In the interest of full disclosure let me state that I am and always have been a bibliophile. No need to call the local police – a bibliophile is a person that loves books. This is the source of my excitement in sharing all of the great benefits associated with publishing a book. This love led to a career in the book publishing field, to writing a number of books, and also to helping others to bring their book projects to fruition. In this article, I will share insights that I have learned about the process of creating a book that achieves the desired results of the writer.
Step # 1 – Establish A Clear Objective
There are several possible reasons for writing a book.
I have come across more than one author that wrote with the objective of sharing their family history, knowledge, and wisdom to their offspring. Additionally, I have worked with professionals in fields such as real estate or nutrition who used their books to establish themselves as industry experts. I often work with scholars that are looking to develop their tenure portfolios or reach a wider audience. Many writers write with the hope of selling thousands if not millions of copies and eventually making a living from their writing. The objective of a book project has to be clear before a writer moves on to the next step. A tenure seeking professor will need to organize their source material. An industry expert will have the luxury of used industry-specific language and would benefit from a prominently displayed picture of themselves on the front cover, the back cover, or in one of the front pages of the book.
Clarity in this area will play a major role in ultimately achieving your desired outcomes and will also make the subsequent steps easier.
Step # 2 – Create An Outline For The Substance Of Your Book
This step will spare much time and stress as you proceed through the challenging process of writing your book. Without an outline, you are almost guaranteed to run into a brick wall at some point in the process, especially if you are a non-fiction writer. If you are a non-fiction writer be certain to create a chapter outline – you can change it later if necessary. Fiction writers should decide on the writing tense to which they will remain loyal throughout the text, conceptualize the their story, and and be clear on which genre(s) to which their work belongs. Step # 2 goes a long way towards minimizing the stress and anxiety that often comes with the experience of publishing a book.
Step # 3 – Create A Writing and Editing Timeline
Your outline will give you a fairly clear vision as to what it will take to complete your project. Regardless of your genre or objective, you must be prepared to organize yourself so that you can give the time that you need to write and to research. I like to write in the morning when my mind is most fresh and to proceed through the remainder of the day knowing that I have come closer to the important goal of finishing a book. It would not be a bad idea to make it clear to loved ones (children included) that this project is important to you – it will likely increase the extent of their cooperation. Will the process take weeks, months, or years? In my work I usually give myself about a month to write a chapter. I include another month for editing, proofreading, creation of a book cover, and typesetting. This knowledge of self enables me to predict when my book will be complete. I usually give myself ample time to ensure that the project is complete by the time of my projected launch date. This is a good time to decide on a printer for your print book and/or a platform for your E-book. Lulu, IngramSpark, and Amazon KDP are popular options for print books, however I would not rule out local printers.
This timeline will serve as a playbook or a blueprint. Do not be overly concerned if your deviate from it; just adapt, keep a positive attitude, and keep going.
Step # 4 – Create A Marketing Plan
I have learned the importance of this step the hard way and I know that many of you experienced writers have also. If you are a beginning writer, give me a virtual HIGH-FIVE for sharing the major significance of this step. Regardless of your ultimate objective, there is no time like the present to begin the process of rallying your potential audience. The possibilities are endless as to how you can go about this step. You could create a Facebook page that is completely dedicated to your book or even a Facebook event page that will keep your audience abreast of your process and launch date. Begin to compile an email list if your have not already – stay in touch with them via your list. Send emails with subject matter that is relevant to your topic or write to them about colorful characters in your book in order to introduce the characters to their imaginations. Print materials are helpful here (flyers, bookmarks, etc.) however I notice that it is not as important as the vanity presses make it out to be (more on vanity presses later). Do not forget video as a marketing tool. If you can afford a well-produced video, it will likely pay good dividends in the end. If you cannot afford a professionally edited video, then create videos via YouTube or other platforms about your book or topics related to your book.
DO NOT OVERLOOK THIS STEP!
Step # 5 – Plan Your Book Launch
YOUR BIG DAY IS ON THE HORIZON AND YOU ARE ABOUT TO REAP THE REWARD OF ALL YOUR HARD WORK AND DEDICATION! The most important part of your book launch is ensuring that all of your distribution networks are set up. Efficiency is key here. An obvious option for a distribution platform is Amazon, however it is unwise to rely totally on Amazon. Artsoko.com is an ideal platform since it accommodates print and E-book sales. Also artsoko.com remits royalties from book sales significantly faster than Amazon.com. I advise that you do not neglect E-book avenues such as Amazon’s Kindle, Smashwords, Barnes and Noble, and others. Consider hosting a book signing at a local venue, a library, or even a home. Also consider rallying people online by way of a webinar. You could combine the two previously mentioned options with the support of a tech savvy team. THE SKY IS THE LIMIT!
Bonus Message – Avoid the vanity presses. They will overcharge by a long shot and ultimately hold your book hostage at an exorbitant rate. To break even you would have to charge uncommonly high prices for your book. Put your money towards editors, proofreaders, and importantly a graphic designer for your book cover. Also paid advertisement might be a wise investment.
Based on my experience I would say that the the factor that determines your book publishing success is the proper execution of steps 1-5, combined with sustained faith and enthusiasm.
Most importantly, have fun and be certain to enjoy your book publishing journey!