Sue suggests that your publishing strategy should begin with understanding which book you should write. You can then move on to look at the right way to publish it and finally how to reach the right readers.
1. Decide what you want to achieve
The first step to achieving your objectives is to be clear about what they are. For instance:
- To increase visibility for the company brand
- To raise the business profile in the media
- To build the business owner’s credibility
- To share the vision of the business and make a change in the world
- To tell the business story so that others may learn from it
- To create a passive income stream from the book as a key product
- To increase the value of the business by laying claim to IP
- To leave a legacy.
2. Identify your readers and their problems.
It’s important to be clear about who your book is aimed at – who the reader is.
The most successful independently produced books tend to be aimed at small niches. We once produced a book for a textile artist client that sold in excess of 25,000 copies. Apart from a very handy new income stream for her business, this also placed the author in the position of being the ‘go-to’ person for the use of a particular craft fibre. The smaller the niche the easier this is and the more effectively you can reach the right readers too.
Remember that almost all non-fiction books are problem-solving products. What are the problems that you solve?
3. Check out the competition.
You only need to spend an hour or so browsing on Amazon to find out who is writing what in your field. Read those books.
This will help you in your own learning and in understanding what is already available. You now have the opportunity to find the point of differentiation in your content and make the most of it in your book. You can use this in your marketing material or in your proposal for a publisher or agent.
4. Get help – work with an editor or a coach.
Writing can be a lonely business – so get help from the start. Work with a writing coach or an editor. This professional from the publishing industry will be able to help you with setting your objectives, clarifying your target readership, keeping to your schedule and giving you feedback.
The investment you make in this early support could be partly recompensed by a lower editing budget later on or a warmer reception from a publishing house commissioning editor.
5. Create a realistic schedule.
Start with a good hard look at yourself. If you are really going to write the book in three months, can you schedule enough time in to your diary during your normal working week? Or would it be more realistic for you to book a week or two off? Or, because of the demands of your business would it be better to take six months or a year to write your book?
Whatever your timescale set a date for your first draft to be completed, give yourself milestones along the way, don’t beat yourself up if you have the odd slip up, but get back on track and get it done!
Finally, if it just isn’t realistic for you to find the time to write the book yourself, but you know the business really would benefit from it, then find someone else to write it for you. There are many talented writers out there itching to get their hands on your content and help you become a published author.
Sue Richardson of SRA Books.