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Home Feature Articles Feature Articles Your Guide To Succeeding as Published Author - Part 1
Your Guide To Succeeding as Published Author - Part 1 Print E-mail
Written by John McLauchlan   

There are more and more people are deciding to put their ideas on paper and authoring their own book, but while the creative juices may well flow, quite often the business sense doesn't, so in this special series of articles, I'll be explaining how to succeed as an author explaining the pros and cons of becoming an author & getting your book successfully to market.


In becoming an author, there's a certain sense of achievement in putting in the effort and having your work published in a book, the title of author can give credability and even status within certain circles, with a chance to reach the heights of other famous authors.


But the road from your initial concept or idea of your book to a completed retail ready product is often frought with danger, uncertainty  and a lot of hurdles along the way.


But if you've ever asked yourself the question of whether you could really become a successful author by writing a book and getting it published, then the answer is yes, just as long as you know what you're taking on and follow some essential points first.


What Do You Want To Achieve

Ok, so what do you want to achieve from your book writing efforts, why do you want to be a successful or famous author. Perhaps you want financial success, maybe the lifelong dream to write, maybe you've seen a gap in the market, vanity, whatever the reason is you should define what you want to achieve, by having goals laid out, knowing where you're going will give you a much better chance of reaching them.


The First Steps

The first thing you need to establish as a successful author is a skill that many people lack, which is the skill and ability to write, a fairly obvious trait, but one that many would-be authors fail to grasp. This topic is a complete subject in itself, so let's determine that you are a talented writer crititiqued by people other than your own family.


As with all products, and after all a book is simply a product, you have to research your market, this is a principle facet of any project if you want it to be successful, and should never be overlooked in any instance, it makes not just common sense, but good commercial sense to research and find a market before starting to write anything.


There are however many types of people who write for different reasons, on a varying and diverse range of subjects, but this can be broken down into different types of people:


       1. Those that write for the passion of writing

       2. Those that write for profit

       3. Those that like to see their name on a printed publication


...and typically there are two routes to get your book to market:


        1. Utilising the services of an agent and publisher

        2. Self publishing


But before we delve into those subjects, consider these points:

  • who are you writing to
  • who are your audience
  • will your audience want to buy your book
  • do your audience have the means to buy your book 
  • where are your audience


If all of these questions will be answered if you undertake strategic market research.

Learn more about that in my free 63 page Marketing Manual


Many writers have an idea for a book and simply begin writing without much thought as to who they are writing to, which can be an important facet as to whether you become a successful author or a struggling one. 


The biggest mistake people make is writing the initial manuscripts which could be 100,000 words and then ask the question of who would be interested in your work.


Even if your writing is good if there's no market for your product, then there's no market.


Assuming you have conducted your research, and you know what you want, there is another decision you will want to take which is - do you go along the traditional path of looking for an agent and a publishing deal, or do you pursue self publishing which takes a little more business savvy but can reap good rewards for those people with their feet on the ground.


The Traditional Path

The traditional method of getting your book published would be to search and find an agent who is willing to take you on, who represents you when dealing with publishers. 


Typically, you will have to rewrite your initial manuscript, often many times before a publisher is happy with the final version, you'll enter into contracts and negotiations dealt with by the agent, and prior to printing & distribution of your book you'll recieve an advance of the royalties.


The reality of the matter is that getting an agent to represent a non published author is extremely hard to do, as is approaching publishing houses direct, in fact a common trend with publishing houses is that they will assign and print your book for a fee, with no guarantee of success.


However despite the fact that getting a publishing deal is difficult to achieve, don't let that put you off, Jeffrey Archer went through the same process as did JK Rowling author of the Harry Potter books, who has done quite well!


The Self Publishing Path

Self publishing of late has often been called vanity publishing by some, and in some cases they would be right. There are lots of people writing their 'stuff' paying good money to have it published, with no real idea of who they are writing to or their marketing strategy.


Self publishing can, in comparison to traditional publishing, be fast and profitable if you know what you're doing, you can set up a number of distribution paths, get your book into the high street, and cater for the growing number of specialist platforms.


In part 2 of this special series 'Your Guide to Succeeding as a Published Author'  we'll be looking into the specifics of research and the different methods of publishing.

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