How To Write a Book [Whilst Teaching Online]

How To Write a Book [Whilst Teaching Online]

Become an Online ESL Teacher!

Teaching online often seems to attract creative people to the role.

And due to the flexible nature of online English teaching…you can finally work on that creative project whilst bringing in an online income!

This is exactly what I did. My dream as a kid was always to be an author. So I didn't want to get a full-time job as it would leave me no time to write. That's why teaching online for DaDa (formerly DaDaABC) was perfect!

It allowed me to complete and publish my children's novel War Drum! Here it is:

How to write a bookClick to find on Amazon!

So I thought I would write an article explaining how to write a book and how to publish a book for any online teachers out there seeking a project on the side whilst they teach online part-time.

What will you learn in this article:

  • How to write a book
  • How to publish a book
  • How online teaching can allow you the time to do this


How to Write a Book?


So how to write the story in your mind? Or if you don't have a story in mind…how to you find the inspiration?

I'll walk you through exactly how I did it!

How to Write a Novel

I often come across people who say: ‘I've always dreamed of writing a book.'
I also found myself in that category.
I was guilty of constantly saying: ‘I'm going to write a book just like Game of Thrones!' Or: ‘I reckon I have the idea for the next Harry Potter!'
But when it came to writing chapter outlines or novel introductions, I was all talk and no action. I had the limiting belief of ‘I have no idea about the steps to writing a book or even how to outline a novel.'
Perfect excuse for not doing something, right? ‘I just don't know how to do it! Oh well!'
Until one day…
…I said to myself: ‘I'm going to write a book! And I'm going to get it published!'
And I did.
But how?
Good question.

How would you go about writing a book? Where would you even start?

So when I first started writing War Drum, it was originally a collection of short stories.
And I soon discovered that the more air you pump into a balloon, the bigger it grows.
Before I knew it, the characters in these short stories started overlapping into the other narratives. Suddenly, I had one big universe.
So what was the ‘air' that I was pumping into my idea balloon?
I was relentlessly writing notes on a notepad.
I always recommend to anyone who wants to write a book, is to get a notepad and pen and write down as many ideas as you can.
I have always done this ever since I heard a quote from Joe Rogan – ‘Don't just think it, ink it.'
An idea can disappear in an instant, so pump some air into it, one day it may take off!
How to write a book

So what was inspiring all of these relentless notes?

One night I was sat watching a David Attenborough nature documentary.
And there was one scene that really stuck with me.
A fisherman had a harpoon in hand as he leaped from his boat and launched it into the water.
This shot just looked so cinematic and epic, with the water cascading in the tropical sun…I couldn't help but start scribbling things down.
Who was this fisherman? What was his name? Is fishing his passion? What is his dream?
Answer those questions and you have the beginnings of a character…and subsequently, the beginnings of a story!
Whenever you get an idea, write it down. It doesn't matter if you think it is any good or not.
That one little idea could eventually turn into a book.
That's what happened to me. That fisherman story was the genesis of my novel – and he didn't appear in the final draft at all!
You never know how your ideas are going to develop.
I created a Skillshare course for how I created character names that stand out. You can get 2 free months of Skillshare below and watch this course for free!
Create Outstanding Character Names!

Staying Motivated for the Distance

Now that you have all of these ideas, it's time to begin the long process of turning ideas into product.
There's no two ways about it; writing a book takes a while.
That's why I think it is very important to love your idea.
You've got to love the idea to be committed to transform a notepad of scribbles into a full sized novel with a shiny cover.
It took me a while to write my book. Now I'm the first to admit that I'm not the most organised person. I'm constantly checking my phone and I haven't been able to sit still through an entire a film for years now.

So how did I force myself to sit at my desk and write for months on end?

Simple. I loved my idea. I believed in it. I was emotionally compelled by my message.
I also implemented other tactics, such as setting alarms on my phone to go off every hour. I would do an hour of solid work and then take a 15 minute break.
Interestingly, in those 15 minutes, I had no urge to surf the web or look at my phone. I would do things like step outside for fresh air, or play a song on my ukulele.
Eventually, the urge for procrastination fades if you train your mind.

The Number One Tip For Writing a Book

My number one piece of advice?
Even if you start to lose confidence with your book, you have got to keep writing.
You are always going to be self-critical. But the only way to finish it is to not stop until it is done.
Sounds obvious, but it is so important.
I have had parts of my book that I didn't think were that significant, and readers have messaged me saying that they found that particular part inspirational.
Your writing can have a positive effect on someone, somewhere in the world.
But if you don't push it out into the world, how will the world see?

