Updated: Jan 14
Have you ever bought a book for its beautiful, eye-catching cover, but you couldn’t get past the first chapter because it was so poorly written? Yeah, me too.
Was there ever a time the juicy summary on the back sucked you in and you thought, “Wow, this is a really compelling story!” Then as you began reading the contents, you kept making mental corrections, which sucked the life out of you, leaving you completely unwowed. Yeah. Me. Too!
I’ll be honest. I have bookshelves full of books that I cannot read. Well, technically I can read them, but I don’t want to. Its mentally exhausting trying to make sense of senseless sentences.
I can always tell (1) who hired a good editor (2) who invested in learning how to write (3) and those who took the least expensive route or who didn't understand that all editors are not created the same.
It really does hurt my heart to see someone so excited about becoming an author, but knowing only their friends and family will purchase it. Worse, the buzz will only last about half a year and then people will forget they are an author. How do i know so much about it? Because it happened to me.
Yes, I was so excited to become a part of an anthology and make my debut in the writing world, but I was ignorant to what that meant (see what you need to know before becoming a part of an anthology). The experience was amazing, and it really reignited the flame of creative writing within me. Just like I mentioned that all editors are not created the same (see article here), all writers are not created the same. It is important to know the caliber of your co-authors.
That’s why I want to share 5 things you should know before writing your book, so your copy doesn't end up on the decorative bookshelf, or in someone's giveaway pile.
Tip #1: You have to spend money to make money
Tip #2: Put your money where it pays you
Tip #3: Make it easy for people to give you their money
Tip #4: Take a free writing course to help cut costs
Tip #5: Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should
As an editor, I make it make sense, but it isn’t always easy. My job is to make it look easy so authors get paid.
So, how do self-published authors get paid? The answer (as if you didn’t already know) is to sell books! How do authors sell books? By marketing and promotions. And purpose of marketing and promoting? To compels people to buy your book. What do you want them to do once they read your book? Write and outstanding review and promote it to others. How do you get amazing reviews and referrals? By writing a captivating manuscript! How do you ensure you have a well-written manuscript? I’m glad you asked!
These five tips will help you put your money where it pays you instead of pouring your money down the drain, or even worse, draining the life out of people.
This list is not all inclusive, but it will help you get a good start.
Tip #1: You have to spend money to make money. Establish your budget as soon as you decide to publish a book. Writing a book isn't like writing that high school essay; it costs to publish a good book! I've worked with several aspiring authors who have a passion for writing a book but have no budget to make it happen. Or they have a budget, but it isn't realistic enough to make their dreams a reality. Many of my clients don't know that there are writers (if you don't know, many people hire ghostwriters-that means they don't write the book themselves), developmental editors, line editors, copy editors, proofreaders, publishers, marketers, and book managers that help make a book successful. Yes, you can get two-for-one in some cases, but rarely will you get all-for-one. Pay people for their expertise, not just general knowledge, because you get what you pay for.
Tip #2: Put your money where it pays you. Did you read the intro? If you did, you understand that a pretty book is no good without good content. I'll even go further and say a book is only as good as the editing. If you want the biggest bang for your buck, hire a good editor! (click to read my article, All editors are not created equal: How to choose the right editor for your project) How many books have you started reading but were unable to finish because of horrible grammar and punctuation? Even if the content is good, I can't get past the inappropriate use of their, they're, and there, or the question mark where a period should rest. If you want people to read your book, it must be readable!
Tip #3: Make it easy for people to give you their money! Ensure your summary is well written. I know many people and readers are like me. Even though the summary is on the back, it is often the first thing I read—even when I’m shopping on line! I immediately scroll to the summary and then head on down to the reviews. Typically, that becomes my decision point. Notice I didn’t mention the book cover. I never decide to buy a book based on the cover (unless Oprah is on the cover, duh!). While the content is critical, don't forget to spend time on the summary! The goal is to get people to buy the book, read it in its entirety, and recommend it to others! So, the book should be well written from front to back
Tip #4: Cut your costs; take a free writing course. Some editors charge by the hour and others per word. If your editor hires by the hour, you want to make their work as easy as possible. Some editors will charge extra for heavy editing, so beware of that too! If you know the basic mechanics of writing, syntax, voice, and punctuation, you reduce the workload of an editor, thus, reducing the amount of time it takes to produce quality work.
Tip #5: Just because you can, doesn't mean you should. Yes, you may be able to write a story, and you may have gotten good grades on your high school essays, but that doesn't mean you should publish a book on your own. In this day and age, self-publishing is at every author's fingertips, and it is tempting to try to do it all on your own. Don't. There are many steps to writing and publishing a book, and if you plan to sell your books, hire professionals. Find people who specialize in what they do. You will have a much better product, you can trust me on this.
Bonus tip: Many people spend more money getting their books published than they make from book sales. Making tons of money from your book sales is possible, but it isn't the norm. Writing books is not a get-rich-quick scheme, but a benefit that helps you establish your reputation as an expert or authority in your field. This isn’t the only benefit, but a major one.
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