It’s Time to Write Your Book

When I tell people what I do, their eyes widen in surprise. I’m not a magician, but I do make something happen that’s hard to accomplish alone. I’m a book finisher. I am an independent editor who helps people write, polish, and finish the book they’ve been meaning to write.

Coming face to face with an editor is a moment of truth. It’s an opportunity to explore your ideas out loud and make a commitment to yourself. Is this the year you’re going to write your book?

The fact is, 80% of us want to write a book – but only 1% gets it done. We’re all so busy with work, family, and daily life, none of us has the time nor the headspace to devote to writing.

Books seem like lofty goals. Someday, somehow, that book will get done. And yet… it doesn’t.

That’s why an editor can be helpful. We listen to your ideas, take copious notes, and then give you feedback to help you shape your ideas into a completed book – whether you’ve started writing or not. We set up a structure with deadlines and offer regular feedback and support.   

Most potential authors have a desired outcome in mind. When they finish their book, they’ll keynote at an upcoming conference, speak at a special event, or attract and influence valuable clients.

Writing a book is a brilliant business move: your book can establish you as a thought leader in your field. When you introduce yourself as an author, people look at you as an expert and this opens doors to your career advancement.

So, how does this work?

One of the first questions I get from a client is, “How will I get my book done on time and on budget?” 

The answer I give them is: “We’re going to self-publish.” I say “we” because they’ve come to me for support and guidance. “We’re going to produce a professionally edited, impressive book at a reasonable cost.”

“Wait,” you say, “self-publish? Isn’t that for writers who can’t get a ‘legitimate’ publisher?”

Self-publishing

Actually, self-publishing has come a long way. It is no longer considered a “vanity project” when you publish independently. It is now considered a smart, expedient, and professional option in a crowded marketplace.

Interestingly, some books that are independently published are picked up by traditional publishers later. Ever hear of The Joy of Cooking? Irma Rombauer, a homemaker, had it printed in 1931 by a company that made labels for shoes. Joy was picked up by a publisher and, to date, 18 million copies have been sold. The Tales of Peter Rabbit and What Color is Your Parachute? started out the same way. So did Fifty Shades of Grey.

These authors and others who’ve become successful, either via independent or traditional publishing, have worked at it every day. We’ll talk about your writing practice and marketing tips in my next blogs.

The hard truth about traditional publishing today is that fewer than 1% of submitted manuscripts are accepted by Random House and others. And most of us don’t want to spend 5-10 years chasing down a publisher, and then 5-10 more years writing and rewriting to that publisher’s specifications.

This is why I advise self-publishing. There are many options that produce impressive results, and self-publishing achieves my clients’ goals:

  1. Creative control of the content, flow, and design of your book.
  2. Guaranteed publication by a certain date.
  3. Professional results.
  4. Value for your money.

So if you want to write a book this year, hire an editor. An editor will guide you through the process of completing and publishing your book.

If you don’t have time to write your book, hire a ghostwriter to compile and transform your content into a book.

Or hire me: I do both.

In my next blog, we’ll talk about the top 4 print-on-demand options for self-publishing your book.

Should you publish your book during Covid?

Reading aloud helps you define your voice and market your book.

The good news is that during the pandemic, people are reading voraciously. Apocalyptic sci-fi and romance offering temporary escape are selling out, books about race and social justice have surged since summer, and children’s nonfiction and activity books are popular now while families are home, learning together. E-books have taken off while audio books have declined, because many of us aren’t commuting to work.

The hard news is that because there is very little room for anything but the virus in the media, it’s a tough time for a debut author to get attention. Even so, many writers are going for it, and IngramSpark Self-Publishing is running strong. Authors are getting their books to market via Amazon. The question is, what happens when they get there? How do you market your book during a pandemic?

The most important asset you have as an author, aside from talent, is your platform: your community of potential readers and your ability to influence that community to purchase and read your book, and to recommend it to others.

But before you broadcast your book, you must first define your brand as an author – and know your target readers. Who are you, and what are you trying to say with your book? What is your overarching goal? Do you want to entertain, or inform, or change something in our culture? It’s important to really think this through, and to know your voice.

Your voice is most effective and powerful when it is authentically who you are. Whether you are writing nonfiction, fiction, or creative nonfiction, your voice is what carries your story. An editor or reader can help you spot inconsistencies in your voice and style, and can be very motivating as an accountability partner, giving you deadlines.

Even before your book is finished, you can start reaching out to readers – start with your friends and family. Kelly Corrigan read aloud from her draft of The Middle Place to her friends and family. Her reading was so moving, it went viral and Kelly went on to become a best-selling author and speaker.

So, use this time to finish your book, and when you’re done, let us in on it. Your readers will amplify your voice.