Enjoying my moment of fame

The story of a book

How I became an author in one year

Scrumpy Dad
5 min readDec 22, 2023


This Monday, my first book was released on Amazon. Nobody would have noticed if I hadn’t shared the news on LinkedIn or here on Medium. It’s weird to realize it’s a mere non-event. And yet, this moment was crucial to me personally. I stayed awake until 1:00 AM Monday to see my book appear in the Amazon webshop. We were away for a long weekend, and my wife and her parents were there with me to witness this special moment. I became an author now that my writing has been published and available to everybody.

It all started about a year ago. After publishing plenty of Scrumpy Dad stories here on Medium, I thought that some of these would make a neat handbook for finding your purpose and staying loyal to your goals and values. And so my journey started…


The first decision I made was to take the self-publishing route. An earlier attempt to publish a book about my divorce drama failed miserably when ten publishing companies turned me down. The biggest advantage of self-publishing is that you have complete control. The biggest disadvantage of self-publishing is that you must take care of everything yourself. You can tell how these are related.

Luckily, I like to learn new stuff, so I saw this book project as yet another opportunity to wander outside my comfort zone. Fortunately, there are plenty of resources (like Reedsy) where you can learn everything about self-publishing, from writing to marketing, including reviews of all relevant tools and platforms.

Visual design

I also quickly realized that my drawing skills would not impress many readers. So, I needed a professional to help me with the illustrations to get a pleasing look and feel of the book. I asked my friend and former colleague Peter Kuyt 🌳 from Visual Friday to assist me. Thanks to him, my book has this awesome cover, attractive text, and crisp visuals.

We started with monthly sessions, first at our kitchen table and later in a lovely café in the center of Utrecht next to the train station. We discussed concepts for visuals, and I elaborated on the work of a Scrum Master and the manuscript’s contents. And we always had some more crazy ideas for Scrumpy Dad merchandise, coincidentally when enjoying some beers and vegan bitterballen.

Feedback loops

To get feedback quickly, I assembled a small team of six eager people to help. As soon as I deemed a chapter ready for review, I’d send it to them with a short survey to solicit feedback on specific topics, like chapter titles, favorite quotes, ease of use, and helpfulness. Their enthusiastic responses were a great boost to keep on honing my sentences. Some of my reviewers also provided detailed feedback on the text, which was extremely valuable. It’s easy to forget that your own perspective is common for you but not the default for somebody else. I learned my lesson there, thanks to my review team.

When the book was nearing completion, I reached out to more people. Since they were new to my book, they could read the entire manuscript with a fresh view. I found it astonishing that each of them pinpointed yet another aspect of the book for which they had some excellent suggestions. So, this second review round was worthwhile too!

Editing and proofreading

One of my writing challenges was turning a selection of blog posts into a book with a natural reading flow. I could not oversee the bigger storyline since I was writing 1 to 2 evenings per week and was thoroughly absorbed by words and sentences. I hired a professional editor for an editorial assessment to solve that challenge. Ameesha Green provided constructive feedback and suggestions, making it easy for me to implement. And although I’m pretty comfortable writing in English, I also invested in a proofreading edit to address the wording and transitions. It was all worth it because the readability of the text improved.

Getting ready for launch

Peter also took care of the book’s typesetting to produce the final version ready for production. That meant I couldn’t touch the manuscript in the last weeks because he was working on it. That was a strange experience because I had to let go while he was very busy trying to meet the deadline.

For the initial launch, I chose the Amazon KDP platform for its broad reach for printing on demand (each book is only printed when ordered). I wanted to complete the preliminary intake process as soon as possible to see which steps were required and what the book would look like.

That’s how we discovered how bleeding works (with background colors and illustrations extending into page margins) and where to position an ISBN barcode with the proper sizing dimensions. That is, after purchasing my own ISBN, of course, because I’m self-publishing.

And let’s not forget about pricing, the last part of the intake process. For each marketplace, you must set a price in the respective currency. Luckily, there is some guidance, but you must determine it all by yourself.

I also ordered a proof copy to check how the book would look in real life. It only contained a draft version of the manuscript, which was good enough to inspect an actual book copy. As a result, we decided on a glossy finish instead of matte. This was on Tuesday 12th December. By midnight, we had to upload the final version of the book cover and contents to make our target release date of 18th December. Books are like software; they’re only final when released. After a few last-minute tweaks, I hit the Publish button.

Then, the waiting started because Amazon could take up to 72 hours to complete the process.

Thanks to our earlier dry run, the process went quicker than expected. Within a day, I got confirmation that everything was fine and that the scheduled release date of 18th December was final. So I could relax and enjoy the long weekend away with my in-laws. Staying up late to witness my book release was a memorable finale.

Take care and till next time!

Kind regards,

Herman / Scrumpy Dad

Keen to read A Scrum Master’s Guide to Happiness? You can purchase it here.

Check out the Scrumpy Dad website for more news and support.



Scrumpy Dad

Scrum Master & Agile Coach, passionate about personal development, applying work practices at home to build a happy family life. linkedin.com/in/hjameeuwsen