What’s old is new again. That pertains to just about everything. So, when it comes to a subject near and dear to my heart, I consider myself somewhat of an expert. Therefore, allow me to throw a few lessons learned at you if you’re someone contemplating on writing a book or if you have written a book and aren’t sure what to do next. Take these words to heart, because I won’t steer you wrong. I’ll help you get into this with your eyes wide open.
- There’s a process to publication. If you wish to be traditionally published, then you must first understand that no literary agent or publisher is obligated to accept your manuscript. You pursue publication. To enhance your chances, do your research and follow the company’s author guidelines.
- If you decide to self-publish, understand the publication part itself costs nothing but time and a bit of effort. Getting your manuscript fit for public consumption does cost money, oftentimes a lot of money.
- If you self-publish, then you are the publisher and you assume all the responsibilities of a publisher. Those responsibilities include hiring professionals (like a traditional publisher does) to edit and format the manuscript and design the cover.
- Marketing sells books. Especially in the more populous genres, the only way to make your book stand out from its competition is a robust, strategic marketing plan rigorously executed. If you’re not good at marketing, hire a pro.
- Your book’s cover design is a powerful marketing tool. Hire a pro.
- The quality of your content may not be what persuades a reader to buy the book, but it will be what persuades a reader to leave a positive review and to purchase your next book.
- Good writing requires competent editing.
- Authors should never rely on their own editing. Hire an editor. Always.
- Editing software is helpful, but does not take the place of a human editor because it cannot detect nuance, plot holes, and continuity issues, etc. Editing software may introduce as many errors as it fixes.
- Your book’s description or cover blurb falls under copywriting, not content writing. It’s primary purpose is to convert potential reader into a paying customer, not to tell your story. Authors who excel at content writing often don’t do well at copywriting. Considering hiring a pro.
- Marketing does not guarantee sales. Any marketer who promises or guarantees a certain volume of sales is a liar. Marketing improves your book’s chances of selling.
- Good editing is invisible; poor editing is glaringly obvious. The better your editing, the less likely your readers will notice; however, if the editing is poor or nonexistent, then readers will most certainly notice and warn potential readers in their reviews.
- If you have an intriguing story idea but not the time, skill, or inclination to write it yourself, consider hiring a ghostwriter. A skilled ghostwriter won’t write just like you would—the reason you’re hiring a pro, right?—but perhaps the ghostwriter will write your story better than you could.
- Ghostwriters don’t write for free.
- There are different kinds of writing and editing. Someone who excels at one may not excel at another.
- Authors who self-publish need not feel obligated to do everything themselves. You are probably not an expert in writing, page layout, graphic design, and marketing. Stick with your strengths and hire pros to do what you don’t do well.
- Proper editing is not a one-and-done process. Your manuscript will need at least one round of editing followed by a round of proofreading.
- Entering character information and plot points into ChatGPT or other AI program and getting a story in return is not writing.
- Adverbs and adjectives are not bad; overusing them is.
I could go on, but this has run long enough.
I do business as Hen House Publishing, and I offer freelance services in writing (ghostwriting), editing, and book design. I don’t offer cover design or marketing, because those are not forte.
If you have a story in mind but not the time, skill, or inclination to write it, then contact me at email@example.com to write it.
If you have drafted a manuscript that you want to publish, contact me to editing it at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you have an edited manuscript ready to be formatted for publication, contact me for book design at email@example.com.