If you publish a book, people will regard you as an expert. That will increase your marketability. It is also a good take-away for people who come to your talks and want to share your ideas.
If you think you don’t have anything worthy of a book, you’re wrong. Everyone is an expert in something, is passionate about something. Writing a book will cement your own ideas, and benefit others.
How to write a book
Write for one hour a day no matter what. Do it whether you feel like it, whether you want to or not, or whether you are inspired or not. Do it even if you write junk. Consistency and commitment get the job done.
90% of writing is editing. It is simple to transcribe your talks. It is work to make your talks readable. Rewrite what you write over and over. It will never be perfect, but it will always get better. And know that most writers hate writing.
Download this document and follow the rules (these are the mistakes most frum writers make and why most frum writing is unreadable).
Learn the craft of writing and read these books:
Self-publishing/print-on-demand is the way to go:
- No middle man, you pay for publishing and keep 100% of the profits
- It is always in stock and doesn’t go out of print
- Most of your sales come from your talks. With the exception of college audiences, most audiences buy and are happy to buy
If you want to get in the books stores know that:
- Most publishing companies are notorious for not paying or delaying payment
- For your first book, you will probably have to pay all costs up front (so why bother?)
- Speak to people who have done it and get the details. Look around and notice that many people who first went with a major Jewish publisher self-published their second book
I have tried or looked into many online self-publishing companies. These are the best:
- Create Space – this is an Amazon company. You get automatically listed on Amazon. If you buy the pro-plan ($39) you will save thousands on bulk orders. They have the most options re different sizes. They do not offer a hardcover option.
- Lightning Source – the biggest print-on-demand operation. Hardcover option.
- Book Baby – this is a good option to get on Kindle, iBookstore, etc – a little pricey but a quality service
Ebook; This is a must, Amazon currently sells more ebooks than paper books. And because there is no per-unit cost or shipping, you get a bigger slice of the profits. Setting up an ebook should cost only $75 if there are no special formatting issues. Contact me for a reference.
Typesetting – believe it or not typesetting is a real skill. You will not be able to do it yourself. Expect to pay between $300-$500 depending on length, number of graphics/images, and other issues depending on your design needs. Contact me for a reference.
Cover – you need to hire a graphic artist to design your cover. You will need to know the exact number of pages of your final typeset document in order to determine spine width. I pay $200 for my covers. Contact me for a reference.
ISBN/Barcode – you need to be registered in “Books in Print” in order to sell online. The ISBN only costs about $30 per number, but they only sell them in sheets of 10. If you don’t plan on writing a lot of books, the online publishing companies will sell you a number (and you will be listed as published by them). Barcodes (you need one – it goes on your back cover) cost $25. Click here to get one for free.
Printing and shipping – depends on book size and quantity
Editing – I never pay for editing, I rewrite myself until the book is the way I want it. Paying for an editor is lame – you really are begging for a ghost writer. Do it yourself and get your book done the way you want it.
- Give your manuscript to people you trust and take their comments and suggestions seriously (don’t give to yes-men, give to people who will be honest)
- Give to a few people to proofread. There WILL be typos. Find as many as you can before you go to print
Fundraising for a book is easy. I raise between $3K-$5K per book. I raise all my money on Facebook and via email. I have never made a phone call or solicited a donation.
- You can sell ads/dedication pages in the back
- You can dedicate the entire edition in honor of someone
- You can sell chapters or pages
I charge $500 for a full page ad, $250 for a half page, and I list the names of everyone who gave $50 or more on a dedication page as well. I offer free books to anyone who donates $18 or more. Here is a link to my fundraising page. It’s simple and I built the page myself.
When I fundraise, I raise enough to print 500 copies. I can sell 500 copies in one year – if you speak more than I do, you will probably sell more. The first 500 don’t cost me anything. I then either raise money for a second edition or pay for new copies out of pocket.
I hate it when people charge $30 for a book – it is a rip-off (unless of course your book is a 500-page heavily-researched manifesto).
- You have to charge, you cannot give your book away for free, but don’t rip people off
- I try to sell my books for $10 a pop – no matter what
- When people buy 2 or more books I always give a free perk as well
- You will sell more books and your books will get read if you charge a fair price – don’t be a jerk
- You won’t get rich selling books (unless you have a best seller) but you will earn a lot more every time you speak – and you are helping people as well
Bottom line: You have to write a book. Audiences simply do not remember speeches – no matter how good you are. If you want them to remember your ideas – and grow from your talks – then you have to have a book to sell them. They will appreciate it.
Rabbi Tzvi Gluckin is an experienced speaker, author, musician, and Jewish educator. He runs JOU Max, a cutting edge and totally interactive Online Maimonides program (learn more here) and an online Hebrew School in conjunction with the Afikim Foundation (learn more here). From 2001 – 2009, Tzvi directed Aish Campus in Boston and recruited college students to travel and study in Israel, South America, and Europe. Over 700 students participated on these programs. He is currently the director of Vechulai, an innovative Jewish think tank in Boston. Following the post on NLEResources entitled, 3 Free Easy Ways to Publish Your Own eBook, we present to you this guest post from Rabbi Gluckin who has self-published all of his works. Feel free to reach out with any further questions or comments to Rabbi Gluckin on Twitter @TheRealTzvi.