writers' corner

Writers’ Corner // 5 Things Every Aspiring Author Should Know

By Isa Muh’d

Many people want to write a book and become authors. There are tons of reasons why one should write a book. For some, it’s for the credibility, the feeling of authorship, or the joy you get knowing you’ve made a contribution to the world.

Whatever your reason might be for writing a book, here are 5 things you should know before even writing down the first word.

1. Purpose

What is it you want from that book? What is the outcome that you want? For some, it’s simply just their legacy, you simply wanna share your story, which is fine, if that’s your goal.

But you ought to be very very clear of the outcome. Some people want to make money from a book, become famous, make a name for themselves, but unless your book is gonna have one hell of a story to tell, then it might not be as successful as you foresee it to be.

2. Writing a book won’t make you rich

I’ve come across authors who write books for the sole aim of making money. I’ve even read some of their books, and while some of those books were very insightful, they did not come from a genuine source to support or help their readers.

So, unless your book or novel is the next Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings, don’t bother trying to get rich by writing book. When you think about the amount of time and energy it takes to write a book, it’s not worth it from a business perspective. However, you can use the book to grow your business intelligently and strategically.

3. Writing is the easy part.

When I finished writing my book in late 2018, I went out in search of other published authors, both online and physically. I wanted to know what route to take in regard to how I should publish my book.

I met a few authors, most of whom were self-published authors. They offered really helpful advice on the whole publishing strategy. But the advice from an author named Donna Brown stood out:

“Writing the book is easy. The real work is actually getting people to read your book.”

What she meant was MARKETING. A lot of writers don’t plan out their marketing strategy until after they’ve finished writing their book. You have to make people anticipate your book even before it’s ready.

By doing that, as soon as your book is published, be it self or traditional, there will be readers waiting in line wanting to grab a copy.

4. Take your time.

After writing your book, you might want to throw it all out there, get likes, sell a few copies and make a name for yourself. But that’s not gonna happen so fast.

The first thing you want to do after completing your book is give out a few copies of it to family members or very close friends. You may not even give them the whole book, just the front matter. A front matter consists of your book dedication page, contents, preface, and preferably the first chapter of your book.

By doing that, you’ll get feedback. Feedback is very important. You may take months rewriting and editing your book, and you may think you’ve proofread every word and picked out every error, but there are always errors you haven’t caught.

5. How to publish your book

Traditional Publishing

The good thing about traditional publishing is that there are no costs for the author. The author doesn’t have to pay a dime for anything. In fact it’s the publisher who will pay the author an advance.

However, authors are expected to participate in marketing the book. Authors also sign away book rights to the publisher, and receive less royalties from the book sales than other publishing modalities.

Self Publishing

With self publishing, authors can choose to publish on their own. Examples of self publishing platforms include Amazon Kindle, Kobo, Smashwords and Barnes N Noble. Authors retain the rights of the book rather than giving signing it off to a publisher. They have full control of their work.

They also get to keep the most royalties for their book sales. However self published authors have to pay for everything up front — editing, designing, book cover, etc.

Indie Press

These publishing houses are independently owned, and often publish fewer titles every year. They often do not offer advances to authors. And at the same time, authors also do not have to pay for Indie Press publication.

Vanity Publishing

While traditional and indie publishers invest in you, offer you an advance and in return you simply sign off a couple of your book rights, vanity presses expect you to pay for self publishing and will also take away the rights to your book. Sucks right? I know.

They make authors pay and promise things they can’t fulfill. They promise to make your book a best seller or help you sell millions of copies… but they never deliver on these promises.

Conclusion

Writing a book is hard work. Authors who have been in the game for years make it look easy. But it’s one of the hardest things you’ll ever do. I got so many migraines back then when I was writing mine, I can’t forget. So if you wanna write a book, get ready, it’s gonna be tough.

Depending on your purpose for writing a book, you decide the outcome and impact you expect from that book. It’s not about the money that you make, it’s about the joy and satisfaction you get in your own life, knowing that you have made a difference in the lives of others, knowing that you have provided something beneficial in the lives of others.

So if you wanna write a book, be sure to put all these in mind and just write your heart out. Good luck!

About the Author

I’m a Blogger, Writer, Author of “Become better: A counterbalance approach to self development.” The counterbalance approach in my book is where I wrote in-depth on self development for the many who go about it wrongly. I reinstated that life isn’t always rainbows and cupcakes, and pain demands to be felt most of the time.

My book will be available online as an ebook later this year. You can follow me to stay updated and be informed when it becomes available.

I enjoy being in solitude, I love reading, learning, and of course, eating.

My Links: Blog | Instagram | Twitter | LinkedIn

Are you a writer? Whether you are a published author or an aspiring writer, you are welcome to contribute to a feature on Writers’ Corner, whether it is an author interview or a guest post. Check out the details here!

Photo Credits: Ian Schneider, Josh Appel, Josh Appel, Sonja Langford and Ed Robertson

8 thoughts on “Writers’ Corner // 5 Things Every Aspiring Author Should Know

  1. Great advice, and I would have to agree that writing the book is the fun and easy part. I have huge problems with drawing attention to it–the most difficult aspect is marketing (which can cost big bucks) and promotion. Nowadays, just getting traffic to your Amazon page is extremely difficult. Never mind about engagements and clicks, they are pretty much worthless. Sales clicks are far, few and in between.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Oh I didn’t realize vanity presses take away the authors’ rights, too. Would iUniverse count as a vanity press? I had some friends who enjoyed their experience with iUniverse, so I don’t intend to slam it. But I’m not very familiar with it, either.

    My goals are quite intrinsic, rather than extrinsic. So I write because I want to enjoy myself, learn more about my characters, and learn more about myself. I’m pretty casual about gaining a readership, where if friends, family, or any acquaintances like the story, that’s great. But if no one wants to read it, that’s fine, too. Writing is one of the few areas in my life where I feel free to express myself without fear of judgment from others. XD There are even stories that I will never show others, because I want to keep those secret parts of myself to myself, haha.

    P.S. I’m not implying that it’s bad to market and sell books, though. Others have criticized me for being unambitious, or that I ought to reach out to readers regardless. Well, to each their own. XD Nevertheless, I find it pretty fascinating to read about book marketing strategies, such as finding the pricing sweet spot, putting sneak peeks of the sequel at the back of the book, teaming up with authors of similar genres to advertise each other’s books in author newsletters, offering free copies of books to loyal readers in exchange for an honest review, etc.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Sieran,

      I’m not familiar with iUniverse, so I really can’t say. Buy yeah, Vanity press publishers will take away most of the Book rights from the Author.

      It’s great to write for yourself and just enjoy the process, but there’s always someone out there who’d love to read whatever you write about, once you find the right audience.

      Also, if you’re a writer, you gotta be a little bit ambitious, you gotta want something from your writing. Something that comes not from yourself, but from others.

      Good luck!

      Liked by 1 person

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