Ever wonder how to get a book published correctly? Let me tell you how exactly you can do that based on my own experience.
Karen got back the draft version of her children's book from the hybrid publisher and it was a complete mess. She was ready to give up but that would have been a huge mistake. That's the reason why today, we're discussing how to get a book published.
So, Karen was a children's book writer who lives in Illinois. She herself is not an illustrator but she has an awful lot of ideas for different children's books. That was one of the things she wanted to do, which is getting her children's book self-published.
Knowing The Phases Of Self-Publishing
Well, she wanted to get it traditionally published but found that was a bit of a problem. But she wasn't exactly sure about the steps that were necessary to go about doing this. She had a friend who did get a book through the publishing process and it looked absolutely amazing.
That showed Karen that it is possible to go about moving step by step through the process. The problem was that if she didn't get it onto the market, all of these stories that she had told her children but never actually got into a book would be completely wasted.
All of the children in the world would be able to benefit from her stories and also possibly provide a side income for Karen. That was one of the main motivations she had to get going in the first place. But she began to doubt whether or not the quality of her books would be good enough to see the success that she was needing to get.
So, the first thing she did was she had written the book and she put it together. She needed an illustrator and realized his publishing processes were so complex. That it would be better for her just to go with a hybrid company.
And that's exactly what she did. So, she told them a little bit of the idea of the illustrations that she would want in her book. They were able to put the whole thing together.
The only problem was when they finally gave back her manuscript, it was a complete mess. The formatting was off and the illustrations were low-quality. They didn't match at all what she had envisioned.
This was going to be a problem for her. So, what happened at this point was she asked me a question on Quora. She said what exactly are these publishing steps that I'm going to need to do and what should I do at this point?
And that was when I discussed with her the breakdown of the phases of self-publishing. This is a very important thing that so many new authors get wrong. Do you think you can skip this and just hire somebody else to do it all for you?
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But that would be a major mistake. So, let's go through exactly what is necessary if you want to get your book published and on to the market and selling. The first phase of publishing is the research phase.
Now this one here is the one that causes most books not to sell. We hop right over it into phase two without bothering to research what exactly we're writing on. In her case, one of the problems she was facing was that she was writing a type of children's book that was targeting a topic for which we simply couldn't find any books on Amazon on this topic.
Does it mean, how many books are currently selling? How big of a market are we looking at? The answer is that there is no market there if people are not buying.
Now, you may be thinking that you're going to be the first author to come out with this type of book. In Karen's case, she'd be hitting the market with a book on this type of children's book that nobody had ever thought of before.
The only problem is if nobody's ever thought of it before, most likely nobody's searching for the topic either. There's no problem doing this once you're a well-established author. You can build and create new markets where they've never existed.
But when we're first getting started, we need to ensure that there are already books in the type of genre or sub-niche that we're shooting at. That is already on the market and selling. Now we may choose to take that market and go one layer deeper to be the only one with this exact type of book.
But in terms of the higher-level market, it has to already exist. We're not trying to because of this big reason. With any product or service you're selling, if the market does not exist yet, we have to then inform those people that they should focus on this exact market.
They should start going through the steps and trying to educate them. And that is what we do, do not want to do. We do not want to educate people and create a market.
We do not want to persuade people that they have a need already. Rather we want to tap into an existing need or desire that they already have. For them to put their book onto the market.
Putting The Book Completely Together
So, how to get a book published? Do whatever you do. Do not hop over the research phase which involves specifically going through where there already is a market. And an underserved market where there are not that many books on this exact market.
Then we move into phase two and that is the writing phase. Most authors believe it's the only phase. Now, this is another huge mistake when we get to the writing phase.
Also based on our research, we are going to know a little bit about what our cover is going to look like. Based on the best sellers in our market, we're going to have an idea of what the average length and expectations are. What kind of children's illustrations for example is expected when it comes to this type of book?
Not all illustrations are equally good, some illustrations are better than others. How do we know which ones are best? Which books are already selling with those illustrations?
In other words, Amazon is already sharing all of this information with us. So, when we're going to enter the writing phase based upon the chapters, maybe the titles that are going into those chapters' headings. The sub-chapters for example, the breakdown of the book, and the overall length of the book.
How exactly are we dealing with this title and subtitle? You might think, write the book first then figure out the title and subtitle. But no, we don't want to do that.
