By Brenda Dempsey
You dream of being an author. The idea of writing a book is way easier than actually setting down to write your brilliant story. Whether it is fiction, non-fiction or a children’s story, you have to know these three things.
- Who am I writing this book for?
- What is the Vision for my book?
- How do I want to publish my book?
Getting your manuscript published is way more than having a well-written story that is edited and proofread. It is advantageous to have a deep awareness of why you are writing your story/book, the purpose of your paperback and why it is better than the next author’s one. In 2018, the UK sold close to 191 million books. That’s a lot of reading, and you can have a slice of that with your writing. Like any product, you have to have complete conviction that your book is brilliant and has the potential to stand head and shoulders above the rest. Next, you will do much better when you have some great marketing and PR to support you in getting your book in front of the right people. You need to be visible. The reader likes to know who you are, what drives you and that you are confident in your writing and book. Also, it is wise to remember that completing your manuscript is only the beginning of your book’s life in circulation. It takes passion, effort and a ‘keep going’ attitude to be successful. Don’t go it alone; get help like all the professional sportsmen and women. Usain Bolt never became the fastest man on earth by himself, so why would you think that becoming a best-selling author is any different.
Who am I writing this book for? Like good business owners who know their ideal client and niche market, an author needs to know their perfect reader. Who is my ideal reader and in which part of the market will I find them? In other words, be clear on your genre. Be mindful that you are putting your best work out there rather than only finishing a book because you want to hold it in your hands. However, clasping your book for the first time is very exciting for authors. That is why you have to ensure your manuscript is of the highest quality – that is has been through a good spelling and grammar check tool, such as Grammarly. However, this does not replace the professional eye of a great editor and proofreader. Be mindful that your book has excellent, attention-grabbing openers. It needs to be easy to read, clear to understand and coherent throughout. It needs to flow, and a publisher will pick this up instantly. You have to make a great first impression. Ideally, you need to know information about your ideal reader, intimately. A great book business coach will help you with this aspect of your book. A book is a collaboration, so the sooner you understand this concept about being an author, the more successful you will be.
What is the Vision for My Book? Dream big! That’s right, to know why you are writing your book. Where do you see your book? In bookstores on their shelves, on the table, as you walk through the front door? Or you are hosting a book signing in your favourite one? You may see yourself being interviewed on radio, TV and in popular magazines. You may have a vision of talking to many people about your message. Perhaps you see yourself in schools talking to children, reading them your story and giving workshops to the pupils, staff and parents. You may very well be imagining having your book turned into a film, a cartoon or even a TV series. If your book is a non-fiction book, you may realise that it holds your defining message, journey and philosophy. The power of such a book’s content is that it has the potential to shape your business model, create your signature programme and talk. Now you are ready to make your mark on the world stage. The critical question is this. Ask yourself, “What do I need to do to make this dream my reality?” You see, it takes time, effort and determination to succeed, no matter what you choose to do. Being an author is no exception. Your publisher will want to know the answers to these questions, and you need to be ready with great inspiring words.
How Do I Want to Publish My Book? There are three ways to publish your book: Traditional Publishing, Partnership Publishing and Self-Publishing. Each of these has its place in the market. Still, you need to know what is involved in each route. Consider how your book will be perceived by the book trade and media as well as giving it the best possible opportunities you can to fulfil your Vision. No matter which route you take, I encourage you to do your best work. In recent years
Self-Publishing has exploded many authors onto the market. It is merely cheap and quick to get your book onto Amazon. However, Self-Publishing is limiting; you are alone and not quite sure who you can trust to do a good job. You can often miss out essential parts of the book writing process. How do I get people to buy it? Do they even know I am here and who I am? For these reasons, it is vital to know the purpose of writing your book and the Vision you have for it.
The Traditional Publishing route is the dream of many authors but it has many gatekeepers. They have a submissions process that involves Literary Agents. Sending your manuscript directly to the publisher is a no-go as it won’t even make it past the first step. Finding a Literary Agent is also a challenging task. They will often have your manuscript edited and not involve you in that process as they know what the publishers are looking for in a good manuscript. You begin to lose control of your book. Now for some authors, that is not as important as getting a deal. You need to know which camp you are in: the love of your manuscript or the publishing deal. It takes approximately two years to get your book published with a traditional publisher! But like a good wine, a good book takes time in planning and shaping to have a broad reach on a global scale. Even within the traditional publishing route, do not be surprised to find that there are hidden costs. After all, they are investing heavily in you, your book and marketing to sell. They are looking for as much certainty that it will be a hit. Many authors receive an advance and then royalties for their book sales.
Partnership Publishing is the middle ground. It ensures the quality of your book by using professional editors, typesetters and proofreaders. They are open to a more collaborative approach, so you keep more control of your manuscript. They may offer marketing, PR and coaching as they are aware of what it takes to create your masterpiece. Their expertise in the book world means they can share it with you, giving you a more excellent opportunity for success. The ISBNs they issue are linked to the book trade, making it easier to get into the major book stores around the world online, whereas the ones issued by Amazon are not recognised by the rest of the book trade. Getting your book on the shelves is another topic and one that needs clarification to educate authors what it takes to achieve that dream. Becoming an author is many people’s dream. But like everything, educate yourself on what it takes to become a successful author, what it takes to write a great book and what it takes to be seen, heard and noted. Everyone has the potential for greatness; find someone who can help you unlock it for all of the world to see through your beloved book. Brenda Dempsey Publisher Book Brilliance Publishing