I’ve had a lot of people ask me how hard it is to write a book. Many of them tell me that they have a story to tell but they just don’t know where to begin. Basically there are two types of publishing; traditional and self-published. But no matter which one you choose, these seven principles apply equally. Take a close look at them and see if maybe you can be the next great name in books.
1. You don’t have to accept rejection
Many people never write their Great American Novel because they think someone might not like it. We writers are sensitive souls and fear of rejection is real. The secret is you don’t have to accept rejection.
Have you ever heard of Mark Victor Hansen?
He’s one of the guys who wrote Chicken Soup for the Soul — a book that has made millions of dollars and spawned countless spin-off products. Yet, that book was rejected 140 times. Mark believed in his book, refused to accept the rejections, and kept going.
Another secret is that rejection often has nothing to do with the quality of your book or your ideas. Many rejections relate to a publisher’s business decisions and have nothing to do with you or your writing at all.
2. You can learn everything you need to know
Many authors take a peek at the book-publishing business, get completely overwhelmed, and run away. It’s a lot like when you started your own business or your blog. There’s a learning curve.
The secret is to realize that although writing is a creative process, publishing is a business. Publishing a book is going to require work and a bit of education on your part. For less than $100 worth of books about publishing before you get started, you can save an enormous amount of time, money and aggravation in the long run.
3. You have to market the book
Even if an enormous New York City publishing house publishes your book, you will have to market it. A first-time author rarely gets help from the publisher. Accept that you will be on your own when it comes to marketing — a fact I’ve discovered first-hand, the hard way. When you know that you — and only you — will be responsible for marketing your book, you won’t be disappointed. The key is to think like a marketer before you write the first word of your manuscript.
4. You don’t have to sell your soul to “The Man” (unless you want to)
It used to be that you had to beg a Big Publishing Company to give your book idea the time of day. You needed an agent and preferably a lot of money. And as noted, the Big Publishing Company could still reject your book on a whim. Book publishing is different now. You can publish a book yourself. In the past, self-publishing was often equated to vanity publishing. (In other words, a self-published book was often considered crap.)
But now that idea has been turned on its head. Some people argue that being published by a Big Company is more for “vanity” reasons than anything else. It’s certainly not because of all the great marketing support you’ll receive. You get to say, “My book was published by Big Company.” Of course, almost no one outside of New York actually cares about that.
Have you ever looked at a book to check and see which company published it? Me neither. Your readers don’t care who published the book. They care whether or not the book is good.
In the past, I had a couple of books published by a another self-publishing. I started self-publishing my books because it made it possible to release books I wanted to write and make a lot more money. It’s not just me. Even Seth Godin ditched his publisher and started The Domino Project so he can have more control over his books.
5. Your online presence and knowledge give you an advantage
Many authors today that also do self-marketing have a blog. Or if you don’t, you’re thinking about starting one. Your blog is the beginning of the “author platform” every publisher requires. Today most books — whether paper or pixels — are sold online. All the online marketing techniques you use to market your blog or digital products work for a book too. You can leverage what you already know. A blog also gives you a way to do market research.
6. You need to spend time and money on your book
As noted above, publishing is a business. If you opt to try and get a traditional book publishing deal, it will take time to find an agent, write a proposal, and send out queries. If you opt to publish yourself, you’ll need to pay for editorial services, ISBNs, and designers. You need to accept that these investments are part of the business of your book.
7. You will feel resistance at many points during the publishing process
Every writer experiences some level of anxiety about putting a book “out there.” Often authors struggle to get a book out the door. As a person who always tries to look at all angles, I sometimes worry about putting too much of myself out there on public display or worse, being completely ignored.
It’s call ‘resistance’ and it’s important to know that resistance happens; it’s part of the process. So what’s stopping you? If you are a good content marketer, you’re probably churning out articles, blog posts, and maybe even ebooks. So, why not publish a real print book too? There’s no reason it can’t work for you. A book is your legacy.
So, why haven’t you written it yet?
I currently have three books out on the circuit. The first two are in the ‘true crime’ venue and are part of my ‘BlueGrass’ series. Pinned – A Kentucky True Crime and Stains on the Gavel, both published by Outskirts Press, are available in multiple outlets such as Amazon.com and Barnes and Noble.
My latest book, 52 Weeks of Jokes, published by Lulu Press, is available through Amazon.com.
I am currently writing a young adult adventure novel entitled, The Boy in the Bin, which hopefully will be published by mid summer. I have yet to select a publisher for that one yet, but as soon as I do, it will be available in wide distribution.
There will be more updates as they become available.