Our title and subtitle will play directly into this. Because obviously, how are we going to know what to write if we don't already have a good idea of what this book is about? And which market are we writing towards?
That's why the research phase is the most important phase of the entire process. Your book will live or die based upon what exactly happens during that phase. That then moves us on to the third phase which is the formatting phase.
This is where we're putting it all together, we're going to order the cover for our book using 99Designs as I do. That's the one that I use for this process. Then we're going to have the formatting of the book itself.
We pull our cover directly into it so that we're going to be able to hit a single button. And have our Kindle, paperback, hardback, and all of the different versions we're going to need. Even for the audio version, we're going to need to get this book to look very sharp.
And when we're doing the formatting, this comes back a little bit to the research. To see exactly what the books look like. What do the best-sellers have?
If they have a title page and then they have this, they have the next page, the copyright, and these sorts of things. We're going to follow that exactly with one exception, we do not put a preface in there.
We don't put a bunch of information at the beginning of the book. The best-sellers that are known by well-known authors may do this. But we are simply not going to do this with our book.
That will kill your sales, no weird long introductions, and all this stuff. It's going to be nice and short and right on into the book. So that is the first rule that we're going to do.
The second thing is we're going to ask people to join our email list. Many of the main authors do not do this, we want to get them on the email list. So that's just a little bit of a tip.
You can do it at a later point when you're first getting started. But on the publishing steps, this is part of the formatting. So now, we have the book completely together and we're going to upload this book to Amazon KDP.
We're going to have our eBook and our paperback book quickly. It is to be followed by our audiobook and we're going to put the hardback as well. So, we're going to have all of these different formats that are there.
Giving Your Book The Best Chance To Win
Later on, we'll look at IngramSpark as well for the distribution of our book across these different platforms, and finally the publishing of a book brings us to phase 4 which is the marketing phase and this is an incredibly important phase for our book.
And this is where we're going to be doing two forms of marketing in particular. One is paid ads using Amazon ads. This is going to tell us whether our cover and our title are a good match.
Are we even able to get people to click at all? So that's the first thing we're going to do. And the second thing we're going to do is content marketing.
That's the reason I have a Content Marketing Course that goes through the phase as necessary. It's a long game we're talking about. If you have the desire to publish your book.
You've gone through these steps and you're thinking that you're going to hit a home run on your first book. That is so unbelievably difficult to do. That it's going to take a period in multiple books and lots of practice to get there.
I don't know why people assume that if you're painting, you would be making an amazing Mona Lisa on your very first try. The same goes for your books and your self-publishing journey. It's not going to happen on your very first try.
In fact, for most authors, it's going to take about three to five years to build up that audience. Where you have that trust that's going on. And if you don't believe me, put your book onto the market, run the ads and these things and you'll notice that most books start to flatline.
It's not moving as fast as you would like. But let's not be hard on ourselves, this is a process. We want to produce a quality book; we give ourselves time and that’s how to get a book published.
We're not going for perfection. But look, you sell some copies to your friends. I've even had some students who've even won a bunch of prizes for their books and even then, it starts to flatline.
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The biggest challenge they have is they don't have the reviews. Do not be so hard on yourself. Once you go through these publishing steps, we're going to go back and look back.
And implement even more advanced strategies as I do with most of my coaching clients. We go one layer deeper; we try to do only one thing at a time as we're moving through these. But then in the next phase, there are all sorts of stuff we can do to improve the probability of sales.
Notice I didn't say there's no guaranteed profit that you're going to win on everything. But we want to ensure we give our books the best chance to win in terms of the probability that they're going to start selling. That's something that you're going to want to pay attention to.
Karen discovered that really, this wasn't as difficult as she thought. She was just trying to do too many things at a time. She saw the market that she was targeting was off.
So, she moved over to a friendlier market where there were children's illustrated books that were selling. In addition, she went on to Upwork and she found an illustrator who would be able to do it. You can also use 99Designs to do this same thing.
But she found an illustrator who was able to do her book at a reasonable price as she was moving through the self-publishing steps. The thing is she's not finished getting her book on the market but she's much happier with the process. We need to get exact samples from these illustrators.
We need to see that we're happy with them. We're pulling them into Jutoh to make sure they're properly formatted. That gives us everything we need to succeed at our self-publishing.
My question for you today is what step of the self-publishing process are you at? Let me know below in the comments because I need to know how far you have come.