Give Yourself a Book Deal

I’ll probably not do this for myself anytime soon, but since I’ve mentioned the topic several times in this column,  I decided to finally do some research and figure out how one goes about getting a book in print.  Note that I did not say “how to write a book”. You’ll have to figure that one out for yourself!  Hint: first,  have something relevant and compelling to say and second, money and sex are two very popular topics.

However in this post,  I will dare to assume that readers will produce a business-themed book on a subject in which they’ve acquired considerable expertise. Writing a book is a marketing tool that can carry a Freelancer for years.  A book gives its author gravitas. The author will definitely be  positioned as an expert,  considered a more attractive conference speaker or panelist,  a more credible source to quote by journalists.  You are an author,  an authority.

The original method of getting a book into print was to write up a book proposal and shop it around to publishing houses that specialize in books in your subject.  If the proposal looked strong enough to generate sales that would justify the time and money involved in editing,  printing  and distributing the book,  then the author would receive a letter inviting him/her to discuss the proposal.

That is still done,  but not nearly as often.  There are far fewer publishing houses now and competition by aspiring authors looking to get in the door is intense.  It would be almost impossible for the average Freelancer to publish a book conceived to be used for self-and business promotion to succeed in the traditional manner.

Self-publishing houses and similar operators have stepped into the breach and opened the doors wide for those who have a business to promote,  a story to tell,  or a family history they’d like to document in print and pass on to future generations.  Self-publishing is most suitable for authors who are unlikely to attract a traditional publisher and who will sell directly to  readers from the author’s website,  at seminars or at other gatherings.

So let’s get started on your book deal.  Begin by visiting the websites of self-publishers to compare services and prices.  Createspace and Lulu are two outfits to consider.  When evaluating services,  pay attention to exactly what it is you will pay for and watch out for hidden fees.  Look for non-template, customized cover design charges;  editing and copy editing (i.e., typos) charges;  and distribution and renewal fees.  Expect to pay $1500.00 – $4500.00 to edit, design and print your book.

Examine with great care (and perhaps with the assistance of an attorney who specializes in the field) the subject of author rights.  True self-publishing means that all rights to the book lie exclusively with its author.  Furthermore,  clarify whether you are able to terminate your publishing agreement at will and without penalty.

You’ll need to decide if you’d like your book to appear in print or as an e-book.  Maybe you can do both eventually?  In 2010,  e-book sales accounted for 9%  of the overall book market,  according to the Association of America Publishers.  The e-book trend is upward,  spurred on by Nook and Kindle.

How your book will look (print style, lay-out, etc.) and the design of the front and back covers are another big concern.  You may want to hire a graphic artist with experience in book production to do art and design work.  Chances are that your money will be well spent. Your book must look professional and represent your brand well.  Also,  be sure to use the appropriate paper stock.

Do yourself another favor and hire a copy editor and a proofreader.  In fact,  this will be among the most important investments in your book’s production.  It is absolutely crucial to ensure that your book has no errors.  Your professional reputation depends upon it.  Your publishing service may offer copy editing,  but they may not be especially diligent.

Becoming a published author is a much more attainable achievement today than ever before.  Your book will be a useful marketing tool,  a door opener and a confidence builder for both you and prospective clients.  A significant amount of work must be done to bring the book to life and it will be necessary to carefully research available options—just like any other major goal you plan to reach.  Additionally,  it will no doubt be useful to seek out the blogs of self-published authors for more information and the real inside scoop.

Good luck and thanks for reading,

Kim

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