How do I get published?

One of the most common questions I receive from people is “How do I get published?” The intention of this post is to give you a starting point in your journey to becoming a published author. WARNING: The road to becoming published is much harder and more daunting then it looks.

My first book was Chasing Paper Cranes. I self-published this book back in 2015. I recommend that everyone self-publish their first book as it will teach you a great deal about the industry, how books are sold, the importance of marketing and how to put a finished product together.

You can self-publish your book for free via Createspace, a company owned by Amazon. In this post, I could list all the things you need to do, however researching and discovering a lot of it yourself is an important part of the learning process. Instead I am going to list some things you will need to do before you are able to publish your first book.

– Find someone to design your cover. (Yes you will have to pay them)

– Find someone to edit your book, both developmental and line editing. (Yes you will have to pay them)

– Find someone to format your book for both eBook and Paperback (Again, you will need to pay them)

– Ask yourself: What genre is my book? Where would I find it on Amazon?

– What trim size do I want my cover to be?

– How am I going to market my book?

Google is a great asset in learning all of the above, and I recommend a budget of $1,000 USD for your first book. This is not mandatory, however it will lead to creating a better book for your readers.

The other question, I often get is “How did you get published?”

I started posting my writing through numerous social platforms(tumblr, instagram, twitter) and built up a base of readers. The Chainsmokers then discovered my work and re-tweeted and posted it on Instagram, which helped my work to go viral and generate a lot of followers and sales. From here I was approached by Andrew McMeels Publishing, and then went on to sign a deal. I never submitted a proposal to AMU – they discovered me. Therefore, I am not the best person to ask for advice on how to write a manuscript proposal, as I have never done it.

There is a stigma against self-publishing vs traditional publishing where people seem to think they are more “prestigious” if they get a publishing deal – this is not true. To put it bluntly, it’s plain bullshit and these people are probably struggling with the fact self-publishing is growing more and more every year. There is nothing wrong with self-publishing and again I recommend self-publishing first as it teaches you about the book industry, which is important so that you are aware of how the industry works and you don’t get taken advantage of. It also teaches you how to make a quality book and what to do and what not to do.  Here are some points to consider:

– writing the book (yes, you need to have a finished edited manuscript before you consider publishing – getting ahead of yourself is not practical)

– editing including developmental and line editing (developmental editing means someone looks over the flow of your book, does it make sense, suggests ways to improve it etc line editing means someone goes through line by line and checks for grammatical errors, spelling errors etc)

– formatting the book for digital and paper back (they are not the same thing)

– marketing and advertising campaigns (if you figure out how to successfully reach hundreds of thousands of people without lifting a finger or spending a good chunk of $ on marketing and advertising campaigns, let me know :P)

– the size of the book

– the book cover (probably the most important, everybody does in fact, judge a book by it’s cover)

– sales

Lots of people believe that publishing a book is just a matter of finding the right person who will make it happen and suddenly you will have a book deal and people will throw money, love and adoration at you, but that’s very far from the truth 🙂 It takes a long term investment, lots of determination and also lots of learning, planning and gaining knowledge about the industry to even have a slice of success.

I recommend reading the books below, to firstly help you in your writing and secondly help you in your publishing. I read both of these books when I started out and they greatly helped me.

– 5000 words per hour by Chris Fox

– The Fine Print of Self Publishing by Mark Levine

Finally, the biggest thing I have learnt and probably the best piece of advice I can give is: If you are not willing to invest in creating a quality product (yes, books are products) then how can you honestly expect a reader / consumer to spend their hard earned money on your book? Producing quality goes a long way in this industry and can be the difference between poor and successful results.

You can achieve anything that you set your mind to, as long as you go in with the intention of creating the best book you can.

Good luck with your writing journey.

Courtney

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