Self-publishing is all about you writing your book and publishing it yourself, involving no established publisher. This way of publishing books has taken the world by storm – thanks to technology. It will interest you to know that the number of self-publishing books has increased by over 260% in the last 5 years. In the US, for example, 461,438 ISBNs were assigned to self-publishing books. By 2018, that figure had reached 1,677,781 ISBNs. Between 2017 and 2018 alone, self-publishing books grew up by 40%.
Advantages of self-publishing
- You are your own boss. No gatekeeper.
- You write and publish using your own timeline. No pressure from anyone.
- No one tells you to “remove this”, “remove that”, or “add this”. You have complete control over your content.
- You own 100% of your sales (royalty). Everything comes to your bank account or Momo number. No percentage sharing.
- You have the freedom to market it the way you want.
What do you need?
- Internet access
- Knowledge (Expertise)
Writing your content
The entire idea does not come in a day. Whatever is in your mind, just open Microsoft Word Document and type it. The fundamental thing here is that you want to control what you write, which is why you are doing everything yourself. As an example, I wrote my three books without referring to any “How to write a book” document. Or what should go into my content?
My Campus Wahala book, for instance, initially, was a piece I wrote on a WhatsApp platform. People read it and enjoyed it and wanted to know how the story will end. I produced two more updates (Part 2 and 3), and some said, “this will be an amazing book.” The rest is history.
My second book (Who Scams the Scammer), was about a scammer I was tracking online. He wanted to scam me, and I wasted his time. That is called Scam-baiting. I shared a regular update on Facebook and WhatsApp platforms, and people loved the story. I ended up tracking several scammers and compiling their scam tricks and how to avoid them into a book.
In my third book, for instance, I needed to receive payment from someone in the US. The person said he will only make it via PayPal. I contacted a friend who contacted a friend who has a PayPal account. My friend’s friend said he will take 20% of the amount, and not just that, he will use 1 USD to GHS 5. This was February 2021 when the exchange rate was 1 USD to GHS 5.7.
I declined the offer, literally. I told my friend I will open a PayPal account in a week, and I did. As of June 15, 2020, I had received over USD 3,500.00 in the account. How I opened the account, got it verified, linked it to my UBA Bank account here in Ghana, received funds, and withdrew it via ATM (using Visa Card) is what I compiled into a book, titled: How to Open PayPal account in Ghana. It is just 64 A5 size Pages.
There is a fourth book that I am writing, and it is basically about Online Business in Ghana. I titled it “Digital First: The Self-Employment Online Business Guide for Digital Citizens”. It is basically a summary of everything I have been doing online since 2012 (that is 10 years). So, the content can be anything. You just need to have an experience in something: bread baking, snail farming, football coaching, tomato farming, cocoa farming, how to debit and credit, etc.
There are a lot of things you can write about. All that matter is experience or knowledge or expertise. For example:
- 50 reasons graduate students are unemployed: interview 1000 graduates about why they are unemployed. Limit the reasons given to 50, and you have got a book.
- Why did I fail all my job interviews after school? Is there some value you can share with others? Compile that into a book.
- 10 reasons first-class students get first class. Target 10 universities and interview 10 first-class students, one from each school. Compile their study plan into a book.
- Why I failed in life despite all my efforts?
- How single moms raise their children from grass to grace. Interview 100 single moms who have been able to single-handedly raise their children.
- How single dads raise their children from grass to grace
- How I combine family life with my career. 10 practical steps from a Ghanaian nurse
- 10 amazing places to visit in Ghana, as a tourist. Lots of tourists come to Ghana and they will love it. It might cost you because you must visit those places. But that is what will give the reader value for money.
- Take, for example, if you grew up in a Zongo community, you could easily write a book on What makes a Zongo boy a Zongo boy
- How a Muslim lady can combine education and marriage – is a huge dilemma for many Muslim parents in Ghana.
- How to do a backyard garden in the city.
- How to pass your driver’s license exams in 10 simple steps.
- How to spend your GHS 700/month as a NABCO worker.
- A step-by-step guide to becoming a DJ, Sound Engineer, dancer, Singer, or anything you can think of.
- How to make As in WASSCE after 5 attempts
- Surviving in the Village as a graduate: 10 reasons why I didn’t move to the city
- 10 years of stay in the North: What you didn’t know about the North
- A step-by-step guide to learning Hausa in 30 days
There are several topics you can write about, and I deliberately ignored the IT-related topics. You do not need to be an IT professional to be successful online, and your business does not have to be about IT.
In my next article, I will touch on editing, formatting, and pricing, prior to publishing. Keep reading.
Author: Kaunda Ibn Ahmed– Digital Entrepreneur | Member, IIPGH
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