It’s true. Becoming an author will change your life. After publishing eight books, at least two in Spanish, I can confidently tell you that there is no greater thrill than adding “author” to your

credentials. Not only does it validate you as an authority, but it can open the door to even more opportunities for speaking engagements, media appearances, bigger clientele and of course…more publications. The biggest benefit, however, is the connections you make with people when you reach them and inspire them through your words and ideas. The message you

share can motivate, comfort and help improve people’s lives. If you’re lucky, they will even send you a message and let you know, and that’s the greatest gift you will ever receive from publishing your own book. I’ve done it. Now it’s your turn.


However, before you let the words start pouring out of your head and heart onto the computer screen like Niagara Falls, take time to plan your book. It’s important to be focused about the reason you are writing and who your intended readers are. If you know that, writing the book itself will be that much easier. Consider these questions carefully. Perhaps you are writing a book to share your personal experience with people in the same boat in order to inspire, motivate and comfort them.

Perhaps you are writing a book as a kind of “extended business card” to call attention to your expertise in a certain area, and gain additional clients or speaking engagements. Or your objective may be to write a book that will sell a million copies and be on the New York Times Bestseller list. Whatever your objective, keep your “eye on the prize” as you go through the process of producing the book.

One word of caution, though. If your ultimate objective is for your book to make you a million dollars, you may want to adjust your expectations. Especially in the case of a first time hyphen author, your book may end up being more of an investment than a revenue source. Depending upon what kind of publishing path you choose (See Chapter 3) you may only reap modest royalty checks and ultimately, recoup your investment over a longer period of time than you ever imagined.

What is your objective? Obviously, you’re reading this guide because you have a story

inside you that’s yearning to break free! After you’re sure about why you are writing your book, it should be easy to focus in on who will be interested in buying and reading your book.

Is it a prospective and/or current client? Is it people who are experiencing a particular challenge in their life or are in a certain phase of life? Or in need of certain motivation or inspiration? Or maybe it is simply an avid reader of a certain type of genre. Knowing your audience will help you write your book. What format is it in? Is it a larger book, standard or pocket size? Is it thin (minimum 24,000 words and 24 pages) or thick? How will the book be organized? (Sections, chapters, sayings) What is the book called? What kind of colors does it feature? What does the cover look like?

Will there be illustrations? What kind? Who can endorse this book for you? Does the book have any “extras” that should be created for the book, i.e. reflection questions, pages for notes or journaling, quizzes, addendums or appendices, downloads, etc.?

Is there information about you on it? Your photo? Biography? How will you sell your book?

What is Your Vision of Your Book? Close your eyes and imagine your

book. What does it look like? Who is Your Audience?

Yes, it’s never too early to start thinking about the marketing of your book. This will be easier if you know who you are trying to reach and what you are trying to accomplish. Then you will probably have an idea of places you can go and ways you can sell your book. (See Chapter 4 for more details)

Next, take those answers to the questions above and develop a creative brief for your book. “Creative brief” is just a big, fancy name for written plan concerning the creative aspects of your project. Keep it beside you as you work on the book. It will serve as roadmap for your project and help keep you focused if you get stuck. Remember, you are writing for an important reason to help a certain audience. They await your brilliance!


At first, the idea of writing a book may be daunting, particularly if you have knowledge, but not the inclination or skill to put it all down on paper. There is no secret to writing a book except to persist, relentlessly, one chapter at a time. The good news, however, is that there is plenty of

help available to you if you do not want to do the actual writing yourself. In fact, there are three major ways to accomplish the task of writing your book. Just write it.

Go old school. Sit down at the computer and write the book. Set small goals and meet them until the work is complete. Transcribe it.

Are you good at talking to yourself and making voice notes? Record your story and then you or someone else can transcribe it. Or have someone interview you and record the interview for transcription. This will get a good chunk of a rough draft done in a short period of time. Remember that the way you write is different than the way you speak, so careful editing might be necessary if you decide to go this route.

Hire a ghostwriter.

Many authors consider this the best of both worlds—writing a book without having to do the writing themselves. Ghostwriters are adept at telling people’s stories and because they are experienced writers who love what they do, they can usually produce a better quality first draft than you may be able to do yourself. You will need to set aside time for them to interview

you or to send them voice or written notes. But when you consider the time you will save yourself in front of the computer writing and organizing your material, added to the high quality of the finished product and saved costs in editing, most authors find their ghostwriter a very worthwhile investment.

