How to write a book

Episode #708

August 27, 2022

Self-publishing a book is no small task.
If you are not willing to spend hours of effort you might consider a main stream publisher.


If you use a publisher you might lose the ability to direct your art.

The key advantage to self-publishing is control, everything is up to you.
The disadvantage is that everything is up to you. It is a lot of work.
I chose to self-publish my book, “Technically Human.”

Here is what was involved:

First, it had to be written. For “Technically Human” the writing process was spread over 10 years. For my upcoming book, “Skydivers Know Why Birds Sing,” the writing occurred over three years about events that occurred over 35 years.
However long it might take, write every day.

Next, the material had to be compiled into a word processing document. I used Microsoft Word for its powerful book formatting features.
A blank template must be formatted for page size, margins, fonts, styles, page numbers, headers and footers. Page size is important so that the pages break in the desired places in the paper book.

Because my book is a collection of short stories one of the most challenging creative efforts was organizing them into chapters. The order and chapterizing tells an overreaching story which transforms individual short stories or blog episodes into a book.

When transferring text from the original source (in my case the notebook app) to the Word document I used “Paste and Match Formatting” to ensure the font and styles were consistent throughout the book.

Story titles and Chapter names are formatted with special fonts. These are later read by the Table of Contents and linked to make the Contents clickable in an ebook. The Table of Contents is added in an automated process.

Now we add the title, copyright, dedication, introduction and author pages. The copyright page will need an ISBN (International Standard Book Number). You must purchase ISBNs from your country’s authorized distributor. You also might want to register your book with the US Library of Congress and include the Control Number on your copyright page.

It is now time to EDIT, EDIT, EDIT.

Read and correct your copy for spelling, grammar, punctuation, readability and impact. REPEAT, REPEAT, REPEAT. These edits include debates with MS Word’s opinion. Punctuation is for how the material sounds, not how it looks. You are in control, not the word processor.

I originally wrote the word “I” in lower case because of “i”Mentor. For the book I had to figure out how to find and replace those “i”s with capitals while leaving the lower case “i”s within words. It can be done.

Add graphics that you have the right to reproduce. Acquire the rights if necessary. Draw or photograph your own graphics if possible. Insert and repaginate. Now it is time to insert your manual page breaks.

Showing invisibles such as spaces, paragraph marks and page breaks is useful during final formatting. Page formatting assures that the Word document ultimately looks like the book.

Get someone else to proof the book before publishing. It is surprising how much you miss when proofing your own words.

For the paperback book I exported to PDF. This assured that the pagination of the book was the same as in Word.

For the ebook version I used Apple Pages to export an epub format. This required importing the Word document into Pages and repaginating as necessary. The epub file from Pages looks great!

I created the cover art. 
This required using the size template calculator available at Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP). It also required some adeptness with Photoshop or equivalent. I used my own drawing for the cover art and had to add title and author name on the front cover and spine. To the back cover was added a synopsis, author bio, author picture and ISBN barcode.

Finally it was time to publish. I created accounts at Amazon KDP, Barnes and Noble Nook, Apple Books and Kobo.

At each service the author must fill in all the aspects of the book, verify a W9 and bank account so he can be paid, determine in which countries the book will be distributed, arrive at a price, then upload the book and cover. The decisions of what other programs, marketing and promotions in which to participate include distribution to libraries, preorders, clubs and lending.

All this material must be reviewed by the services.

There is a caveat. After the printing costs and Amazon’s percentage the author’s royalty on a $10 paperback book is about $1. So unless your book is a best seller you are not going to get rich.

However, it is true that when your book is published it is a great feeling. 
It gives you the opportunity to share your thoughts with the world.

I think it is well worth the effort.

One more thing that will help my book selling efforts: If you have bought and read my book, “Technically Human,” please go to the Amazon sales page and write a review. Thank you so much.

“Technically Human” by Ricki T Thues, the iMentor, is now available on Amazon.
It is a compilation of selected episodes from this bLog which tell the story of Humanity through the eyes of the iMentor.

Click HERE to buy the paperback or Kindle ebook at Amazon.

The ebook version of “Technically Human” is also available on Kobo. Click HERE.

For you Barnes and Noble Nook readers it is available for Nook. Click HERE.

The “Technically Human” ebook is also available on Apple Books . Click HERE.


  1. Dan'l Leviton August 25, 2022
  2. Vic Spindler August 27, 2022

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