So, you want to become a published author? Congratulations! The world needs to hear your message.
Whether you decide to go the traditional or self-publishing route, it is a step that must not be taken lightly without due thought, purpose and passion.
By all means, please start as soon as the idea comes to you. But, having the idea to write and an idea of your topic is not enough. There are several things that need to be in place or at least that you need to start putting in place as well.
Having got to the point of deciding to write, perhaps you may have even started, then you ought to take some time to answer some of the following questions, that is, if you want to pave your way to a successful and sustainable launch.
Seven Questions to Help Guide You on Your Writing and Publishing Journey
- Will you be using an ad hoc writing technique or will you work with an outline? Working with an outline helps keep me focused and able to delve deeply enough into each chapter. You may find that it is easier to just write then find order, especially if you are writing fiction. It really is what works better for you.
- Do you have deadlines and designated times and places to write? Having deadlines for each step of the writing process is vital for keeping your manuscript alive. Without deadlines, you can lose steam and never finish, you can blame writer’s block or you may delay finishing: when will the first draft be completed; set your date for completing the book cover; who will edit, by what date; have a date in mind for submission to the publisher. A good publishing company removes a lot of the heartache associated with self-publishing. You may find a good one here. Remember that each stage is a process that requires time. My mentor for my first book reminded me that there must be “gestation periods” to allow the product to reach its greatest quality. Keeping a regular schedule for writing and the kind of place you find conducive to writing motivates you to keep writing. I like quiet. I write best when no one else is around to ask me something or to interrupt my thought process therefore I go at it on mornings or during the day when I am alone. But, I also write if I have to wait at, for example, the doctor’s office. Sometimes a change of scenery stimulates your “writer’s gland”.
- Who is your target audience? At this stage, you should begin to plan for your marketing strategy. Actually, if you could have done this before writing, it would be even better. Nonetheless, if you have begun to write, it may be clearer to you, the type of reader who would want to read your book. With this in mind, you can adjust your writing style, language and concepts to be more appealing for your target audience. Are you writing for young children, for teens, for young adults, older folks, for a specific industry or skill or hobby? These are all important questions to consider.
- Where will this type of reader be in cyber space? This is important because you want to be sure to find yourself in those same places. You would want to do this so that you can begin to build a relationship with potential readers. After gradually getting to know them and vice versa, you can reveal that you are writing your book. Take it in increments. First share that you are writing, then what you are writing, then maybe what was your inspiration, maybe share a small portion or a paragraph of what is already done to seek feedback. By doing this you have begun your marketing and market research.
- Where will this type of reader be in the real world? Utilizing the same principles as for the reader in cyber space, you begin to network and build real relationships. If you are writing fiction, join local libraries, go to cafes or social networking events to meet your possible readers. If you are a non-fiction writer, visit related clubs, Rotary Clubs, Lions Clubs, Community Centers, Chambers of Commerce, related industry networking events and other such events. These will present opportunities to position yourself in front of your target audience, giving you more impact than virtual meetings. Emotions are powerful weapons that can be used for good in the right hands with the right motives. Use this power to foster strong links with your potential readers, thereby building a base of future fans. Let the anticipation for your soon to be released book build. The greater the anticipation, the greater the positive reception and sales for your book. It will also serve as a motivating factor to help you keep on writing to meet imposed deadlines.
- Do you have a written marketing plan? I did not at first but soon taught myself how to do one and did it. It may not have been the best plan nor was it done like a professional plan but it was certainly very useful and helped move the marketing successfully along. A marketing plan must be as detailed as possible, including a description of your ideal reader, goals, action plans, expected outcomes and deadline dates. A good idea is to start spreading the word to those who are closest to you, your family members, friends, neighbours, community and then beyond…the sky is the limit. Contact television stations, newspapers, radio stations, related bloggers, podcast interviewers, and get interviews done. Contact the groups with which you began networking. Set up opportunities to spread your book’s message.
- Have you brushed up on your public speaking skills? This is extremely important to your success. You may be shy, an introvert, have a speech impediment (like me) or just don’t like speaking in large groups. That does not matter. A great part of your marketing will involve you…speaking. The better your communication skills, the more effectively you can connect with your readers, the more will be your sales and your fan base will grow at a rapid rate.
There you have it. Seven important steps to take into consideration as you write your book and prepare to launch. There are other steps to consider but these are some critical ones. Perhaps if your feedback indicates the need for more info, I will share some more details in a future post.
Have you started to write or do you already have a published book? Leave a comment below to share where you are in your writing journey.