Book Catalyst Publishing Answers
15 FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS EXPANDED
15 Frequently Asked Questions Expanded
Here are 15 of the most frequently asked questions I have heard over the years related to book writing and publishing. As mention, most writers are already curious and have asked a certain number of questions at least in their own minds if not openly.
Asking better questions will serve you whether you continue your author adventure or not.
1. How can I overcome my fears about book writing, publishing, and marketing?
Creative Action. You overcome fear by taking action so if it has to to with writing then do something related to writing: commit to 1-2 chapters and sit down and write; schedule a call or interview with someone that can assist you in your journey. Think about how you will feel when you accomplish some aspect. Finished chapter, researched editor, inserting power words in targeted places. If publishing it might be researching Agents, checking on a list of Print on Demand Platforms (POD Order Takers or Printers) or getting your cover created. If Marketing you might create a mini business plan with 5-10 tasks that you will do to help promote the book, create or have some social media graphics created once you have the cover or check out some book marketing blogs.
2. How do I get started writing?
Just start! It might sound simple and it is. Just start putting words on paper the old fashioned way or electronically. Write an outline or a brainstorm your Title.
3. What should I write about?
Something you know about. Create a list of 10 things you know about a topic or subject (work, hobby, experience, family, friends, other). Or something you would like to know about if you always wanted to go fishing then do some research. If you want to write about food then visit 4-5 different restaurants and write up your experience.
4. What if I don’t know much about the topic I want to write about?
Find 3 people that do know about the topic and ask if you can spend 30 minutes or an hour asking them some questions. Watch 5 YouTube videos where people are talking about your topic. Search and then Read 7-10 blogs about the topic.
5. Where can I gather more information about my topic?
Directly from someone who is an expert. From other books or magazines or blogs or training videos, but don’t plagerize or copy directly. Learn about the subject and then ask yourself “Do I agree with this?” What can you add that will make it better? Can you take the idea and blend it with a totally different subject to make something new? If you search on the Internet always confirm sources.
6. When is the best time of day to write?
Whenever you have TIME. Depends on when your peak performance occurs. Are you a morning “early bird gets the worm” type, an afternoon shining star or a night owl. It might be when you feel the most creative, maybe that’s before everyone wakes up or after everyone goes to bed. Only you know what seems to work best for you.
7. What else do I need to include in my manuscript?
Title page, Copyright page, Dedication page, Foreword, Preface, or Introduction, Bio (usually at end) other relevant book lists or promotional pages.
8. Why do I need an editor?
I don’t edit my own writing. I am too close to it. You read it right because you know what it is suppose to say. You always need someone else’s point of view as they can see things you can’t. Only amateurs act as their own editor. You want to be a professional author. Hire an editor.
9. Where can I find a publisher?
Ask other authors who their publisher is? Look at the copyright page usually the publishing company is listed there. Another place you can look is the acknowledgements in a Dedication, Preface or Introduction. Many times the author will mention or thank their publisher or agent in one of these sections.
10. How do I get my book on Amazon? Getting to #1 requires it’s own article.
Amazon is the easiest platform to use. You go to kdp.amazon.com and open an account. If you already have an Amazon account where you buy books or other products you can use that account or you can set up a new account. Then you just fill in the online form with the information it asks for. If you get stuck they have help guides and a community forum where you can learn more. Their are 2 spots that are the trickiest: 1) ISBN and Publisher on the second page must match the Title on first page exactly as it is listed in the Bowker My Identifiers ISBN Listing. (see more in #11 below). The other tricky question is Digital Rights Management you want to say YES if you don’t want people to share your book freely with others. If you don’t care then you say NO but you cannot change this once you publish. You can fill out this information ahead of time and just SAVE AS A DRAFT until you are ready to publish. But understand once you PUBLISH there are certain things you cannot change. I will talk more about that in another post.
11. What are an ISBN and Barcode and why do I need them?
An ISBN is the International Standard Book Number is a numerical commercial book identifier which is intended to be unique. The barcode is what retailers scan to know how much the book costs and how many copies they have of that book. If you want to sell to retail outlets (bookstores, gift stores, toy stores, big box stores, department stores, health food stores or any other retail outlet you will need an ISBN and a BARCODE that is how they track their inventory. If you don’t have this they WILL NOT usually buy your book. Publishers or author’s self-publishing can purchase ISBN’s from an affiliate of the International ISBN Agency. In the United States of America it is Bowker.com.
