So you want to write a book? Or maybe you already have. Now what?
*The first thing you need to do is realize your goals for your book. Do you want to see it published? By who? Do you want a lot of control over your book or do you want to delegate some decisions to others? Do you want an agent? Where exactly do you want to sell your book (internet, bookstores?)
Once you can identify your goals then you can determine how to achieve them.
*Research the industry. Let’s face it, the publishing industry is a tough one. Its ever changing and evolving. In recent years the birth of Ebooks and Ereaders have really changed the game of publishing. In some respects it’s easier to get into publishing – but even harder to stand out because the market is essentially being flooded with books.
Know the industry and know your target audience. Once you know where your book fits (its genre) you will be able to better identify how to get to where you need to go. Also, determine your competition. What are some of the other books within the genre your book falls into? What seems to be the trend in your genre? How can you fit in but also stand out amongst a sea of similar books? Let’s face it. Most ideas have already been done. Coming up with a completely original idea is almost impossible – but you can take an idea that has been done before and put a twist on it.
Don’t know what genre your book fits into? Try this site:
http://www.bisg.org/ this site gives you genre listings.
Once you know your goals and have learned a bit about the industry and how to navigate the shark infested waters you need to once again focus on your book. Has it been edited? By someone other than yourself?
It is in my humble opinion that you MUST have an editor. This is not negotiable. There is no way that you will catch all the flaws or mistakes in your book. Once you read something say, 100 times you begin to not see the mistakes because you know what its suppose to say. Editing is also a way that you as an author can stand out in a sea of books. A lot of books out there have not been edited. Your book will surpass those because yours will have less errors. Also, if you are submitting to agents or even smaller publishing houses you can say that it has been edited. It will give you an edge over the other 1,000 manuscripts next to it because an agent and/or publisher might see your book as needing less work. This isn’t to say that once you do get a deal that it won’t be edited again because invariably it will. Don’t be surprised.
List of editor resources:
Cassie McCown – Gathering Leaves Editing. Website: http://www.gatheringleavesediting.com *this is my personal editor. She knows her stuff. I recommend her above all others.
http://www.book–editing.com/ book editing and service info
http://www.the-efa.org/dir/search.php membership directory of the Editorial Freelancers Association
*So now your book has been shaped up, you know your goals and what kind of publishing route you want to take. Now what? Start submitting to agents and publishers (unless you are self publishing – then you start publishing!)
http://www.querytracker.net/literary_agents.php I used this site a lot to look for agents. It is very helpful.
http://www.everywritersresource.com/bookpublishers/ Publisher listing
http://www.sfwa.org/beware/agents.html guidelines and warnings for agents/publishers
http://pred-ed.com/ Predators and Editors. Check out anyone you are considering working with here before you agree or sign to anything!
*Remember that a legitimate publisher or agent does NOT charge you money. If they ask for money of any kind they are not a legitimate publishing house. It is a SCAM. Personally I would run.
There are vanity publishers but that is a whole other post people. But basically a vanity press publishes your book for you at a cost to you. They are not a traditional publisher but they do offer printing and in some cases marketing. But it is for a price.
*Once you have a list of agents or publishers (or both) you want to submit to you need a strong query letter. Yes, the dreaded query letter.
http://www.sfwa.org/writing/query.htm query letter sample
http://www.nathanbransford.com This is a former agent turned author who runs a blog. This guy knows his stuff people. There is a TON of helpful information on this site.
http://blog.nathanbransford.com/2008/03/query-letter-mad-lib.html This is the link to Nathan Bransford’s query letter formula.
He also has articles about synopsis writing, agents and manuscript writing.
*When the time comes and you get a “yes” you will be presented with a contract. Have someone look it over so you know what you are signing. Don’t be so thrilled with that yes and the promise of a shiny new book that you sign without reading. KNOW what you are agreeing to.
http://www.publaw.com is a site with publishing law information
*What if you decided to bypass the publishers and agents? Did you decide to self publish? Make sure you research.
http://www.literarymarketplace.com book publishing industry resource
http://www.createspace.com Printing website
http://www.lulu.com Printing website
http://www.smashwords.com E -book publisher (upload your manuscript for publishing)
http://www.parapublishing.com/sites/para self publishing and promoting resource
*We all know that you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover. Let’s face it. We all do it. You can’t help it. It’s the first image/impression that you get of a book. Get yourself an eye catching cover and draw people in.
http://www.maeidesign.com Regina Wamba is the cover designer for all 3 of my books. She is fabulous and her knowledge of design is staggering. She also does website design and logos.
http://www.phatpuppyart.com I know a lot of authors use this site for cover art and are extremely happy.
http://www.indiedesignz.com Dafeenah Jameel is the designer for the Christmas Lites book I helped compile. She also does FB pages, logos and buttons.
http://www.prweb.com press release service
http://www.loc.gov/index.html Library of congress
http://www.bowker.com ISBN and database information
http://www.bookconnector.com list of reviewers (Note: I have not been to this site or used it. You should not PAY anyone for a review.)
http://www.bookexpoamerica.com largest US book festival
http://www.spunkonastick.net This is the website of Diane Wolfe – a lot (not all) of this information comes from her. I attended TWO seminars that she hosted at a local community college and she knows this industry. She is an author, a public speaker, a motivational speaker and she is a publisher who owns her own press http://www.dancinglemurpress.com
*Note: I have not been to all of these resource sites. I cannot vouch for every single one of them. They are listed here for you to research and utilize. Do your homework before entering into any sort of agreement with ANYONE. Ask for references and follow up!! Knowledge is power.