Advice on getting books published litters the internet. In this easy seven-step tutorial, I’ll teach you the skills you’ve been shying away from for far too long. Because if you’ve never been published, most of what you think you know is bunk. It’s not just that the rules have changed. The whole industry is changed. Can you handle it? Let’s find out:
7 Easy Steps To Publishing Your Book in 2012
1. Work with already written material.
Book publishing today is about speed and agility. If you’re serious about publishing, chances are you have a plethora of source material to draw from. Blog posts. Podcast transcriptions. A collection of short stories. A series of lectures. Content creation today is in the hands of the people. Starting with material you’ve already written gives you an edge on those starting from scratch.
2. Ditch your notions about proper length.
Skip the epic fantasy and write shorter. Five thousand well-written and concise words can be more valuable than a 350-page tome. Readers today want to get it, read it, and move on to the next piece. Do you have that next piece? Excellent. They’ll buy it. Feed that hunger with lots of content. And that means lots of books. Not a single book that is the be-all end-all of a topic. Why? Because things and tastes change. Be in front of those changes with your next book.
3. Editing is a must, not an option.
Removing the green and red squiggles does not equate editing. Give readers a crappy book at any price — free is a price — and you’re on their blacklist forever. Readers aren’t stupid. And even cheap or free books are to be found of impeccable quality. If you don’t want to go through the editing process, do us all a favor and leave the manuscript in your desk drawer. We’ll spend our attention (and maybe money) on those who respect our time as much as their own reputation.
4. Eschew spine-space for mindshare.
A handful of lucky (?) authors get picked by an agent and offered lucrative publishing contracts each year. Their numbers are declining as Big Publishing struggles for relevance in an Amazon-dominated world. You can fight for shrinking shelf-space on bookstores that are closing right and left, or you can follow the smart wave of authors going digital and taking control of their career. Is it easier? Not even a little. But it is the future. Accept and adapt.
5. Beg, borrow and steal.
Those smart authors I just mentioned? They’re doing a lot more than just shoving a book on Amazon and letting fate run its course. They shake their asses to draw attention to themselves and their books. They know their published book won’t sell unless they make it sell. And when they aren’t making sales happen, they are busy writing their next book. Because it’s what the readers of 2012 demand. These are the rules of the game today.
6. Embrace the death of privacy.
With quick Google search, damn near anyone can find out where you live. If that scares you; so what? It’s reality. So stop being afraid of the boogyman and get out there and engage with your fans. Social media? Of course. But also local events, if you can get them. Post your phone number and let them call you. Faithfully read every comment, status update and tweet with your name on it; and respond. Ignore your audience at your peril, because someone is ready to take better care of them than you.
Sounds easy, right? Well… no, it’s not. But it is profitable. It may not be immediately, and you certainly won’t get a big fat advance just starting out. But you can make a career out of digital publishing in 2012 if you treat it like a career. It’s a full-time job to be a digital author today, so start treating it as such. You already have a full-time job? Suck it up, Buttercup. Work your writing career every waking moment you can spare. And then some.
I’ve seen publishing go through many changes in the decade I’ve been following the industry. What I describe above has been happening for a long time. And the changes continue. If you pine for a return to a more civilized publishing environment; expect disappointment. This is the new reality, and it’s only going to get even more strange. Accept. Adapt. And embrace the reality of book publishing in 2012.
But I’m not going to leave you hanging. Helping authors adapt to today’s publishing reality is what we do here at ePublish Unum. In the coming weeks, we’ll announce a six-week online author training course that walks you through much of what I’ve covered above. For now, sign up for our email list (this page, upper right-hand side) and you’ll be among the first to hear about it once we’ve announce the start-date.
In the mean time… go start scouring your source material. That’s just the beginning of the fun!