This is the first in a series of Blog articles that will explore what it takes to become a published author. Each article will focus on one of 7 steps in the publishing process, each of which must be executed successfully before undertaking the next.
It’s a commonly accepted statistic that 80% of people want to write a book.
Does this describe you? Then please keep reading. Book publishing today is easier than it ever has been. It is more reachable for more authors than ever before in the history of printing. It is also a mega-multi-step process that requires a range of skills and talents.
And therein lies the challenge for many. Knowing what to do, when to do it, and how is what experience in the process provides. To the novice, it can seem overwhelming. Here are a few of the questions we are often asked:
- How do I design a cover?
- Who will help me with the editing?
- What if I need help with the writing?
- Do I need an editor?
- What about proofreading; how is that different from editing?
- How to get the book formatted and laid out for print?
- Should I publish in ebook format?
Do you know the answers? No worries if not. Please don’t get hung up on the process. Give yourself a break and assume the first book you write will take you much longer than any other. It’s like driving to a new place. It always seems shorter on the ride home, right? That’s simply because you know the route—it’s no longer necessary to consult the roadmap at each interchange and crossroad.
There’s a learning curve to writing and publishing a book. Believe me, after your fifth or sixth book, you won’t need to plan everything step by step. However, with your first book, plan it. Be specific. Execute to the plan. Be flexible when the plan hits a snag and readjust when you miss your goals.
Keep it Simple: 7 Steps
The process of writing and publishing is not complex or especially difficult to understand and learn. It does have many tasks and branches yet can easily be boiled down to seven essential steps. Take them on one at a time.
- Get clear. Clarify who you are writing for and to. Be specific and clear about your reason for writing and the message you want to deliver.
- Write the book. This may seem obvious, but honestly, why worry about the other six steps if you haven’t a good handle on this first one? Get the first draft done. Discipline. There’s a reason why writing is called a discipline; it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy.
- Design a cover. Not literally, unless you have a background in graphic design. Some parts of the process are better outsourced and this is one. Hire a professional to design a quality cover.
- Promote the book. You may think this would be the last step, and in many ways, it is. However, to ensure the best success for your book launch, begin now to create your marketing plan and execute it.
- Change hats and manage the book production. Your manuscript needs to be edited, proofread, and laid out. Expect that some of this may also be outsourced to ensure a professional and quality finished manuscript.
- Get setup with the printers. Book publishing is a business and the provider you choose to print your book is a business decision. The print providers have different requirements for manuscript submission, for cover submission, and offer different options for size and quality of printed material.
- Publish and set up the book launch and the online connections. This includes uploading files to printers, getting and giving approval of the book files, and setting up your author and book web pages.
In the end, as in the beginning, there is no substitute for chair time. The key to success in book publishing is in the writing. Sometimes you must write when you don’t feel like it. That’s what separates wannabe writers from authors.
Spend the time and do what it takes to write a book and do what it takes to produce it and get it out into the world. You will see the successful achievement of your goal—assuming, of course, you remembered to start with Step 1, Get Clear.
And that is where we will start with the next article in this series. Be sure not to miss it! Sign up here to subscribe.