Many people think that they have a book inside them. While writing a book can be personally rewarding, it can also boost the perception of you as an expert. This can contribute to your marketing and sales plan, and it can help create extra revenue — perhaps less directly from book sales, but using it to get speaking engagements and selling it and yourself in that venue.
However, some of you may be shying away from this kind of project, thinking what a lot of time, work and potential expenses it might involve. However, here are some ideas on how to overcome this mental barrier.
Write about something you’re passionate about
We’ve worked with potential authors who are just writing — their work is dry. You can even hear in their voice that this something they feel they need to do, not something they really want to do. And these are the people who tend to get writer’s block. The words just don’t seem to flow. So, you need to have a burn to get this material on paper.
What makes your book different?
Has your subject been written about before? How many books like yours are there in the book stores or on Amazon.com? What will you be saying that hasn’t already been said before? What twist will you provide that will make your book stand out? You need to address these questions, and others like them, before you set type your first sentence.
How will you publish your book?
There are so many options open to authors today, that you really need to think about this in advance. You can try to get an agent and go the traditional publisher route. This has its glories, but it usually takes a long time to get your book in print, if ever, and your financial return is likely to be negligible. However, they do all the work, except writing the book and marketing, both of which are your responsibility. They also make many, if not most, of the decisions, including design and price.
You can work with a vanity press or subsidy publisher. In this case, you’ll pay to have your book published. In this case, you get to be in on the book and cover design, size, etc. This can work if all you want to do is wave around a book that you’ve written. However, unless you work with a printer who uses a print-on-demand (POD) system, you may end up with a garage or closet full of books, and you still have to do the marketing and selling.
The third option is to self-publish, which gives you the most control over your book. You also have the most responsibility. Unless you think you can be a one-person band, doing all the jobs required to publish a book, you become a general contractor. To create a good piece of work, you’ll need to hire an editor, cover designer, book designer, printer, distributor, and so on. Sure, you can take on some of these tasks, but it will likely take a lot of fun out of the project. There are also services that can convert your book document to an electronic book, even a printed book, and these can be very quick and effective. Best of all, you’ll probably make a lot more money going this route. However, you’re still responsible for the marketing and selling.
What about writing a booklet instead of a book?
Many non-fiction authors want to have something in print, either to wave around at speaking engagements or to hand out to clients. This works especially well when the number of pages is small (e.g., we use 50 pages).
These booklets can be produced in Microsoft Word® or Apple Pages®, for example, then be converted to a PDF document for use electronically or to be printed. This is a very quick and inexpensive route to follow, and we’ve had authors do just that.
So, you want to write a book
If you’ve got it in you, we encourage you to write that book. But before you begin, think it through as a project, which is what it is. To quote former president Theodore Roosevelt, “Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.”
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