The publishing world has evolved dramatically in recent years and the new author faces many challenges that used to be handled by their publisher.
A New Author Will Face Many Challenges Besides Writing
The main goal of this article is to provide a brief reflection about the diverse modalities of publishing in today’s’ changing publishing world. We hope that the information we will share with you will be of some value to those that are trying to walk the new path of authorship. Our goal is to enable them to make more informed publishing decisions.
As a rule of thumb, writers tend to be dreamers. Often, when the time comes to initiate the plans of selection, production, printing, and promotion of their work, they tend to have trouble grounding and manifesting their projects.
To add to their anxiety, one can count on only two options when we speak about the publishing industry for new authors: the self-publishing route or the complicated world of publishing houses. Despite all that, we are starting to see a new light at the end of this tunnel, at the same time, a redesign of a universe of options and ever-expanding creativity.
I would give them (aspiring writers) the oldest advice in the craft: Read and write. Read a lot. Read new authors and established ones, read people whose work is in the same vein as yours, and those whose genre is totally different. You’ve heard of chain-smokers. Writers, especially beginners, need to be chain-readers. And lastly, write every day. Write about things that get under your skin and keep you up at night.
~ Khaled Hosseini
Anyone who has tried both sides of the “old editorial currencies” knows that publishing a book requires a lot of study and planning. The pointers below will help assist the writer in studying the market and some of its options before deciding on which path they want to trail.
New Author Tip #1 – Royalties, Creative Commons, Sponsorships, or Others?
Think about whether the work will be marketed only by you or in partnership with another person or company.
Decide if it will be marketed by you, in direct partnership with bookstores and distributors; or sold in collaboration with publishers; or instead, it would be something completely free and unlinked from any person or company; free, but linked to bookstores, publishers, or sponsors; or if you are going to create a mix of models or even a new model.
Study the existing options carefully (and continue studying always, because the book market is continuously evolving, in an ever-unfolding rhythm).
Educate yourself about the royalty system of bookstores, distributors, and publishers, the Creative Commons contractual clauses, and how to win sponsorships. Depending on your profile, one option may be more valid than the other, or they may inspire the creation of new mixes or models.
New Author Tip #2 – Decide your book format: Digital, Printed, or both?
Research the existing options for the digital and printed book. Have you decided if your book will be an epub2 or 3, an app, a website book, a printed book, or more than one of these options? If you don’t even know what they are, your planning will still need a lot of dedication from you, personally.
“The Internet offers authors and their readers a new diversity of opportunities and freedom.”
New Author Tip #3 – Independence of Opinion and Action
Weigh in the balance: your total independence on the one hand, and your possible isolation, on the other hand, especially if you don’t have a lot of free time to dedicate yourself to promoting your book.
Some books can fall into the favor of readers without much effort, but as a rule, it takes hard work to make it known to the public.
If you have a lot of free time and creativity, being self-published may be the best option for your author profile but remember that advertising is the lifeblood of the business. If you don’t dedicate yourself to promoting the book, no one will know about its existence, be it the free books or the paid ones.
New Author Tip #4 – Resources and Investments
Make the calculations of how much you will need to invest in producing your book. Make a clear assessment of that. Consider the eBook formatting, printing costs, translation, proofreading, illustration, advertising, and marketing, press relations, fairs, and literary events, and, depending on the format chosen, also include narration and “musicalization”.
Regardless of your investment power, a network of relationships, or time available, there will always be a solution for you. You just have to work hard. But don’t limit yourself to your current bank account. Think big and work hard. It is possible to do it yourself. You will need to be committed to the level of work involves. The achievement of your goals will be up to you.
New Author Tip #5 – Publicity and Distribution
Register yourself for bookstores events in advance, but if you have chosen the eBook format, in the distributors and bookstores selected by you, if more than one. Some registrations can be time-consuming, so don’t wait until the last minute. Also, download the reading apps and test the eBooks before launch: see if they need reviews and learn how to use them to answer your readers’ questions.
If your books are printed, make a list of the bookstores where you will leave the books on consignment. Set up a calendar for delivery and collection of copies. If you’re in partnership with a publisher, you won’t have to do any of that, but still, keep track of where your books are being sold.
Talk to some publishers and get to know the type of relationship they develop with the authors. Some may be more rigid and traditional; others are more open to dialogue.
Do your own research, do not accept things by their face value. Find out what each one would have to offer and if any would be interested in your manuscripts.
The most original authors are not so because they advance what is new, but more because they know how to say something, as if it had never been said before.
~ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
New Author Tip #6 – In-person Launches
If your book is digital and your goal is to sell it, see if a face-to-face launch inside a bookstore, a literary or technological event, is worthwhile. Perhaps the best, in this case, is to invest in digital marketing, where your reading audience is, after all.
But, if your book is free and your goal is to gain prestige in your field, giving lectures may be a more proper option.
Again, everything will depend on your style and intention.
New Author Tip #7 – Building Strategic Partnerships
Other people or companies may be wanting to cooperate with you for mutual benefit. So, invest some time in negotiating strategic partnerships, and see what you can offer in return. Set up a PDF presentation, set up a zoom session, all of this can be done free of charge to chat with other people, and increase your network of relationships and partnerships.
But remember that if your book talks about bees, you can either look for beekeepers or NGOs that defend bees from beekeepers. Save your time. Search for the right people and companies from the get-go.
New Author Tip #8 – Promotions and Marketing
Regardless of the chosen model, your book will need to be publicized. Plan on your own or talk to your selected partners about how much time and money will be invested in this item.
If you opted for the self-publishing possibility and don’t have the money to advertise, create a blog.
Here are some other things you can do:
- Create profiles on social networks,
- Enroll yourself on the circuit of lectures and take part in events in general. These are zero cost actions that generate good results.
- Evaluate the variables and set up your promotion/marketing plan. Even if your goal is just to deliver your book for free to the public, spend some time promoting it.
It is vital promoting your message and book, or you will take the risk that the work will not reach the people that you want to benefit from with your manuscript.
New Author Tip #9 – Time is Your Primary Currency
Time is valuable; it is no wonder there is an old saying that says, “Time is money”. Whether or not you want to profit from your books, analyze how much time you will have to spend on the production and post-production of the books. You should be even more careful if intending to launch several books. Talk to experienced writers, booksellers, and publishers. Do not be satisfied with a single opinion. Weigh the pros and cons and know how you want to spend your time.
New Author Tip #10 – Opening New Horizons
Always be open to new possibilities and connections. Even after you have done all your planning, new opportunities will continue to appear. Whether due to changes in the market and your creativity and practice, not to mention the universe of networking. So, always try to keep your feet on the ground and an eye on the horizon, while keeping yourself open on what’s new!
Bonus Tip – Consider Participating in StoryBooks and Anthologies
Anthologies have evolved as one of the very best ways to launch a literary career because it gives an author the opportunity to crowdsource to expand their impact, audience, and branding. But as with every other aspect of publishing your work, do your homework. Some publishing houses are book mills: they just take your money, mix your work up with others’ work, and spit a book out the other end. Find a company that:
- Has a vision that matches yours and is partnering you into an anthology that meshes smoothly with your story,
- Gives you the opportunity to interact with the other authors, and
- Has a proven track record and reputation
You should also read 6 Attitudinal Shifts to Jump Start Your Author Career