It seems that everyone and their dog are writing e-books, and I am not an exception. The idea to write an e-book was born about a year ago, mainly because I wanted to test my wings at book writing. With online self-publishing tools, it’s very easy to publish a book (or at least an e-book) without having to spend any money at all. You don’t need to find and convince publishers to work with you, and all the promotion can be handled using social media without having to spend a dime. After paying for a number of crappy e-books on Amazon, I thought: “If those people wrote this crap and I paid for it, I can do better than that”.
What should the book be about?
After making the decision I thought about the topic of the book. This was a side project, and the main purpose was to get some experience writing, publishing and promoting a book. I was working full time at the time and didn’t have much time and mental energy left for writing. So it had to be something simple, in a field familiar to me, but at the same time very, very far away from my day job, which was in the software development field.
After spending long hours programming during the day, I didn’t want to spend even more time writing about it. I had my fashion website running on the side, and I thought that I could use it to promote my book. In turn, the book could be beneficial for the website. So having the book and the website in the same field would create a synergetic effect and boost both products.
Finally, I decided on the topic of the book: it would help women to look their best without spending any money, by teaching them the secret to picking flattering colors.
I started writing the book about 6 months ago, but since I wasn’t overly passionate about the subject, it was progressing very slowly. However, it didn’t frustrate me because I was aware of what was happening. Motivation comes from finding what you are deeply passionate about – without that it is going to be hard to drive a project to the finishing line.
Motivation to finish the book
Nonetheless, I am determined to finish and launch the book now. Is it a bad move? Maybe. It is possible that I am making a mistake pursuing this instead of focusing on getting started with my main business. When I am thinking about all the hours that I spent working on the book, I feel sorry to abandon the project – a common reason to pursue a losing game instead of shifting gears in time.
But, it may be the right move after all. Firstly, my main business is going to involve coding – since it is a software system. My day job was within the software development field, and it has gone only 2 weeks since I quit my job. I need a break and do something completely different for a month or two. Jumping straight into the new startup may not be the best move, as I can end up burning myself out and losing motivation.
Secondly, the book is about 70% finished. The first draft is done, and the only remaining tasks are to create the illustrations for the book and finalize the draft. This will be a fun activity. Furthermore, I will have to go through the process of publishing and marketing the book – which goes in line with my main goal for this month – to learn the concepts of content marketing.
How to find illustrations for the book
Since the book topic revolves around colors and “looks”, the illustrations will play a big role. I had to decide if I wanted to use photographs or drawings, and settled on using only drawings. Since the book is on a “near-zero-budget”, I cannot afford to hire models and have photo shoots. My plan was to find an illustration that I could easily manipulate to demonstrate different points that I am making in the book.
I am not an artist, and I didn’t want to pay a designer to make a custom drawing either, so I opted for a stock image. I found a good illustration of a woman, that was drawn in a way that will make it easy to change the color of the different parts of the face and hair.
The illustration was available for download on multiple stock photo websites, and I am glad that I compared prices before buying the image: on one of the sites it would have cost me around $70, while on another one I could get the same image for about $11.
The Tools section of this website has an extensive list of both free and paid stock photography websites.
Vector Editing Software: Adobe Illustrator
The downside of opting for a vector illustration is that it requires specialized software to edit. I have Adobe Photoshop, but it doesn’t work with vector graphics.
The best editing software for vectors is Adobe Illustrator, but it is very expensive. Unlike Photoshop, I am not going to use Illustrator very often, so it doesn’t make sense to invest in buying it.
There is a free option that I could go with: Gimp is a free tool that has the functionality required to edit vector graphics. I have used it before, and like many free tools, it doesn’t give a very good experience.
So I decided to use a trial version of Illustrator instead. I signed up for their cloud-based service and downloaded Illustrator. I will have 30 days to use it, which is more than enough.
The main reason to resume the book writing project was to get it checked off the list, and gain some experience in publishing and promoting an e-book. I am planning to get it completed by the end of July.
- Tools: Stock Photography section (list of free and paid stock sites)
- Adobe Illustrator (vector editing software)
- Gimp (free vector editing software)
- Start Here: How to Self-Publish Your Book (blog article by Jane Friedman)