Do you have a written manuscript sitting in a desk drawer, waiting to be published? How do you know if it's time? It's not uncommon for a manuscript to go unpublished because the writer doesn't know the process, lacks the funds to traditionally publish a book, or has no idea what self-publishing entails. Additionally, some writers may feel like their book just isn't "ready." If you've been mulling over whether or not to publish your book, here are a few ways to prepare.
Step 1: Read it
The first step in assessing whether or not your manuscript is ready for publishing is to read it! After you've finished writing it, you should let it ferment for a while before picking it up again. Maybe you've already done this and it's been sitting somewhere, alone and waiting for someone to read it. So go ahead: give it a read, do a final edit, and then hand it over to a second set of eyes. It doesn't have to be a professional if you're not ready for that step; even having a friend read through may help you find mistakes you missed the first time around.
Step 2: Start Generating Interest
Every book needs a jumping off point. That's where your sales platform comes in. Before you even start going through the formalities of publishing your book, you should have a decent platform in place. Download some marketing software and start generating buzz around your work. There are many ways to do this: start a blog, offer free teaser chapters, engage users on social media, start a mailing list – the options are endless. Pick a few channels and stick to them. If you do it right, you should have a good readership base in no time.
Step 3: Find Out Where You Fit In
It's critical to know where, and how, your book fits into the current marketplace. Before you start publishing, get to know your niche. It will help you market and promote your book, and will save you a lot of time preaching to deaf ears. It might be a helpful exercise to compare your book to popular bestsellers. For example, imagine you're pitching to a bookstore: "Readers who loved [insert bestseller here] will be interested in my book." Then, be able to answer why. Is it the same genre? Do both novels feature a strong female protagonist? Getting to know your book and the readers who enjoy it will help you sell it more effectively.
Step 4: Be Prepared for Mixed Feedback
At the end of the day, you must keep in mind that you can't please everyone. That's the great thing about art and literature: it's subjective. People will form an opinion about your work, and they're entitled to it. Your best friend might hate your novel, but maybe the associate at the bookstore loves it. Don't expect your book to be an overnight success; that's putting too much pressure on yourself. You'll have to work hard to get your book published and even harder to get people to read it. As long as you're ready to dedicate time and mental effort to your work, you'll get good results.
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