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Have you ever thought about writing a book? It has been said: “A lot of people say they have a book in them…and that’s exactly where it should stay”! However, you may have a compelling life story or want to share some business expertise and want to commit it to print.
Writing the book is just the start. There is so much more after that. But firstly, you need to look at why you want to write a book in the first place.
Self-publishing is so accessible to everyone now. But there are some basic rules that need to be followed before the writer can even think about launching it out into the big wide world.
Here’s some tips to think about before you start:
- How long will your book be? A standard business book in paperback will be between 50-60,000 words. An e-book, it can be a lot less, even as little 7-10,000 words.
- What is the purpose of the book? Is it because you want to raise your profile and position yourself as an expert or is it because you want to make some money.
In reality, it’s very difficult to make a fortune. The business book market is very overcrowded, so that’s where marketing comes in.
- Will you go for traditional or self-publishing? There’s still some stigma attached to self-publishing. people don’t think it’s a ‘proper’ book. A lot of that comes down to the editing.
- Get someone else to read the book before you publish it. There will definitely be mistakes but you won’t be able to see them. But it’s important to say that the self-publisher is in control of everything from what to publish, editing, design, layout, to sales, packing and delivery of the books. And, of course, marketing and publicity.
- You don’t have to have finished the book before you pitch a non-fiction piece to a publisher. You can pitch the idea and the first couple of chapters to see what they say. If you’re not getting a response, then you may as well go down the self-publishing route. But they may say, yes we’re interested, then you finish the book and take it from there.
- Get details of publishers from the Writers and Artists Yearbook. It contains the names and details of publishers in the UK and states what type of book they are interested in. Take time to do some research to see who has published books like yours before so you can personalise your approach and give them reasons why they should be interested in what you have written.
- Publishers will expect you to provide a marketing plan showing how you intend to promote your book, what channels you will be using, how big your database is, how many followers you have on social media etc.
- Think about the cover. If you’re going to have a hardback or paperback, or even a self-published book which is going to be featured on Amazon, you need a cover that is going to stand out. Don’t be tempted to go for a self-designed cover unless you are an excellent graphic designer as it will look really obvious and what you don’t want is to give the potential reader an impression that doesn’t reflect the quality of what is in the book.
- You will need an ISBN number (International Standard Book Number). It is a 13-digit number that’s used as a unique identifier for books. It is the standard ID number used to identify books by booksellers, libraries, book wholesalers and distributors. A self-publishing author is not obliged to buy an ISBN. It is, however, necessary if you want to sell your book on Amazon or in bookstores. Getting your hands on your ISBN is actually very easy.
- Start using your social media accounts to promote details of the book. But, be warned, asking people to ‘buy my book’ won’t work! The going rate for a business book is between £5-£10 (hardbacks are more expensive obviously), and the Kindle version would be cheaper. The best thing to do is research what’s already on Amazon in the same genre and work it out from there.
- Blogs are a good way of getting your book noticed.. Make a list of book bloggers and send them a copy and ask them to review it. Again, do your research, so you are targeting the right person who is likely to be interested. You can also become a guest blogger, where you use someone else’s blog to talk about your book.
- You could also undertake a Virtual Book Tour. It’s where you’re promoting your book completely online, for between one to three weeks, rather than literally doing book signings in bookshops which are increasingly rare these days. With the Virtual Book Tour, you have different stops each day so you might be on a blog one day, a podcast the next and then a radio show. It does take some planning and requires time and effort.
- There are also opportunities to speak to local groups about your book. Libraries are particularly keen to bring in outside speakers and you can generate some great publicity around promoting the talk. And of course, there are other groups you can talk to – business events, networking groups, there are loads of opportunities if you go looking.
This is just the start. For more tips on how you can promote your book, tune in to the free podcast ‘How to Market your Scrummy Book’ published by The Marketing Menu here: