What types of people publish books?
There could be hundreds of reasons why you think publishing a book is right for you. It could be that you've experience a lot in your lifetime and you want to put pen to paper and write down your experiences to share with future generations, family or to deal with issues you've previously felt uncomfortable talking about face to face. Another type of author is the business author. A great way to draw attention to your skills and experience in industry is to share them with the people you're trying to attract for your business in the first place. It might seem counter-intuitive giving away all your secrets when all you want to do is sell your services to the very same people, but in actual fact it's a great way of demonstrating your authority in a service sector and can be a way to quantify exactly how much you know about yourself!
Then there are the hobby writers. Bookworms, word geeks or those with just enough free time (and it's never enough!) to jot down ideas for a great story. Influences can come from being a parent who's bored of reading the same books to their kids books or the free thinkers that take inspiration from travelling, people and places they experience as part of their lifestyle. Career writers are a slightly different kettle of fish. These hardcore wordsmiths live and breath literature and can often turn everyday experiences into fodder for new characters, twists and turns that all conciously or otherwise, form part of their next publication. Finally, there's the 'other' category, and believe us, there are a lot of people that fit into this one! It's a hard category to describe, as it's so diverse but our experience tells us that the Other category can often turn up some real gems. Whatever your reason for writing, getting your thoughts, experiences, imagination and knowledge out into the open is a positive and rewarding experience and with the self-publishing route, you're in control of your own success.
What is the process for publishing my book?
- Decide on your strategy and purpose - who's the book for? are you doing it for profit/gain or fun?
- Choose a publishing route - self publishing can be a lot of work for some, but gives you full control over what you write. Traditional publishing can be cheaper upfront, but finding a publishing house to accept your work can be a struggle.
- Be critical of your work. Analyse it's structure, flow, get some friends and colleagues to critique your work, offer it as a PDF on your own website (in exchange for users emails) and contact the downloaders for their thoughts.
- Hire an editor. Sometimes it's hard to critique your own work, and having someone go through it on your behalf can improve its readability.
- Set your budget. If you're publishing for business, work out what medium will serve you best - ebook, digital publishing or printed books have different associated costs.
- Decide how the book will be marketed. If you choose a traditional publisher, they'll deal with all this for you, but bear in mind you lose ownership to some extent and of course, your rights to the work.
- Submit your work.
- Approve any edits and spellchecks if you've chosen to employ someone to proofreed (we highly recommend this!). There's no worse feeling that receiving your first copy of your book and spotting a mistake knowing there are X amount of copies out there the same.
- Create artwork. Have someone design for you or draw your own. Don't be tempted to take images off google image search either! There's copyright invovled in almost every image, and we could talk a whole topic on the psychology of a good book cover too.
- Work with your publisher to get a timeline for your published work. This will let you see what goes on 'in the background' and we'd highly recommend you get involved with the marketing too. The Author is often the most important factor of a book's success, so if you choose self-publishing you'll want to be able to follow up on any contacts made with newpapers, radio and bloggers when trying to get your book recognition. The more you do to support your publisher, the more success you can achieve.
- Market & promote your work. Again, self-publishers like ourselves can create connections, outreach and secure interviews, along with paid adverts and web pages for your work. The traditional publishing route will do much of the work for you, but they're commercially driven, so they'll have a set budget for your work based on potential earnings for them, of which you'd receive a royalty on sales and sales of rights. Having an audience established already (through work or common interests, social groups etc) is a big bonus and you should tap into the people and influencers around you first.
- Distribute. This is silghtly different for electronic works, but for printed works distribution is all about getting your book into the right marketplace. Thinking 'out of the box' can help you target niche sectors that are more relevant to your work, especially for business publications. For more traditional works, there are bookshops that will accept your books on a sale-or-return basis but your self-publisher should be able to secure these for you. Traditional publishing houses will already have struck deals with chain bookstores to supply them with whatever they feel best suits the current market, but again, finding a publishing house that will accept your work is 80% of the battle.
What if it doesn't sell?
Writing a book, and particularly a self-published book isn't a guarantee of fame and fortune. In fact it's much less glamourous than you think, especially if you're one of the career-types that stays up til 4am frantically typing or searching for inspiration. The reality of having to do the housework, pick the kids up and take the dog for a walk ensures you stay grounded while you wait for your book to 'take off'. There are no guarantees that you'll be the next JK Rowling or Stephen King, but you'll never know unless you try. Author E L James made it big with 50 shades of Grey a couple of summers back, and guess what? He self published AND had his book turned into a movie. Not bad eh? If at first you don't succeed, try and try again. Writing is quite an artform, and there are a tonne of other artists out there all doing the same as you, but you'll learn from your mistakes, master your craft and establish yourself over time. This is why step #1 is a key consideration for anyone who is considering book publishing. Set your goals and write towards them!