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Tips on getting published
The first time author often doesn’t know what a publisher is looking for or what to do to approach a publisher. These tips are important stepping stones on your get published journey.
· Money or mania: Why do you want to write a book?
Knowing why you want to get published is important, too. Is it to raise your profile to get more customers or to further your career? Or is it to share your passion with others so that they can overcome problems or learn from your mistakes? Is it a simple goal to educate others? These objectives range from the self explanatory to the plain philanthropic. Always remember that publishers are in it for the money. They may identify with your passion and enjoy your enthusiasm, but they’ll want to be reassured you have an eye for the financial side of it, and the commercial nous to optimise the book’s success. Don’t mistake getting a book published for a potential lottery win, though. It might be … but then again, it might not.
· Identify your reader: how will your book sell unless you know who’s going to buy it?
You must have a clear idea of who will buy your book. And be quite precise about it. It’s not enough to say ‘young mothers’ or ‘teachers of German’. Are they first-time mothers in a particular age group? Is the learning material you’ve got in mind aimed at experienced teachers who work with pupils with special needs? You’ll create a much better book if you have a clear focus of who it’s aimed at by providing solutions to readers’ problems and tailoring it to their specific needs.
· Are you an expert? Why are you the best person to write this book?
Why should you write this book? Think seriously and honestly about why a publisher would choose to hire you as an author rather than anyone else. What could you bring to the partnership? Your experience and the case studies you can draw on? Your qualifications? Your contacts – either in your industry, in government agencies, or in the world of business? Whatever it is, be honest. If you feel you’re lacking in a particular area, could you co-write with someone whose experience complements your skills or knowledge?
· Serve your writing apprenticeship
Writing is a craft, it takes practice. If you’re a first-time author, you’ll need to prove to a publisher that you can write. So look for opportunities where you can try out your writing style and perfect it. As a teacher, you might already be writing for your own classroom: have you passed your materials to a colleague and asked her for constructive criticism? Or have you approached teacher websites and the educational press to write an article on your ideas? As a business owner, have you had any articles published or do you write your own monthly newsletter? These are great opportunities to discover your own style and perfect your craft.
· Eye up the competition
At least 200,000 books are published every year in the UK. That sea of competition starts in the publisher’s in tray when they’re deciding whether to publish your title over someone else’s. One thing they’ll consider is the market demand for your book and how it will sit next to existing competing titles. So put yourself in their shoes and consider how your book or learning resources compare with others. Which topics do they cover that you don’t? Is your style more accessible than academic? Are your materials bang up-to-date with the latest government initiative?
· Are you the perfect author?: try our quiz
What makes the perfect author? What are publishers looking for in a new author? Complete the quiz, making a note of your answers and then tally them up against our score card.