Update September 2018: CreateSpace and KDP to Become One Service
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Dedicated to my friend Tre.
I have noticed on social media, writings meant to help others heal which stopped me in my tracks and powerfully inspired me. I mentioned to several where we follow each other that they should write a book, and they asked for advice on how. This is for those of you who are aspiring authors and/or anybody you know who dreams of reaching out to help people with their writing. They say if you are pregnant with a book, it’s meant to be born. If you continually think about writing a book, it’s probably a worthwhile calling of yours.
Non-fiction self-empowerment books solve problems and improve lives. Reading fiction can decrease loneliness, generate feelings of joy, and provide an escape from everyday challenges, which also helps people.
Experts say helping people is healing, so my action plan to heal after a lifetime of loss included this objective. I have learned those wise souls are correct. I absolutely love providing hope by sharing my story, providing the only website with centralized resources about thriving after loss, speaking, and improving conversation about death and grief.
I’m not a publishing guru, but I am sharing what has been the most helpful information to me so far after countless hours of research and experience. You can learn from abundant but scattered information online or by reading a book, but I recommend taking a book publishing class.
Book Publishing Education
I used to think you wrote a book, handed it to a publisher, and their team handled everything else while the author pondered about their next book. It doesn’t work that way. There are many behind the scenes activities including marketing where you have to play a major role. I feel taking a class is valuable and helps you reduce mistakes, saving time and energy.
I compared the many book publishing courses available and decided on the one that made the best sense for me based on company reputation, my book idea, what I wanted to pay, and my goals. If you are writing a non-fiction book, I highly recommend the Hay House Writer’s Workshop. Hay House is the largest and most influential self-empowerment publishing company in the world. Their online course videos are filled with hours of advice and encouragement from successful authors.
When I began the class, I quickly realized there is much to learn about becoming a well-known author. When the Hay House CEO, Reid Tracy, said something like, “There are more people who need help than those willing to help,” I was hooked. When I finished the class, I felt I could make some serious contributions in helping people heal from grief.
If you are writing a non-fiction self-empowerment book, you can simply share your experiences, but having related education is helpful and can give you more credibility. Numerous coaching certification programs are available.
Publishing your book with online websites and without a publisher is inexpensive and easy if you have good technical skills, are a little creative, and know someone who can edit well.
At the end of 2018, Amazon (www.CreateSpace.com) where readers purchase hard-copy books individually printed as they are ordered and Kindle (www.kdp.com) where you publish an electronic copy of your book moved to one website at www.kdp.amazon.com. You pay a reduced fee to buy hard-copies of your book. They send your book to many other sites like Barnes & Noble. Use of the software to publish your book is free. The companies keep a portion of book sales.
Supportive services like grammar or content editing, book covers, and marketing are offered through these sites at a price. Hay House also offers self-publishing service through Balboa Press (www.BalboaPress.com).
Most large publishers require you to have a literary agent. They will not read unsolicited manuscripts or correspondence. They will provide you with resources and support, but most are interested in authors with a social media platform and will help promote their book. They want you to have a “tribe” of engaged followers and substantial email lists. Some potential readers prefer to purchase books from trusted publishers.
There are literary agent websites and a popular one is www.PublishersMarketplace.com. You can also find the name of the agent the author thanked in the acknowledgment section of a book similar to the one you’re writing. You can submit a book proposal to numerous potential agents at the same time. Submission guidelines are on individual literary agent websites. Agents receive about 15% and no agent should charge you up-front fees.
The book proposal is your tool to convince a literary agent and publishing editor to take a chance on working with you. It includes who you are as a person, why you are the right person to write the book you are proposing, why you think the book will sell, and what you will do to promote the book. I purchased a book proposal template with instruction notes for $27 at http://authortoolkits.com/proposal/ and found it helpful.
Book Proposal Outline Example
1. Cover Letter
2. Cover Page
3. Book Overview
4. Author Biography
5. Author Platform (Social Media)
6. Author Marketing Plan
7. Best Sellers
8. Competitive Books
9. Potential Spin-off Books
10. Potential Forward, Cover Quotes, & Celebrity Endorsements
11. Table of Contents
12. Chapter Summaries
13. Sample Chapter(s)
Hay House recommends the New York Times Bestseller “Platform” by Michael Hyatt. I read the book and think it’s excellent. Engage ongoing in social media in valuable ways that really help people. The subject of social media could be another blog. Use your name for your website and as much social media as you can in case you want to expand your offerings in the future without the name being an issue.
Platform May Include
• Website with Blog – WordPress.com Hosts My Website and is Popular
• Facebook – Timeline Media & Comments
• Instagram – Media & Comments
• Twitter – 140 Characters & Media/Links
• Pinterest – Boards of Photos & Comments
• LinkedIn – Business Profile
• Google+ – Similar to Facebook
• YouTube – Videos
• Podcasts – Recordings
Unless you already have a significant following, and I mean thousands, to help promote your book, it’s highly unlikely you will sell many self-published books without significant ongoing marketing.
Marketing May Include
• Use and Grow a Platform
• Join Associations and Network
• Use Professional Photography
• Create Branding
• Obtain Certifications or Degrees
• Write Articles
• Submit Press Releases
• Distribute Promotional Material to Defined Markets
• Create Media Kit
• Participate in Radio/Podcast/TV Interviews
• Conduct Speaking Engagements
• Offer Free Material
• Collaborate With Other Authors
• Use Social Media Marketing
• Use Google AdWords
All of this can feel overwhelming and it was for me at first. It’s one of those adventures where you jump-in, learn as you go, and it all gets easier. They say some of the best-selling books were first rejected numerous times, and it takes years to become an overnight success so get started now! Best wishes on your journey to becoming an author. I can’t wait to read your book.
For questions, please leave a comment or email me at info@CathyCheshire.com.