An interesting statistic I recently read is that while more women write books, more men publish them. In the 20th century we could have blamed this on the publishing business; said that it was the prejudice of a male-dominated industry. But not anymore.
Today, more books are published independently than by the traditional publishing houses. That means that if women don’t step up and get into the publishing game we have no one to blame but ourselves.
So what is stopping us? I think it is the fact that so many of us are always ready to invest in others – our children, our families, charitable causes – but we feel guilty if we invest in ourselves. That means that when we do get up the courage to write and publish the book that means so much to us, we cheap out on the details, either with money or with time. I know, because I’ve been guilty of this myself, at times. So, what do you need to do to finish writing your manuscript and publish and market your book – and make it a financial success.
Step One. Decide today to do it, and do it right. Writing your book is the easy part. Marketing it is the difficulty step, but there are lots of experts out there who can help you along your road to book success.
Step Two is to develop a plan. It doesn’t have to be a costly plan, but you will have to budget some money. Make a list of the things that you are good at, the things you need help with, and the things that even though you could d o but just won’t. Then decide which areas you will pay experts to help you, and which you can do yourself.
Editing and Proofing. You have written your manuscript, you know what you think you said. That means you cannot edit and proofread it yourself. Hire help.
Covers sell books – or hurt sales. Unless you are a really talented graphic artist, hire help.
Learn technology. If you can’t attach a document to an email, if don’t know what track changes is, hire help.
Social media: use it, and if you don’t understand it, hire help.
A website. Make sure it looks professional, has links to a variety of ways to purchase your book – and don’t depend on your best friend’s 15 year old to get it done for you for $50. Hire professional help.
Get an e-book, and don’t format it yourself unless you are very patient. Hire help.
Now, The good news is, that there are also dozens of things you can do to promote your book that only cost time, or very little money, and that you can do yourself. There are so many ways to market a book available today that you really can’t do them all, or not all at once. You don’t have to. Pick four or five ways that you can spread the word about your book to friends, family, colleagues, and most importantly, strangers. Work diligently on them for three months to six months. Then evaluate. What is working? What is not? Tweak your plan. But don’t forget that you have a goal – to sell your book. Write it down, make a plan, and remember that working that plan is an investment in yourself.