My advice: 10 tips for new and aspiring authors
- Purpose. Get clear about why you want to write a book versus an article or something else. Is it to reach more people, build your personal brand, hit the jackpot on the New York Times’s Best Sellers list?
- Money. Determine how you’ll juggle making a living while writing your book. Will you save up plenty of money, go on sabbatical, work part-time—or work full time while writing your manuscript at night and just take catnaps while standing in elevators?
- Self-publishing versus conventional publishing. Weigh the pros and cons of self-publishing and e-book publishing versus conventional publishing. If you decide to go the conventional route, find a literary agent who is passionate about your book idea. She will “shop” your manuscript around at publishing houses and help negotiate the best terms for you. For a list of agents, check out theAssociation of Authors’ Representatives; also ask published authors for their recommendations.
- Branding. Start building your brand long before your book is published by writing, speaking, using social media tools, organizing and/or joining special interest groups, and spreading the word through your network.
- Product. Consider whether you want to offer a product or service in connection with your book. If so, set the wheels in motion now so that when your book comes out, you’ll have more to offer your readers.
- Public speaking. If you’re not already comfortable with public speaking, which is an important skill for an author, take a course, hire a coach, join Toastmasters International, and get some practice, even at small, approachable venues. Down the road, closer to the time of your book launch, also consider investing in press training to buff up your skills at answering questions on the spot for media interviews.
- Published authors. Meet them. Buy their books and review them on Amazon. Gain from their insights. Build relationships with them and ask for their advice about your book.
- Publicity. Save up now to hire a publicist, but don’t rely on him to do all the work. You’re the engine; start building relationships with journalists and organizations where you can speak that are interested in your topic.
- Information for authors.Read books, magazines, blogs, social networking sites, and other resources to become an informed author. Check these out: The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Getting Published by Sheree Bykofsky (whose literary agency represents me) and Jennifer Basye Sander; Poets & Writersmagazine.
- Support. Get the support you need to write your book. Join or form a group of other authors, turn to a mentor, hire a coach, start a Meetup or Tweetup, and read, comment, and post questions to authors’ blogs. You’ll benefit from having a community of authors and can learn a lot from one another.
Printed here with permission from Jerry D. Simmons (WritersReaders.com) and Nancy Ancowitz.