Q&A: How do you get your book idea published?

How to Get a Book Deal

I have a question regarding book publishing. I noticed that you recently published your second book and was wondering if you could give me some advice. I have a book idea that I’d really like to get published. I’m not sure where to start, though. The web sites I’ve read so far on book publishing have overwhelmed me. -Amy

Hi, Amy!

That’s exciting that you have a book idea and I love your ambition for wanting to get your book published! I don’t want to discourage you with this post, but I also want to be honest and say that it’s really hard to get a book deal if you haven’t already established a platform online.

Publishers have limited budgets and print capabilities. Meaning, they can only print and market a set number of books each year.

How to Get a Book Deal

There are so many bloggers and online entrepreneurs with really large followings in this day and age, publishers tend to like proof of your pre-established market before they’ll even consider your manuscript. Publishers want to know that you have at least a few thousand (or more!) people who will buy your book without any marketing efforts from the publisher.

They also need to know that there is a market for what you have to say. If you haven’t already created and built that market, it’s hard to convince them to put time and money into your project — especially when they have dozens of other manuscripts from authors who do have a pre-established market of 5,000 to 20,000 people or more.

What does this mean for you? It’s good news and bad news.

The bad news is that if you don’t already have an online following, you need to focus on building a platform before you pursue a publishers.

The good news is that it’s never been easier to build an online platform. With social media networks and the power of viral marketing, everyone who has a unique message and a persevering spirit can build an online platform.

How to Get a Book Deal

How to Get Started

1. Read Platform by Michael HyattThis book will encourage you and give you a vision for how you can build an online platform without money, experience, or even connections.

2. Read my free ebook on How to Make Money Blogging — This ebook isn’t just about making money online. I share step-by-step help for setting up a successful blog and getting people to read what you have to say.

3. Start networking. One of the best ways to learn and grow is to network with others. Find those who are ahead of you, those who are right where you’re at, and those who are just starting on their journey headed in the direction you are. Develop friendships, ask questions, share ideas and advice. Relationships with others who are in a similar position are invaluable!

4. Jump out start doing things. The best thing you can be doing to get yourself closer to getting a book deal is to just start doing things. Many people have great ideas, but they never do much with those ideas. Go experiment. Try things. Make mistakes and learn from them. And keep trying and learning!

5. Keep at it! As I wrote about recently, I think the number one reason most people fail is because they give up too soon. You are going to struggle in the process. You are going to feel insecure. You are going to question why you are doing this. You are going to fail. But success comes to those who refuse to give up.

What advice and suggestions do the rest of you have for Amy?

Recommend reading: How to Write a Book Proposal and Sell Your Book Like Wildfire. I wish I had read both of these books before I wrote my first book!

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  1. says

    Any advice I have is just for writing in general (and has nothing to do with publishing) and I’m sure this is advice that I’ve read an is not truly original:

    Write for yourself first.

    Meaning, write authentically and not necessarily what you think an audience wants to hear. Of course keeping your audience in perspective is not eliminated from the process, but that is not at the forefront. Because if you don’t believe what you are writing, readers may not believe it either.

  2. says

    Has Amy (the writer of the question) considered e-books or self-publishing? I know some authors have found it easier to self-publish on Amazon (either print-on-demand or Kindle format). That could also help “grow” a following. I heard an author speak at my local library and he said there was a woman who had such large sales on her e-books that the publisher then came to her wanting to publish her books.

  3. Jessica says

    Make sure this book hasn’t already been written. Hone your writing skills. Learn proper grammar, punctuation and spelling. I can’t tell you how many e-books I’ve read that confuse there/their, two/too/to, principle/principal, compliment/complement and so on and so forth. It’s distracting to read books and articles that are written poorly.

    I work as a ghostwriter and copywriter. I’ve done this work for five years and have a Master’s degree and eight years of experience in the field my degree is in. I began writing as a side gig and quit my full-time job in 2011 to stay home with my children and do more writing.

    You must understand that high-paying book deals are rare. If you want to work as a writer, know what you’re worth and work to improve your skills and marketability.

  4. says

    As someone who is writing a book herself, I would suggest writing authors in the genre you wish to publish in and ask them for advice, as well as for agents and information they find helpful; the greatest advocates for fellow bibliophiles are authors themselves! As well, never go into a venture looking to make money, sure you may strike it big, or hit the bestsellers list, but without drive and sustainability, that internal passion in your meaning, you will end up on the shelves of the Dollar Tree one day! I would suggest writing a short story or essay, and after having read it back to yourself, if you still feel you can help others, than start shopping your idea.

  5. says

    We are missionaries in Mexico and there are very limited resources in Spanish to help youth pastors. So my husband wrote a book and has it available in iBooks, digital format through ejunkie, and Amazon. It was pretty easy for him to make it available. The only cost for is was for someone to design the cover.

    The nice thing about Amazon is that you can sell the Kindle version and the paper version. They print it on demand when someone orders it. Sometimes we just buy a bunch of his books when we visit the US so we can have them available to people in Mexico.

  6. says

    My friend and I had a book idea several years ago and were crazy enough to pursue our dream. We didn’t have a platform or knowledge of the industry, but we did have a “keep at it” attitude. Go to your local library and check out every book about writing and publishing that you can find (that’s what we did!) and write, write, write. We worked the process, found an amazing agent and our book was published by a clean e-book publisher this January. Since we didn’t have a developed platform, like Crystal mentioned, choosing an e-publisher was our best bet. And hopefully, after we develop our voice, platform and following with Babymaid, we can keep pursuing our writing in bigger ways! Also, nothing about publishing is fast! Books are long (long, long, long, long) term projects! :)

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