Since the beginning of the printed word, only one thing has been keeping authors from seeing their name on the cover of a book – finding a publisher willing to take a chance on them. Self publishing opens up new avenues for writers looking for that breakthrough to acheive success, but it comes at a cost. To be successful in your role as a self published author, you must learn to think less like a creative artist and more like a business or marketing professional.
What Does a Publisher Do?
Probably the most difficult task of being a publisher is evaluation. It is the job of the publisher to evaluate a body of work and decide if it is marketable. That is not an easy thing to do, especially when vested in a project. Most authors think they have written the great American novel whether it is true or not. A publisher needs to think more about book marketing.
Self publishers must take off the writer’s hat and look at their work with different eyes. Publisher’s mentality means picking apart the story to decide if publishing it is a practical investment. In many ways, publishing is as much a craft as writing.
Thinking like a Publisher
Writers want to see their books sitting on bookshelves across the country. They yearn for the thrill of doing signings and reading excerpts before an audience. To think like a publisher, you must put that writer’s dream aside for a while and really look at the manuscript on the table.
Publishers want stories with a clear audience. This is the goal of a self-publishing author, as well. When you read your story or non-fiction work, do you get an understanding of the potential audience? Publishers know you don’t write the book for yourself, but for a specific demographic. That is what creates book marketing opportunities and sales.
Evaluate the Author Too
Once, you decide the story is both engaging and marketable, take a good look at the author. There is more to a book than just storytelling. Is the author ready to publish?
- Do you have a business website set up?
- Are you maintaining a blog?
- What about social media?
- And a marketing plan?
A writer must be willing to take part in author marketing to build a relationship with the audience.
Now, Polish It like a Publisher
To be successful, you must realize the importance of design and proper editing. The most engaging story in the world will fall short if poorly published. One mistake self-published writers make is not going the extra mile to polish a book. That is something a professional publishing house does for the author, but as a self-publisher, you are on your own. Hire an editor and take the time to get a professional cover design done just as a publisher would. At Infinity we take steps to provide our authors strong advice about the importance of solid design and writing, but ultimately it is up to them to see what their competiton looks like and to be sure they stack up!
It is the publisher’s job to make sure the book is ready to go to press. You are the publisher, so make sure you think like one.
Keep the Faith and may the Force be with You!