Self Publishing: Writing A Book and Publishing Books and Ebooks For Yourself and Others
by A. William Benitez
The author will be awarding a $5 Amazon GC to a randomly drawn commenter at each stop and a Grand Prize of a $50 Amazon GC at the end of the tour.
Hello and thanks for stopping by and visiting with me and the bunnies. It is so nice to have A William Benitez here. Readers I hope you enjoy this interview as much as I did. Oh, hold on A William Benitez every time someone new stops by the dogs and bunnies go crazy.
What do you do when you are not writing?
Since I have no hobbies, writing takes the place of the time I would spend on those. I have a full time job as the IT Manager for a large hotel that is part of a worldwide group of hotels so that takes care of five weekdays. I also have spent the last few years remodeling our home most recently completing the second bathroom and now working on a new office for myself. I spend some time on social media related to my business and I do as much marketing as possible for my books and my publishing business.
Where do you get your ideas?
All my ideas for books have come from my own experiences and from answering questions that I receive from visitors to my blogs and buyers of my books. I also check related areas on Amazon and determine subjects that I feel can be improved upon or expanded.
Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?
Growing up I enjoyed Hemingway and Steinbeck a great deal. The authors who had the most significant impact on my life over the long term were Kahlil Gibran, Anthony DeMello, and Earl Nightingale.
Can you tell us about your challenges in getting your first book published?
My first book was published many years ago by a national housing organization. The biggest challenge for me was that the final book, while a good book, was not really my book any longer even though I got full credit. It did serve as good national recognition for publishing several other books. For those the biggest challenge was the front end investment because that was well before the advent of POD.
How do you market your work? What avenues have you found to work best for your genre?
I create individual web sites for all my books and blogs for the various topics. I think the best way to market is to give potential buyers valuable content that reflects the quality of your information. I do that by providing that content regularly on my blogs and on my facebook pages. I believe it’s important to have your books readily available everywhere and for that reason I do all my books through Createspace who makes it easy to market worldwide through Amazon and many other areas.
If you had to go back and do it all over, is there any aspect of your book or getting it published that you would change?
I can’t think of anything that I would change. This is the fifth book I’ve written and the eleventh book that I published so I feel fairly confident it is the best that I can do in creating a book.
What book would you like to read again?
The book that I have read repeatedly and am always ready to read again is The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran. Even though written back in 1923 it is filled with invaluable life lessons and each time brings more clarity.
Is there a particular movie that you preferred over the book version?
I loved Doctor Zhivago and have sat through the entire movie many times and always enjoyed it fully. Even after more than forty years it’s still a great epic and romance.
Do you buy a book by the cover?
No. The cover certainly is an influence and it may generate enough interest to check inside but it takes much more than an attractive and interesting cover to get me to purchase a book.
What are your thoughts on book trailers?
I don’t have a real trailer for any of my books. I have some very short videos that I don’t consider trailer quality. Even though I don’t have personal experience with book trailers I believe they can be useful and am planning to create some for my books when time permits.
Do you write under a pen name?
No but I publish under my company name Positive Imaging, LLC.
What day were you born?
Do you have a nickname?
Everyone calls me Bill now but when I was in school it was Billy.
Do you ever write in your PJ’s?
I often take my laptop to the living room and write in front of the fireplace. I love to see the fire going and feel the warmth while I’m writing.
If you could travel in a Time Machine would you go back to the past or into the future?
My past is filled with good times and bad times and who knows what the future will bring but I wouldn’t be interested in going in either direction. I like now.
If you could invite any 5 people to dinner who would you choose?
There are four people that I would like to share with my wife Barbara who would be the fifth. They are Kahlil Gibran, Anthony DeMello, Nelson Medela, and Gandhi.
What is one book everyone should read?
The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran. I believe it is a great help in life and relationships and it is beautifully written and a pleasure to read.
What is your favorite flavor of ice cream?
What is your favorite thing to eat for breakfast?
I love organic cereal.
Night owl, or early bird?
Early bird all my life. Awake by 5 a.m. but I stay in bed much later on weekends.
One food you would never eat?
I can’t stand liver no matter how it is prepared.
Bad or rude customer service. It seems to be quite prevalent now.
Skittles or M&Ms?
I would choose M&Ms but I don’t do any sugar at all, at least not knowingly.
Where is one place in the world that you would really love to visit someday?
I would like to visit Paris, France and plan to do so soon.
