What I Have Learned So Far from Writing and Publishing My New Book

You probably know by now that I am close to publishing my next book—Foster and Adoptive Parenting: Authentic Stories that Will Inspire and Encourage Parenting with Connection. The ebook version is launching November 13, 2016 with the print version coming out Spring of 2017.


If you have thought about writing and publishing a book, I bet the how-to overwhelms you. It has overwhelmed me.

I share here a few pointers that I learned this go around both that helped my writing and publishing. I am just beginning the launch and promotion phase, so I will post a blog about what I learn from that soon.

What I learned about writing:

  • Mind map. Once I decided on the subject of my book, I spent a few days doing a mind map. The temptation is to begin writing. Instead I learned that it helps to get all the thoughts and ideas out of my head and on paper.
  • Group ideas together. Getting my ideas out on paper allowed me to easily see how ideas fit together. This also helped me to decide what didn’t belong in this book.
  • Outline. Now the outline began to fall into place. This isn’t the table of contents. Just an outline to help with the first rough draft.
  • Write like crazy. The time spent on the mind map and outline helped free me up to just write. The key at this stage was to write without paying attention to correct spelling or grammar. That comes later.
  • Mind map each chapter. As I began each chapter, I took about an hour or less to mind map that topic. This also helped me to write.

If you apply those simple tips, I am sure you can complete the rough draft of a 30,000 or so word book in a few weeks.

Now here are a few things I am learning about publishing:

  • Finding an editor. One of the most important steps for any book, especially a self published book, is editing. I learned two things about finding and working with an editor.
    • Interview the editor. I sent a sample page to about 10 editors. What they sent back to me allowed me to see their style and what they changed or corrected.
    • Ask for content and copy editing. The editor I hired agreed to send the manuscript back to me after she completed the content editing. Then we went through two rounds of copy editing. Be sure to make it clear what you want your editor to do before you hire them.
    • Note—I used Upwork to find my editor. A great tool to find free-lance professionals for many needs.
  • Importance of a good title and subtitle. A good title and subtitle tells a potential reader exactly what the book is about. (this is true for nonfiction)
  • Create a great book cover. I don’t have design skills, so I have to hire someone to do this. The main point is don’t cut this corner either.
  • Formatting the book for ebook and print. Just as with cover design, there are many ways to do this. If you know what you are doing, you can do it yourself. I use a couple of tools:
    • Scrivener. This is a writing tool that I highly recommend. It not only helps with the writing process but also helps when you get to the formatting stage.
    • Templates from Joel Friedlander at www.TheBookDesigner.com. These templates help save a lot of money and time.

If you are a writer or inspiring to be one, I hope these tips help. I enjoy encouraging others to write! Send me a note if you have questions about writing or publishing.

Also let me know if you want to be on my launch team for my new book. I will let you know when and how you can get a free copy.

One last note—Check out the Self Publishing School if you want help writing, publishing, and promoting your first book. (this is an affiliate link)

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I am a longtime Austinite. Married my beautiful wife over 25 years ago. Adopted our son September 2012. Currently a writer and loving it. Previous jobs and careers include project management, missionary, and pastor. I enjoy sports (both watching and playing), traveling, reading, digging in dirt and hanging with my friends and family.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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