Topic: I know a lot of people want to write a book. This series will give you a few ways to go about that. We’ll start by talking about whether to go the route of traditional or self-publishing. Ready?
How to Write a Book: Part 1 – Traditional or Self Publishing
I wrote my first book when I was sixteen and (thankfully) not a person read it. It wasn’t until six years later that I would finally be published. Twenty two is pretty young to have a book deal. Looking back I wasn’t sure I was ready for it.
But Wiley (publisher) needed an expert in the field of fitness and someone who could write and in both capacities they found little old me. The result was what I still consider to be a very good book with an awful title: Paleo Workouts for Dummies. Essentially, it’s my manifesto on fitness minimalism with an overdubbing of Paleo this or that. It isn’t often you look back on your work as a creative and want to keep any of it. This book I would mostly keep.
I’ve had a number of book deals after that, some you’ve probably never heard of, because a few I wasn’t all that invested or interested in. I did the work I was paid to do and was done with it–no marketing or promotion on my end. The problem with working for a publish is you are working for a publisher. That isn’t always fun. A lot of times it’s a headache.
So before you decide to write your book you should think about how it’s going to get around. Do you want to self-publish or try to nab the attention of an agent and see if you can land a book deal? There are pros and cons to each. Most self-publish, for no other reason than ease of access. It’s hard to get a book deal. It’s like every authors dream to get a book deal.
Self-publishing also gives you more creative control. And, you get to keep more of what you sell, which is nice. But everything is on you. And there is often a lack of quality control among self published authors, especially if you’re a first timer. People put out a ton of garbage. Self-publishing is wonderful and magic, but many a dumpster fire have come about from people being able to put out anything they want these days.
Working with a big publisher will ensure your work is edited and coherent, at the very least. It may still stink as a concept, but it’s more likely to be readable with a team behind it. The downside to this is you (may) lose creative control. I mean, look at my first book. And my second, and my third. I couldn’t even get the titles I wanted.
But with a publisher you get distribution and street cred. When you land a book deal that says something about you. People are more inclined to take you serious, for whatever reason. You may even get yourself a nice little advance, like I did. Something you can stash away or squander on a sports car.
But in order to land a book deal you will need an agent, typically. And in order to get an agent you need a concept and a proposal. How you craft a proposal is a bit tricky, something we may dive into later, but not now. No. I see it is already nine o’clock. So I’ll pause here. We’ll continue later.
PS – If you want to learn how to write a book (relatively) quickly, I’ll be sharing my framework and process for doing so with my Action Insider members this month. Join us?