Writing and Self-Publishing Ebooks


It was July 30, 2010 and I sat across from Mark LeBlanc, a business consultant and former National Speaker Association National president.  He looked at me with his hound dog eyes and said, “You need to write a book. And you can do it next month”  It wasn’t a suggestion.  It was a “demandment.”

I stared back at him, thinking: I have no time.  I have no money.  I have no knowledge.

I had no time.  I worked two part-time jobs and had three teenagers at home, one of whom I was homeschooling.

I had no money.  We had a failing technology business.  Later that year we would be filing for bankruptcy.

I had no knowledge.  I didn’t know the first thing about self-publishing.

So with those thoughts swirling in my head, I said: “I think I can do that.”

I don’t know where those words came from, but if Mark thought I could do it, then I believed I could.

Three months later, I had self-published my first book, Small Talk Big Results: Chit Chat Your Way to Success.  And now, three and half years later, have a total of 5 self-published books and one co-authored book published by McGraw Hill (Diane’s Amazon Author Page).  I bring in passive income of about $1000/month from Amazon sales.  And, the increased credibility has led to speaking engagements (and back-of-the-room book sales) and media interviews.

I learned that I didn’t need much time because I could use content I already created.  Four of my books were originally blog posts and one was curriculum for a class.  After the first book, I published my books in less than a week, including both print and ebook formats. For the last book, which I published only as a Kindle ebook, the total time was about 5 hours (and that including cutting and pasting content from my newsletters, writing an introduction and a conclusion, and formatting).  For that first book, I carved out time from 5:15-6:15 AM Monday-Friday, about 20 hours total, to massage blog content and add a few chapters.

I learned that I didn’t need much money.  My first book cost about $800 to self publish and that included buying a block of 10 ISBN numbers for $250, and hiring out editing, formatting for both print and ebooks, and cover design. Most of the subsequent books cost $30 or less because I did everything myself.

I learned that I didn’t need much knowledge.  I still haven’t read a book on self-publishing. For the first book, I googled “how to self-publish” and learned as I went along.

If I can do it, you can do it.

You don’t need a lot of time. You don’t need a lot of money. You don’t need a lot of knowledge.

I can’t do anything about your time or money situation, but I can help with the knowledge, at least to give you an orientation to self-publishing, with a focus on ebooks.

Click here for a 2-page overview “Writing and Producing Ebooks for Speakers.”  (applicable to non-professional speakers, too!)Self-publishing ebooks

And, then . . . Just do it!


How to Self-Publish a Book: A Short Course of Why, What and How

Maybe you want to write the next great American Novel.  Maybe you want to write a book to gain credibility in your field.  Or, maybe you just want to write down a family member’s stories so that future generations will not forget.   You can do all that and more by self-publishing!

In  preparation for a short educational presentation on self-publishing that I am giving on Saturday for the District 6 Toastmasters Spring Convention, I prepared a 3-page handout:


The handout gives some facts (like only 1-2% of manuscripts are accepted by traditional publishers), some ideas (why, what and how) and a page of resources with links!

I’ve blogged before on my self-publishing experience:

My First Book Adventure . . . Part I Pre-publishing

7 lessons Learned in My Book Launch

Self-publishing continues to evolve and become less expensive (although there are plenty of expensive options even in self-publishing) and easier (although the choices multiply!).   Here’s to self-expression through self-publishing!

Talking to People About Your Business: Why and How I Wrote My Book

On 3/14, Tanya Smith and Tai Goodwin interviewed me on their BlogTalk Radio show, Your First 20 Clients for a segment, How to Talk to Strangers (and Friends) About Your New Business.

This blog post is the ninth and final in a series based on that show (I transcribed it one question at a time).

Today’s question is from 47:19 to 53:15 in the hour-long audio of the show.

Tanya:  So, what prompted you to write the book in the first place, Diane?  Why did you decide that this was a book meant for you to put out to the world?

Diane: Well, this is kind of funny, but it was because someone told me I should write a book.  (laughter)

I had a meeting with another speaker, Mark LeBlanc, who lives in the Twin Cities area.  This was on July 30th of last year.  And, he said, “You should write a book.  In fact, you should write it next month.  And get it published.” Read more of this post

My First Book Adventure. . .Part I (Pre-publishing)

I only decided to write a book a couple of months ago.  I didn’t take a class on writing or publishing.  I just decided to learn by doing.  So, in month 1 (August) I wrote the book.  In month 2 (September), I started getting the book ready for self-publishing.  It should be ready by the end of the month to publish both in print and in digital (e-book) formats.  It has been quite a learning experience.   I might read a book or take a class on how to do it next time.  Or not.  I have detailed my steps so far, including costs below, for those of you who might be considering self-publishing (or have advice to give me!). Read more of this post