Regardless of what method you decide to employ to write the book, it’s important to schedule your progress. The best way to keep a commitment is

Word Count Book Dimensions Length of Book in Pages

5,000 Amazing Guide to Becoming an Author 5” x 7” 24 pages (minimum to be considered a “book”)

31,000 The Fig Factor 5.5” x 8.5” 146 pages

43,300 The Little Book of Business Secrets 5” x 8” 232 pages

72,000 Today’s Inspired Latina 5.5” x 8.5” 258 pages

Please download your own copy of the Fig Gactor publishing calendar at


As you’re putting together your manuscript, don’t forget to consider the following items for your book (as needed):

  • Table of contents.
  • Forward or Preface (An endorsement written by the most credentialed, well respected person that you know. Usually one page in length)
  • Acknowledgements (Here’s the place to thank those who have helped you put the book into publication. Usually one page in length)
  • Author Biography and Photo (Usually one page at the back of the book)


The actual length of your book will vary based upon the book layout, any extra pages or special graphics or illustrations needed and of course, the size of the print (font size). Here is how my own books translated from word count to page count to have it in writing, which is why I provide authors with a publishing timeline and template for you to fill out to manage not only your writing, but every aspect of producing your book.


Editing is an essential step in the production of your book and there are many types of editing needed to transform a manuscript into a printready book. You may need one or all of them depending upon your writing experience and skill level.

Developmental Editing

A developmental editor helps shape your book and should ideally enter your writing process early. They can help you prepare an outline and organize all the information you want to include in the book. They can help you with the overall theme and message of your reader and their job is to fashion your words in such a way that they form a solid connection with the reader.

Rewriting or Substantive Editing

This type of editing usually occurs after the first draft is written. The editor may tell you to rewrite certain areas to make them stronger or even change the order of information to achieve your intent. They may find that the most important parts of your message need to be brought forward, or they may suggest you include additional information or research. This kind of editing

can make the difference between a vague book and a substantive one.

Line Editing

A line editor usually provides one of the final editing steps before publication. They look for errors in grammar, spelling, information, clarity, etc. but they also evaluate word choice and tone to make sure this is consistent throughout the manuscript. They evaluate every sentence for its

effectiveness in connecting to the reader.


The manuscript should be in excellent shape when it hits the proofreader. The editor that proofreads your manuscript is giving it a final scan for typos, spacing issues, etc. and is usually the last person to review the manuscript before printing.

A good editor can elevate your work to a new level and can be a great sounding board and partner in your journey to becoming an author. Completing your manuscript will give you a sense of accomplishment. Publishing it will give you the thrill of a lifetime!


How will you publish your book? I learned the hard way that there are many ways to publish your book, and they all vary in terms of price, amount of creative control and author royalties. In fact, my frustrations with working with some of these types of publishing houses encouraged me to form my own unique publishing company, Fig Factor Media, which focuses on the author and their needs.

For you, consider your resources, time constraints and revenue expectations when you are selecting your publishing house. Here are the options available.

Full Service Publishing House


  • These publishing houses have big names (ex. Simon & Schuster) but you can submit an inquiry with the first 3-4 chapters.
  • One publishing house handles everything for you from editing, to book production and promotion.
  • They will work hard to sell your book because they have skin in the game.
  • They will guide you for personal appearances, etc.


  • These type of publishers rarely want to work with new authors and prefer experienced writers or authors with some kind of notoriety.
  • They claim a great percent of your book sales.
  • They retain creative control over cover design, how and where your book is promoted.
  • There is a review period- 60, 90 or 120 days– during which you cannot

submit to another publisher.

Vanity Publishing House


  • They are more open to submissions from new authors.
  • They do not have a restrictive review period.
  • You may retain more control of how your book is published and promoted.


  • They do not have as good a reputation with book buyers as other houses do.
  • You will end up investing more of your own money for publication.
  • Because of their reputation, you may not be picked up by larger booksellers like Barnes & Noble.

Hybrid Publishing House


    • More friendly to the newly developing author.
    • They will give you feedback and help with editing, proofreading, etc.


