By choosing to become a published author, you are choosing one of the best ways possible to position yourself as an expert in your field. You will, of course, have the distinguished title of being a published author, but the book itself will demonstrate your expertise in its best and most organized format. And perhaps the biggest advantage of all is that your book permits your readers to be introduced to your expertise without you doing a thing. Obviously, you have to put in the work upfront to write it and get it published. And it must also be marketed. But once those tasks have been completed, you can allow your book to speak for you, and allow your readers to read it at their convenience.
Yet, in spite of these benefits, there are some misconceptions, the biggest one being that authors assume that the provider of the self-publishing service does the marketing. Untrue. The responsibility falls squarely on the author–even when the author takes a more traditional publishing route and publishes through a publishing house. And that’s a rude awakening for most aspiring authors.
Marketing is no easy task, and the biggest priority of publishers considering your book proposal is, surprisingly, your ability to market your own book, and not the quality of your writing or the brilliance of your idea. Publishers, when they evaluate your book proposal, are considering your audience and your following. They call it your platform, and it refers to what you are doing on a daily basis that puts you in front of potential buyers.
The best thing you can do to increase the odds of your book proposal getting accepted by a publisher is to build your platform. Whether that includes workshops and seminars, press releases and media publicity, interviews and special events, blogging and podcasting, or internet marketing, publishers need to know you have a strategy to promote your book and the tools necessary to pull it off.
If you don’t have a platform when you submit your book proposal, it won’t even get a second glance. It is therefore critical that you get the process started early. Offer workshops and seminars. Develop a website and build awareness and traffic. Use press releases to announce events or special milestones. Write articles, both online and off. Look for speaking engagements to build credibility and gain exposure. These are the things publishers will favor when evaluating your proposal.
Another misconception about getting a book published is that you’ll make money in the process from the very beginning. Unfortunately, this is rarely true in the first book. As an unproven author, you won’t be able to negotiate a big percentage in the book deal and the marketing campaign will devour most of the profits. The primary objective behind your first book should be to build credibility, gain exposure and validate your abilities as an author, including marketing. If you succeed, you’ll get a much better deal on your second book and that’s where you can start making money.
Publishing a book can be one of the best steps a person can take when developing a business. It sets you apart from the vast majority of others in your field and people will thus you differently. Just make sure that you are being realistic about the process.