The Ultimate Guide to Publishing Your First Real Estate Book
Having a successful thought leadership platform is a must if you want to start and scale an apartment syndication business. As a reminder, the best thought leadership platforms are interview-based, online platforms that offer unique information, insights, and ideas to a specified target audience for free. The most common thought leadership platforms are podcasts, YouTube channels, and blogs.
It will allow you to build new friendships and business relationships, as well as strengthen and maintain existing ones. It will allow you to stay top-of-mind of real estate professionals and potential passive investors because you will be consistently providing valuable content for free. It essentially allows you to continuously network with people on a global scale – even while you are asleep. And it will allow you to create a reputation as a credible expert on the apartment syndication investment strategy.
In order to take your thought leadership platform to the next level and maximize its benefits to you and your real estate investing business, consider publishing a book on Amazon.
I have published three books and have a fourth book in the works. Here is my process for preparing to write my books, how I write and edit my books, my prelaunch preparations, and how I promote my books once they are published.
The first step is to create a high-level outline for your book. The outline should include the titles of the chapters and a checklist of information to include in each chapter. This should take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks, depending on how complicated the book subject.
Once the high-level outline is completed, the next step is to perform research about the items on your checklist. This research may include reviewing your thought leadership platform interviews and blog posts, performing more interviews with experts, or miscellaneous online research. This should take anywhere to one week to six to eight weeks, again depending on how complicated the book subject.
The last step before writing is to create a more detailed outline for the book. This outline will include chapter titles, the section titles for each chapter, the information included in each section, and a one sentence outcome for each chapter. Since most of the work is already completed, this should take no more than two weeks to complete.
Writing and Editing
Once you’ve completed the research phase and created the detailed outline, the bulk of the work begins, which is writing the first draft of the book. At this point, I recommend that you focus on just writing the chapters. Depending on how much time you have to dedicate to the book and your writing skills, each chapter should take anywhere from one week to a few weeks to write. The ideal approach is to schedule a large block of time and try to write the entire chapter in one sitting. At the very least, try to write an entire section of a chapter in one sitting. For example, if chapter one has four sections, either write all four sections in four hours one day or write one section per day for four days.
When writing the chapters for your first draft, don’t worry about editing. Just get words on paper (or words on Microsoft Word). Because once you’ve finished the first draft, you will then go back over each chapter and perform an internal edit. A good strategy is to edit one chapter per day. First, read through the chapter and make any major content changes, like removing large portions or adding large portions. Then, read through the chapter again and make any minor content changes, like grammatical errors, formatting or style changes, etc. These are internal edits that you or someone on your team performs. Depending on how long the book is, this step should take four to eight weeks to complete.
Once you’ve completed your internal edits, send the entire book to a professional copy editor. If you do not know a copy editor, I recommend posting a job on www.Upwork.com. Ideally, the copy editor has experience editing books of a similar topic (i.e., has experience copy editing real estate books). The copy editor will review and correct your book to improve accuracy, readability, and fitness to ensure that it is free of error, omission, inconsistency, and repetition. Don’t worry about formatting, grammar, or misspellings with the copy editor. That will be covered by the proofreader.
The best approach I have found is to have the copy editor track their changes in a Word document. That way, you can easily see what changes they made. You can review each of the changes and manually accept or reject their changes rather than comparing your draft to the edited draft, re-reading each word to see the differences.
When we’ve written our books, we write the chapters first and while those are being edited by the copy editor, we write the remaining content, like the introduction and conclusions. Once we’ve written the introduction and conclusion, we send those to the copy editor. You can either follow this approach or you can write the entire book from start to finish before sending it to the copy editor. Make sure to send all content for the book to the copy editor, including dedication chapters, glossaries, biography pages, foreword, testimonials, back cover descriptions, etc.
Another thing you will want to work on while the copy editor is working on the book is to create any designs you want included in the book. You may want to include nicely designed flow chart, graphs, data tables, etc. in your book. I recommend posting another job to www.UpWork.com to hire a graphic designer.
Lastly, you will need to create a front cover, spine, and back cover design for your book. At this point, you will want to make our first visit to the Amazon Self-Publishing page to find the requirements for the cover and spine designs. Here is everything you need to know about creating your paperback and eBook cover.
Once the copy editor is finished and you’ve approved/rejected their changes, the next step is to send your manuscript to a proofreader and an interior formatter. I’ve found that using the same company for proofreading and interior formatting is ideal. We use the company EbookPbook. EbookPbook’s specific process is that you send them your manuscript in PDF form. They will first proofread the book, tracking their changes using the comment function in PDF. Once you’ve approved the changes, they will then format the book. They will ask you to send them an example book for inspiration (for example, we sent them a James Patterson book for our apartment syndication book). Once you approved the format, they will send you the final manuscript in PDF form (to post as a paperback) and/or MOBI form (to post as an eBook).
This is the process and services we used to edit and design our book. For more options, here is a list of providers that Amazon has on their self-publishing site.
Whatever servicer you use should be familiar with the Amazon self-publishing process. However, just in case, here is everything you need to know about how to format the interior of your book.
Now that you have the manuscript/s, you are ready to begin the publishing process.
If you are interested in setting up your book for pre-order on Amazon, here is an article on the pre-order process.
You will want to start the process of publishing your book on KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) at least 1 week before your publish date. If you want to order a proof of the book prior to it going live, you will need to start the process at least 2 weeks prior to the publish date.
To start the process, go to https://kdp.amazon.com/en_US/bookshelf. Once there, if you are creating an eBook and a Paperback, click “+Paperback”. If you are just creating an eBook, click “+Kindle eBook”.
From here, the process is very straight forward. But here a few things to consider:
- Description: Make sure you have a description of the book written prior to beginning the publishing process. This is the description that potential buyers will read when viewing the book on Amazon
- Keywords: Amazon allows you to select up to 7 keywords
- Categories: Amazon allows you to select up to 2 categories
- ISBN: Amazon will provide you with a free ISBN. But if you use their ISBN, you can only distribute the book on Amazon. If you want to distribute the book through other channels, you will need to buy an ISBN from www.myidentifiers.com
- Book Preview: once you’ve uploaded the manuscript and book cover, you can use Amazon’s Book Preview software to check your book for formatting and print quality issues. I highly recommend checking each page in your book for issues that Amazon’s review team may have missed
- Pricing: here is the information on royalties for the paperback and eBook.
You will also want to create an Author Central account. This is where you create your author page, which will be included on your book page once it is live on Amazon.
Once you’ve completed the steps on KDP bookshelf, click publish and your book will be available to purchase on Amazon.com.
Promoting Your Book
Promotions for your new book should start well before the book actually goes live on Amazon.
Here is what we did to promote our best-selling apartment syndication book:
- Giveaways: We offered free giveaways to people who pre-ordered our book
- Newsletter copy: We included copy in our newsletter once the book was available for pre-order and again once it was officially live
- Podcast interviews: I was interviewed on other popular real estate podcasts, which aired the week the book was published
- Reviews: We sent the manuscript to 50 people so that we would have 50 reviews the first day the book was live
- Paid advertising: We paid for advertising through Amazon for select relevant keywords
- Book page: We created a landing page to pre-order and buy the book on our website
Overall, the logistics for self-publishing a book on Amazon is straight forward. Amazon has a lot of videos, help topics, and downloaded how-to guides to guide you through the process.
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Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this blog post are provided for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as an offer to buy or sell any securities or to make or consider any investment or course of action.