— Alice, Adventures in Wonderland
ou dream about fame (or at least credibility) that goes with being an author. But getting a book published is a daunting task, whether you’ve already written it or are planning to. I can help you with a strategy for navigating the maze. Let’s look at some of the choices:
Traditional publishers, from the “big five” trade publishers to smaller, niche publishers and university presses, need to make money—or at least not lose too much. Publishing strategy is a gamble. They don’t care about how good you or I think your book is. They care about how many copies will sell—and why.
So, to get a publishing deal, you need to make a compelling case for your book. That’s where I can help. For starters, I can create a book proposal (see below) to secure a literary agent, who will in turn use that proposal to match your book with the right publisher. If self-publishing makes more sense, I can develop a plan for promoting, producing, and selling your work. In either case, you’ll need your own marketing platform—which is not as scary as it sounds. (My friend Tim Vandehey has written an excellent book on the subject of building one’s platform.) Publishing strategy has a lot of moving parts, but I can help you master them.
What Is a Book Proposal?
book proposal is a sales document used to persuade a literary agent—and ultimately a publisher—to accept your nonfiction book and agree to publish it. It includes an overview of the book, including a description, sample chapters, a proposed table of contents, and a review of comparable titles in your genre. It also includes your biography, an analysis of your target readership—who they are, how many there are, and reasons why they would buy your book. The proposal must also include your marketing plan. (Many publishers spend surprisingly little time marketing your book for you.)
A typical book proposal can take 2-3 months to write, depending on its complexity—and the size and scope of your marketing platform and social media presence. The cost is $6,500.
he alternative, self-publishing your book, is not (repeat NOT) a cop-out. Self-publishing can be done by you personally or through a trusted ally—a company or other organization that shares your values and aspirations. By becoming the publisher, you or your ally assume more of the work, but also reap more of the rewards. With the right strategy, you can sell your book on Amazon (or anywhere else), in print, EPUB, or both. You can also leverage your book for greater recognition, credibility, and influence. It all starts with a plan:
What Is A Self-Publishing Plan?
elf-publishing sounds scary, but it’s worth the effort. First, identify the “who” part of the equation. It can be you as an individual or a company or association that shares your vision, and is willing to share the costs as well as the benefits. Next, with my help, identify the necessary resources, timelines, and content. The basic elements are listed here. (Once I create a self-publishing plan, I may be involved in execution—or not. There are some things I do very well, such as the writing, but I’ll help you find great resources for other things.)
Your marketing platform – Even though you’re not using a traditional publisher, your platform is crucial. It not only helps you identify potential book buyers, such as your Facebook followers, it will also help you market directly to them.
A website, and an e-commerce strategy – It doesn’t need to be fancy, but every book needs a decent Web presence. Selling on Amazon and elsewhere needs to be planned.
Basic design, layout, and production – Whether you’re planning to publish electronically, in print, or both, I can create your ideal roadmap.
Promotion – Sending out press releases is fine, but there are better ways to promote your book. I’ll plan the most cost-effective steps, depending on your time and resources.
Printing & Fulfillment – I know this part by heart. I’ll line up the partners and programs you need. A self-publishing plan can take 1-2 months to write, sometimes longer. The cost ranges from $4,000 to $7,000, depending on the complexity of the project. This does not include the cost of doing things listed in the plan, like website design or the actual production and printing of your book.