      • Will give you minimal exposure other than Amazon.
      • Will charge you a la carte for different services that you may need.

Author-Focused Publishing

Fig Factor Media is a new kind of publishing company that was developed for and concentrates specifically on the first-time author. At FFM, how the author is treated, as well as compensated, is handled differently than at most publishing houses.


      • Authors are vetted, but there is no review period or restriction on pursuing other publishing houses.
      • Authors are provided the assistance they need, retaining control of their product. This includes ghostwriting, editing, proofreading and graphic design.
      • Your book is set up on Amazon and printed on demand as you sell, which is the most economic way to publish.
      • FFM offers support in helping you market your book, with media opportunities and marketing campaigns.
      • FFM does not take a royalty after publication. The author retains responsibility for printing and marketing their book at will.


      • There is an upfront investment for services, which is offset by the ability to retain your own royalty fees.

Complete Self-Publication

Amazon has an excellent platform called Createspace for authors who are truly interested in publishing all on their own. Using createspace, anyone can publish their own book for a modest investment.


      • Online tools make it easy to publish. You have complete control.
      • Minimal royalties are taken compared to traditional publishing houses.
      • You can print on demand and in different formats, e.g. audiobook, kindle, etc.


      • Very little support, available services or feedback on your book is available.
      • Greater opportunity for error or bad quality publication as authors are tempted to skip editing and proofreading.
      • Steep workload and sole responsibility on author.






I am a new author with great material! I want to publish now without submitting an inquiry! I do not want to have a restrictive 60, 90 or 120 wait period where I cannot pursue other publishing houses. I want my house to help me with all aspects of production and publishing —writing,

editing, marketing and promotion.

I want to retain creative control over book design, etc.I want my publishing house to actively market my book, but listen to what I have to say about how to do it.


Will publishing be profitable for me? Let me be honest with you. Unless you are publishing with someone like Fig Factor Media, after your publishing house and Amazon (or your distributor)

takes a cut of your sales, you may be surprised at how much you will actually get in royalties for your work. It’s not unreasonable to get $2 from a $20 book sale.

In essence, your book publication should be for the benefit of readers, not your pocketbook. Only the rare, famous, best-selling author is able to get a publishing house to spring for the entire cost of publishing and marketing their book. The rest of us must make some kind of investment.

Think about what you want and read the steps on the left. Then look and see what type of publishing house would best suit your needs. Not the right publishing house for you. You might not get the service you expect, or need.Pick up the phone! It’s what you want.


The best way to become a successful author is to become a good marketer. Now for many of us, this takes us out of our comfort zone. We want people to pay attention to the book, not to us. But in reality, you are the author of the book and therefore, the face of the book. Get used to the

idea that people will want to see you, hear you and learn from you firsthand whenever possible. This means your picture will appear places, your voice will be heard (literally) and people will be reading about you online every minute of the day.

Even if you are with a publishing house that handles your promotion, you should be ready and able to become an enthusiastic evangelist for your book. In fact, you should begin putting together a marketing strategy for your book six months in advance of publication!

In general, this is the biggest news I give to authors who think people will magically buy their book the minute they put it up on Amazon. Unfortunately, there is a lot of online noise competing for your reader’s attention so you must make the news of your book available in different ways. That’s where the marketing plan can be helpful. It should include a plan and timeline for

such activities as:

      • Driving Amazon Reviews
      • ASAP after book is on Amazon

Amazon online reviews are instrumental in increasing a book’s credibility. Ask your most fervent supporters to offer a positive online review, including family, friends, co-workers, colleagues, etc.

      • Encourage your audience in every appropriate marketing channel to do the same.
      • Maximizing Digital Distribution Channels, To be arranged ASAP after print

Besides, you can also pursue selling your book on other distribution channels such as and

Hosting the Book Launch/Book Signing

Arrange 4-5 months before publication. Setting up a book launch or book signing is the traditional way to begin building a support community for your new book and for yourself as a new author. Hold the event at a convenient time, in an intriguing space related to the theme of your book, or possibly a book store. Offer good food, plenty of books for sale and send invitations to your mailing list. Be sure to have a photographer designated to get pics of you signing books and addressing the crowd. You’ll need them for the media…

Using Traditional and Social Media

From six months before publication to ongoing. Does everyone know that you are writing a book? If not, you’ve got some work to do! For traditional media, put together a press release or media kit with your biography and high-resolution photo. Seek out opportunities in “local author” columns or pitch certain reporters a story based on current hard news angles where the thoughts in your book contribute to the conversation. On social media, consider a virtual book launch through Facebook Live, or sharing tidbits of your content as posts. Saturate your

accounts–Twitter, Facebook, Instagram (get a great cover shot!), LinkedIn and wherever else you are. Always remember to include the link to purchase the book online!

