Updated July 9, 2014
In this third installment, you’ll learn the final two steps to becoming a published author.
In the previous article of this three-part series you learned the first two steps of becoming a published author and getting your work noticed.
If you missed the first article of the series, please click to read about how the pioneering caregiving book, “Where’s my shoes?” My Father’s Walk through Alzheimer’s was written and published.
3. BUILD A PLATFORM
Today, most promotional efforts are being conducted online. If you have a monthly newsletter and/or a weekly blog and you are posting consistently, you are taking steps to build your platform.
Note, this doesn’t mean buying thousands of Twitter followers for $29! Don’t even consider this! It’ll do you more harm than good.
With the advent of social media, building your platform is getting easier. Stories are plentiful of a virtual unknown with a compelling story and magnetic presence, gaining a platform by garnering engaged Facebook friends and/or page “likes”, Twitter followers, and LinkedIn connections. Stories abound of YouTube videos going viral.
Can you do it? YES!
You need a compelling story and presence that draws in people. Once you have a following, you’ll be more marketable to publishers. Instead of selling yourself to a publisher, agents and publishers will be calling you!
4. GET PUBLISHED
The most important thing to remember about publishing is: Publishers need to make a profit to survive. If you can prove that your book will sell, an acquisitions editor may ask to look at it.
How to get a publisher interested in your book.
- A solid platform with thousands of followers (or hundreds of engaged followers).
- Advance sales. Your family, friends, and followers have bought a copy of your book before it’s available. (Review how “Where’s my shoes?” My Father’s Walk through Alzheimer’s was written and published.) If this is the case, you may want to partner with an experienced publisher, instead.
- Make sure any writing you submit, including correspondence, is free of typos and grammatical errors.
Your job is to give the publisher confidence that an investment in editing your work, formatting and designing pages and the cover, printing, binding, inventorying, shipping to wholesalers at a 55% discount will still return a profit.
If after all this, the publisher expresses interest, send your 100-word synopsis (see the first two steps of becoming a published author and getting your work noticed) and anything else the editor requests.
If you do agree to let a publisher publish your book, it may take a year or more before you see a printed copy. You will likely lose creative control while asked to invest in marketing.
You may be the enterprising author who prefers to invest in your own success.
Form your own publishing company if you plan to produce more than one title. Buy your own block of ISBNs, so buyers and wholesalers contact you directly. This will give you information on where your book is selling (except when selling through a wholesaler or distributor).
This requires a lot of time to do it right and even more patience as you learn about the ever-changing publishing industry.
If you have no or little experience, I strongly recommend outsourcing the professional editing, internal layout and cover design (make sure you invest in an experienced professional to do this work), printing (knowing what to ask when inviting printers’ bids or finding a print-on-demand partner), marketing, distribution or wholesaling of your book to reach channels like Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Google Books, and more.
Partner with an experienced publisher to produce your book.
For your first book, partner with an experienced publisher who will agree to produce and help market your work. Even though you will pay for the costs to produce and market your book, you’ll be on the fast track to learning how to do everything yourself (or, at least, who to use when outsourcing) should you choose to write another book.
An experienced publisher will help you to get your book in the hands of your target market; publishers in other countries (translation rights); plus, connect with special sales sources who buy hundreds or even thousands of copies at one time.
How do you find these publishers?
See who publishes others’ writing in your topic area–Step One of the four-step process. Caveat: The lowest price will almost always cost you more in time and additional fees for additional services you didn’t even know to ask about; such as, submitting your book to the LOC and getting ISBNs.
90% of what you must do to get your book into the hands of readers, rests under the tip of the publishing iceberg.
North Star Books, with nearly two decades of experience, may agree to work with you to produce, publish then market and distribute y0ur caregiving book. Click on North Star Books for contact information.
DISCLOSURE: The Caregiver’s Voice shares an association with North Star Books–a Los Angeles-based publishing company, I founded nearly 20 years ago.
If writing a book seems like more than you want to do right now, SUBMIT your Joyful Stories for consideration in the upcoming Finding the JOY in Caregiving book, one among the Finding the JOY series featuring caregivers stories and photos that inform, inspire, and bring JOY.
Additional Information about author platforms, publishing, and self-publishing: