How to Publish a Book

So you want to know how to publish a book. Well there are several methods you can utilize to get your grand idea into the hands of hungry readers. Let’s take a look at some of them.

Traditional publishing: This involves having a literary agent that shops your manuscript around to the Big Six publishers and hopefully gets you a contract. Some of the pluses here are that your name will be associated with one of the remaining large international publishing houses. The minus for that is, you will have to locate the literary agent and shop your book to them. You will also have to have your own marketing plan created and ready to implement in order for the large publishing houses to even look at you. You see they want you to still do all the leg work and generate the sales from your books and they’ll end up with your “fans” and you’ll just get the associated name. If you’re into that, hey there are worse ways to make a living – but remember they rarely accept “untested” writers so if you’re new; prepare for a long arduous journey to stardom.

Independent publishing: This is also called self-publishing. This method is the fastest and also becoming the most utilized method for getting books published. Basically, you write the book, you hire an editor (or do it yourself) to proofread your book for grammatical, and thematic errors. Then you select a self-publishing company (aka DIY publishing). You pick the “package” you can afford and voila! You are a published author. The plus here is that you have total control over your product. The minuses are still that you have to have a marketing plan and you still do the leg work for selling your book. The difference is that while you won’t have the “association” you will keep more of your profits.

eBook publishing: This is still a relatively new method of creating books however, it will eventually become the norm as technology continues to move forward. eBooks are created to be read either online using your computer or using specific text readers like Kindle, Nook etc. The books are created using specific software programs and are marketed in the “stores” for the specific readers where the books can be read. The pluses fall under the “virgin territory” realm as this is still emerging technology. The minuses fall into the “cost-effectiveness” category as you must find ways to distribute your eBooks. There are companies that will automatically convert your publications into eBook formats for extra cost as well as companies that only create eBooks for all formats. Again you must research these companies for the best publishing price.

Membership publishing: Again this is a relatively new form of publishing but the concept is an old one. Basically you create a membership site and you publish your books in a sort of blog format. You can sell your memberships to either be “all inclusive” meaning they pay for the whole book and can download it from the site or read it there after logging in; or you can sell them a chapter at a time for a minimal price, say $.99. Which may seem strange to you; but if you think about it – most books contain at least 10 chapters in them which means you made $9.90 for your book. Imagine how much that changes if you have a book with 12 or 15 chapters in it. Think about the regular cost of buying a book in the store. You may not be able to get away with pricing your book for $19.99 if it’s a paperback right off the bat; but if you have 24 chapters and your members are paying $.99 a chapter to read it as it unfold like a soap opera; you made $23.76 on that same book that you would have normally priced at $9.99 or $12.99.

These are just some of the ways you can get your books published and turn a profit. Always keep in mind though that whether you go with a large publisher, a small publisher or do it yourself you must have a marketing plan in order to find the people looking for your book.

Easy Book Marketing

The most common mistake people make when self publishing their books is to ignore marketing until it is too late. As an author, you want your book to be the best in its category. There are many decisions to make right from the start. But the in order to make it stand out from the rest, you need to market your book carefully.

Who are you planning to sell your book to? This is the most critical question you need to answer. Before taking any steps to promote your book you, be aware of whom your target audience is. ‘Everybody’ is not the correct answer to this question, although it is a common answer. The more focused you are on your target audience the easier it will be for you reach them. After identifying you target audience, you should try to gather as much data about them as you can. The next step, outline your goals and objectives. Next determine your budget and implement your strategies. From there, you can then determine what form your book should take. For example, the size and weight, number of pages, type of cover, etc.

The bestselling books are not necessarily the best books so it depends on how it was promoted. It used to be a common wisdom that the only way to become a bestselling author was to go through a major publishing house. However, for many years, many bestsellers have actually been self published and self promoted. When deciding whether to self publish your book or not, you should examine the advantages that successful self-publishers seem to have over their not so fortunate counterparts.

Has your book already been published? You want to make sure you are going to market with something new. So make sure to do some research before putting all your effort into selling something that has already been sold. Your title will be critical in capturing your target audience so choose it carefully. Similarly, your cover should catch your target audience’s eye. Think of what appeals to that particular demographic.

As writers have a reputation for being sensitive creatures, it should first of all be noted that those who plan to handle the marketing and publicity aspects of their book themselves should shed this image and possess thick hides. While sensitivity is great while writing your book, you have to alter your approach and become practical when it comes to marketing it. You should not take any negatives situations that arise personally and should feel as if all the setbacks are taking you closer to your end goal.

In this age of internet a book that is promoted through the web gains an added advantage over those which are not. Thus, to promote your book online, you should first of all have an exclusive website for it. Here you should display your book’s cover, excerpts, reviews and testimonials on the home page and provide links to distributors that carry your book. Another way to get your book noticed is by including it in a books in print database. Several online bookstores use this database. If you are not building a website for your book then you can use an email promotion campaign for promoting it. First of all, you should send a newsletter to your different email contacts. Inform them about your book and then follow up with a sales letter.

Another way to promote your book online is by creating your own blog. Having a blog has now become one of the most profitable things on the web. On your blog you can add the link to your site and depending on the popularity of your blog it can receive more than one hundred thousand hits a day.

Price is a major consideration in marketing your book. Be aware of your target audience’s typical disposable income level. This can make or break successful promotion of your book.

These are some basic tips on how to start thinking about marketing your book. This is an ongoing process and will require constant re-evaluation. Become aware of what works for other authors and incorporate ideas when they make sense. Above all, have fun marketing your book!

Happy Holidays

Dr. Ande,
Host of Writers’ Radio & Writerstopia Presents IVA Writes Now eRadio
Associate editor of Writerstopia Magazine for Self-Published Authors & Independent Publishers
Contributing writer for CENTRE Digest the Publication for Consultants & Entrepreneurs
Owner of Dr. Ande Online Ltd.
Producer of Dr. Ande Radio