My Final Bits of Advice for How to Write a Book

  • Read a lot of fascinating stuff.
  • Watch a lot of fascinating things.
  • Always keep your notepad with you.
  • Don't be afraid to write your ideas down.
  • Don't be afraid to share your ideas with people.
Because in sharing your ideas, it creates opportunity for feedback. That feedback is what is going to help you grow and it may also give you a boost of confidence.
Other people reading your work will make it all feel real.
Eventually, you will grow in confidence. Your scribbles on scrap paper will turn into scenes and characters that emotionally compel you to keep on developing.
Eventually, these scenes will emotionally compel others to read on.
And it may even inspire them to pursue their childhood dream of writing a book.
I can say that with absolute confidence, as it all worked for me!
Click the image below to check out my novel on Amazon:
How to write a book

Wait a second…

…you might be asking now – ‘How did you get it published on Amazon?'

I can walk you through those steps right now!


How to Publish a Book

If you've just finished writing your novel and it's sitting on your dining room table and you have no idea what to do with it…
…or if you have been dreaming about writing a novel and have no idea how it gets from word document to covered, formatted and shelved…
…then you are exactly like I was several moons ago.
And now here I am:
How to write a book
That is me with my old word document, but somehow it is covered, formatted and shelved on Amazon and in bookstores.
So how did I make this happen?
Well I wouldn't be a very good author if I just used ‘magic' as an explanation…so I'll tell you how I really did it.

How to Self-Publish Your Novel on Amazon

I originally published these steps in an ebook on amazon, but you can read them below here for absolutely free!
And if you would like to read it along with a free video course, below is my course on Skillshare. You can get 2 months free of Skillshare by clicking on the link below:
Self-Publish Your Novel in Simple Steps
Let's do it!

Here are the 7 Steps to Self-Publish Your Book

Step 1: Print or Ebook?

So the first step is deciding if you want your book to be a printed paperback, an ebook or both.
I know what you are going to say. Print of course! What writer doesn't want to hold an actual paperback of their story in their hands. So…
Why would I ever choose Ebook over print?
Well here's where you have to put the business hat on.
When it comes to selling your book, printing costs of a paperback eat into your profit-margins. Whereas, with an ebook, if you sell it on Amazon through Kindle, you get 70% of what was paid for the book.
Or you could have the best of both worlds and have both made like I did!
That's the beautiful thing about self-publishing – you call the shots!
I originally became fascinated with the idea of self-publishing after reading this book about an internet millionaire who sold ebooks.

Step 2: Set up a Createspace or KDP Account

So now you have made your decision…it's time to set up accounts with Createspace (paperback publishing) and Kindle Direct Publishing.
These aren't the only two options, for instance, there is also Lulu, but I personally think they are the best self publishing companies – they are owned by Amazon after all…and Amazon is pretty good at selling books.
And the best thing is you can self publish for free!
So we will begin with Createspace. Simply create an account and click on ‘Start a title'.
Write the name of your project/book and select ‘paperback'. Createspace will give you the option of guided help with filling out the information, so if you are inexperience ( which I imagine you are if you a reading this post) then accept the help!
As you go through the steps, eventually you will see that Createspace needs a cover file and a content file. Those are two things you don't yet have so read on to see the steps explaining how to get these two essential items!
You are probably thinking, ‘Why are you showing this step before the steps display how to get the cover and  content for the novel?'
It's a good question.
And I assure you there is method behind the madness.
Createspace will ask you to select a trim size for your book. This is basically how big you want your book to be.
It is important to decide on this now before going to get your manuscript formatted and your cover made as this information will come in handy for those steps.
I went for 5.5″ by 8.5″, but I believe a popular choice is 6″ by 9″.
So take note of your desired trim size.
And now it is time to move on to get your content ready to upload…

Step 3: Formatting

So Step 3 is to get our story formatted so it looks less like a document and more like a novel.
So if you're wondering ‘how to format a book for self-publishing' then read this step.
Now I had no clue where I'd find a formatter. But then I discovered Google.
I found a website called Fiverr, which is a freelance website where you can literally pay people $5 to do a job.
So just type in the the job you need. In this case, you would type in ‘book formatting'.
You will find freelancers specialising in Kindle, Epub, and Createspace. I made sure to find a one who would do it for both Kindle and Createspace, so I get both my print paperback and ebook all done in one place.
If you're not sure, then just send them a message and say what you need done. It probably won't cost you $5; I spent around £30 for both together, which is around $38.
Check out Fiverr here!
Here's a top tip for you…
Before sending off your Word Doc to the formatter, just make sure everything in your manuscript is 100% how you want it.
For instance, I foolishly had the blurb written out at the end of my manuscript, and I assumed that the formatter would ignore it and think ‘hey this guy probably doesn't mean for the blurb to be part of the book and he's just putting that there so he doesn't forget it.'
My bad.
Freelancers will take your instructions very literally. Don't leave anything to assumptions, or you may end up with a blurb as the last page of your book as I nearly did.
Also, include anything like copyright pages, author biography or acknowledgement pages. Get everything you want in your novel formatted all at once.
I know what it's like – you have finished your story, and that is all you can think about – the story!
However, if you go and take a look at books on your shelf or in the bookstores like Waterstones, then you will see that there is more between the cover and blurb than just a story.

