If you’re got to the point of having a finished manuscript, you’re half of the way there. Publishing a book is increasingly becoming part of a smart sales and marketing strategy for any business, and can raise the profile of its author as an expert in their field, function as a sales tool to increase conversion rates, launch a career as a speaker or simply share your story with the world. With the variety in markets and publishing options, research is key in finding the right choice for you. To shed some light on the process of choosing a publisher, I’ve put together my best tips from my fourteen years of experience in bringing books to publication.
1. Know your options
The industry is changing, and while most people are aware of traditional publishing, there are now other options for authors to make their own investments instead of taking a small advance from a publisher and hoping for the best. Self-publishing and co-operative publishing allow authors to make their own investments.
2. Understand traditional publishers properly
These traditional publishers want to ensure a good return on an investment. This means that they’ll often aim to find something that sounds new and innovative without being too ‘out there’ as they’ll base their decision on the size of the market reveals by analysing trends. New markets are created all the time, and all it takes is a spark of inspiration, a little education and lots of perseverance.
3. Know what you want
Have specific targets in mind – consider outcomes other than book sales.
4. Find a balance
As important as it is to put your thoughts down exactly as you want to, it’s just as beneficial to have help from the beginning. Publishers have the experience required to take a great idea and turn it into a sales success with often minor tweaking. After all, you both want to publish the best book you can.
5. Research their PR
The best way to achieve media coverage is still through PR, and having a third party to endorse you makes it much easier. Some companies use their marketing department for PR, and it depends on the kind of relationship they can develop with key contacts in the media. PR is a full time job, and in my opinion, best done by the professionals.
6. Don’t waste too much time.
Typically it takes 12-18 months from signing a publishing contract to seeing a book in print. Have a plan B; this plan B may well be self - or co-operative publishing.
7. Be professional
Specifically publish your book in the most professional way you can afford. If you decide to invest, consider full-service or co-operative publishing: these publishers can manage the entire project, reach out and promote your book to a wider audience than you could reach yourself. Professional publishers get your book on the shelves, whether in bricks and mortar bookstores or on a wide variety of online vendors.
8. Know your publisher
Whether you publish traditionally or not, ensure you’re using a professionally trained editor with plenty of experience.
9. Get to know the team
You’ll be working alongside the publishing team to get your book on the shelves and selling, so it’s vital that you get along with them and know how they work as a team.
10. Start strong
Wherever possible, seek help from the beginning. It would be a shame to start with a great idea but wind up with content that would have benefitted so much from the guidance that you didn’t seek.
By Mindy Gibbins-Klein MBA FPSA FRSA, multi-award-winning international speaker, author and thought leadership strategist. Her flagship book 24 Carat BOLD outlines the four attributes found in true thought leaders. Her latest book The Thoughtful Leader takes thought leadership to a new level. Founder and CEO of REAL Thought Leaders, The Book Midwife® and Panoma Press, Mindy has authored and co-authored eight books. She is also a regular contributor to the business press on thought leadership and raising your profile.