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Writing a Book and Getting it Published – Hard Work Times Two

Writing a Book and Getting it Published – Hard Work Times Two

First, a budding author must understand that writing is a contact sport. So many competitors for the hearts and minds of the reading audience. Unless you can convince the potential reader that it is worth their time and money. your book will languish on the shelves and never rise from obscurity.

If you are willing to brave the gauntlet, I commend you, but caution that your biggest barrier to success may be your own naivete and the myriad of vendors who prey on those who believe their labor of love is ready, when it really isn’t.

Editorial Help

A great editor often results in a great book. But what makes a great editor? A person so adept at the English language that they can certify your sentence structure is correct, doesn’t mean that you have received a sure-fire journey to a best seller. An editor is someone who can take your words and provide you brutally honest input as to whether the book is properly crafted, guidance on where it is deficient, and feedback on how you can correct it. An editor is as important to the final product as the author and a good editor is worth their weight in gold. They are also very difficult to find and often very expensive to engage in your project. Time spent in finding the proper editor will be well worth it, however, and will significantly improve your time to market when writing the next great best-seller.

Finding a Publisher

For those who lack connections, aren’t wired into the publishing community, don’t have an agent or any sort of notoriety, this is a monumental task. You, as the author of what your spouse told you was a great novel, are sure that a publisher will fall all over themselves to read your work and offer you a lucrative contract with the requisite advances and marketing support. Reality is that so many of these “great” novels arrive on the doorsteps of the major publishing houses that the odds of yours being picked from the offerings is very small. If you elect to go that route, be prepared for rejection. Before a publisher commits resources to a project, they want to know that it has a real shot at success. Without a successful author’s name behind the project or a compelling story or a celebrity endorsement, they odds go down that your works will trip their trigger.

Vanity-Publishing and Self-Publishing

What does that leave you. For most, they are left with either the option of finding a vanity publisher or self-publishing. A vanity publisher will publish practically any work if the author is willing to pay the price to publish. This is where the author’s ego is put to the test. Vanity publishers prey on that ego with comments about how good the work is. They offer a contract that defines how much you would pay towards the project. They gain control through this contract and basically dole out only a portion of the royalties. They are likely to provide only token marketing support and the author will find themselves with an empty pocketbook, a bruised ego and virtually no tangible results.

Self-publishing is a similar route in that you pay for the privilege of being published but you control your royalties and are left with a similar marketing task to what you’d have with a vanity publisher. If you can’t find a mainstream publisher but still want to see a book with your name on it on the shelf, you are left with the two options noted above. Again, you need to understand that just bringing a book to the market means nothing in relation to sales. You need to be willing to use the best sales techniques to make something of the book and to recover the cost of publishing. If you are not willing to dedicate time and resources to that task, you will be wasting your money.

Marketing Your Book

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This is the stuff of voodoo requiring a little magic, hard work and some luck to get sales.

1) It starts will getting a book cover that is eye-catching and fits the theme of the book. An investment in the art can make a difference in the sales.

2) Make sure you have a good blurb for the back cover that explains in a reasonably short space, say 250 words, what the book is about. It needs to pique the interest of the person who finds the cover interesting and wants to know about the story.

3) You will want an interesting author biography. What is your story and why are you interesting?

4) You will need to build infrastructure for your book. A website that is well designed and professional in appearance. This will be a fundamental part of the creation of your brand. Like creating a brand for any product, care must be given to the content and the appearance. A professional photo of the author will be critical. Included in this will be your book description, info on the characters, the genre, etc.

5) You’ll want to define categories and keywords and really zero in on your target audience. Target your book’s sweet spot and support it with the appropriate key words.

6) You will want to make sure you understand who the likely purchasers of you book will be. Make sure you choose avenues that they subscribe to when choosing where to place your marketing dollars.

7) Build a mailing list. As you develop a fanbase, keep in touch with them and anoint them as your salespeople. Give them attention and ask that they refer your book.

8) Get book reviews. This is a powerful way to help readers understand the quality of the book. It brings visibility to your product and can help convince those that are on the fence to buy the book. Work hard at the beginning of this process to get a variety of reviews both professional and informal. All of this will help get the book sold.

9) Blog posts about the material in the book or the genre chosen can help you connect with a target audience. Become a resource for those interested in the topic of your book. It will help you connect with buyers.

10) Hire a professional book marketer. There are a number of these out there. Try to find one with a very good reputation. Understand what they are offering and the timeframe they would be doing the marketing. It is important to understand the value they offer, don’t just choose the lowest price. It takes spending some money to make money sometimes and they can help you with many of the tasks on the list shown above. A partnership with a professional book marketing group can allow you to supercharge your brand name and begin to set up sales over the long haul, not just for a few brief months.

Writing a book is a passion for many. Understanding the world that you are going to deliver books into will alleviate stress and remove frustration. Don’t presume you will be the next JK Rowling but don’t discount the chances of being successful. It takes guts and determination and a lot of hard work, but it is worth it.

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