One of your favorite quotes –
Life is short and then you die! While this seems a little negative I don’t see it that way. It helps you realize that every moment in life should be lived fully.
Do you prefer coffee, tea, or hot cocoa?
Coffee with tea a close second. Hot cocoa on special occasions.
Red, or white wine?
I prefer a dry red wine, especially from Spain, Chile, or Argentina.
What is your favorite place to travel?
So far my favorite is Spain but I enjoyed Turkey.
Do you prefer print books or ebooks?
I read mostly ebooks on my small Kindle and I read a lot on my computer but I do read print books also. I just like to read and for me it isn’t about the mode. A good book is good no matter how you read it.
What is your favorite cereal?
I like natural organic cereals and they really don’t have brand names.
Who is your favorite singer?
What is your favorite thing to eat/snack on while writing?
I usually snack on mixed nuts.
Do you prefer snow or rain?
What is your favorite theme park?
I can’t list one because I’m not a fan of theme parks. I prefer natural locations like Yellowstone or old cities like Lisbon and Valencia.
Do you have any hobbies?
No hobbies. I love writing and that is what I do when not working or reading.
Regular or decaf?
Regular coffee for certain but I can tolerate decaf if it is a good tasting coffee.
Candles or spray air fresheners?
I like candles mostly but sometimes an air freshener works better and quicker.
Do you have a green thumb for plants?
I don’t like working in the garden although I love flowers. The most gardening I do is dig holes so my wife can bury her plants.
What do you collect? Trinkets? Books? Gadgets?
No collections of any kind unless you consider five computers a collection.
Real sugar or artificial sweetener?
Neither, I take most drinks without sweetener but sometimes I will use Stevia, a natural sweetener.
Coke or Pepsi?
Neither. I drink natural drinks or carbonated drinks that are sweetened with Stevia.
Do you drive a manual or automatic vehicle?
Automatic but I enjoy driving a stick shift. It feels like a throwback to my younger days when I drove hot cars.
Do you prefer to live in a big city or in the country?
Except for heavy traffic, I prefer the city.
Who is your favorite actor?
I’m torn between Clint Eastwood and Mark Wahlberg.
Besides writing what other artistic talents, do you have?
I’m a good woodworker, woodcarver, and photographer.
What was your first job?
I was a helper and then carpenter working with my father a general contractor who built homes and commercial buildings.
Please tell the readers a bit more about you.
I was born into construction and spent several years operating my own construction company. Then I worked in government in the housing field and was invited to testify on housing issues before the U.S. Congress. I owned a woodworking business for over 25 years before learning computers and becoming a Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer and a network administrator. Then I started writing and publishing.
What types of books do you write?
I write how to books mostly about the woodworking and handyman business. My last book was on self publishing and completely based on my first hand experience publishing those other books.
Who’s your main audience?
Individuals who want to learn how to make money using their skills or develop new skills for the same purpose.
When it comes to writing- what are your strong points? What are your weaknesses?
My strongest points are persistence, follow through, reliability, and honesty. My main weakness is a lack of patience.
What do you think of this term- Writer’s Block? How do you overcome it?
I have not experienced it. There are days when it is easier than other days and my work seems better and smooth but I can always write.
How many books have you written?
Over the years I have written over a dozen books but since starting my company Positive Imaging, LLC I have written five books.
How many are published?
All of them are published and I my company Positive Imaging, LLC has published six for other authors.
Are you self published or traditionally published?
My first book was traditionally published. All my others have been self published.
What type of books do you enjoy reading?
I like to read business books, how to books on any subject that interests me, and mystery thrillers like The Davinci Code.
How long does it take you to write a book?
That is a difficult question for me but the writing takes me a few weeks then the editing takes much longer.
What does your writing schedule look like?
I would like to have a schedule but with a full time job and many other projects going on I write every chance I get. Sometimes it can be for several hours other times for 30 minutes. I just do as much as I can moving towards a completed manuscript.
Do you manage to write every day?
I do write everyday but not on my books. Sometimes I’m writing content for my blogs. Other times I writing articles, ads, and press releases for my books. It’s all writing but doesn’t move the book forward.
What’s the latest news you’d like to share?
I building a great new office behind my home and really looking forward to moving my workstation there. I think that I will get more done but that remains to be seen.
Do you have any advice for new writers?
Just write and don’t be discouraged by the negative comments from those who are unwilling to attempt writing.
Do you use your OWN experiences?
