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Bob and I are published authors off the Web, as well as on. Not bragging, just a happy fact. Our hard-copy book, Creating a Successful Craft Business, was published by Allworth Press of New York City in 2003. We take pride in the fact that we only contacted one publisher on this, our first attempt to get a book published. However they did ask for a major re-write. But believe me, working with Allworth’s editors resulted in a much better book.
You can do all the research and talk to all the published authors you know, but when it comes right down to it you don’t really understand the publishing process until you have been through allowing someone else to edit, publish and invest in your work. There is much learned on the job here. This is our “Top Ten List” of the things we learned:
Found a possible author’s agent? Great, get her started now.
Representing yourself to editors? Do your homework before approaching a publisher pays off. Read how others do it and what the publishers are looking for.
Choose a publisher that has a track record with the type of book you are writing. The niche publisher of our book specialized in art, craft and business books.
Check out the publisher’s Website before approaching them. Look for their Writer’s Guidelines, style manual preference and contact names.
Read and follow the submission guidelines for the publisher. If they have a specific proposal outline follow it carefully. This is exactly what I did and it worked.
Be flexible. Win some, lose some and compromise a lot. You may be the certified, degreed, experienced expert in the field about which you are writing, but the publisher/editors are the experts in publishing. Work with them.
If you are determined your book be published exactly as is with no changes whatsoever you probably should consider self-publishing. If your publisher no longer offers in-house editing hire an editor on your own.
No agent? Find an attorney, friend or family member with a good business background to look over the contract and help you negotiate. The agreement should be clear about your and the publisher’s responsibilities. Not doing this is how people get trapped in what they later realize is a bad agreement. Unfortunately it could be the contract for all future books you write unless certain phrases are negotiated carefully. We were able to avoid such an occurrence with careful negotiations by Bob.
Your publisher may not promote your book to potential readers. An agent might be helpful here, remembering they sell to publishers not the public. Creating your own promotional plan is essential. Keep in mind that you will likely have to pay your own promotional expenses so if a worldwide book signing tour is not in either your cash, time or personal energy budgets you will have to come up with other ideas.
Finally, with all previous steps completed, walk into Barnes & Noble, see your name on your book on their shelf, and CELEBRATE!
“I came to believe this much: good words are worth the work. Well-written words can change a life. Why is this? Words go where we never go—Africa. Australia. Indonesia.” — Max Lucado [Source: The Write Stuff Max Lucado on Writing]