Publish, But Publish Smart

Blackhawk cover

Blackhawk, a story about a reclusive guitar legend, was written by Hayden Scott and published by Graham Publishing Group.

Begin with an assumption.  You’ve written a book.  A novel, biography, business book, self-help book.  It’s done.  Now it’s time to publish; time to publish smart.  Here’s some simple, but vital pieces to the publishing puzzle.

  1. Your book is done, but not perfect. No book ever is.  Seek out the best possible editor or editing group that you can. A content editor can make certain your presentation is at its highest level. A developmental editor can advise on flow, pacing, and consistency. A copy editor makes sure your manuscript is as clean as possible. 
  2. Do not underestimate the importance of your book cover. It is a prime marketing tool. It should absolutely reflect your story, your message, your mood. You may be tempted to design your own book cover, but this can be risky. Great book cover designers are few and far between. Know the difference between creativity and clip art, because plenty of so-called designers rely on the latter.
  3. Beware of vanity presses and self-publishing scams. They are running rampant in the industry.  They thrive on making promises they can’t possibly keep, like the promise of a sure-fire bestseller. Do your research. Know the kind of questions you need to ask. Getting your book in print form and ebook form is not expensive, but it has to be done right. 
  4. Only use a printing house that will also distribute and fulfill your books. You don’t have to buy a thousand books and store them in your garage. Print on demand is the new normal in self-publishing.  Again, do your research. Talk to people who have gone through the process, and then talk to some more.
  5. Market the heck out of your book. If you aren’t a celebrity or prominent public figure, you can’t just get your book on Amazon and sit back.  The public is very unlikely to stumble upon your book. Promote your book. Use every guerrilla marketing effort you can. Search out every program that companies like Amazon and Barnes and Noble have to offer.  Work hard for book reviews. Find book bloggers. Send out press releases. Do your research.
  6. Stay positive. Things are not easy in the world of book publishing.  But you are an author. You will be published. Stay aggressive and believe in yourself. Be smart.
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