March 19, 2018
Would you like to write and publish a book? To put your thoughts on paper for others to enjoy? In my article last week, I talked about the first three steps to writing and publishing a book that is worth reading and sharing with the world. Here are the next four steps you’ll need in order to successfully write and publish a book you can be proud of:
Step 4: Create and Manage an Effective Author Platform
Books are to be read, shared and treasured, but they won’t be if your ideal readers don’t know about your book. That’s why an author platform is so crucial in achieving success as an author these days: it gets your book into more hands. Your author platform is all the ways you use to make connections and build relationships with readers and prospective readers – the first step in creating your audience. After all, people are more likely to buy books from people they know and trust. But you may be wondering: How can I influence others’ opinions? Some of the elements that make up your author platform could be: personal, family or professional connections; membership in a personal or professional group; a regular email newsletter sent to your subscribers; an established blog; or being in a position of authority in a relevant organization. Chances are that you have more influence that you think. However, the key to becoming a popular author is to continually cultivate your platform and watch your connections grow. First, consider what assets you currently have. For example, do you attend regular group meetings, do you speak to groups or have an email list? Do what you can to make these connections stronger. You can also expand your platform. Find new groups to become part of. Step out into speaking roles. Become more active in the arenas where your ideal reader hangs out. However, do understand that you must tend to your connections regularly before the roots will take hold and you and your book can reap the right rewards.
Step 5: Write the Right Book, the Right Way
It’s time to start writing. If you’ve completed the previous steps, you should already be clear on what your goals for writing and publishing this book are, who your audience is and why people will listen to what you have to say. And now is the time to say it. You have the freedom and the privilege to write this book. Write what you’d like others to know. Write what you’d like to share with the world. If you’re not a practiced writer, don’t be afraid to get help. You can join a writing class or read books on the craft of writing. You can get advice on style and structure by enlisting the help of a developmental editor. You can also hire a ghostwriter if you need more direct help in bringing your vision to life. Try dictation if that helps you get your first draft down on paper, or one of many writing apps to help the task along. Or make a presentation on your topic, record it, have it transcribed, and use the resulting transcription as your first draft. Once you have a first draft, you’ll need to edit, revise and edit again, preferably under the guidance of a professional editor. After all, you’ll want your writing to shine and your message to be clear to your audience. Don’t settle for amateur editing if you want to be taken seriously as an author.
Step 6: Produce Your Book Appropriately
You should now have a polished book manuscript in your hands. It’s time to turn it into an actual book. First, educate yourself on publishing basics, such as book formats, metadata, ISBNs and book economics. Do you want your book to be an amateur or a professional product? Do you want to self-publish or be published by a reputable publishing company? (Be careful, as some companies will try to sell you services that you don’t need.) Books can be published with different budgets in mind, depending on the types of services provided and the level of quality. Books can be published for free or for a low cost – up to $1,500. Mid-range books can cost from $1,500 to $15,000 to publish. On the higher end, books can be published for $15,000 to $35,000 and more. Consider how much you are willing to learn about publishing and do yourself, and how much you are willing to spend to get professional assistance. It can be a mistake to publish on your own unless you are clear on all of the elements that go into producing and marketing a quality book. If you don’t want to take on the duties of publishing your book yourself, but you’d like a thoroughly professional product to bear your name, you could look into a hybrid publishing partner like Dudley Court Press. Dudley Court Press works closely with authors through the different stages of writing and publishing their book, including concept, strategy, writing, editing, design, production, marketing and promotion. We help authors play to their strengths and then provide professional assistance to fill in any gaps. That way authors don’t spend more than they need to and can concentrate on what they do best.
Step 7: Persist in Ongoing, Masterful Marketing
Consistently marketing and promoting your book are the keys to sharing it with – and having it read in – the wider world. As the author, you should know your book from cover to cover, knowing exactly what your book has to offer the reader. While you can always hire the marketing help you need, consider the fact that almost no one will be a more enthusiastic promoter of your book than you. For the best results, be prepared to actively market your book for at least a year. You don’t have to do anything that you consider unpleasant; you can choose to focus only on the marketing activities that you prefer. Do you like to use social media? Do you enjoy participating in a book club? Do you like to speak to groups? Do you enjoy blogging? These are just a few examples. There are many ways for you to reach reading audiences. However, you must be persistent in your efforts. Regular marketing and promotion will ensure that your book has a longer shelf life and gets the attention that it deserves.