The following is an excerpt from the introduction of Christopher Pierznik’s newest book, How to Publish Your Book for Free!, which can purchased here.
For some reason, the idea of writing a book is viewed differently than other forms of art and entertainment. Most people agree that filming a movie or composing a musical album or painting a portrait is a difficult, involved process that takes patience, determination, talent, and specific skill, a combination that most of us do not have. However, that is not the case with authoring a book.
Perhaps it is because, unlike those other gifts, we have spent much of our lives writing. We write when we take notes in school. We write when we make a grocery list. We write (electronically) when we send an email. Aside from speaking, writing is the most common form of communication and, with the rise of the Internet, people are writing (typing) more than they ever have before. Whereas singing or acting or painting is seen as a specific skill that needs to be honed separately, everyone writes on a daily basis, so many people don’t really see it as a skill.
Don’t let this happen to you.
Yes, we all write. That doesn’t mean we all write well or that we should put our writing on display. Just because everyone does something does not change the fact that some are infinitely better at it than others. Nearly all of us cook and/or drive a car, but that doesn’t make us Wolfgang Puck or Mario Andretti.
Invariably, when someone discovers that I write and publish, one of the first things that they say to me is, “I should publish a book,” in much the same fashion that they say they should go to the gym or clean the bathroom. People act like it’s just another thing on the weekend to-do list between grocery shopping and changing the sheets. They don’t think it’s very hard.
The more passive aggressive of these people change only one word, but there is quite a bit of backstory contained within that one word: “I could publish a book.” This is said dismissively, as if the person would have already churned out hundreds of tomes if not for other obligations that take priority over writing The Great American Novel. These things are said without any prompting from me. More often than not, the topic of my writing is brought up by someone else. I can be an arrogant loudmouth, but when it comes to this aspect of my life, I usually demur.
Oftentimes, after this initial barb, I am then asked how I was published. When I tell them I publish independently, the first reaction is a facial expression of smug triumph — you’re not really published, you’re not really a writer — even though they have no idea about the financials involved or if I chose to publish this way. It’s nearly 2014, but there is still a stigma to self publishing. But only for a moment. Quickly, the next question becomes, “How can I self-publish?” In an instant, the superiority morphs into opportunity as the person begins planning their own book.
At least twice a week, I am asked for advice on how to publish a book. These questions come in a variety of channels — in person, via text, a one-line email, a Twitter Direct Message — and some are much friendlier than others (My favorite was an email that stated, “I need you to teach me how to self-publish” and nothing else. I’ve had bosses with more finesse than that), but the underlying idea is that I did it and it is somehow incumbent upon me to share my knowledge and experience with others, some of whom are complete strangers. I deflect these to the best of my ability, but after so many requests, I decided to bite the bullet and write a step-by-step process on how to publish.
A word of warning: This is my own method and process of publishing. Perhaps you will choose different ways or methods, but this is the way that has worked for me and, unless I’m being lied to, the way that has worked for others.
The best part of using this specific process (aside from, you know, having a published book)? You don’t have to spend one cent to complete the process. Except for the cost of creating and receiving a copy of the book for yourself that you can proudly display on your shelf and flip through whenever the mood strikes you, the entire process is 100% free. In other words, you literally have nothing to lose.
Christopher Pierznik is the author of six books, including Publish Your Book for FREE! His books can be purchased in Paperback, Kindle, and Nook. A former feature contributor and managing editor of I Hate JJ Redick, he has also written for XXL, Please Don’t Stare, Amusing My Bouche, Reading & Writing is for Dumb People, and others. He works in finance and spends his evenings changing diapers and drinking craft beer. He once applied to be a cast member on The Real World, but was rejected. You can like his Facebook page here, follow him on Twitter here, and read more of his work here.