I know what you’re thinking…Why go with such a negative sounding title when I could have chosen a completely different play on words and made it sound much more positive? As you’ll see, I wrote it that way for a reason.
I could have easily titled it, “How To Succeed At Writing A Book”, but the truth of the matter is that even if you follow the steps below, you’re not guaranteed anything in the form of success, sales, or fame. On the other hand, if you follow the steps below, you will unequivocally and most certainly not fail, because no matter what, you can’t ever consider something a failure if you put forth your very best effort when it comes to publishing a book you’ve worked so hard on.
Hopefully these steps serve as a beginning guideline when it comes to helping you achieve your writing and publishing goals…
Step 1: Write The Damn Book
This seems like an obvious step in the process, but there are plenty of people who never even accomplish this task. It might be because life just gets in the way, or they become too overwhelmed with the stress and fear associated with writing, but whatever the reason, if you don’t at least finish the book, you can’t ever begin to succeed as an author. Okay, so I’ve solved this problem for you…the rest is up to you.
Step2: Create A Compelling Book Description…And Memorize It
There’s this little thing called “The Elevator Pitch”. Essentially, it’s a 30 second sales pitch you create to impress someone, primarily for a job interview, but it can easily be transferred into the realm of creating a memorable book description. If you can develop a clear-cut, concise description of your book and confidently present it to a potential reader in 30 seconds, you are statistically setting yourself up to generate more sales. Write your book description on a piece of paper (or type it), and read it out loud repeatedly until you can recite it word for word without missing a beat. Then, just start telling people about it. If you can do that, you’ll be ten steps ahead of the competition.
Step 3: Market Yourself And Your Book…Even Before The Release Date
Don’t wait until you release your book before you begin promoting it. Build up your brand far in advance and get people excited about the release of your book. Odds are that people may not get excited about an unknown author they’ve never heard of, but if you become sociable and charismatic with people, they will remember you, hopefully enough to give you a chance. You may even want to consider setting up a free giveaway in order to generate some buzz about the upcoming release. Most importantly, market and brand yourself in a manner which reflects on how you want potential readers to perceive you.
Step 4: Make Some Sort Of Attempt To Edit The Book
This is always a touchy subject in the self-publishing world. There are so many books that get published without one second of editing going into them, and nowadays even ones that have been edited seem to still have flaws. Let’s face it – editing services are quite expensive, especially since most authors won’t ever make back that initial investment from sales of their book, but that doesn’t mean you should forego the editing process altogether and put out a crappy product. If you can’t afford an actual editor, find someone who can at least help to tighten the book up. There are far too many piranha editors who will charge you for an edit, but don’t know what they’re doing, so it can be difficult to swim through those murky waters to find the right person who can help you. You should be willing to spend some time, either on your own (although I don’t recommend this), or with someone you trust, to put out the best book that you can for your readers. They’ll most definitely appreciate it. And while they’ll never compliment you for having a properly edited book, they will most certainly blast the errors all over your review page if you don’t make any editing attempt at all. So, pick your poison with this one.
Step 5: Generate A List Of (Trustworthy) Test Readers
This is always the most fun part for me. Why? Because it means the book is finished! Remember Step 1? Well, if you’re at the stage of looking for test readers, go ahead and congratulate yourself on being one step closer to publishing. Test readers can give you invaluable insights when it comes to your story, how it flows, how your characters develop, how it all comes together at the end, and so much more. Your test readers are not – I REPEAT, ARE NOT – your editors. They aren’t looking for misspellings and grammatical issues (however, if they point them out to you, it could help when the actual editing begins), but instead they are looking for story structure and that it makes sense and it’s a good book from beginning to end. Something I always do is promise my test readers an actual signed copy of the book once it’s published. This is just a little incentive for them helping me out and being a part of the process for me. When you begin the marketing phase of the book, you should already be reaching out to people to see if you can find qualified test readers. And by qualified, I don’t mean your mom. I love my mom to death, but according to her, I should already be selling more books than James Patterson. So, no, she would not offer the most unbiased opinion. You want unbiased. You want people to tell you where things are slacking, and you want them to be brutally honest with you. If you can’t handle the feedback during the test reading phase, imagine how you’re going to react when you get nothing but 1 and 2 star reviews because you didn’t want to take things to heart that could have made the book better.
Step 6: Release It To The World
Holy crap, sound the trumpets and roll out the marching band! You did it! You’re finally ready to publish! Are you excited? Well, you should be. If you’re not, throw the book in the trash and find another line of work. Okay, well don’t really do that, but you should be thrilled with the fact that you just wrote a damn book! And, if you’ve followed the outlined steps listed above, you probably have a book that’s not too shabby in its own right. Now it’s time to share your book with the world. Publish it on Amazon, Goodreads, Smashwords, or whatever other platforms you use, then go back up to Step 1 and do it all over again for the next book.
As with many things in life, writing a book is not an exact science. What works for me, or others, may not necessarily work for you. Some of these steps might help you along the way, but then again, you may discover that tweaking them as you go works better for you. These are just things that help me, and I hope they will help you as well.
As always, thanks for stopping by and Happy Reading!