If you’ve been reading or listening to the excellent content coming out of D2D’s Self-Publishing Insiders podcast, you might find yourself thinking, “That all sounds like great advice. But what if I’ve never written anything? What if I have no books to promote yet, and I’m starting from zero?”

Maybe you have written a book or two, and you’ve been waffling on publishing or promoting them because it all feels so … big.

Or maybe you’ve published and promoted your books, but they just aren’t selling quite as well as you’d hoped.

The point is, starting from ground zero—or what feels like ground zero—is daunting. 

An object in motion stays in motion, and an object at rest stays at rest. There’s nothing worse for your momentum as a writer than the feeling that you have a massive amount to learn and are lacking the tools to get from Here to There.

(Of course, those tools exist. Most of them are right here on this very blog.)

But if you’re anything like me, it helps to see everything laid out in order, from beginning to end. 

For those of us who learn methodically—or get overwhelmed by too much information before we’re ready to use it yet—it’s helpful to see a process from start to finish. Zero to sixty. Blank page to completed (and hopefully best-selling) ebook, with everything that comes in between.

To many of us, the process of writing a book looks almost mystical

There’s no way to fully understand how it’s done until you experience every stage yourself. Yes, the finer details will look a bit different depending on whether you write fiction or non-fiction, your genre of choice, and your own goals as a writer. 

No two processes will look exactly the same, just as no two children do. (It was only a matter of time before we compared the writing of books to the creation of human life, right?)

But they’re close enough where it counts that we can all learn a thing or two by following each other’s progress and sharing our own results.

This post is the first in a year-long series about every stage in the process of becoming a published indie author—from developing a consistent writing habit to putting a published work out into the world and convincing people to buy it.

Throughout that series, I’ll share my own experiences of working through the indie author process from ground zero. But this series isn’t about me or my journey; it’s about learning everything there is for newbies to know about indie authorship. 

I’ll share my discoveries, challenges, and pitfalls—and I hope you’ll share yours, too.

From zero to indie author in 12 months

The plan for the year, in case you want to follow along and write your own book, looks like this:

  • July: Create an outline and develop a daily writing habit
  • August: Market research
  • September: Networking (online and in person)
  • October: Platform-building
  • November: Writing a reader magnet
  • December: Formatting
  • January: Editing
  • February: Cover design, front & back matter
  • March: Publishing strategy (wide, of course!)
  • April: Advance teams & launch strategy
  • May: Organic & paid marketing
  • June: Reviews & post-mortem

You don’t have to follow this plan, of course. Work at a pace that’s comfortable for you. It might be much faster or much slower than this. That’s all okay. The goal is simply to end up with a self-published book, however you can make that happen.

Full disclosure: this series will also be a great motivator and accountability tool for me as a writer. After all, how humiliating would it be to completely fail in front of you, the esteemed D2D readers?

But that’s not really the point. The intention is to create a valuable resource for all of the aspiring writer-hopefuls out there. The people like me, who are anxious to write and to learn about the world of self-publishing, but are simply overwhelmed when it comes to getting started. Between families, day jobs, and other commitments, it’s hard to work up the momentum to get going.

This series is geared toward novice indie authors, though I hope that even the more experienced among us will be able to share and learn a thing or two. 

Kind of like a free, unstructured writing academy in which we can keep each other (lightly) accountable and cheer each other on. Or like NaNoWriMo, but over the course of way more than a month. 

So follow along, and post about your own journey from zero to indie. I can’t wait to see how many of us finally check off the item that tops so many of our bucket lists: Write (and Sell) a Book.

Whether you’re starting from true zero or have taken some early steps already, there’s no shortage of things to learn. If you’re going from Zero to Indie Author this year, post on social media using #ZerotoIndieAuthor or simply comment below and tell us what you think. 

What’s working great for you, and what was a waste of time? What are your best tips for getting your writing done, no matter what?