I’ve Written a Book, Now How Do I Become a Published Author?

Congratulations!  You’ve completed the writing of the manuscript for your book. Your months of hard work and creativity have now come to fruition.  You must be enveloped by a great sense of accomplishment.  You are after all, now an author.

But you are not a published author – not yet — and that’s what counts.  I’m not one to burst anyone’s bubble, but unless you get that manuscript turned into a published book, what was the point in writing it in the first place? You did write it in order to become a published author, right?

If you were thinking that because your manuscript is done the hard part is over, think again.  Let me share some things with you about the trials and tribulations to become a published author.  You might want to brace yourself for all of the practical little details about to come your way.

These are some questions that you need to ask yourself (and of course, answer and do them) in order to become a published author:

  • Who is going to design the cover of my book?  My teenage daughter is pretty handy with our desktop publishing software, which would be free. 
  • Who will copy edit the manuscript?  My wife is always finding typos in the books she reads and is constantly red-inking the kids’ homework for spelling and grammar mistakes.  She would also be free.
  • Should the text be accompanied by basic clip art or high-quality images?  We have clip art in our desktop publishing software.  Back to my daughter…
  • Should the book be hardcover or paperback? I’m thinking it is one that that readers will want to keep around and refer to in their permanent libraries.
  • How long should I wait for the book to be published?  It’s pretty darn timely.  
  • How much income do I want to make per book? Early retirement is a beautiful concept!
  • Who’s going to design the marketing strategy and how will the marketing strategy work?  I don’t even know where to begin. 
  • How will the book be distributed?  Do I contact Barnes & Noble myself and work out a contract?
  • Who is my target audience?  I think it is women, probably younger baby boomers who refuse to think of themselves as ever becoming old or decrepit.  Or, why I do believe everyone would benefit from what I have to say! 
  • Who will be in charge of fulfilling orders?  Will I be taking orders over the phone and handling checks? 
  • Do I want to eventually offer ancillary products?  I already have a DVD, a booklet and two other books in my head.

And the very last question to ask yourself is:

  • How much of this work do I do myself?

The answer to that question lies within yet another question:

  • How successful do you want your book to be? 

Answering all of these questions will indeed help set you up for success. There are probably more details to align that you guessed, but the right publisher will ensure you go far.

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