The road to getting a book published is a rocky one and takes determination, tenacity and downright pig-headedness, many of the attributes you need to run a successful small or medium sized business.
Here, former self-employed PR Consultant and now author, Jules Wake shares some of her tips on getting published, which she believes are equally relevant to running your own small business. Thanks so much for writing this blog for me Jules and best of luck with the sales of your new book ‘Talk To Me’!
Earlier this year my debut novel, Talk To Me, was published by award winning, independent publishers Choc Lit. Getting published is no mean feat, every year publishers and agents receive thousands of manuscripts. I’m one of the lucky people whose manuscript made it from the slush pile.
Actually that’s not true, there wasn’t an awful lot of luck involved. How many times have people said to you, ‘Gosh aren’t you lucky running your own business.’
Hmm, that would be the luck of having new business dropping into your lap, the monthly chasing of invoices and the wage bill miraculously being paid?
Writing takes discipline. You can’t wait for the muse to show up and be inspired. You have to put in the hours. My golden mantra is B.I.S … Bum in Seat. Every day you sit down and write a target number of words whether you feel like it or not.
I’ve met lots of people who say I’d love to write a book, I just don’t have time.
At the risk of sounding smug … I work full time, have two teenage children, volunteer at the local theatre and in the last five years, I’ve written five novels and completed a first year degree level qualification in School Business Management. I’m not superwoman but I aim to write at least 1,000 words every day for at least five days a week.
Getting published is more than just writing the book, you also have to understand how the industry works, just as in business you need to have industry knowledge to succeed. Networking with other writers, attending conferences and developing a social media presence has all been invaluable in obtaining that knowledge.
The publishing industry is guarded by literary agents. Some publishers do take unsolicited submissions but most rely on literary agents to do the sifting work for them. Last year my literary agent received over 5,000 manuscripts, she took two people on and I was one of them.
To get that far, you need to have done a lot of homework, does your literary agent deal with crime, sagas, romance, young adult, fiction or non-fiction. How do they want a submission? By post? By email? How many chapters? Do they want a synopsis?
These days authors have to be media savvy, they’re expected to do a lot of blogging, tweeting and Facebooking. It’s essential to engage with your audience to increase sales and to get new business.
Before being offered my latest deal, my new publisher checked me out on twitter to see how active I am, visited my blog and website and looked at my reviews on Amazon and Good Reads.
Targeting Your Audience
Being successful in publishing means being commercial and being clear about your audience. You are writing for the reader, not you. I’ve sat in many a marketing meeting where the people around the table fail to understand that they are not the target audience. Marketers, like writers are not the end user.
Jules’ novel Talk To Me is available on Amazon, as well as via Waterstones, Ibooks and other retailers.