3 Things You Need to Know before Publishing a Book

In 2018 I realised I was wasting time in publishing my book.

Early on, I’d resolved to do it in 2017, so you can imagine how I felt when I realised it was another year flushed down the drain.

I was frantic and started searching for what I could do to get the book written. I was mostly rummaging through writing blogs on the Internet: “how to overcome writer’s block”, “publishing a book in Nigeria” or “how to become productive while writing your book”. I even joined a writing community on Facebook. And the advice I got, together with the tips I pulled from the Internet, got me to step on the gas.

I was firing on all cylinders, and in less than a year, I had completed my manuscript. I chose self publishing, and in March I was the author of a nice looking-children’s book. Soon enough, when sales figures weren’t going up, I realised I hadn’t thought about publishing well enough.

A lot of new authors make this mistake and end up feeling deflated. But this can be avoided. So in this post I am going to show you three publishing preparations you need to make before publishing a book.

Marketing

There’s no such thing as luck when it comes to selling a million copies of your book. And you would be silly to think that books that sell the most are the most creative from a genre. Even if your idea of publishing isn’t to have your book gross millions in sales, you still would expect to make a decent sale off it.

So, while luck isn’t going to sell your books, marketing will. It’s good to start early on to draw up your marketing plan. I didn’t know this before I published, so it’s come to haunt me. But if you aren’t going to be like me, pay attention to these simple marketing ideas.

  • Get an author website or blog.
  • Get into bed with media people, editors influencers and book reviewers.
  • Submit short stories to literary magazines.
  • Enter writing competitions (paid or unpaid)
  • Create a nice-looking social media page, and keep it up-to-date with your work in progress.

Like I said before, these are marketing ideas to start before you publish if you want to give your book a fighting chance. For more book marketing strategies, read this post by bestselling author Chandler Bolt:

Book Marketing: How to Strategically Market to Increase Book Sales

Reading Habit of Your Audience

Since the advent of self publishing platforms like Kindle Direct Publishing, Kobo Writing Life and OkadaBooks, a lot of writers have gone inept at research. But isn’t this attitude the direct opposite of what self publishing should be? Shouldn’t self publishing make you pick up the shovel and dig through the demographics? Very well it should, but when you are a new writer, you could easily think the self publishing companies will do all the heavy lifting for you.

No, they will not. Unfortunately, I didn’t know this before I published. But that’s not to say I didn’t know who my audience were: I just didn’t understand their reading habit.

For instance, if you’re publishing for children, you will not only make your book available online, but you’ll have to publish paperbacks. The reason is that children do not yet have a well-developed culture for reading books on mobile devices according to a research published on Independent. Again, your target audience’s access to the Internet will determine whether you should just publish an ebook or a paperback or choose a hybrid publishing model.

The Business of Publishing

Writing a book is an art, but publishing is a business. It’s the same for other creative professions, and the business process is what helps you to achieve your desired result. So, once you decide that you’re going to publish a book, you have to be ready to learn how the business works. Here are five publishing business skills you will need to have:

  • Communication and negotiation
  • Networking
  • Marketing
  • Technical skill
  • Financial management

Finally, you have to understand how to work with data. This is important as it lets you create a measurable publishing strategy that works.