Publishing a book in 2020 may be one of the most daunting adventures you take.
For the past three years I undertook a book publishing project which seen many high and lows throughout the process.
All of those emotions aside, there were five key lessons that I learned through the book publishing process that I want to share with folks.
As an author with lived experience through these mistakes, my hope is that others will not replicate these five things below.
Publishing Too Early
People warned me that this may happen, but at 28 years of age I did not fully grasp this concept. For me, I wanted to get my book into the hands of readers as fast as possible. This was my #1 mistake. In hindsight, I should have waited and fine-tuned my manuscript a bit more. I have since done this but I wish I had waited a bit longer knowing time was on my side at 28. When you get to the point with your book where your manuscript is finished, I recommend taking a break and reflecting on your manuscript in great detail. Give it time. Make sure you are 100% satisfied with it before you send it out to the world.
Knowing Your Market
I am still making this mistake as I write this. Probably because I am all about the organic process. I have believed from day 1 of writing my book that the process should be organic and that “everything will fall into place”. Although that philosophical approach can be a good thing in that it has allowed my book to enter into many markets, it hasn’t allowed me to fully narrow in on my market….yet. If I could go back and do it all over again, I would probably tighten up this marketing strategy sooner so I could better corner my market. I still may end up doing this, it will just take me some more time.
In person transactions are quickly becoming a thing of the past. With the COVID-19 scare and social distancing, online transactions will continue to boom and the late adopters to places like Amazon will begin to arrive there. This includes online book sales as well. When I first published, I thought there were only a few online distribution centres like Amazon and Apple Books. Little did I know there are actually 30,000+ online book resellers (see top 15 list below). Getting familiar with these platforms and engaging with these companies on social media prior to launching your book will allow you to have greater success in book traffic and sales. Know the online distribution players!
Life Will Not Change
The day I hit “publish” was one of the coolest days of my life. I couldn’t believe it was actually happening. The day I got my first book in the mail was even more cool. All of those highs were very special and I am grateful for those moments. However, life really doesn’t change when you become a published author. I compare it to winning a Nobel prize. After you win it, many folks report a lack of motivation and creativity. Life doesn’t really change much. The same was true for me. It was kind of a “business as usual” post published life for me and still remains this way today. You may have a different experience than I did but just be prepared for all emotions and little actual life change.
Friends Won’t Read It
If I had a dollar for every time a friend said they were going to buy or read my book I would have more money than book sales. You need to have thick skin when you publish your book. People closest to you probably won’t read it — but don’t take that personal. People are busy and there are a million great books on the market. Just smile, nod and thank your friends for thinking of you and your book. The rest is really out of your control.
Ultimately, I am happy to have learned these 5 lessons the hard way through publishing my book and it has been an incredible journey. I only hope that in reading this, when others embark on writing their book, it produces even greater results that much quicker.
This post was previously published on Medium.
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