How to Publish Your Book; Part 2
Know your core competencies, budget and time limitations
by Chia-Li Chien | Oct. 15, 2012
Review from my previous article—
In my previous article Get Your Business Book Published, I encouraged you to start your book project by 1) Defining the purpose of the book 2) Structuring your book as a book proposal and 3) Getting into the routine of your book writing. A structure will help you get a head start to successfully complete your goal. In this article, I will focus on the “manufacturing” aspect of your book as a product.
Your budget will impact most of the decisions in the “manufacturing” phase of publishing your book. A budget (in this circumstance) includes time, resources (including people) and money. For example, if you are pursuing a traditional publishing route, you may want to consider hiring a literary agent to represent you. They will submit a book proposal on your behalf and pitch for you. This takes time and money! I was told it would take up to eighteen months to use the traditional publishing channels for my first book, and I simply did not have the time to wait. So, for the purposes of this article, I will only focus on self-publishing.
What are your core competencies? Outsource vs. DIY
A critical aspect of any thing in life is to identify the most efficient way to spend your time. This can be determined by your own core competencies. For example, I was born and raised in Taiwan and came to the U.S. at age 21. That was the time I started using English to communicate. I don’t dare to write any English article without editing. I rely on my long-time, super and fabulous professional editor Aprill to edit every piece of communication, such as articles, sales letters, website content, etc. Hence, I outsource editing and recognize the fact that it is NOT my core competency and someone else can do a better job at that than I can.
For those who have a limited budget, you have to decide where to spend your dollars, time or people resources. As you read through this article, just keep that in mind. Focus only what you’re really good at—or your core competencies—and outsource those you are not good at or don’t want to be bothered with.
Final Production Product Design and Quality Control
Once you have your edited manuscript, your product now enters the finished product prototype stage. Have you ever heard the Japanese saying, “everything is about packaging?” If you’ve ever been to Japan or have a Japanese product such as a Lexus, Sony, etc., may have you noticed—it’s PERFECT! Your book content or edited manuscript alone won’t be enough to establish your credibility (especially for non-fiction books) or help you sell the books.
• Have an editorial review. In addition to editing your content, it’s worthwhile to have your book go through an editorial review. This is a second set of eyes to review your content in its entirety, not just from a structure, flow, plot or grammatical point of view. These experts will rate your book and compare it to traditional publishing standards. In my first book, Show Me The Money, through an editorial review, I was rated in the top 10% that met traditional publishing standards. In addition, they suggested I remove one entire chapter and my introductory chapter for many specific reasons, which they gave me. My upcoming book, Work toward Reward, just went through the editorial review. Once again, the review editors suggested I remove and update several sections in the book. I’ve learned that this process is a tremendous value that not only demonstrates your professionalism (from the reader’s perspective). but also from a book publishing quality standpoint. Remember, your final product is a direct reflection on how you provide your work. Be aware of this, especially if you’re leveraging the book as a way to market your service or product.
• Package your product. There are other materials that are not part of your manuscript. These are critical to your marketing message to get readers to buy or read your book.
oMarketing copy—front/back cover of the book. This is the section best left to the professional marketing copywriter. Aprill, my editor, created this section in both my award-winning book, Show Me The Money, and for my upcoming book, Work toward Reward. This is very specific marketing copy that will help sell your product and get your main points in the book across.
oArt work—book cover. Unless you are very good with the graphic design, leave this to the professional artist and/or graphic designer. ForShow Me The Money, I outsourced the cover to the publisher. However, for my upcoming book, Work toward Reward, Aprill’s marketing firm has created the cover design.
- Interior layout design. Most of us are able to use Microsoft Word to for a general layout design. The majority of self-publishing companies will offer to do this for you. The publisher’s layout design team did both my books. Once again, this is not my cup of tea, and is not the best use of my time.
- Charts, image or graphics inserts—Within your edited manuscript, you may have charts, images, tables, etc. These can be done using Microsoft Word. For Show Me The Money, I hired an artist to illustrate a few charts. In Work toward Reward, I purchased many customized comic and stock artwork illustrations from a marketing firm.
- Reference or Bibliography—This is the list of competitive titles, which I mentioned in my previous article Get Your Business Book Published! as well as any supporting research materials you use throughout your book. To meet traditional publishing standards, consider having ten to twenty titles in this list.
- Appendix—Sometimes, there are reference materials that really don’t fit into the overall structure of your book, but still of value to the reader. You can include those in the Appendixes. In Show Me The Money, I had four appendixes and in my next book, Work toward Reward, I have five.
- Index—This helps readers find information quickly in your book. I did not have it in my first book however, in Work toward Reward, I do. You can create this with Microsoft Word yourself. Or you can hire your publisher’s team to complete an index for you.
• Select types of finished product—You have so many choices today, based on your manuscripts. Below you’ll see all the types you can choose from. Recording the audio will be a separate process at a professional studio, unless you want to hire a professional voice actor/actress. My mentor, who is the best selling author in the M&A world, has all these formats in traditional and self-publishing. In general, you sell an electronic format and hard cover. I see hard cover books as very high end marketing materials. Both my award-winning book, Show Me The Money, and my next book, Work toward Reward, have hard cover editions with eBook options. I keep a list of targeted prospects and clients for this gift purpose .
The types of book products include:
- Hard cover
- Paper back
- eBook: This is by far the fastest way to get your book published via Amazon.com. the majority of your costs would be in editing, editorial review, book cover design and marketing, which I will cover in the next phase.
- Audio CDs
Of course, any of the self-publishing companies will sell you all the services you may want. The above tips are critical to help you stand out from the massive book selections out there.
Distribution Channels: For hardcover or paperback books, you must have enough distributors help you distribute your book.
• Traditional distribution channels: Ingram, Baker & Taylor, Rittenhouse
• Independent Book Distributors
• Library : http://wordcentral.com/edu/slds.htm
• On-line – i.e. Amazon.com
Ultimately, it really depends on your core competencies and resources in order to determine how you will go about the “manufacturing” of your book. Your idea/product can only be presented when you have the proper design and manufacturing to create the proper package. Your total package of course includes the Go-To-Market, which is far more important than phase one and phase two. Stay tuned.
About Chia-Li Chien
Chia-Li Chien, CFP®, CRPC, PMP; Chia-Li “like JOLLY,” succession strategist for women entrepreneurs, award-Winning author and speaker. She is Chief Strategist of Value Growth Institute, dedicated to helping private business owners increase the equity value of their firms. She is the award-winning author of the books Show Me The Money and Work toward Reward and a faculty member of the American Management Association. Her blog and newsletter was named a Top Small Business Resource by the New York Times You’re the Boss blog. http://chialichien.com