All my writing is from my own experiences. When I detail a method to someone it is something that I have tried myself.
Did you ever think you would ever become an author?
Not in my youth. I thought about it when reading Hemingway’s Nick Adams stories years ago but never believed that I could do it.
How long did it take you to publish your first book, after you started trying?
I wrote my first book after an invitation to write it from a national housing organization so my first book is what stirred my interest in writing.
Tell me about your book. How did you come up with that (story, angle, idea)?
“Self Publishing: Writing A Book and Publishing Books and Ebooks For Yourself and Others” came about because I read everything I could find when I was learning about self publishing and realized that most books provided so many options that it was confusing. I decided to write a book that would detail a single proven method to go from writing, through editing, design, layout, formatting and even fulfillment worldwide. My book is based on that proven method that I have already used on thirteen books.
Where do you hope your books/writing will be in the future?
I hope that readers realize the value of my how to books to anyone wanting to use their skills to make money.
Was it easy to pick the title for your book?
Picking a good title takes research to determine the keywords related to the topic of the book that are being searched for regularly and then using them to create an title that will capture attention and let the prospective buyer know as much as possible about the book.
When writing do you prefer typing or long hand with pen and paper?
I almost never use pen and paper anymore except for immediate notes when not near a computer. Otherwise, everything goes into the computer.
What was your vision for the book cover?
I wanted this book to be sufficiently similar to my previous books so it seemed a part of a series.
Where can readers find you?
My email is firstname.lastname@example.org and I have two self publishing blogs at http://self-publishing-support.com/ and http://publishingsimplified.com/ and my Positive Imaging, LLC site at http://positive-imaging.com .
Thank you so much for taking time to chat with me today A William Benitez. It’s been a pleasure having you and I wish you much success in the future.
In 2007 my wife Barbara completed a wonderful children’s chapter book called Lottie’s Adventure and begin sending it to traditional publishers. Despite some great preliminary reviews, all she got was rejections and lack of response. This was quite frustrating for her and I wanted to help.
As an IT professional, I had read a lot about print on demand and made up my mind to learn all about it and then publish Lottie’s Adventure. It was a lengthy learning curve and I made lots of mistakes including the selection of a POD company that was more expensive than necessary. Nevertheless, we produced a high quality book and in spite of our lack of knowledge we sold quite a few copies of Lottie’s Adventure.
After this success I realized that self publishing had potential for some of my own writing and began developing effective, efficient, and lower cost methods to publish the books that I wrote. Since then I have written and published six books and a few ebooks of my own and established a publishing company that has published six books plus several ebooks for other writers.
After consistently producing and marketing quality books worldwide I decided to share these proven methods in a new book covering every step from idea through book creation to worldwide sales. That book is Self Publishing: Writing A Book and Publishing Books and Ebooks For Yourself and Others.
Planning The Book – The Outline
Step one for any book, after the basic idea appears, is to create a clear and concise
plan. Knowing why you are writing the book is important to developing a viable
plan. If you are writing simply for your own enjoyment and to share some
knowledge or an experience with anyone who may be interested, with little
concern for potential profit, then the first step should be creating an outline for
You begin this outline by writing down all the major topics you wish to convey to
your readers. Put them all down without attempting to flesh them out or placing
them in particular order. At this early stage, spending too much time on
individual topics could cause you to lose focus of the main topics. After you have
listed them all, organize them in the best possible order so that each topic
logically follows the previous one.
Now is the time to flesh them out. Go back to each topic one at a time and add
whatever thoughts come to you. There is no certain length for this and don’t
worry about structure. You are still at the thought development stage to cover as
much as you can before actually beginning the writing. As you write down all
these thoughts, new topics and ideas will come to you. Don’t dismiss them; write
them down as they come to you even if they belong elsewhere. You can move
them later. The important thing at this stage is not to lose the thought. Read the
section on creating and using an outline to see the simplest way to take full
advantage of an outline to create your book.
If profit is the main objective of your writing, another method may be more
appropriate for you. Once you know the niche or topic of your book, find the
market for that particular niche. That is, determine whom will purchase your
book and where you can find these prospects. This is a critical step because if you are unable to locate readers interested in your topic, it may be that a niche doesn’t exist or is so small as to make reaching it difficult and unprofitable. Since your intent is to profit from writing your book, this is a good time to revisit your concept and perhaps alter it for better marketability or perhaps abandon the idea and look for a marketable niche.
