The Process of Self-Publishing a Book

January 23, 2022

A couple of months ago, I published a book online through Amazon's self-publishing service. Just to clarify, I am not a professional writer or artist; I work as a software engineering manager in the fintech industry. My motivation for writing the book was to improve my communication skills—a goal I identified during the COVID-19 lockdown last year when I had time for self-reflection.

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I was inspired by a YouTube video from Dr. Jordan Peterson, a clinical psychologist and professor in Canada. He advised, "If you can think, speak, and write, you are absolutely deadly." This quote greatly motivated me, so I enrolled in his self-authoring program, which offers online prompts for self-reflection. Concurrently, I joined a Toastmasters club to improve my public speaking skills and met a mentor who encouraged me to write and publish a book.

Getting started wasn't the hard part; the challenge was maintaining the habit of writing, especially when I felt unmotivated. Distractions like notifications on my phone and negative self-talk ("I'm not a good writer; nobody will read what I've written") often deterred me. Despite knowing my book would likely not be a bestseller, I continued writing, staying true to my objectives.

What disappointed me was not receiving negative feedback but receiving no feedback at all. In today's internet age, traditional books face stiff competition from YouTube and podcasts. I still appreciate the printed word and read at least one book a week to stay mentally engaged and to stave off overthinking and depression.

The primary goal of my journaling was self-improvement, not public recognition. However, it was disheartening that even my close relationships, like my girlfriend, didn't take the time to read my work. While I did receive some positive feedback when I announced the book's publication on social media, only two people actually bought it—a sobering validation of my efforts.

The blunt truth is that if you're not a high-profile figure like the CEO of Disney, Jeff Bezos, or Elon Musk, your contributions are likely to go unnoticed. This realization is one of the lessons I've learned from self-publishing. Perhaps, if I were more renowned, I could sell a million copies. A book that goes unread feels like a new level of loneliness unlocked. Maybe I need to study marketing strategies or understand audience expectations before diving into another self-publishing project.

If you're interested in my journey and are looking for inspiration, my book is currently available on Amazon:

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Victor Leung, who blog about business, technology and personal development. Happy to connect on LinkedIn