OR … How I Nearly Became an Overnight Success After My Forty-Year Apprenticeship in the Book Business!
If you read my bio you’ll realize I have worked with books and authors in one way or another for most of my life. I have experience as a bookseller, a publishers’ sales rep, a promoter (a self-styled Author Impresario!), a speaker, a student of writing, editing and publishing, a published author, and a publisher of my own and other authors’ work. I’ve been writing this blog on-and-off for almost ten years, and have discussed the book business here, made friends with like-minded authors and readers, networked and reached many other people in the business, made many friends and connected with even more colleagues, have shared a great deal of information I discovered over the years on the topics of Publishing, Reading, and Writing (hence the name of this blog …), followed and read lots of other blogs, have done a great deal of thinking about the book biz and experimented with a few new ideas of my own on how books might be published and promoted … and, throughout my entire life I’ve Read, Read, Read – widely, deeply, good and bad writing, books by new-to-me authors and old favourites, the classics and debut books, almost every genre, and authors from all around the world who may not even be writing in English but are translated.
Over the years, I’ve often been asked, “How do we write and get published/start a publishing business/promote our books and sell lots of copies?” So I decided to boil all of my years’ experience and expertise and learning and contacts down into 5 Easy Steps that anyone out there can follow, and so you too may become an overnight success in your ventures, just as I have!
Writing Your Book and Getting It Published
1. Read, Read, Read.
2. Learn as much as you can about your craft and the book business by doing your own homework. (There are many online creative writing programs available.)
3. Write a great book.
4. Query publishers until you find one who wishes to consider and perhaps publish your book. (Or start your own publishing business, in which case, see next section.)
5. Write another great book.
Starting a Publishing Business
1. Read, Read, Read.
2. Learn as much as you can about the book business by doing your own homework. (There are many online publishing programs available through accredited schools and universities.)
3. Acquire a great book to publish. (Or, if self-publishing, see #3 above.)
4. Work with the authors whose books you acquire and help them make that book the best it can be.
5. Publish more great books.
Promote Your Books and Sell Lots of Copies
1. Read, Read, Read.
2. Learn as much as you can about the book business and how to promote by doing your own homework. (There are many, many bloggers, websites and publicists online who offer a wealth of information on how to promote both print and eBooks.)
3. Promote other authors as well as your own book. Network with other authors, in all genres. Help each other. Promote great books.
4. Develop new ways to promote books and authors; don’t just stick to the old ways. Always seek out new markets and new readers.
5. Don’t be concerned about the number of copies sold so much as the number of readers who are attracted to your book. Build a fan base from those satisfied readers – they will become your “tribe” who will do all the future selling for you.
So, there you have it! My sum total of advice for those who are interested in “How I did it”! Easy-peasy, right?
Good luck with that project! Let me know how it goes!
Seriously, though, I used to consult others who expected me to offer my sage advice on how to do any of the above – but no one was really willing to PAY me for those years of experience and expertise I had accumulated. (And do you know of any lawyers or other professionals who will give you free advice?) They wanted the quick-fix, the magic bullet or spell or potion that would help them achieve their dreams instantly. I am willing to give FREE advice (see above), to a point, and I do write about these subjects extensively on my blog, and link to many other bloggers who also give free advice. So I suggest you seriously take my advice that I’ve outlined above, as flippant as it may seem, and LEARN ABOUT THE BUSINESS OF BOOKS!!! Do everything you can in a professional manner, with the advice and help of professionals (and be prepared to PAY for the help of those professionals). Be passionate about everything you do, associate with like-minded people who are equally as passionate about writing, publishing and promoting. Work with each other, help each other, and create/publish/promote something that readers will want to read. And through all of this, continue to READ!!
Writing is easy: All you do is sit staring at a blank sheet of paper until drops of blood form on your forehead. ~Gene Fowler