Step 4: Cover design

So now we are onto the fun part!
It's time to get your story all dressed up for it's book launch party.
It's cover design time! And once again, you can do this on Fiverr.
Hire a designer on Fiverr!
So follow the same process as with the formatting and make sure to take a look at the portfolio of works so you can select a cover designer that has a style that matches your book.
If you would like a centre piece image, like my novel's cover below:
How to write a book
Then I recommend paying for an illustrator, as a lot of the cover designer's on Fiverr seem to use a stock image as the centre piece. So you can also hire someone who is more devoted to pure illustration.
Find an illustrator on Fiverr!
So send your cover designer this centre piece image. They may also ask for some examples of covers that you might want yours to look like.
I sent these three covers as examples:

Find on Amazon!

Find on Amazon!

Find on Amazon!

Step 5: Upload to Createspace

Now with your story formatted and with your cover made, we're ready to upload. So let's start with the print edition of your book.
So now we're back in Createspace and you simply have to follow the instructions on the page.
There are a couple things to consider with some of the options for creating a paperback of your book:
Black and White or Full-Colour Print?
If you want the print to be in full-colour, this only really makes sense if you have some dazzling images in your story that you want to showcase.
But bear this in mind…
When it comes to printing, full colour images are going to cost a lot more than black and white and this will affect the minimum listing price for your book.
For example, look at the price difference between the classic edition of my novel and the full-colour illustrated edition:

War Drum Original

How to write a book

Click to see on Amazon.


War Drum Illustrated

How to write a book

Click to see on Amazon.

I often wondered why Japanese Manga was never in full-colour – and now I know! Or maybe it is actually some kind of ancient tradition. I'll leave that for someone else to ponder, because now we are moving onto the next choice to consider…

Matte or Glossy Cover?

Now this was a decision that sent me down a long path of googling and scanning forums.
So when it comes to deciding if you want your book cover to be matte or glossy, I'll try and make it simple for you.
If you want bright colours of your cover to stand out, then go glossy.
If your cover has a darker theme, then go for matte.
That took me way too long to deduce for myself originally, so enjoy that.

White or Cream Paper?

So to make this decision I went to my local bookshop and had a glance at what other books field had gone for. There seemed to be a greater preference for white paper.
White seemed to give a crispness, whereas cream gives an old storybook charm.
Both have merits, so just go and check out some books and see what you prefer!
The uploading process is fairly straightforward on Createspace, so I won't be going into detail here. Follow the steps that the site gives you and you will be absolutely fine.

Step 6: Upload to Kindle Direct Publishing

After you upload your book to Createspace, it will ask if you would like it also uploaded to Kindle. However, I read somewhere that this would leave your Kindle version without crucial formatting details, such as an interactive contents page.
This is why I suggested to get two versions formatted and to keep the two processes of creating a print version and a kindle version as separate as possible.
However, this could just be me being ‘Captain Cautious'.
I also, won't go into too much detail on this as it is pretty self-explanatory. Just go through the instructions and fill in such details as your book title, as well as uploading your cover and content files and you will be fine.

Step 7: Amazon Author Central Page

Now the final step is to create an Amazon Author Central Page, including an author bio, an image of yourself (which is optional of course).
This is somewhat of a social media account but it also helps to create your product page for your book on Amazon – hence the author bio.
It also helps to link your book paperback and Kindle editions of your book so that they appear on the same page.
Amazon notices that the two listings have the same title and author within normally around 48 hours anyway, but the Author Central Page helps to speed things along.
And there we go…
…that was the 7 Steps to Self-Publishing your Book
Now you that you have your masterpiece up on Amazon in paperback, Kindle or both, all that is left to do is to market yourself to the world!
But that is a blog post for another time…or you can check out my course on Skillshare for free about using Quora to get book sales.
You can get 2 free months of Skillshare by signing up through the link below:
Boost Book Sales with Quora!

How teaching online can allow you the time for side-projects

The beauty of the job is it can be as many or as few hours as you wish and it earns you a very good part-time income from the comfort of your own home.

That's why it attracted people like me who wanted to focus on side projects outside of work…but still have enough money to eat!

So if you are a frustrated novelist, budding entrepreneur or even a musician working on an EP! DigiNo is here to help find you an income through online teaching.

Just click the image below!

How to write a book

Why Use DigiNo to Find an Online Teaching Job?

DigiNo only lists companies in its JobMatch tool that are actually hiring and steers you towards the platforms suited to you! No more guesswork and wasted applications! Try it for yourself...

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