Being an accomplished, published author is no longer reserved for the few – or the elite. If you are serious about getting your voices in print, and you are willing to do that which others are not willing, you can achieve what others will not.
With a few tips, tools and techniques you have the prime opportunity to bypass the traditional publishing process where you and your words have to “wow” the publisher, in an ocean of competition and publish your own work. Making the election to do this, however, requires your willingness to stay within the parameters of five strategic requirements, which include:
- Pre-publish planning
- Creation and writing
- Design and layout
- Publishing, printing and distribution
- Marketing, publicity and public relations
All project planning is most successful when you start with the end in mind, and that is true for writing and publishing a book. You have a number of major decisions to make about that end result before you begin the first sentence of writing.
Some things to consider include:
- the primary message you want to deliver,
- who your audience will be, and
- the price point at which you want to deliver your book.
Issues that drive the pricing include whether you want to include color, or create magic with black and white, whether your book will be best presented as a traditional hard bound book, a perfect bound paperback, a spiral bound or even an eBook.
One of the most empowering aspects of self-publishing is that you are not held hostage to the wishes of a publisher; you get to stay in your most creative, authentic position throughout every aspect of bringing your book to market. As a part of the planning process, you will have decided what your legacy message will be and with whom you want to share.
The next step is to decide whether you are going to just sit down and start from scratch, or… to determine whether there are materials you already have on hand that can be re-purposed and brought to market more quickly. Do you have:
- Notes from previous speeches you have given?
- Presentations that you have created in programs such as PowerPoint?
- Workshop materials you have prepared as handouts?
- Audios and transcripts from tele-classes?
The list could be quite lengthy since we have become a culture where “content is king.” The important thing for you to keep in mind is that many of those first blush creative energies will serve you well in taking a short-cut through the creative process.
After you have gathered your content, the planning process will include how you are going to modify those materials as you convert them to a polished, highly-marketable publication. Your creative force will expand as you decide what other unique elements you would add to a book that you weren’t allowed to include in a speech or presentation.
Design and Layout
Until you become familiar with the design and layout standards in the publishing industry, the easiest way to get from start to finish is to leave your ego at the door, at least on the first project, and utilize the plethora of templates and tools provided by the self-publishing services. Some of them provide you information about the benefits and drawbacks of self-publishing; heed them well. Others provide self-publishing software and templates that allow you to quickly and easily create a wide array of book styles.
If you are on a seriously restricted budget, I would seriously suggest you allocate the best of that resource to making sure you have a beautifully designed cover! Your reader will never venture inside the pages of your book, unless it has a magnetic appeal from the outside. There is a plethora of information available relative to book cover design, but rather than taking your time away from filling those inside pages, read enough to know what you need to be able to discuss and negotiate with a designer.
The actual publishing process can be a nightmare if you choose the wrong service; complete your due diligence and ask for referrals. Although you would think it is a cookie cutter process and that modifications should be easy to make, that is not the case. A word to the wise, make the selection for your publishing/print service before you put the first bit of work into your project. They will guide you in the right way, up front, to what their standards and expectations are, and you won’t wind up being frustrated by fixing the things of which you were not aware.
On the surface it would seem the process is as simple as writing the book, adding the creative elements, and shipping it off to someone to do the rest of the work. Not so! Cover templates, book block files, PDF conversions, high-quality print presets, and font and logo formats can all pop to the surface as huge problems. If you know about them in advance, however, they can be a quick trip to the park, so to speak!
There has long been a huge misunderstanding about the perception that the Publisher managed all the publicity and PR for writers, and many who might otherwise have been very successful were not, because of that misconception. As a self-published author two things have to happen… you have to be marketable, and you have to be willing to market yourself and your book in every manner possible. Sales are where you will experience success. Give adequate attention and energy to this part of your being self-published.
There you have it – the primary elements of becoming self-published: Planning, creation, design and layout, publishing and marketing. Go ahead, test the waters – get your voice in print! Nothing ventured, nothing gained. Oh, and subscribe to the feed here so you don’t miss out on future posts that will guide you in each of these key areas.Anna Weber
A clear vision, backed by definite plans, gives you a tremendous feeling of confidence and personal power. ~ Brian Tracy