Speaking Engagements

From date of publication. Speaking before audiences is a great way to sell your book, gain exposure as an author and elevate yourself as an authority. First, seek unpaid opportunities and before you know it, groups will come knocking on your door to hear your speak with a nice fat stipend and the chance to sell stacks of your books. There’s plenty more information on this topic in the Amazing Guide to Becoming a Speaker, available from Fig Factor Media.

Connect with a Non-Profit

Three months before publication to ASAP after publication. Is there a non-profit organization whose members could use the message in your book? Consider donating books to the cause. Or, for even greater exposure, consider arranging what I call the “author trifecta” of opportunity.

This is one of my favorite ways to promote a new author because it’s a win–win! Here’s how it works.

The author finds a community-minded corporation who is willing to purchase their books in bulk to present to the non-profit organization. The author is available to address the non-profit organization and support the corporation’s philanthropic efforts. Either by yourself or with a corporate sponsor, this is a wonderful way to spread the good news of your publication and help a worthy cause. At the same time, it creates an exciting, feel-good great media opportunity with fabulous photo ops!

Online Marketing Efforts

ASAP. If you have a website, and especially a blog, make sure your audience knows there is a book in the works up to six months before publication. After publication, make sure there is a link to buy the book right on the home page. If you have a blog, now is your chance to share some of your content and be sure they know they can order a book to learn more. Your most loyal followers should become your best promoters once the book is available.

If possible, consider offering them a discount or a free e-book download to jumpstart your marketing efforts.


AUTHOR Non-Profit Organization

Publish in Another Language

After publication. Translating your book into another language is a great way to get it into

alternate retail stores and reach a wider, more global audience. First, be sure you have a viable audience. This is an investment since you will need to do a new cover and once again, seek help with writing, editing and proofreading in the new language. Depending on the language, your print costs may also increase if the translation expands your page count. A good way to evaluate the ROI is to determine your cost per thousand books and see if you will recoup your investment.

Fig Factor Media has resources to help with translation and multicultural marketing for your book. Contact us to discuss your needs.

Publish in Another Format

It is becoming increasingly inexpensive to turn printed matter into Kindle or to record an audiobook. Consider your audience and how they receive information to evaluate how profitable the project will be.


There is a myriad of ways video can be used to help market your book. Here are just a few…

      • A brief video introduction to your book, speaking to the camera, released on Facebook.
      • A particular idea or piece of content committed to whiteboard animation and posted on your social media with a link to the book.
      • A video or slideshow of the book launch that others in it will share on their social media.
      • A video of you speaking to another audience about your book. – Remember, video is one of the most shareable forms of content marketing available. Use it if you can.


There is no end to the creativity you can apply to marketing your book. Think like a company. Can you sponsor an event, use strategic signage, donate your book for an auction or create a competitive event with a book as the prize? The more you market, the more you will sell and the more successful you will become.


I hope this guide has made you more excited than ever to publish that first book. Whether publishing a book is your dream or the next logical step in your professional development, please know that I am here to support you in whatever services you need to take your book project from that vision in your head to a completed, printed work in your hands!


Jackie Camacho-Ruiz

2135 CityGate Lane Ste. 300

Naperville, IL 60563



Jacqueline Camacho-Ruiz is the CEO of JJR Marketing ( and Fig Factor Media LLC (, founder of The Fig Factor Foundation (, author of eight books (, international speaker, and pilot. Jacqueline speaks to hundreds of audiences about marketing, servant leadership, finding your passion, achieving success in business, and book publishing. She is the creator of the Fig Factor Media Big Book Summit which has inspired many aspiring authors to begin their journey to becoming a published author. Jackie has addressed the United States Army, BP International, United Airlines, Allstate, and Farmers Insurance among other corporations. If you or an organization you know needs as speaker, please get in touch at