About 5 years ago I decided I wanted to write a book. My plan was to write something that I could give to clients when they asked me for book recommendations. I often loaned out my own books or suggested others that I had found helpful.
I thought it would be useful to have the tips, techniques and concepts I used all in one place. So why not write my own book? But where do you start? I began searching.
What I found was the good, the bad and the ugly of publishing. Though there is a lot of excellent information available, many services target the vulnerable or those who like me were starting out and confused by all the options.
I watched a webinar where I learned some good information and took notes. When I reached the end there was the usual sales pitch, the price tag was around $5000.00. If you prefer not to do your own research, don’t have time, or have money to burn, that may seem a good deal for you.
Hold on a minute, let’s get real. When you hand over that kind of money you are not getting a publisher in the traditional sense, someone is basically self-publishing your book for you, what used to be called Vanity Publishing. They might do the layout and print them for you and you will have a few hundred copies to keep in your garage, but this is not being published. Beware, they may even keep the future rights to your work depending on what you sign.
I contacted another company that I thought was a real publisher accepting submissions, it turned out they were the vanity publishing arm of a well-known publisher. They made no promises, yet gave a strong indication that they may send suitable work to the main company. Giving them my phone number was a huge mistake. Sales people called me daily until I blocked the number. Oh, did I mention their fee was also $5000.00? It must be the magic number.
A publisher won’t ask you for money to publish, you may need help and advice, and paying for that along with books, tools and resources can be worthwhile, yet you do not need to spend thousands of dollars to get your book independently/self published.
There are some people who still think that traditional publishing is the only way to go, yet there are also self-published authors making 6 and 7 figures. A publisher will give you a percentage, often around 10%. Whereas when you publish your own book, all the money you make (or lose) is yours.
When I refer to getting a book published, whether that’s self or independently published, hybrid or traditional publishing. I am referring to your book being available for sale publicly online or in some other format, not printed out in batches at an office supplies store or on your work photocopier. I am my own publisher, you can buy my books online or order them from bookstores.
Writing a book is, believe it or not the easy part, getting people to see it and buy it is a huge ongoing amount of work. If you are a celebrity or a household name, you won’t have a problem getting your books in front of potential customers. For the rest of us, we are competing with the millions of other books available and fighting for our tiny corner of the marketplace.
Saying all of that, there has never been a better time to write and publish. You may or may not make money or be a best seller, yet if you have a message you want to share, a story to tell, you can do it.
If you want to write a book and don’t care if anyone buys it other than your friends and family, you can do that too. Publishing using the Print on Demand option through a company like Amazon or Ingram Spark allows you to order your own author copies at a discount to give away or sell and you still have a published book that is available to others.
I am not ready to retire to the Bahamas on book sales, I still do a happy dance every time I sell a book, because there are days when I don’t. I also hear people tell me that they found encouragement, took a trip, changed their life, quit a heavy drinking habit or started a new job because of something I wrote, and that is priceless.
Being able to share a story is a wonderful experience and something well worth putting in the time and effort. The first thing I recommend that you do is to write, even in note format, begin the story. Write it, type it, dictate it, just start. Before you know it a sentence becomes a paragraph, a page, a chapter and then a book, your book.
If you want to know more about getting published, stay connected with me at my website, where I will be sharing information and resources.
Or check out my brother’s book on self publishing who I learned a great deal from.