21 Jan 5 Things No One Tells You About Publishing a Book
Publishing a book is the big goal for most aspiring authors, and while it is incredibly rewarding when it comes to fruition, the road to get there often comes with many obstacles. We wanted to pull back the curtain on things that aren’t always widely talked about when it comes to publishing your book. So here are five things to keep in mind on the journey.
1. Big publishing houses are not always the best option for all writers.
Big publishing houses like HarperCollins or Simon & Schuster are great and produce high quality books. However, working with indie publishers or even self-publishing may be a better fit for the book you are trying to bring to life. Much like finding the right babysitter or nanny, the person who has been in the business the longest or the person with the most reviews aren’t always the right fit for your children. As an author, you need to find the publishing option that works the best with your book. Does the publisher share your vision? How much time will they be able to dedicate to you? Do you trust the people you will be working with? Do your goals line up? Your book has the best chance of succeeding if it is in the hands of the right publisher, not necessarily the biggest one.
2. Websites and social media are more important now than ever before.
Having a website and a social media presence is key before and after your book is published. Making sure you have an active presence on social media can help your chances of being published, as it helps you demonstrate that you have a following and/or audience who would be excited to purchase your book. It is also an incredibly important part of marketing. Running giveaways and giving shoutouts to people who have bought the book are little ways to increase your visibility on social platforms. Having a website where they can follow you and get news of upcoming releases is beneficial as well. Being on social media makes you more discoverable and gives you a way to interact with the people who are loving your book, so you can maintain that support for future book ideas you may have.
3. Categorization is key.
After you publish a book and are starting to submit it for reviews and awards, it is important to categorize your book correctly. The same goes for adding in keywords and categories on retailers like Amazon. You want to make sure your book is reaching the kind of reader who would enjoy your content. It can also help to have some niche categories on certain platforms so that your book is more likely to chart higher. Knowing what categories your book can fall into is important as you determine which category will do better for each outlet. This is a major help in reaching the right people and staying as visible as possible.
4. Any event/media booking, no matter the size, is important.
Every event or piece of media coverage you get is important. It doesn’t matter if it’s “Good Morning America” or a writing podcast for mystery authors. One may be smaller and more niche, but it is still a great opportunity to showcase your book to an audience who hasn’t heard of it before. There is always potential for a sale. Because of this, it is important to have the same level of excitement and professionalism at each interview or for each guest blog post you get to write. All of the small gains you get can create a snowball effect and lead to great success. It takes time and patience, but each piece of coverage and each public appearance is a step in the right direction.
5. The book world is unpredictable.
It is important for authors to note that the book world is often unpredictable in nature. You never know for sure what will hit and why. There are beautifully-written books that don’t do the best sales-wise, and there are mediocre books that hit big. That’s part of the gamble. It is important to know this and keep your expectations at a reasonable level. Getting your book published is incredibly special, but it will go out into a sea of other books and try to stay afloat. Sometimes it takes time for a book to reach the numbers you have in your head, but it is important to keep working towards it, because that is the way to make waves.
When you go to publish a book, it is important to keep these things in mind. There are a lot of other things to consider that may pop up in the process as well. Our team is always here to help you with those questions and situations as they arise, and to guide you through publishing the best book possible.
Rachel is a social media content creator at Books Fluent and also works as a publicist and digital media strategist at our sister company Books Forward. She has a passion for books, writing, and helping authors in the publishing process. She lives in Nashville, Tennessee.