5 Things I Learned about Publishing a Book
Well.. this week has been a big week. I had a meeting with someone who has the power to publish or reject my manuscript and mailed off my first art exhibition entrance attempt. I’d say I’m well on my way to calling 2012 a #finishyear. (Check out the post about that here)
I learned a lot in my meeting… and I want to share them with all you folks who are looking to publish a book.
1. Think outside the box.
I want to publish a kid’s story picture book. Guess what? That’s the most difficult genre to get a publishing gig. How difficult, you say? Well… many publishers only publish one or two A YEAR. Yeah. Best advice: think through other formats that your story will work in. Can it be expanded to young reader fiction? Does it work as a small-format pocket book? Also, here’s a for free comment: If your art is not commercial enough for sale, your book will be returned to you with the short letter of rejection. Including illustrations with your story lowers your chance a ton. (I’m glad I didn’t take any of mine with me.)
2. Build a platform.
Answer this question: Why on earth would someone want to buy what you have written? Why would they drive to a book store to pick up your book? Market this answer!
3. Build a Tribe.
If you are not Beth Moore, Dr Seuss, or JK Rowling, no one is going to automatically want to publish (or read) your book. If you prove that you have a bunch of people who want to read what you write, you win! Blog. Write newsletters. Send smoke signals. Write words in airplane exhaust in the sky. Whatever it takes… find those people who want to listen and talk, talk, talk.
4. Do your homework.
Read everything you can get your hands on that is in the genre of literature that you want to publish… and even things outside your genre that are well-written. Learn everything you can from them.
5. Follow your heart and don’t give up.
Love your story and the publisher just doesn’t see it? Consider self publishing. Whatever you do, just don’t give up. If you write enough stories and talk to enough publishers, SOMEONE will want your story, right? Persistence is key. Keep perfecting your craft and speaking from your heart, no matter the outcome.
And one for free:
Christian publishers normally won’t touch stories with fairies or magic. Eat your heart out, CS Lewis. In today’s world, no way would your magical stories be on desks of the folks I’m trying to get to read my story. Who knew? I learned this one the hard way.
I spent about an hour talking with a guy driving the force of children’s publishing. It was an incredible opportunity to sit across the table and get answers to tons of my questions. I haven’t heard an official yes or no back from them yet, but I’m excited just to get some critique in the following days! I’ll keep you up to date on what I learn. These are things every writer needs to know… and I want to make sure you get the chance to know them before trying to figure out how to get your book published!