Writing Workflow with Scrivener


Tamsen Webster recently asked about my workflow for publishing books using the Scrivener book publishing software. In this short 6 minute video, I walk through the creation of a book outline using the mind mapping software of your choice (assuming it can export to OPML), Scrivener, and then the Kindle app.

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Should you self-publish or work with a publisher?

Self-publishing has undoubtedly made the book publishing process much more democratic. People can publish themselves or work with a publisher, and on the whole, that’s a good thing. We see this happening across so many media channels. YouTube democratized TV. Podcasting democratized talk radio. Blogging democratized op-eds; Twitter democratized news to the point where some mainstream media news shows are little more than someone reading tweets aloud. Self-publishing means more content – good or bad – is available, and it lets the free market work to determine who really is excellent.


The question many of us have faced, and that you might be facing, is whether to self-publish or try to work a book deal with a publisher. The answer, unsurprisingly, is that it depends on three factors: marketing, money, and quality.


Do you have your own marketing engine? By this I mean a large, responsive following in social media, a large email list (1,000 or more subscribers with high open rates and high clickthrough rates), experience with (and budget for) advertising systems, and/or access to people who can do this for you? If so, the primary purpose of a publisher – marketing and distribution – is already something you fulfill.

If you don’t have the network, a publisher will probably do a slightly better job of marketing your book than you will. In my case, my marketing capabilities exceed that of most publishers, so I chose the self-publishing route.


Do you want to publish a book as a loss-leader for a speaking career, or do you want to make money from it? For many authors, book deals are unprofitable, sometimes deeply so. Publishing a book as a loss-leader with a publisher means taking very small advances (since you have to pay them back through sales or cash out of pocket), and having the publisher leverage their distribution deals to get your book seen.

If you want to make the lion’s share of the cover price for every book sold, self-publish instead. Amazon lets you keep anywhere from 35-70% of the cover price; vendors like Gumroad (which I use for my books) let me keep 95% of the cover price.


Some publishers, depending on your deal, offer you the services (usually at your cost) of a copy editor and/or proofreader who can help you improve the quality of your book. If you go the self-publishing route, quality is entirely up to you. If you want a professional editor, you’ll have to find one on your own.

Despite the existence of works like 50 Shades of Grey, quality does still matter, especially with business books. Whichever route you choose, make your writing the best quality you can afford.

More Reading

If you’d like greater insights into choosing how you distribute your books, go check out the blog of my friend and martial arts mentor/senior Jon F. Merz. He writes frequently from the independent author perspective, and has lots of useful advice to offer from someone who makes a living writing independently.

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Are you on the MAP? (Marketing Affiliate Program)

Open Sign

I’m grateful that many of you have enjoyed my books and publications over the years, from Marketing White Belt to the most recent Marketing Blue Belt. Today, I want to unveil a new way for you to be a greater part of these books: join the Marketing Affiliate Program!

What’s in it for you?

By becoming a marketing affiliate, you’ll earn a commission on each book or webinar you sell to your audience. The more you sell, the more you earn.

How much will you earn?

Here’s the good part. If you’ve already been reselling my books using an Amazon affiliate link, you know that Amazon pays a paltry 4% to affiliates. For every $9.99 book you sell, at Amazon you only earn 40 cents, and you can’t even buy webinars on Amazon.

In my Marketing Affiliate Program, you’ll earn a 25% commission on anything sold.

So for my books, you’ll earn $2.50 per book. For webinars, you’ll earn $7.50 per webinar.

How do you get started?

This is an easy two-step process. First, you must register for a free account on Gumroad.com. This is mandatory – I can’t set you up as an affiliate until you’re in their system.


Once you’re done, and only after you’re done setting up your free account, just fill out this form. I’ll get you customized URLs for the products you want to resell, normally within 3-5 business days.

Join the Marketing Affiliate Program (MAP)

Register to become an affiliate for my marketing books and webinars. YOU MUST ALREADY HAVE A FREE ACCOUNT ON GUMROAD.COM BEFORE STARTING! New affiliate registrations will be processed in 3-5 business days or less.
  • You will receive an emailed invitation from me with customized links for the products you want to sell.
    Choose any of the above.
  • Yeah, it's a CAPTCHA. Any time you dip your toe into affiliate marketing, the spammers come out in droves.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

If you’re reading this in an RSS reader, chances are no form will appear, so you’ll need to visit this post on my website.

I look forward to having you in the program! Oh, and a reminder that if you do participate, be sure to read FTC guidelines on disclosing that you are an affiliate.

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