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Google ‘How to start writing a book’ or ‘How to self publish a book’ and you get + million results. Where to start? 2 Years it took me to publish Ocean Nomad, from idea to reality. I figured out some things along the way… I think the actual writing part is 5%, the thinking, research, set up, coordinating, more thinking, and more thinking is the rest. I can write a book about writing a book ;). Here are some of my quick my tips and tools on how to start writing and publishing a book. Things that helped me greatly in the process. I hope it saves you some time on the research part. Go write that book! [toc]

Starting writing a book

  • Make a Mindmap
  • Then an outline
  • Just start filling in the blanks. Step by step by step by step. And celebrate every little step along the way.
  • Find support!

How much does it cost to write a book?

A lot of time and probably more money than you think if you want to do it right. Professional editors and designers are the largest part of the cost. Luckily today there are some pretty good tools you can use to help in that department.

How to finance writing a book


I launched a crowdfunding. The campaign was successful. At the time I had NO idea how much it would cost to create a book. The 4000$ raised was not nearly enough to produce a book of quality. My recommended crowdfunding platform: Indiegogo The best part about crowdfunding was the buzz it gave. It gave me some nice press coverage which helped growing an audience before the book was out. Crowdfunding cost a lot of time and effort which you then can’t dedicate to actually producing a book.

Find a Publisher

They will take away a lot of headache but also freedom. The process will take more time. I self-published and can only advise about that.

Writing tips

  • Word Office works just fine. 
  • Do voice writing! Go for a walk, talk, and write your book like this:) Google docs has a function for this as well as an app called Otto.
  • Become a better writer. From the Udemy course ‘Writing With Confidence’ I learned A LOT about correct writing styles. Very helpful with Enlighs not being my native language. Keep an eye on the Udemy flash sales where courses are discounted 90%. 

how to start writing a book Also Skillshare has some courses on writing. You can try it out for free. (Update: April 2020 two months free via this link)


The tool I wish I discovered wayyyyy earlier: Grammarly A very advanced automatic handy editing tool for writers and bloggers. It corrects almost all your mistakes.But also recommend better ways of phrasing things. Very helpful as a non native. You can choose the styles like informal, technical, academic and moods you’d like to be screened for. You can simply uploadyour document or copy paste. I also use grammarly across the web. As I write this, the tool corrects for errors. It’s worth the premium. But they also have  a free version so you can try it out.  Prowritingtool is another self-editing tool worth checking out.  For manual Editing I recommend:

Don’t go with an editor too soon! I made this mistake and used up all my funds before the book was finished. The self-editing tools will go a long way.

Book Cover Design

I had no idea what I would like on the cover so I asked the creative crowd on 99Designs. 99 Designs is a place where you can crowdsource design for you cover, interior, website logo, name it. I had more than a 100 designs to choose from. Then you pick 6 designers for the finals and you pick a winner. My cover has been designed by Meella. Highly recommend her! She has such a creative eye and has not made any fuzz about revisions. Give her my regards. Canva is a great DIY tool to make a nice bookcover. They have lots of templates as well as photos and graphics to choose from. On Fiverr, there’s also lots of bookcover designers to work with.

Interior Design

Keep it simple. I used too many styles. It gave difficulties with turning it into a Kindle and epub file. You can use a word template or work with a designer. Paul Uhl has done my interior design in Indesign. Awesome job.

Book Distribution

Selfhosting Sales Platforms

I selfhost some of the distribution. This gives me about 98% of the sales fees, as opposed to 30% to sales coming via Amazon. I choose Selz for E-book and physical orders. I did tons of research on the options. I compared all of them and this one stands out because of customer service and integration options with your own website. I also use Selz now for consulting requests (you can see this at the bottom of the page). You only pay a percentage when you make a sale. No fixed costs. Gumroad review I do NOT recommend Gumroad. The refunded ALL my customers during my booklaunch without consent, blocked the option to order my book and did not reply to my email for 5 days. Once they replied, not a single explanation of apology. This costed me greatly. Stay away from this platform. Find help with someone who can help to distribute. Unless you want to be a post office. I work with BBpublishers that helps me with the Dutch & Belgium Print on Demand market. They helped me to get my book on, Hollands largest sales platform.  I found them in a facebook group. Amazon owns 60% of the E-Book market so I’ve also put Ocean Nomad on Amazon, for the main reason to get noticed. It’s where many go to buy a book. They also take +60% share of every sale if you’re book is a certain size and you don’t go exclusive with them (which I don’t want). That’s why I published 1 section of my book (Ocean love &Conservation) on Amazon exclusively in the Kindle Select program which gives me access to promo goodies and helps with getting know in the world. Kindle Select requires to be 3 months exclusive with Amazon. I’ve included my book in the global database of  IngramSpark / Lightningsource. This is a print on demand solution where bookshops can also order your book for their shop. I’ve received numerous orders without individually approaching the book shops. Also, Include your book in the Book Depository.

I’m still sorting out the other distribution options.

How to get your physical book in Book stores

For global distribution list your book with Lightningsource (IngramSpark).

Other good reads! Great article 1 Article by the Creative Penn

Amazon Promotion Tools

BookMarketingtools This website helps to submit your book to directories when you do a promo KDPRocket A tool to help you figure out what are smart categories in Amazon. This makes a huge difference in being discovered Look up BKnights On Fiverr His promos are value for money during your Amazon promos.

Launching a Book

Set up a street team Plan your launch Don’t go offline during your launch, like I did ;)

Book Marketing

You think you’re finished when writing a book? Ha. It’s starting now! Email addresses are valuable! Start collecting them as soon as you can. You can use Mailchimp (which is free up to 2000 emails). I now use ActiveCampaign. I like how you can visually set up email sequences. Here’s more resources for starting a website or author platform. Enjoy the journey! It’s as much fun as the result! Fiverr