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When Publishing is a BAD Idea
by Patricia Fry
Are you thinking about publishing a book? You should
know that not every written work is suitable for publication. And not
every writer should become a published author.
How do you know when publishing is a bad idea? When one or all of the
following applies to your project:
1: Your book doesn’t have an audience. It is imperative that you
write the right book for the right audience. How do you know if there
is an audience for your book? Start by writing a book proposal. A well-organized,
well-researched book proposal will reveal whether your book will actually
have an audience and who that audience is. If you attempt to spoon-feed
your message to an audience who doesn’t want it, your book will
fail. A case in point is the author who wants to force his unpopular political
opinions on others through his book or the former alcoholic who writes
a book designed to convince others to quit drinking, for example.
Through the process of writing a book proposal, you might decide to change
your approach to the topic in order to attract a large enough audience
to warrant publishing the book at all.
2: The competition for a book on your topic is too stiff. You may already
know that your book has a huge audience. Now you must evaluate the competition.
Are there other books like yours already on the market? How many? Are
they selling? And here’s an important question: What makes your
book different from the others? What does your book offer that the others
don’t? Is this difference something that your target audience wants?
If you plan to write a book on dieting, for example, you’d better
make sure that you can provide a focus, slant and benefits that will attract
those readers who have probably already read every diet book already on
the shelves at Barnes and Noble.
3: You don’t understand anything about the publishing industry.
You wouldn’t open a retail store related to a product that you know
nothing about. You wouldn’t start a business featuring a service
you cannot perform. Why would you blindly enter into the business of publishing?
And folks, publishing is a business and your book is a product. Take time
before you write that book—before you decide to become a published
author—to study the publishing industry. How? Read my book, The
Right Way to Write, Publish and Sell Your Book. Join publishing
organizations such as SPAWN
(Small Publishers, Artists and Writers Network), PMA
and SPAN. Subscribe to and read
several publishing/writing-related newsletters and journals.
4: You don’t know your responsibilities as a published author.
Along with authorship come certain responsibilities. As mentioned above,
you must produce a viable product. You need to know something about the
industry, your choices and the consequences of your decisions. And you
must take responsibility for making the right choices. Your responsibilities
also include promotion.
5: You don’t have the time or desire to promote this book. You’ve
probably heard it before—whether you land a traditional royalty
publisher, self-publish (establish your own publishing company) or hire
a fee-based POD publishing company, you are responsible for promoting
your book. I hear from authors occasionally who say, “I am eager
to produce my book—it must be published this year (or this month
or this week)—but I don’t have time to promote it right away.”
I say to them, “Then it is the wrong time to publish the book.”
If you want to produce a book that is wildly or even mildly successful,
you really must schedule time—lots of time—to promote it.
Perhaps you can make publishing a good idea for your proposed book by
changing some of the negatives listed above. In other words:
- Study the publishing industry.
- Learn what your choices are and the consequences of your decisions.
- Write a book proposal so that you know you are writing the right
book for the right audience.
- Understand your responsibilities as a published author and take them
- Schedule plenty of time to promote your book.
© Copyright 2006, Patricia Fry
Patricia Fry is a career writer, author, speaker and editorial/publishing consultant.
She is the president of SPAWN (Small Publishers, Artists and Writers Network)
www.spawn.org and the author
of 27 books, including The Right Way to Write, Publish and Sell Your Book
Visit her informative blog daily, www.matilijapress.com/publishingblog.
New book of cat stories
Patricia Fry announces her latest book: Catscapades, Tales of Ordinary and Extraordinary Cats www.matilijapress.com/catscapades.html.
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