13 steps to publish a book to take your career to the next level

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By Dianna Booher—

Do you have in mind what next job or career you would like to explore – for a paycheck or even for fun or other personal purposes? With people living well into their 90s and working into their 70s and even 80s, we often hear about the 50s and 60s careers.

According to a recent article in the Wall Street Journal, about 80 percent of the population say they have a book in them – and would like to see it released to the public. If you identify with this feeling, you’ll find these practical steps helpful in reaching that goal for writing and publishing books:

Step 1: Find a unique publicity angle or message you want to convey.

Step 2: Research books online at places like Amazon to find out what others have written about your topic. Why? So that you can take new paths. While I’ve heard a few book coaches tell aspiring authors not to read what others have written so their work won’t be “derivative,” editors at major publishing houses say otherwise. They always advise authors to look at what has been done in the past so they can write something different. While you may be writing on the same general topic (such as leadership, communications, or sales), editors and buyers expect your work to be unique—a new perspective on an old idea. New research. New dates. A reversal of ‘conventional wisdom’. A new format, for example practical instead of theoretical. A different tone, for example humor instead of straightforward prose.

Step 3: Develop a book proposal. A winning proposal includes a complete business plan to turn your book into a profitable investment for your publisher and yourself.

Step 4: Write a question to an agent (actually a summary or Readers Digest version of your full book proposal), asking if you can send your full proposal. If your proposal interests them and they want to represent your work to publishers, you’re good to go. If you decide not to waste time getting a contract because you have a hot topic, you can make simultaneous submissions. That is, you can submit your question to several agents at once. When you get a response, send the full proposal to the agent(s) who show interest. (Just be sure to tactfully notify them of the simultaneous filing.)

Step 5: Sign a contract with the Realtor to represent you on a commission basis (basically like a Realtor® signs a contract to sell a house for the homeowner). You work while your agent sells the project to a publisher.

Step 6: Start writing your book while your agent “shops your proposal” to suitable publishers and eager editors looking to land their next successful book.

Step 7: Review the offer(s) your agent makes you and sign the best contract, committing to a specific deadline for submitting your final book manuscript. (At this point, your publisher will send you an advance payment for future book royalties.)

Step 8: Start marketing your book and expand your platform (fans) as the publisher produces your book. (They’ll have your book ready in about 6-7 months from when you submit the final manuscript.) For many authors, myself included, I start marketing efforts long before I submit the manuscript by including tweetable quotes referring to influencers and their work, and publishing articles and blogs on the subject of the book to solicit pre-orders from online stores.

Step 9: Send readout copies of your book (or the page galleys) to influencers and get approval for the book cover and your marketing literature.

Step 10: Send promotional copies of your book as soon as you receive these free PR copies from your publisher.

Step 11: Continue to promote, promote and promote the book for the next 2-3 years.

Step 12: Take advantage of the media attention you receive from the publication of your book by using it in future promotional efforts. For example, each media feature or listing typically earns you 1-5 additional appointments or bookings.

Step 13: Turn those book sales into other high-ticket products and services, such as courses, workshops, mastermind groups, and so on.

That is the publishing path to long-term success and continued profit as an author. So get writing!

Dianna Booher is the best-selling author of 50 books, including Communicate like a leader. She helps organizations to communicate clearly. Follow her at BooherResearch.com and @DiannaBooher.