write it in part. It doesn’t matter that you have this big wonderful idea; you can start writing it out in parts or sections.

So, pick up the mind map you’d put together in step two above, and get into your writing, starting with the easiest aspect of the work.

For your own good, get yourself to be more intentional about the writing process. Set timelines and deadlines to deliver on each aspects of the work. This will get things easier for you.

In addition to that, technology has evolved so many writing options that can work if you’re not so comfortable with typing or writing out your work. For example, there are speech to text applications you can dictate to while it translates your words into written text.

Using some of these apps can give you a head start while you take the rest of the time to edit your work but the most important thing is for you to get into writing.

Edit your Work

When you set out to self publish a book, one of the outcomes of this decision is that you have the whole responsibility to make your book, the best it can be.

Writing is only one single aspect of the job. There’s a whole lot to be done to give your book the befitting finishing it deserves so you have to pay attention to editing your work.

Now, there are different levels of editing that can be done to a piece of work. For example, depending on what you’ve put together, the editing your book needs could be substantive, copyediting or proof editing.

Find out how much editing your book needs so you can set out your expectations. Where you hire an editor, commit to working together with them to ensure that your book meets the original tone and intentions you had in mind.

Choose a Platform

Now that you’ve written and edited your book, your next step to self publish a book online is to choose the actual platform you want to get your books published on.

Obviously, there are a number of reputable online stores and digital publishing platforms you can choose to publish on, but before deciding on any of these platforms, the following are the top three things you have to pay attention to:

  • Your target audience: Are your target audience available on this platform? Even if they are, will it be convenient for them to buy from the platform? There are a number of platforms out there with a large audience but it gets very difficult for people from certain countries to buy from that platform.
  • Geographic Location & Cost: If you’re publishing print on demand books, beware there’s going to be shipping, cost of printing, taxes and other charges from your preferred platforms. Be sure this additional cost is what is going to be convenient for you and your target audience.
  • Listing Price & Royalty: While digital publishing is a great idea, a number of publishing stores have made it almost impossible for most authors to earn a decent pay from their work. From creating extreme difficulty in getting royalty to putting down very low list price rates, stores like these are nightmares that must be avoided at all cost.

These are just a few of the handful of things to look out for on your preferred publishing platforms. Also, watch out for the visibility, viability and reach of your potential digital publishing platform.

Looking out for this things and clearly sorting out your preferred publishing platform will make it much easier for you to get the best for your book.

Create a Book Cover

The Book cover tells powerful stories about a book. It’s one of the biggest factors that decide whether a potential buyer will pay for your book or not.

You want to pay attention to choosing a book cover that’s great for your book. One that captures the essence of your book as well as appeals to the needs of your target audience. This is very important.

For first time authors publishing non-fiction books, it is not always a great idea to use your picture on the front cover of your book. This might work for authors that are already well known but in some cases, it might not add any potential value for first time authors.

As someone publishing a work of fiction, if you’re planning to use stock pictures, do not use popularly used free pictures that’s already available all over the web. Instead, use creative designs or paid images that’s made for the work alone.

Also, while creating your book cover, pay attention to using the kind of font that blends with the effect you’re trying to create with your book.

Overall, do not merely create a book cover; create one that’s compelling, appealing and a cover your target audience can easily connect with.

Promote your Book

According to a recent report, out of over one million yearly self published books titles, only 10 percent of these books sell more than 100 copies every year.

The reason behind this is not far-fetched. Writing and publishing a book is only a part of the process. To make actual sales, you have to put in the work by promoting, marketing and selling your book. This is an important aspect of self publishing that cannot be ignored.

I’ve seen a number of highly valuable books that ended up with only a few sales because proper marketing was not put in place.

To self publish a book successfully; you have to create a clear marketing plan that will work for you, one that takes into consideration the needs of your audience and how this needs can be met with your book.

Using powerful marketing strategies like storytelling, content marketing, social media marketing and paid promotions, you must put in the work to create a robust plan that will get the book right in front of your target audience so they can actually get to buy it.

Final Words

There are so many ways to break through the barriers and self publish a book. But as you can see, achieving this feat successfully will demand you put certain things on ground.

Using the strategies as set out in this guide, you can write your book, become a published author and change the world with your own words, right on your own terms.

You have all the tools you need to start this journey today. To make it even easier, hire us to work with you and get your book published. We’ll take the whole work out of your hands. Reach us for a free quotation here.

So, it’s your turn now. What are your biggest challenges when it comes to getting your book published? Drop your comment below.

One response

  1. There are many different self-publishing platforms available, each with its own pros and cons. Do some research to find one that’s a good fit for your needs.

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Victor Winners

Victor Winners

A Nigerian trained Law graduate and British LL.M candidate, using his widespread experience in tech, law and innovation, to evolve cutting edge and growth driven solutions for brands and businesses in Africa and beyond.As a Law-trained tech expert, Victor brings in over 7 years experience working in the Digital Marketing, SEO, Web Development, Online Publishing, Social Media and Legaltech sectors, to create result driven content and innovative solutions to brands and businesses.Named as one of the top 50 Web Design Influencers Globally, Victor Winners started one of Africa's most widely read blogs on Digital Marketing and Strategy.With this platform, he has impacted the lives of over 2 million readers spanning more than 135 countries in 8+ years

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