Steps to Publishing Your Book; A Dream Come True

Great learning experience to share with everyone interested in being published. Today, read the story of my publishing debut. In part two, I will share valuable facts and figures and a couple of great resources that can help you get started.
So many adults harbor a secret dream to write a book; to see that shiny cover standing out on the bookshelf or casually tossed on your coffee table so visitors can say, “Wow, is that your book?”  “Oh yes,” you get to answer, “it just came back from the publisher.”

 Do you, too, harbor that wish to say- “look, here’s the book I just published?”

I did. I spent the better part of a year agonizing over what would be my first book, and how to assemble and publish it.   While my internet friends like Guy Kawasaki, David Meerman Scott and Seth Godin, encouraged me to go beyond in real time, my local friends from the Boston Internet Marketing Meetup, book publishing subgroup, helped me put a stake in the ground, with a deadline and so I finally was ‘forced’ to make it happen.
Just last week.
I have kicked off 2013 as a productive year.
Hooray! I’m a published author. We completed the final steps in a little over a month. It really wasn’t that hard once I told my friends what I wanted to accomplish and when, and then they reminded me constantly with their gentle prodding, “so, how’s that book coming along? You can do it. Just keep it simple and tell your story.”
Well, they were right. Publicly stating my goal created a whole cheerleader squad with a couple of referees watching the clock for me.  I thought I had edited and spelled everything perfectly but two additional revisions were required because, even after editing, someone found errors both times.  Since I work at Kendall Press, I decided I wanted to make a real competitive comparison – quality, turnaround and cost, so I printed my limited edition run via two channels. My first source was an online book publisher with easy upload, ordering and paying process. Two weeks for delivery or add nearly 50% to the cost to get a one week turnaround. They don’t call it a rush charge, merely “expedited service”. My second provider was right here at Kendall Press. Yes, now it’s a business expense; a competitive comparison. The home team, the local folks, where everyone had comments, words of encouragement and suggestions for me. Kendall Press’ production team delivered 10 copies in just three business days; our normal turnaround time. No rush charges, no premiums.
I had a collaborative art show at which I was presenting the concept of Creative Common License as a way to spread a good idea and minimize duplication of effort so similar organizations could create a winning project process in a fraction of the time.   The presentations were well attended. More than one hundred people attended the event opening.  Creative Commons sparked several lively discussions and the art reception, overall, was standing room only with a 45 minute wait for a dinner. By the end of the evening, I had sold all of two copies of my book.
Success? Failure?    Ah, this is where planning, goal making and expectation setting priorto launch really pays off.   If I only wanted to have a book published and give a few copies away, I could have stopped there and called the project a success. But there is so much more that I wanted and now that the first step is over, I can rethink the rest of the hats I now need to wear.   Anyone can accomplish their dream of publishing that first book; it’s all dependent on your enthusiasm, your time commitment and your access to resources (and I mean people with skills even more than money).
You can do it yourself.
It’s not that difficult once you start and make a commitment to yourself.
There are many resources available.
Start by defining your goals….then write your story.
Self-publishing has many fans and enablers available to the novice and experienced writer.   Self-publishing eliminates the hierarchy of book publishing but it places may more responsibilities on the writer/publisher. There are a lot of hats you will have to wear. Here are just the most obvious ones that arose as I went through the process myself:
The Writers hat – do you have a story to tell? One that others will be interested in?
The Publishers hat – have you checked resources for printing, ebooks, timing required, costs?
The Distributors hat – How do you get visibility for your book?
The Marketer’s and salesperson’s Hat – Who is the audience? Will they buy such a book? Who? What? Where? When and How?   All good questions to ask yourself.  
I have given four copies to my CSA farm – one for each of the farmers markets they attend. They are glad to help spread the word and help me measure interest in the book. After all, the book is all about them and they love my photography work.
 Do you have advocates and ambassadors for your work?
Lots of questions. But, when you are writing because you have a book or two inside you, it becomes your art (as Seth Godin would say) and you write because you are able to produce it and get it out in front of the right audience and test their level of interest.  
Next time, facts, figures and a couple of great resources.

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