Publishing a book can be a fantastic way to establish yourself as a “thought leader” in your industry and expand your reach. A successful book can be a suburb lead generator for consultants, speakers, professionals (to name a few).
Two Australian accountants, Tony Melvin and Ed Chan, have recently launched a book called “How to Legally Minimise Your Tax”. It has not only hit the bestseller lists in Australia, but has also provided them with a raft of back-end sales opportunities. Some of their back end offerings include more advanced DVD-based products in addition to the professional services that they provide. All in all, a job well done!
So how do you get your book published?
I too have had a book project in the wings for some time but the whole business of getting a book published is rather daunting and for one reason or another I’m at the same stage with this as I was 6 months ago.
Recently I regained some momentum with this project when Charles Cuninghame from Text-Centric Copywriting introduced me to Pam Brewster from Brolga Publishing, who very kindly gave me some pointers on how to go from an idea to actually seeing your book in bookshops.
Here’s a summary of Pam’s recommendations…
Broadly speaking, there are three options: going through a publisher, self-publishing via traditional bookshops or self-publishing on the Internet. Let’s look at each one in turn…
Option 1: Going through a publisher
The key advantage of going through a publisher is that the publisher meets your costs and distributes the book on your behalf.
- The first step is to approach a publisher (preferably one who publishes books in a similar genre to yours). An easy way to find appropriate publishers is to simply go to a bookshop and look at who’s publishing books in your chosen genre.
- The next step is to submit a brief synopsis, Table of Contents, author profile and 1 or 2 sample chapters to “sell” the manuscript. If the publisher likes what they ready, they’ll contact you to request the full manuscript.
- If a publisher agrees to publish your book, they will meet the cost of production and distribution. First-time authors typically receive a royalty payment of 10% of RRP and royalties are paid 6-monthly.
- If you go through a publisher, one of the prices you may have to pay is letting go of some editorial control.
Option 2: Self-publishing
If you can’t find a publisher to take on your project (or you’re the maverick-type who just likes to make their own rules!) self-publishing is another option.
- First step is to find a distributor â€“ the distribution cost is typically 60% to 70% of RRP. The remaining 30% to 40% has to cover all of your costs including printing. If you’re lucky there will even be a bit left over as profit!
- The word on the street is that distributors normally aren’t terribly thrilled to work with first-time authors. The reason is that newbies often have unrealistic expectations and are more trouble than they’re worth to deal with.
Option 3: Self-publishing via the Internet
The other option is to self publish and distribute over the internet – either in e-book format or in printed format. The advantage of this include the relative ease of publishing and the ability to potentially target very tight subject niches (plus, you get a much greater percentage of the profits).
The disadvantage is that your reach is significantly diminished, especially if your target market are not necessarily active online. [Or your industry may be very competitive online but far less so offline. When you go offline your marketing efforts will gain much greater traction.]
Step 1: Publish Book.
Step 2: ……..
Step 3: Profit!
How many authors actually make a profit from their work? A few bestselling authors make millions, but the majority either eke out a modest existence or make nothing.
If publishing a book is a “means to an end” (i.e. a lead generation tool for your business), then not making any profit on the front end isn’t a problem. If you structure it correctly, you should have a back end of products and services where you make your money.
And simply calling yourself a “published author” can add significantly to your pre-eminence within your industry. Even if you never sell a copy, you’re still a published author and an industry expert.
Now, where was I with that manuscript……