For most writers, becoming published is the dream. There is something about the idea of seeing their words in print on a shelf or on Amazon’s website that just gets a writer going.
But, most writers also feel that the dream of publication is far off or unobtainable. Others feel like it should be handed to them, no questions asked.
Neither of these scenarios should be true for any writer. However, you need to be ready and prepared for your publishing experience.
Before you begin seeking publishers and literary agents you should ask yourself these six questions to determine if you and your book are ready to begin the publishing journey.
1. Does your book have a main point?
If your book is going to find any kind of success it will need to have a very clear and well-articulated main point. As the writer, you should be able to easily identify the main point and communicate it to your readership as well as a publisher, editor, or agent.
If you find that you cannot easily identify a main point or articulate it, you should revisit your manuscript to edit and rewrite.
2. Does your book have an audience?
Every book has a very clear and specific audience, and your book should be written and geared toward this group of people. You should be able to identify who they are, their age, socioeconomic status, gender, profession, etc.
For nonfiction writers, you should be able to identify what problem your audience has that you want to help them to solve.
If you cannot identify a specific audience for your book, then you should do some research on your topic and determine your audience. Then look at your writing to make sure your book is written with that audience in mind.
3. Does your book have commercial potential?
As much as you may hate it, your book must have some sort of commercial potential. (Writing is an art after all, right?) If it doesn't, how will your message ever reach your audience?
You have to determine what other books have been written on your subject. How were they received by the audience? Do they cover the same information as your book? Does your book provide a different angle, or is it more up-to-date? Does your book help a specific niche in your specific audience that no other book has helped before?
What you need to know is will your book do well in competition with the other books in your market. If not, you need to revisit what you are writing about, why, and to whom.
4. How will you reach your audience?
The truth about being a writer is if no one knows you wrote something they won't read it. Before you start your publishing journey you need to ask yourself how will you reach your audience and let them know you wrote a book.
Do you have an email list? Do you have an author Facebook page? Do you have any other social media accounts? Are you a speaker?
In order for your book to be successful and your message to reach your audience you need to have contact with them. You need to have a platform and engage your audience on a regular basis.
This looks different for every author, but it’s necessary. If you don't have a platform, you will need to do some research on what the best way to build your specific platform is and begin that before publishing.
5. Is your book good quality?
This question is not meant to discourage or offend. Many writers only show their manuscript to friends and family who, of course, think it is wonderful and a surefire hit. We don't mean to diminish their feelings; your unedited manuscript is probably a good start.
However, if no publishing or writing professional has looked over your manuscript and given you notes which you have used, then your book isn't ready for publishing.
Every book needs editing. You need to take your book to a professional, who is not a close friend or family member, who can help guide you in writing for your genre and audience.
6. Why do you want to be published?
Before you begin the publishing process you need to know why you are doing it.
If you want to grow your business with your published book you will need to find a publisher whose vision aligns with yours.
If you are wanting to become a professional writer you will need to find an agent and publisher who can help you do that.
If you want to sell your book and get your message to a few hundred people in your audience, you need to find a partner and publisher who believes in your message and has the resources to help you with that.
If you want your book to sell a million copies in 5 months so you can become a famous writer, you probably shouldn't pursue publishing because no one can guarantee you that kind of success.
These questions are deep and introspective. They are hard questions, but absolutely necessary to answer before publishing. These are questions that every publisher asks themselves before deciding to publish a book or reject it.
If you can ensure that you have good answers to these questions, then you will be able to find the right publisher for you and your book
At Lucid Books we love to help authors find answers for these questions with our writing, editing, and marketing services. If you need help in any of these areas, or are ready to begin your publishing journey, fill out our Get Started form and a member of our team will be in contact with you soon!