Knowing Your Market
While this book doesn’t deal directly with marketing and promotion, the odds of a
book selling are increased considerably if you know your market and write your
book to fulfill their needs. This is not possible if you have no idea about those
interested in your book and how to reach them.
While it may seem that this knowledge is about marketing and not writing or self
publishing, it’s just the opposite. This knowledge will help you write the book so
it’s of real value to your potential buyers and to create a cover that conveys a
strong message indicating clearly that the information these book buyers want is
in the book. This will make your book marketable and contribute to increased
sales before you even publish.
The Final Format
In this early planning stage you must decide on the final format. Is it just going to
be available as an ebook? Kindle is really popular but it doesn’t work for some
books that require a much larger page. There is a larger Kindle available but it is
considerably more expensive then the standard model or the Kindle Fire which is
the one to which you should aim your ebook. There are other kinds of ebooks that
work perfectly well even with letter size books. Learn more about publishing for
the Kindle in chapter fourteen.
Is the book going to be available as a paperback? Are you going to come out with
both paperback and ebook at the same time? Making these decisions should be
part of your planning. All of these various formats and how to take full advantage
of them is covered in other chapters.
When I was going to publish my first book, which was a children’s book my
wife had written, I spent several hours at a large bookstore going through
similar books. I must have looked through at least fifty different children’s
books to find out if there was some standard formatting that I should use
for my first attempt at publishing a book. I learned something very
interesting that day. There were no two books formatted the same way.
There were some similarities but many more differences. The important
thing was to make the book look professionally published and there were
obviously many ways to do that.
There is an easier way for you to do the same thing using the Amazon.com web
site. Just go to the site and search for books in your niche. Most of the books will
have the look inside feature and you can take a look at the layout without going
to a bookstore. You can even print out pages for closer examination. There are
also some excellent books on the subject of book design. However, don’t believe
that you are stuck with one certain format as right or wrong. Strive to make your
book original and professional and there are as many ways to accomplish that as
there are publishers.
If you decide to read one or more books on book design or visit book design
blogs, remember that the information you are reading is of value but not carved
in granite. Your ideas also have value so use the information to learn the things
that look obviously wrong but remember to be creative while maintaining
professionalism. For an inexperienced self publisher it can be difficult to choose
the correct format for a book. That’s the reason studying the work of others is so
helpful, at least while publishing your first book
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
From age twelve I spent my summers and weekends working with my dad, a general contractor, building homes and buildings. I contracted my first home at age nineteen and built my own home by age twenty. For more than 30 years I have operated one-person businesses. Twelve years of my life were spent working for local government managing federally-assisted housing programs. I started as an inspector with a three month assignment and was Director of Community Improvement with 78 employees when I resigned to do writing and consulting.
Writing, Publishing and Consulting
During the 80’s I established Rehab Notes Library a publishing company that published a monthly newsletter (Rehab Notes) with subscribers in all 50 states, Canada and England. I also did consulting and public speaking on housing related topics for agencies and organizations in cities across the country and testified before the U.S. Congress on housing issues.
I wrote and published nine guidebooks on the subject of housing rehabilitation. After 1980 when most federal funding was pulled from housing activities, I took advantage of my construction and business experience and started a handyman and woodworking business.
Over Twenty Years of Woodworking
For over twenty years, first in Tampa, Florida and then in Austin, Texas, I built hundreds of small and large cabinet and furniture projects for individuals, companies and government agencies. During these years I began writing books about my woodworking business experiences.
In 2007 I established Positive Imaging, LLC, to publish a children’s book for my wife and then begin publishing my own books and that of other using methods I call positive publishing. To date we have published twelve paperback books, a half dozen ebooks, and presently have several books in various levels of completion.
My computer experience dates back more than fifteen years and began in response to poor technical support for our computers. I used home study to acquire A+ and Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer Certifications.
I was born and raised in Tampa, Florida and moved to Austin, Texas in 1986, where I now live with my wife, Barbara Frances. We have three adult children, eight grand-children, and two great grandchildren.
1. Self Publishing Book Sales Pages
a. Main Sales/Info Page – http://selfpublishingworkbook.com
b. Createspace Fulfillment Page – https://www.createspace.com/3851405
2. Main Positive Imaging, LLC Site – http://positive-imaging.com
3. Self Publishing Support Blog – http://self-publishing-support.com
4. PublishingSimplified Blog – http://publishingsimplified.com