The First Step to Getting a Book Published

One of the questions I get asked quite frequently is, “How do you get started writing?” Sometimes the question is just making conversation. But when it is serious, it’s really wondering what is the first step to getting a book published.

After all, that’s the real target isn’t it? Getting a book published.

So where should you start?

The short and quick answer is it depends. It depends on what type of book you have written.

If you’ve written a fiction book, then the publication process begins with writing your book. Once you have a book that you think is publishable you can begin to search for an agent. To do this you’ll need a query letter. But the whole process begins with writing your book.

If your book is non-fiction then you have a different situation. You need to find the agent before you write the book. So the process begins with the query letter. Writing your book doesn’t happen until after the publisher has had a chance to have their input.

But that’s just the short, quick, and easy answer. The truth is elsewhere in the writing process.

You see both types of writing actually begin with planning your book.

Arguably your book begins with choosing the niche you will be writing in. Niche, micro-niche… sounds like marketing-speak doesn’t it? Yup, sure does… and there’s a good reason for that.

That is what we’re talking about.

Now personally, I prefer to think of the book process beginning slightly later in the whole process. I prefer to think of it as beginning with identifying your target reader. Why? Because by doing that you may find your niche changing. Or more precisely your vision of your niche will change to your customer’s view of the niche. This may be wider or narrower than you originally thought.

So your first step in getting your book published is to know who will buy your book. Because, quite frankly, if you are going to publish a book, it needs to have sales. You might find someone to publish your first book by mistake (or you might do it), but you’ll never find someone to publish your second book if you don’t have sales. And having sales means having readers.

The best way to be sure you have readers, is to write a book that your readers will want to buy. To do that you need to have identified a reader and then determined what they want to read about.

As Stephen Covey said, “Start with the end in mind”. And publishing isn’t the end. Selling books and pleasing readers is.

How to Author and Publish a Book

  1. The most important thing you can do before you write and publish a book is to make sure that someone out there wants to read it. Better yet, a couple thousand people want to read it. There is not much point to writing and publishing a book if you do not have an audience.
  2. The good news is that there are many wonderful tools that you can use to determine if there is a demand for your book’s topic. Online keyword tools, forums, and even speaking with people in your industry will help you determine if people are actively searching for your information.
  3. Begin by brainstorming specific book ideas. If you are using your book as a business card or a tool to build credibility in your career then you already have a place to start. If you’re starting from scratch then make a list of topics that you want to write about. It’s important to write about something that you are interested in and passionate about. Your love for your topic will come through in your writing and it will be a better book.

Once you have a general idea for your book’s topic, consider how the book is going to benefit your readers. What will they gain from reading it? Will they have pets that are better trained? Will they be able to purchase a software program that makes their lives easier? Will they be smarter, sexier, wealthier, thinner, more respected? Define exactly how your book is going to make their lives better and then write and structure your book to make it happen.

Consider writing a sales page or synopsis before you write your book. Your sales page or synopsis will highlight the benefits your book provides and the kind of information you cover. You can then use your sales page to structure your book – your sales page will work as a lighthouse to keep you focused and headed in the right direction.

Give yourself a certain amount of time to complete your book – whether you write it yourself or not. It’s easy to let other things sidetrack you and the book you planned on publishing this year does not get published for ten years or more.

Make a plan and stick to it even if it means that you only write for ten minutes a day. It is possible to write and publish a book in a month, but you have to commit to the process.

  • Self publish for faster results and more money. We spend more than 14 billion dollars a year purchasing self published books. Someone is clearly making a lot of money. Self publishing gives you the power to see your book on store shelves in a tenth of the time that it takes to publish traditionally. It also gives you 100% control over your book and 100% of the profits.

You can self publish> your book electronically, in print, or a combination of both. In fact, many people that self publish go on to sign huge contracts with traditional publishing houses. Chicken Soup for the Soul started out as self published books and they have gone on to make Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen millions in sales and publishing contracts. Even better, the contents of those books are written by others!

Electronic publication is the fastest, easiest, and least expensive way to publish and market your book and it’s a great way to test the waters. It begins with a website to promote your book, a marketing plan, an auto responder campaign to distribute it via email, and a way to collect the money from your sales.

Really, it does not get any easier. You can author and publish your book quickly and easily. How soon do you want to see your name in print and reap the benefits of being an author? 20 days? 30 days? Get busy and make it happen.