Have you dreamed about writing and publishing a book?
Many writers work towards getting their work published as a significant career goal. While some writers write for income and others may write for the joy of the art, becoming a published author is an accomplishment either way.
If you’ve been hard at work writing your book, the steps it actually takes to get your book published may not be at the front of your mind. However, once your book is written, there are important steps to take to get your book published.
Steps to Become a Published Author
Let’s look at the stages to become a published author and sharing your writing with the world!
1. Pick a Topic and Age Group
If you haven’t already, your first task is to choose a topic for your book. This can be surprisingly difficult for authors if they don’t already have a topic or theme in mind for their book.
While many people think “novel” when they think about books, there are also cookbooks, travel books, coffee table books, memoirs, biographies, self-help books - the list goes on. There are numerous genres and writing styles to choose from, so figure out what works best for you.
When choosing a writing style, you should also consider what age you’re targeting. If you plan to publish a children’s book, each age group requires different levels of vocabulary. When writing for younger audiences, you also have to consider what topics and content are appropriate for each age group.
Whether you’re writing for young children, young adults, or adults, consider your audience.
2. Write Your Book
Easier said than done, but you’ll have to write your book before you can publish it. If this book is a project you’ve been working on, this step may already be completed. If not, get typing!
When writing your book, consider factors like length. It’s helpful to write out an outline first, whether it’s by chapter, plot point, or some other element to break your book into sections.
Try to be clear and concise when writing - not everyone has to be Hemingway, but be sure that your sentences make sense.
Many authors create a schedule of when and how often they write each day. Aim to write at least a few pages a day to make progress on your book.
3. Edit Your Book
You should always revise your first draft, and probably your second and third.
Editing is a careful process, and it takes a few reads to get it right. Even if you thoroughly self-edit, however, it’s important to get another set of eyes on your book.
We recommend working with an editor to ensure that your book is clean of errors and that the plot flows in a way that makes sense. You may not have the budget to hire a professional editor, but it’s possible to ask honest friends with good reading or writing skills to give you feedback.
You can even ask multiple friends or family members for opinions, so you don’t have just one opinion. Ask for honest feedback, and try to have a thick skin when you receive said feedback. Constructive criticism will only help to improve your book.
A professional editor is a great resource for feedback, edits, and formatting, which can be difficult for first time authors to figure out on their own.
4. Pitch Your Book
Many first-time authors choose to self-publish, but it’s worth trying the traditional route first.
Research literary agents or publishers in your genre, or ones that publish books similar to yours. Hiring an agent can be extremely beneficial in getting your foot in the door at a publishing house, but you could also submit your work directly to a publisher.
Whether you go directly to a publisher or through an agent, be sure to carefully read submission criteria and requirements. You may only have one shot, so pitch your book as best as you possibly can.
Write either a query letter or book proposal. You may want to do this step first, but if you’ve never been published before, an agent or publisher will want to see the finished book before they agree to publish anything anyway.
If you are accepted by an agent or a publisher, they will set you up with an editor and take you through the steps like choosing the cover art, formatting, and confirming final edits. They can also help promote and market your book.
If you’re not having luck with the traditional publishing route, not to worry. Self-publishing a book is very feasible and easier than ever.
5. Self Publish Your Book
It can be seriously difficult to get signed by an agent or publishing house, but self-publishing is still a viable option. To self publish, you have to choose between an e-book or a physical book. E-books are easier to self publish, but many authors prefer a physical book.
Research and contact a book printer to begin this process. A book printer will help you through formatting, choosing page size and type of paper, hard or soft covers, and more. Those in the book printing business are experienced in self-publishing and can help you on your way.
Once you’ve connected with a printer, you’ll have a few more tasks on your plate. You can design a cover on your own, or find an artist to do so for you.
Other design elements to figure out include font, page style, pictures (if necessary), author bio, and more. Your printer will work with you to ensure that these steps are all completed before printing.
6. Promote Your Book
With your book written, edited, and published, it is vital that you promote your book if you want to make sales. This is an essential step. Readers won’t know your book is out if you don’t tell them.
Most authors have a digital platform set up, from a website to social media profiles to promote their book. Post blog posts about your book, or ask other websites to link to your book.
Spread the word in whatever way possible to get your book out there. You can also contact local bookstores about selling your books and offer readings to reach new readers.
Marketing your book is a process that may take time - never stop promoting your book if you want it to really sell. Keep writing and honing your craft.
Now that you’ve published one book, you’ll get the hang of it. Then, you can continue to write and publish more books and reap the benefits of it, including instant expert status.