How I'm Going to Self-Publish My Novel in 2018

It has been almost eight months since I wrote “How to Self-Publish a Novel in 2017” and I think there’s going to be a big change for the 2018 edition.

If you haven’t read that post, let me summarize it for you: here are the one million steps you need to follow to make all those hours spent writing look like a decent printed book or ebook. That’s right, you might create a wonderful story, but no one will take it seriously if it looks like garbage on their Kindle or shelf.

Trust me, it was really frustrating. I was hoping that after I’d finished my manuscript that I could focus on editing, but instead it took dozens of iterations of trial and error to get a book which I felt looked good. This, my writing friends, is not how it should be.

So when I started on my second book, I decided to broaden my search. There was one that I sort of liked, but when I realized it couldn’t track session word count (!) and that I’d have to maintain a before and after word count of every session, it didn’t matter how clean and simple it looked. I’ve got word count targets, damn it, and I want to be a more (not less) productive writer!

Introducing Social Writer. The app I made to be my self-publishing tool for 2018.

Goal 1: A Really Wonderful Composition Experience

I’ve never really thought of myself as an overly aesthetic person, but when I sit down to write in some editors, I get distracted by how unpleasant it looks. Bad fonts, weird design decisions, complex user interfaces. I just don’t get it.

I’m not saying that I’ve got my design ducks all in a row, but I feel really comfortable with the experience I’ve created in Social Writer.

editor

darktheme

The app flow feels good, the fonts are nice, I like the dark theme, the distraction-free mode is really fun to use (I’m using it right now) and I always know how much progress I’m making.

typewriter

Goal 2: Write More

Speaking of which, as an author with very limited writing time, I want to squeeze every ounce of productivity out of my keyboard time. Ideally, I’d want to know my session word count, how much time I spent writing, how much time I was distracted, that sort of thing. Almost none of that exists in the mainstream editors.

So, I built it. Personally I’ve found the word count velocity to be really helpful for planning how much time is left in writing the rest of my manuscript and the distraction tracking to be quite useful for personal accountability. I could stop writing to go read another article on the web, but then that distraction will show up in my writing history and that’s usually enough of a deterrent.

Goal 3: Write Even More

Confession. I really like going to writing meet-ups, but I have a hard time making the scheduling work. It’s really encouraging to sit across from other authors and hear what they’re working on as well as share what I’m doing. There’s also a version of accountability which comes from knowing that you’re going to have to share something.

While nothing can replicate a meet-up, I wanted to try to take something from those experiences and bring it into this writing tool. Having beers with my friends at the beach, one of them asked, “Why not put sharing right into the app?”

A writer that was social, like sharing at a meet-up or around a campfire. A Social Writer. You get the idea.

Sign in, share word counts and excerpts of your work, and encourage other writers on their journeys to the back cover. It’s already been tons of fun to share this experience with my friends, I hope you enjoy it too.

Goal 4: Make Self-Publishing Easier

This is a future goal, but there’s still quite a bit of 2017 and 2018 left, so we’ll see how far I can get.

I would really like to make the experience of publishing through Amazon’s KDP/Createspace (as well as other places) much easier from a tooling perspective. If you want to know what I mean, go check out Hugh Howey’s post on Neo, and you’ll know exactly what I mean.

Goal 5: For You To Try It!

Seriously, you’ve read this far, why not give it a try and help me make it better! I think you’re going to like it.

Published under projects