When you have a message you’re burning to share with the world, it helps to start with the end in mind: You Want People to Read What You Write. But HOW will you find readers, build excitement and pique their interest? i.e. Market your book? Before you get down to the magic and hard work of the words themselves, you’ll need an outline of your project, a scaffolding, if you will.
What to do? WORK BACKWARDS
(Yes. Your actual writing is the last thing on this list.)
#1 A PROPOSAL.
A Book Proposal is an outline of the what’s, how’s & why’s of your book, helping you hone in on your message and fine tune the work. A Book Proposal is also a business document, especially if you are using it to pitch to a traditional publisher. Whether that’s the avenue you choose or decide to go the self-publishing route, a Proposal is a tool for helping determine just who your audience is, a KEY to marketing your book. A Book Proposal also guides you to discover for yourself just exactly what you want to say and how to share it. There are many templates & resources online, but no matter which one you use, have a skilled editor or fellow writer review your document for clarity and to offer feedback. (You can access my Book Proposal template available HERE.)
Your Proposal should address some very basic questions:
- WHO is your writing for? AUDIENCE
- WHAT unique angle or approach am I bringing to this topic? EXPERIENCE
- WHY should I be the one to write it? VIEWPOINT
- HOW is my book different from other books of its kind already published? EXPERTISE
Pro Tip: Research your book title. Before you get too far into your project, consider you might have to tweak what you were going to write about or maybe change the title (it happens). People use Google and Amazon daily to search for books; take time to do your own search. Type in the TITLE you have in mind or the SUBJECT and see what comes up. Are there other books out there just like yours? What will your competition be? Is your book title going to convey what you want readers to know?
Alas, books don’t sell themselves. In fact, the grueling truth is that after you’ve done the hard work of drafting and revising your book, finding a publisher for it–traditional or self-published; it’s still the same–you’ll need to tell the world about it.
Well, not the entire world, but the world you inhabit, whether in person or virtually. Before you pour your blood, sweat and tears into drafting, writing and revising, the best place to begin is providing a platform to support your work. The energy you pour into widening the reach of your words NOW can help your book’s success in the end.
Pro Tip: Google your name and/or titles of your work that are already in print or online; what comes up? Look at all the places people can find your work; all of them can overlap, acting as a funnel to bring you readers.
Two Vital Parts of your Platform:
- A WEBSITE: Your website is a place to gather blog posts, reflections, published essays, contact information, a bio and your social links. WordPress and Blogger both offer FREE website versions and can be learned over a period of 2-3 days if you are tech-savvy. Expert Author and Editor Jane Friedman has great resources and insights on what to be sure to include on your website. I also coach people in this process to guide authors in where to begin.
- AN EMAIL LIST: Reach out to your current connections and begin telling them about your writing. Direct communication with people you already know has proven to be the best way to build engagement with future readers. Learn how email services like FloDesk, ConvertKit, MailChimp or MailerLite work to capture emails when readers come to your site. This is the building block of your platform. (I use MailChimp for my email service).
While Traditional Publishing involves querying editors and writing a book pitch, as well as looking for an agent, many people also successfully Self-Publish their work, a specialty I focus on.
My coaching includes these basic self-publishing tips:
- After you’ve written your draft, a good book will be edited by a Developmental Editor and a Copy Editor. You should pay for those.
- Your book will need an interior design and set up and a COVER design. You should pay for those.
- You should NOT pay for printing, i.e. getting your book published. Businesses that ask for money up front prior to producing your book are called vanity presses. Much of what you need to have done to produce a stellar book can be accomplished by hiring freelancers for design, uploading and so on for your book.
Two sources available for those who self-publish are Print on Demand services like Amazon/KDP who charge nothing for uploading a book file and their royalties are fair. Ingram Spark is another POD service with acceptable printing as well as worldwide distribution. However, they charge $49 for uploading files and $25 for each content revision. Publishing with Ingram Spark insures your book will be available to libraries and bookstores should they choose to order it. You owe it to yourself to research these options thoroughly.
NOTE: Self-published authors seldom will find their books in brick & mortar stores unless they have personal relationships with the owners; most bookstores don’t like to compete with Amazon. The best avenue for book sales will be via a personal website, in person speaking engagements & social media channels.
Now to YOUR ACTUAL Words–Drafting, Editing and Revising. After you’ve poured out your thoughts into a manuscript or essay and you have your First Draft, your work should be seen by a Professional Editor. These are services I offer to writers to help find the Big Picture of their work, refine their voice, and polish the nuts and bolts of a piece. Once you decide you’d like to work together, I can put together a Consultant Plan to help you navigate the self-publishing and marketing process.
Many other folks have found my service and experience as an Editor and Coach to be just what they needed to birth their work into the world.
Interested? Just fill out the form below and I’ll be in touch.
I look forward to connecting!
Jody Collins, Creativity Midwife