There’s more to becoming an author than planning and writing a book. There are lots of decisions that you need to make – these are a few things to think about.
Is there a market for this?
While everyone wants to stand out and be unique, if no books are listed on your core subject you’ll need to find out why. Of course, you may have hit on something absolutely brand new, but there’s a reason why most mainstream publishers are reluctant to take on something completely untried.
Check out the bookshops – online or offline – and look at the catalogues of publishers that publish this genre. This should give you an idea of what else has been written around your subject or style. If there are a few popular books around the subject, that means you’ve got a good chance of building a good readership.
How will you publish?
When J.K. Rowling published her first Harry Potter book in the mid 1990s, most authors had to go through the mill of submitting their manuscript for review and getting rejection slips (J.K. Rowling got 12 rejections before Bloomsbury picked up the first Harry Potter).
Self-publishing was considered to come under the heading of ‘vanity publishing’. However, independent publishing (Indie) is now much more mainstream and there are many ways to publish your manuscript, whether it’s print-on-demand, ebooks, audio books or a combination.
The days of juicy advances have gone, even with the big publishing houses. A well-known name might be offered an advance, but unknown authors rarely get them. However, if you do get a contract with a mainstream publisher you will get editing, cover graphics, the cover blurb and the book layout included as part of the deal. That’s why your percentage of net is likely to be less than 10%.
With independent or self-publishing you can set your book price and make a much higher percentage of net. BUT you will need to pay for your own editing, cover graphics, write your own blurb (a different skill to writing the main text) and pay for the book to be laid out – at least if you want it to look professional.
This means a substantial investment up front – editing of a 50,000 word book can cost at least £2,000 – if you use a professional editor (don’t be tempted by a third-world editor who is cheap – it will show).
Mainstream publishers do far less marketing than you would imagine. So, if your book is to be successful, you need to have a sound marketing plan regardless of how you publish it.
Who are your market? Where do they look for books like yours? How do you engage with them? What do you need to do to have a successful book launch? Your book will disappear with barely a ripple if you don’t put some effort into it (I’ve made this mistake and know what I’m talking about!)
You’ll need marketing pre-launch to build momentum and then continue to market your book to keep sales coming in.
A bit of planning and research is worth its weight in gold. Get some training in book marketing and you’ll get a bigger chunk of income.
If you want to do some video learning – check this out.