Updated: Oct 21, 2020
Have you ever taken a walk down a book isle and thought to yourself, “I can do this – how hard could writing a book possibly be?” If you have, you are not alone. However, writing a book isn’t as straightforward as you think. Here are some tips to help you decide if authorship is right for you, and how to set yourself up for success.
Step One: Determine Your Why
Before you set off to become the next top author, you need to be able to effectively answer the question: Why does this book need to be written? If you don’t have a solid reason, everything else is going to feel like an uphill battle in terms of getting the ideas flowing, having a publisher sign-on, and even beginning your marketing campaign. Just because you have a great idea doesn’t mean that it needs to be in book format. Sometimes, a blog or vlog would be better. Don’t rush into print unless you have determined that it’s the most effective way to get your point across to your readers.
Step Two: Conduct a S.W.O.T. Analysis
A S.W.O.T. analysis stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. You need to assess each of these categories regarding your proposed book. Some examples of things to consider in each category are:
What specific knowledge can you offer, and what is your unique spin on it?
What are your credentials?
How large is your online presence, and how many of those people will convert into readers?
What is the current market for books like yours?
Where are you in the writing process?
Is your book tied to a specific event/moment? If so, will your book have a life past that moment/event.
What is unique about you or your book that can help you with its marketing?
Is there conversion potential for this book into other formats?
Do you have the rights to produce the work that you are creating?
Are you aware of tax and copyright responsibilities?
How are you going to protect your intellectual property?
Step Three: Determine Which Type of Publishing Experience You Need/Want
Publishing is not one size fits all. There are generally three types of publishing experiences you can have.
Self-Publishing: The author is responsible for all elements of publication which include editing, formatting, typesetting, account creation, etc.
Hybrid Publishing: This method allows the author to work closely with the publisher, and in some cases, they can pay only for the services they need/want.
Traditional Publishing: The publisher has everything under their domain and they typically will pay the author an advance on royalties which can impact how much the author retains from the book.
Do your research because Hybrid (or Boutique) Publishers and Traditional Publishers may have specific requirements regarding how to submit a query letter, and you may even need an agent. Also find out about their royalty policies and who retains the rights to the work, both of which are extremely important.
Step Four: Prepare!
Depending on which type of publishing experience you choose, your next step will be either 1) find a literary agent or 2) prepare to meet with the publisher. Regardless, you need to prepare. Do not waste the time of the experts because they will not take your project seriously. Know at least these basic points of information before your meeting:
Who is your target audience?
What is your ideal release date?
What is your budget?
How much do you have completed?
Do you need a ghostwriter?
Why do you want to work with this agent/publisher?
Step Five: Begin (or Complete) the Writing Process
After you have gone through all the vetting, complete or begin the writing process. Be sure to stick to your deadlines because that could cause your contract to be postponed or canceled. Also, during this time, begin meeting with your graphic designer and marketing team to ensure that you can have a solid support base for your book.
After following these steps, you’ll be well-positioned to successfully create and launch your book. Happy writing!
P.S. Taylor D. Duckett is the Founder and Creative Director of Conviction 2 Change Publishing, LLC. If you have more questions or are interested in her as your next publisher, shoot her an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.