Most books begin with an idea. The author builds upon this idea to create a complete manuscript. The journey from the idea to the manuscript is simple; writing a book is as easy as sitting down and writing. However, if you want to know how to write and publish a book, that requires a little more effort. Publishing is a money-making enterprise like any other business. In order to publish your book, you need to make sure it is going to sell. Here are some tips on how to write and publish a book successfully.
The First Step To Writing And Publishing A Book: Determine Your Category
How to write and publish a book is a process that varies with the kind of book you want to write. Before you even start writing the story down, you need to know what genre it is going to fall under. If it is a work of fiction or a nonfiction memoir then the starting point will be different from a nonfiction self-help book or an academic book. The kind of book you want to write and publish determines which publishers you approach. Because these are such different approaches, here is an overview of all of them.
Writing and publishing a book of fiction or a nonfiction memoir: A fictional story begins with an idea. The story is limited only by your imagination. You can base it on historical events, and stay true to them. You can take creative liberty with the events. You can set it in a completely different universe. You don’t have to stick to any facts. Your work of fiction is free to become anything that it wants. If spinning fictional tales is how you want to write and publish a book, you have absolute liberty where the content is concerned. In this case, you would decide what your story is going to be and determine its genre.
Nonfiction memoirs are stories from a person’s life. These are usually biographies or autobiographies of famous and interesting people. They may also be of ordinary people writing about their extraordinary experiences. Either way, these are not fabricated stories like fiction. However, unlike other categories of nonfiction, memoirs are treated as fiction by publishers. This is something for you to be aware of if you are wondering how to write and publish a book that is a memoir.
In both these cases, you would need to have a complete manuscript ready before you approach a publisher. In rare cases, where the memoir written by a very famous figure or the fiction author is a popular name, publishers may agree to publish the book without the manuscript. However, the generally accepted practice is to submit the manuscript for the publishers’ consideration. Therefore, in this case, the first step in understanding how to write and publish a book is completing the manuscript.
Publishers who deal in fiction ideally need a manuscript ready before they sign on the author. They also tend to stick to one category or a set of genres. This is why you need to research the publishers who would be interested in the genre you’re writing and publishing a book in. This should be an ongoing process even as you write your story. Ideally, your first work of fiction should be limited to 100,000 words or less. The sweet spot is around 50,000 to 80,000 words, but anything over the 100k mark becomes risky. More often than not, the first draft will be much higher than the benchmark. Obviously, this means that editing becomes an important part of knowing how to write and publish a book. You need to read your manuscript several times and analyse what is unnecessary and can be trimmed. It might seem ruthless, but more often than not, it improves the flow of the story.
Writing and publishing a nonfiction or an academic book
In the event that your book falls under nonfiction or the academic category, you can have a relatively less labour-intensive start. However, that does not mean you don’t have to work hard at this stage. A nonfiction book that is not a memoir is usually a self-help book, an exposition on a subject, opinion pieces, etc. If you want to know how to write and publish a book like that, you would need to know exactly what you would be writing. This would include how you would want the information laid out because that would affect the order of the chapters.
This is similar to the process you would use if you wanted to write and publish an academic book. In this case, in addition to the information, you would also need to know which course it would serve as a textbook for. In case it is a popular subject, you would need to know how your book is different from already present textbooks and emphasise the fresh content in your book.
For both these categories, you need to question yourself on why anyone would buy your book. What does your book, whether academic or general nonfiction, have to offer that no one else does? Even if it offering something new, is there a need for it in the market?
Both nonfiction and academic books need to be written in a way that engages the reader. They don’t have a story that the reader can immerse himself into. The only way to compel the audience to continue reading is to make the subject interesting and easy to understand. This means you should focus on writing and publish a book that is informative and engaging.
For general nonfiction and academic books, the first stage of preparation is the planning stage. This includes the planning of the book as well as marketing plans. One part of that is knowing which audience you are going to target your book at. Having a platform to promote your book is going to be an added bonus. This could be a blog or a website with a high number of visitors. It could also be a social media page with an active and engaged audience. Academic books especially are dependent on the author’s reputation for their sales. The more you have already promoted yourself, the better your chances will be for writing and publishing a book successfully.
The Second Step To Writing And Publishing A Book Is To Know Which Publishers To Publish With
The right publisher is imperative for any book’s success. This is why you needed to know the category and genre before you learn how to write and publish a book. The reason for this is that every publisher has a core speciality. This is the subject they know very well. Along with knowing the subject and what is available in the market, they also know its audience and how to sell it. They have pre-existing contacts in distribution companies and book stores where the book will sell. They have metrics of previous marketing campaigns and know the best way of promoting your book.
It can be a relatively simple matter to find the right publisher for your needs. You could check the publishers of popular books in the genre you are writing for. This way, you know they have experience in not only the genre but also the successful marketing of that particular genre.
Another way is to conduct an online search. This gives you a chance to look at their website and their description of what their publishing company stands for. It also allows you to find reviews. While individual reviews may not be the best yardstick for judging the abilities of a publisher, the general consensus can be quite telling. The websites of most good publishers have information on how to write and publish a book with them. This includes how they expect you to approach them, and how they want the manuscript to be styled. This can be useful to know if you decide to publish with them.
The people who have a deeper knowledge of how to write and publish a book are authors who are already published. You could contact already published people to find out about their publisher and their experience with them. An intensive research done at this stage will help you come up with a short list of publishers most suitable for you to publish a book with. To find out more about how to successfully approach a publisher, read “Want to publish a book? Here’s a guide!”.