Saturday, February 21, 2009

Guest Blog: Book Publishing 2009- Twist, Turns & Possibilities

Book Publishing 2009- Twist, Turns & Possibilities
By Cheryl Pickett
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Many writers dream of writing a book someday. In years past, the process was fairly simple. Write the book, or at least have a strong start, propose it to an agent or publisher and there was a decent chance your dream could come true. Fast forward to 2009 however, and you'll quickly discover a very different set of circumstances. The traditional publishing industry has more turns and detours than a mountain road, and there are so many other choices that even researching what to do can become mind-boggling in a matter of moments.

So what's a would-be author to do? Move forward, but take it slow and steady. Here are three tips to help you navigate that twisting road on your way to making your dreams a reality.

1. Make a Plan:
My favorite analogy for this strategy is to think of making decisions about publishing a book like taking a trip. If you want to take a trip, one of the first things you need to do is decide where you're going; if you don't know where you're going, the rest of the decisions are tough, if not impossible to make.

The same goes with deciding when are the best time and the best way to get your book into the world. Whether you're just starting to write or you have a complete project, take time out to consider key points like: Why this topic or story now? Is writing this book going to be for fun or part of a business? What do you want your book to accomplish for you?

2. Understand Your Audience:
Not that long ago, if you said you wrote a book, people would have expected to look in a bookstore if they wanted to buy it. Obviously, this is far from the case now. Besides being able to order print books everywhere from Wal-Mart to Amazon, books are now delivered in audio and digital formats. Beyond that, digital formats may be read on a computer on your desk, on your laptop or on your phone and still others are willing to carry an e-reader like a favorite novel.

Now more than ever, it is important to know what your audience wants. Once you have a good idea as to what that is, you can do your best to give it to them. When you both meet at the same place, you have a better chance at selling what you write either to a publisher or directly to your reader.

3. Understand Your Options
One of the benefits of the Internet is getting almost any information you want in a matter of a few keystrokes. It is truly an advantage compared to older research methods. However, when it comes to choosing a publishing option, a handful of quick searches will not suffice.

For example, if you type something like "publish a book" into the search engines, you'll undoubtedly find a lot of POD/fee-based publishers will top the list. To the uneducated, these companies may look the same as commercial publishers. They also often make their process very tempting; make a reasonable investment in your project and you'll have a book in no time.

If you don't realize this is not the same as being published traditionally, but traditional is what you're expecting, you're likely headed for a big disappointment. On the other hand, if you've done your homework thoroughly, you are clear on the options and you know how to filter through the information you gather, you'll find the journey to published is much smoother.

As I stated in the beginning, the publishing industry is going through a world of change right now. The good news is that even though there are new twists and turns almost daily, it is still very possible to get where you want to go. Make a roadmap, get directions as needed and enjoy the journey.

Cheryl Pickett has been a freelance writer for almost a decade. Her new book, Publishing Possibilities: 8 Steps to Understanding Your Options & Choosing the Best Path for Your Book, helps authors publish with less stress and more success. Find out more about the book and Cheryl's other services at

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