Yes – I have done it. I have successfully turned publisher with my first published book – a paperback called Shaheen Must Die set against the steaming backdrop of a mystery that unfolds in the layers of romance. The book itself is an accomplishment of sorts when it comes to creating a story that actually holds it own in contemporary romance and mystery. Yet, the lessons learnt from the entire process – well, that is a whole other story. So this is what my first published book taught me.
- Stay Motivated: Publishing is not an easy job. From finding the right audience for your published book, to getting a word in edgewise on the various social media platforms where everyone is clamouring for their five seconds of fame, there are a number of tasks that one has to conduct before, during and after the process of book publishing. If you feel like you are sinking beneath the weight of sourcing paper, finding the right layout and layout artist, getting an editor, creating social media campaigns and more – then you need to take a deep breath and remind yourself why you started in the first place. When you remember that you started this venture to bring amazing stories and their authors to the fore, you will be better off!
- Editing is the Name of the Game: For my first published book, I realised that there is many a miss between the cup and the lip! Even after numerous readings, I found many errors lurking around in the middle of sentences. As the main editors, my author and I had missed these because we knew the story and the writing like the back of our hand. This did not serve us well! We knew the flow of words so well that we would automatically complete the sentences while reading. So, it is imperative to get an editor who will edit after you have, and then edit once more after the layout has been done because many words get hyphenated or dropped entirely during this process. So ensure that you do your three rounds of editing with an editor in tow!
- Creating Memorable Campaigns is the Need of the Hour: With so many books coming and going, it is imperative to create memorable campaigns that the prospective reader will carry in his or her heart long after the post has been viewed. So we came up with blog posts and social media posts along with videos that offered a peek into the lives of the characters, the settings and crucial twists as well. Needless to mention, our reach on most platforms zoomed to 5000 people within a matter of a few hours! Remember to engage your audience on a constant basis to develop an interest in your story and the book. As a publishing house, we now ensure that all our books have a pre campaign, and a post campaign that stretches over 9 months at least – no wonder its called labour of love!
- Keep your Audience Close and your Competition Closer: With careful research, we have managed to arrive at a readers list and we have also borrowed readers who have left reviews on books that share a genre with us. After all, there is plenty of space in the market and on bookshelves all over the world! So, we have ensured that we create email campaigns and a visual synopsis with a media kit that tells people what the book is all about and how it is doing.
- Distribution is Key: With my first published book, I realised that distribution and promotions go hand in hand. Taking the book to bookstores, both online and offline, has been quite a task, especially because we have just started and bookstores want to know if we will be a one book wonder or more. So create a catalogue of your upcoming work and show them samples of your printing quality. Also, I found that smaller, independent stores in small towns are more willing to take on small quantities of the books, which leads to greater visibility at a fraction of the cost! Yes, returns and revenues may take a while. But patience is key here too. In all of this, remember to maintain a cost and revenue sheet so that you know what goes into each book.
So, are you ready to come up with your first published book? We may be able to help – email us at firstname.lastname@example.org