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
Reblogged this on Custom Cover Design by Michelle Rene.
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Thank you so much for sharing this valuable and helpful information with us Susan. I, and I’m sure many others, are very grateful for it.
Great tips! I like that you encourage networking with writers of all genres rather than sticking to the genre you specialize in 🙂
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Reblogged this on Author P.S. Bartlett.
If you actually take the few minutes it requires to read this post, you’ll see that there is no such thing as a quick and easy way to be successful. It takes hard work and plenty of it. There is no “get published quick and easy” manual. However, the steps are on point. You simply need to fill in the blanks with actual work.
Thank you Susan Toy for breaking it all down for us.
Everyone did see the humour in this blog post, right? Including the way I worded the title, making a spoof of all those other “Quick and Easy Ways” offered to (lazy) people who want to learn how to do something without having to put in the work? Just checking, because so many of you seem to have taken this so seriously and I intended it to be sarcastic. Maybe sarcasm just doesn’t work well on the internet.
Reblogged this on Leona's Blog of Shadows and commented:
Susan has considerable experience in the book publishing industry and she was kind enough to give all this free advice.
Thank you for reblogging, Leona!
Yeah! Easy! Thanks for sharing. I especially enjoyed your final paragraph and quote. 🙂
Thanks for reading and commenting, Norah!
Terrific advice here, thank you! 😀
Everyone thinks being a writer is so easy – and if a writer isn’t making a lot of money, then it’s because their books aren’t good – WRONG! So wrong.
Now being a writer also means being a business person and a marketing person. A lot of hats, but it is what it is.
Nice job pointing the way!
Thanks for reading and commenting, philosophermouse – as always!
Reblogged this on Tricia Drammeh and commented:
More fantastic advice from Susan’s blog. Read, read, read.
Reblogged this on Writing and Music and commented:
Love the number 1 advice in each of these steps!!
Thanks for reblogging!
This is a great list. Authors should take note that reading is the number one tip under each section. If you don’t have time to read, what are you doing in the book business?
Under the “Starting a Publishing Company” section, I’m glad you instructed people to do their homework. And there is a lot of homework involved. If you’re self-publishing, remember: it is still a business. Conduct yourself professionally and hire professionals as needed.
If you’re trying to start a publishing company with your friends, you need to have a legal arrangement. It is a business, and infinitely more complex than establishing your own imprint for the purpose of publishing your own books. Do you think you can establish an imprint you all can use, but still keep the business arrangement casual? Think again.
Before beginning your publishing company, you’ll need to hire an intellectual property attorney. Consult with an accountant. Hire a consultant who can sit down with you one-on-one and walk you through all the steps necessary to establish a business. Be prepared to spend money on this venture long before you ever start. This isn’t something that can be tossed together, and sorry, but your homework isn’t going to end at reading a few blogs. If you (or the others who are a part of your publishing venture) don’t have previous experience in the publishing industry, why are you starting a publishing company? Because it’ll be easy? Fun? If that’s what you think, you haven’t done your homework yet.
Sorry to ramble, Susan. Thank you so much for this post. I hope people will read it and take this advice to heart.
Feel free to ramble away at any time on my blog, Tricia! You always add value and more advice to whatever you say in your comments!
Reblogged this on Michaelphelps1's Blog and commented:
More great advice for aspiring WRITERS from the Smart Gal at ISLAND EDITIONS!
Thanks for reblogging and your very kind comments, Michael!
[…] 5 Easy Steps to Successfully Write, Publish and Promote Your Book!. […]
Reblogged this on Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog….. An Author Promotions Enterprise! and commented:
AUTHORS – Now you know – NO MORE EXCUSES – Get on with it! 😀
Thanks for reblogging, Mr. Ape!
Always welcome Susan 😀
Reblogged this on blindoggbooks and commented:
Every person who writes a book dreams of fame, fortune and all the trimmings. Any person who says they don’t is not being 100% honest about it. Sure, we all write because we love it, but don’t tell me you never sat back and thought about how nice it would be to be JK Rowling, John Grisham or Stephen King.
It’s perfectly natural.
Anyway…my friend Susan Toy has spent the better part of her life in the book/publishing industry and she has written a blog post offering some tips for authors to be more successful.
As for making you rich, these tips are only guaranteed to show you the way…you still have to put in the effort.
Thanks for the reblog, Tim!
Reblogged this on Dancing With The MS MonSter and commented:
Some sound advice from somebody who knows…..
Thanks for reblogging, Becky!