An ISBN is assigned to each separate edition and variation (except reprintings) of a publication. For example, an e-book, a paperback and a hardback edition of the same book will each have a different ISBN. The ISBN is ten digits long if assigned before 2007, and thirteen digits long if assigned on or after January 1, 2007. The method of assigning an ISBN is nation-specific and varies between countries, often depending on how large the publishing industry is within a country. So check for your countries process and affiliate if you live outside the USA. Privately published books sometimes appear without an ISBN.
BONUS TIPS: Another identifier, the International Standard Serial Number (ISSN), identifies periodical publications such as magazines and newspapers. The International Standard Music Number (ISMN) covers musical scores.
12. When should I start marketing my book?
Before you even start writing. Today you want to talk to your potential reader or audience or client or customer to see what they really want. Many times as creators we just write what we want with no thought to who will read (or more importantly buy it). Today people want help with solving their problems, or they want strategies to help them succeed or they want to be educated, informed or entertained. If they have children they want them to be educated, informed or entertained. Your potential reader, client or customer will tell you what they want, if you ask them. To have success at the highest level you need to be in conversation with your audience and give them what the want then what they need. (I will talk about this more in another post.)
All along as you write you will want to be engaging with your potential audience. Telling them about your writing journey, maybe sharing what you are writing about, why you are writing about that topic and when you hope to be finished. In another article I will share a list of things that you can talk about while you are writing your book.
Another huge mistake new authors make is not creating a budget and that especially includes investment dollars for marketing. If you expect to do this long-term or to be considered a professional author then you need to treat your WRITING as a BUSINESS not a hobby.
This doesn’t have to be huge or elaborate it can be a simple 1-4 page document but it needs to list every potential task, how many hours it will take, who will do it, and what it would cost even if you end up doing it yourself. You still need to understand how long it might take and what skills it might need to decide whether you can do it yourself or you need to PAY, BARTER or PARTNER with someone else to do it.
I have a “Your Mini-Business Plan: From Writing to Distribution A Flawless Publishing Blueprint” 4 Week Course that walks you through all the tasks you need to consider when Writing, Publishing, Launching, Marketing and Distributing a Book whether Non-fiction, Children’s or Fiction. You can request an application to apply for this program by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org spots are limited but you will be put on the VIP Waiting List if the current session is full. I offer this program 3 times per year.
13. Why do I need an author website?
You need a website if you plan to make a career as an author or to create an indie or self-publishing business. That is real estate you own. Yes you can create pages on Social Media platforms but you don’t own those platforms and if they ever go down, ban you or they get bought out or merged into another company everything can change and you can loose everything you have built overnight. In a future post I will talk about the different ways you can send people to your website and the tools or resources you can use to create your own list.
14. How much does it cost to write (publish) a book?
The writing is usually free except for time (unless you are using a Ghostwriter which is usually very expensive) until you get to the editing stage. The publishing, marketing and distribution is what cost the most and it really does vary depending on what type of writing you are doing and what resources you need to make it happen. On the low end you can get started with around $1,000-$3,500 (maybe less if you have skills) in the middle (a fairly standard cost) $5,000-$10,000 over a 3, 6 or 9 month timeframe and on the high end if you want to dominate in your market $10,000-$25,000 in a year.
15. Where can I get all my questions answered?
This might be fairly obvious by now. Right here in this Book Catalyst Publishing e-Newsletter delivered right to your inbox when you subscribe. Or by scheduling an appointment with me by emailing email@example.com.
I will be sharing the “15 Questions Potential or Published Authors SHOULD Be Asking” in a future article because many times we don’t even know the questions we should be asking. Even vintage authors need to remain curious and open to asking better questions.
If you have a question about any aspect of book publishing, please post it in the comments below. Or if you prefer email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks for reading and if you are serious about your author adventure then invest in yourself and your future for less than one nice meal out a month by clicking on the purple button below. You and your dream deserve it. You are worth it. I can’t wait to see you on the inside.