If you decided to publish the book in you then this post is written just for you.
Step zero of publishing
As you well know getting published is not difficult nowadays. However, competition is manifold, and the real test comes after publishing. Whether your book does well or very well depends on what you do or perhaps don’t do before you start writing your book. As a first-time author, you should begin with step zero – research. You'll be making decisions crucial to the success of your book based on this research before you even start writing it, so do it well.
Purpose of your book
1. If you have decided to write, you probably have a topic in your mind that you want to write about or at least you got a genre finalised. Find out how books on these topics are received and what is the reader profile of these. Join a related online community or a Facebook group to know what the readers want to read or do not want to read.
2. If you have a topic on hand based on your expertise or experience, visit the related forums and check the reviews of other books about the same subject.
3. Before finalising your subject, you should ask yourself who are you writing for. And the answer cannot be for yourself because then you don’t need to publish it. Everyone writes so that others read it and they like it. But different people like different things. It may be that you cannot categorise your reader in terms of age or gender, but you still need to understand their likes and dislikes. We shall borrow a process, called empathy mapping, from the corporate world and tweak it for our use. Using empathy mapping, we can create a suitable reader persona successfully. Now use your imagination superpower and answer the questions in detail in the image given below to get a vivid picture of your reader. It works best to think of one reader - who are you writing for? It is easier if you give your reader a name.
4. If you would like a shortcut then do the ‘so what’ test on your topic. Start with completing the following statement: My book is about ________________ (topic). Reading it will give/ enable _____________________________ (main value or benefit) to __________________ (potential reader profile). Then ask yourself ‘so what’ and continue asking ‘so what’ until you can define a clear solution or a benefit that your book offers to a defined reader profile. This would be the purpose of your book, which could be to educate, to entertain or to introduce to a new viewpoint or technology.
Deciding the format
Decide if you want it to be a paperback/hardcover or ebook. All formats have pros and cons. You can get both formats simultaneously. But it is advisable for a newbie to test the waters before jumping right in. Many times writers publish ebook first and after gauging the response, they go for a tweaked paperback version, if needed. It is easy to make changes in an ebook but not in the printed copies.
Several factors like initial investment budget, readers age-group, genre, promotional strategy will make you decide the format and subsequently the publishing platform.
Broadly there are three types of publishings platforms available in India: traditional publishers, independent publishing platform, which is a guided self-publishing model and the D-I-Y self-publishing online platforms. If a paperback is how you want it, you should approach the traditional publishers. Check their websites for the submission procedure to follow and submit a synopsis and a part of a manuscript for their review.
However, traditional publishers get hundreds of manuscripts and take a long time to get back to you. Also they are cautious of first-time authors unless your book has really impressed them. You could subsequently research the packages offered by the independent publishing platforms to suit your needs. You retain the rights and profits while they provide production and marketing support at a cost paid in advance. While they offer you professional services, they really don’t have a stake in your project if you know what I mean.
The digital self-publishing platforms like Kindle Direct Publishing are your third option. These are mostly do-it-yourself platforms. Although you have to take care of every aspect of publishing - cover design, interior formatting, editing, etc. detailed guidelines and easy software are available. You compile, upload your book, and you can start selling it within 2-4 days. You pay a commission per book after the sale is completed so it suits every budget. And they have a promotions strategy in place. What's more if you have second thoughts or feel like updating the manuscript, it's easy peasy.
If you decide to go with the third option, congratulations you chose well. Now all you need is your community backing you and guiding you through the process.
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