fountain-penThey say we all have a book in us somewhere, but how many people actually get that book out and use it to help them establish their reputation for being an expert in their field?

This is the first instalment of a guide to getting your book from an idea in your head to a finished production in your hand.

OK – let’s start at the beginning, but it might not be the beginning you had in mind!

Before you start to think about writing you need to know your marketplace. Who are you writing for? How do you know they will buy your book? How will you ensure your book gets in front of them? If you don’t know who you’re writing for, then you’ll struggle to sell your finished product.

MYTH #1: If you get a contract with a publishing house they’ll market your book for you.

A few do some marketing, but conventional publishing companies will usually send a letter (not your book) to all the reviewers stating that it’s been published, a thumbnail of the content and a one line biog of the author, suggesting that they ask for a copy to review. They might also sell the foreign rights – eventually. If you’re a first time author or unknown, be prepared to do your own marketing.

MYTH #2: If you find a publisher who hasn’t published a book like yours they might be interested to have something new in their catalogue.

On the contrary – if a publisher hasn’t published a book like yours, they have probably made a decision to stick to the genres in which they’re already successful. If you decide to pursue the publishing contract route you need to approach publishers that do publish books like yours, but haven’t published anything similar in the last year or so. Do your research.

MYTH #3: Getting a contract with a publishing house will ensure you earn more money from the book.

Nope! A first time book will usually get 7 1/2%- 10% of net. You have to sell a lot of books to make much. Remember that a book can be rated a best seller with just 3000 copies sold.

The upside is that you don’t pay for editing, layout, cover design and publication, which you would have to do if you self-publish.  However, if you do self-publish you keep much more of the money the book makes.

When you arrive at the writing stage you’ll need to ensure you are writing for your target market, answering the questions they have and delivering information they will find valuable. More about that in the next instalment.