Are You a Newbie to Publishing? Don’t Shatter Your Publishing Journey – Part I

When newbie authors are asked about their publishing experience, the phrase “It’s overwhelming” would surface within the top three responses. And it is.

There is expansive information about publishing. Multiple books have been written on every aspect of it. Public and private workshops are available. Webinars flow daily. Author and writing groups are in most cities. Information is out there—a plethora of information—how to do it; what not to do; how to publish your book for a few hundred bucks, how to become a best-seller; how to sell books by the truckloads, how to—how to—how to … you name it, it’s out there.

Not all of it is good information. Publishing predators have multiplied as the self-publishing movement took off. Which means that a newbie shouldn’t believe everything they read, hear or see. Before jumping in, do your homework about any products you use or publishing providers you engage. It’s just a click away. When people are victims of scams, they often report the incidents on the Internet.

Before doing business with POD publishers, a pay-to-publisher operation or any other person or company that wants your money, make a Google search for:

(company name, product, or person) + scam
(company name, product, or person) + problems
(company name product, or person) + complaint
(company name, product, or person) + fraud
(company name, product, or person) + rip-off
(company name, product, or person) + lawsuit

Read the reports and be advised—that means you read many pages in. When most search, very few go past page one. Scammers and cons learn how to “bury” information on the internet—meaning it many not show up easily. You need to dig.

This week, I’ll cover five items that can shatter a newbie’s publishing journey.  

  • Believing that your mom, brother, sister, pal, neighbor will do the editing that your book—every book—needs. Unless they edit for a living, do ask them to read your book for a basic “flow”—does it flow, is the story/concept connected? Is there a beginning, middle, and end? If it’s non-fiction, does it provide solutions? Is it clear, to the point? If it’s fiction, is the story engaging? Are the characters interesting? Does the reader care about them what they do, become, happens?

Savvy authors work with an editor that “gets” their book, supports the “voice” of the author and does it for a living.

  • Believing that your book is for everyone. Get over it—your book isn’t for everyone—that’s a fantasy. Could it sell zillions of copies to lots of people? Sure—but not everyone.

Savvy authors-to-be learn early on that a book that has a niche market can gather a following—followings lead to book sales and chatter. Chatter is good.

  • Believing that your book will be a roaring success and sell mega-thousands of books. And for that matter, too, too many authors-to-be are not able to determine what success means in bookland. The latest and greatest story about an author who has sold a million copies via the 99 cents e-Book route is surely going to happen … maybe …most like, not. Be realistic—the average author in the self-published arena sells a few hundred copies. That’s it. If with a New York publisher, it’s not a lot more.

Savvy authors know that if their book is going to be a roaring success, it’s they, and only they that will make it happen. In other words, they’ve got to work their butts off. And they need a plan to do it. Success doesn’t have to mega-thousands in book sales—it can mean consulting, recognition, media appearances, speaking engagements, another book, even just a few letters from buys who have written saying what a difference the book made in their lives.

  • Believing that you can wing your way to success. Game plans are important. In fact, they are critical. See above. They include the who, what, where, when and why. Plans ID who the target market/reader is; they are clear about what the book is about and what it’s purpose is; they know where their market is; when the timing is ideal to launch the book (and yes, launching needs a plan as well); and they are very, very clear as to why they are writing the book and why they, the authors, should be the author.

Savvy authors have fire in their belly—that they need a plan to keep the fire burning.

  • Believing that publishing is not really a business. Not grasping the simple fact that publishing is a business; that there is a P&L you need to understand and answer to; that understanding and negotiating contracts will come into play; and that you need to view that you have an investment in play.

Savvy authors view publishing as a business and learn to evaluate what the costs are, as where their break-even comes into play.

Every author will make a blunder … most likely, plenty of them. Some will cost little in money; other lots. Some can be corrected with a few tweaks; others will need a wrecking ball to unravel what happened. Know that you will have mistakes—they rarely book fatal, although it’s a possibility. They can be costly, bruise your ego and slow your publication … and in many cases, were preventable.

Get savvy, get smart … and ask questions before you start the process.





Dr. Judith Briles is a book publishing expert and author of 36 multi-award books. She’s guided over 1,000 authors in creating their books, earned in excess of $3,000,000 in speaking fees based on her books and gathered over $2,000,000 in onsite book sales at her speaking gigs. Her latest book, How to Create a $1,000,000 Speech flips a difficult topic into a simple and easily comprehensible plan. If you want to get into speaking, this is the guide that will be the game-changer to success.




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