By Tiffany Colter
Last week, we talked about the steps to writing your book. You can read that blog here. Once you’ve completed your manuscript, or at least are near the end, you need to start to think about how you’re going to publish this book. This is actually a new step in the writing process because even as recently as ten years ago there was really only one option—traditional press. YES, subsidy presses did exist a decade ago, but their price tag made it virtually impossible for many would-be writers.
With the rise of eBooks, print-on-demand, and easy to record audio, there are a number of options available to people now. That makes this step necessary.
This decision really comes down to the goals for your book. For example, if you teach seminars and workshops or do lots of speaking, you may be writing a book to reinforce what you do in those workshops. In that case, self-publishing with a POD printer may be the best option. That offers you the flexibility of ordering small quantities for a single event while having something more professional than photocopies in a binder.
If you are going to go this option I have one caution—don’t skimp on quality! That means make sure you do a decent job on the cover [or hire someone who can]. Also, hire someone to first do a content edit [for readability and craft] and THEN a proofread [for grammar, punctuation and syntax]. The reason many people criticize self-publishing is that people who write their books and then publish them themselves turn out lower quality. The reality is for a penny per word my company can do a content edit or a proofread. On a 30,000 word book you’re looking at $300 for one or $600 for both! That is truly a small price to pay to have a professional image on your book. Other editors may charge more or less. If you are good at proofreading, still get a content edit. I am a professional content editor and have been for almost seven years, but I have my books read by another professional editor. This isn’t an attempt to get you to hire me, just to get you to hire SOMEONE so you put out good quality work.
Okay, what if you want to do royalty publishing. You need to do the same thing with a couple of exceptions.
Some things to do when you are trying to be traditionally published:
- Create a Query letter.
- Put together a proposal that includes a 1 page summary [single spaced] or 3 page summary [based on the publisher’s/agent’s guidelines] as well as your marketing plan, current platform/reach, and what makes you the right person to write this book.
- Yes, I said agent. I’d strongly urge you to secure a LEGITIMATE agent with strong ties in the industry.
- To get an agent you’ll need to meet agents at writers’ conferences. While some do accept unsolicited manuscripts, most will want to see if your personalities are compatible.
- Make sure your first 30-40 pages are WONDERFUL. If they read your query letter and are interested the next thing they’ll do is ask to see a partial. A partial is generally 30-40 pages.
- Write an elevator speech. That is a quick 30 second blurb that talks about your story [if you’re trying to sell your book] or about you [if you’re trying to sell multiple books]. You need to have an elevator speech for each book and about you. Here is mine, “I’m Tiffany Colter, the Writing Career Coach. I teach individual, authors, businesses and speakers how to use written communication to reach their target demographic.” It gives information but also invites follow-up questions.
- Recognize this is a S-L-O-W process and accept it is okay. It takes time to get a book edited, formatted, revised, a marketing plan in place, materials printed and other things. Determine if your goals for the book-this will determine how you’ll publish. This will take YEARS. Understand that at the beginning.
EBooks…wow, we could talk a very long time about. EBooks would be the same as self-publishing except I urge you to make sure that you have hired someone who knows how to convert the file to the proper eBooks format [whether Kindle, Nook or another eReader].
The key to all of this is remember, this IS publication. No matter what you do, be sure you have EXCELLENT craft, a topic that has a market, and you know how to reach that market [more on that next week].
I hope you are enjoying this series. Email me your questions at Tiffany@WritingCareerCoach.com and make sure you sign up to get the blogs emailed directly to you by using the sign up box to the right.
Your Coach for the Journey, Tiffany Colter, The Writing Career Coach
Don’t miss a single posting! Subscribe here to receive these postings by e-mail. Tiffany Colter is a writer, speaker and writing career coach who works with beginner to published writers. She can be reached through her website at WritingCareerCoach.com.