13 Best Ways to Prepare for Publishing Your First Book

13 Best Ways to Prepare for Publishing Your First Book

Writing a book gives authors a chance to share stories of challenges overcome, talk about skills they’ve developed or offer guidance on how to handle a complex subject. Considering online options such as Smashwords or Amazon’s CreateSpace, publishing a book (in both dead tree and electronic formats) has never been easier. That’s why we asked 13 entrepreneurs from Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) the following:

What is one piece of advice for entrepreneurs interested in publishing their first book?

How to Prepare for Publishing Your First Book

Here’s what YEC community members had to say:

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1. Understand Your Goals and Audience

“Before starting, it’s important to deeply understand your goals and your audience. Ask yourself, “What do I need to accomplish for this to be worthwhile?” and “Who do I need to reach to accomplish those goals?” Answering these questions, you’ll be able to discover what that audience needs, and ensure your book is properly positioned to reach them and solve their problems.” ~ Zach Obront, Book in a Box

2. Start Writing Today

“Just start writing. Set aside time, even if it’s just 15 minutes a day, and write down your thoughts and stories regarding the topic of your book. Before long, you’ll have a lot of great content that you, or a copywriter or editor, can start organizing into book form. It’s easier than ever to publish a book these days, but good content will always be the driver of success!” ~ Jeremy BrandtWeBuyHouses.com

3. Create Quality Content

“Some entrepreneurs get into publishing a book just for the sake of publishing it. While a book will boost your authority, and open you up to new opportunities like speaking engagements, if the book doesn’t contain quality content, it might do more harm than good. After all, people will be paying for your book to read it, and if it sucks, why should they care?” ~ Ismael Wrixen, FE International

4. Focus on the Story and the Marketing Plan

“Focus on creating a great and inspiring story, and come up with an equally great way to market it. With so many aspiring authors and businessmen out there, we are all competing in a very crowded and saturated market, in which you can only stand out if you have a truly inspiring, moving and motivating story, and a plan to communicate it.” ~ David TomasCyberclick

5. Research Self Publishing and Crowdsourcing

“Sites like Publishizer are great for raising money and getting awareness for your book in order to either work with a publisher or raise funds for self-publishing. Understand how the process works, and research what might work best for your genre and budget.” ~ Angela RuthDue

6. Define Your Objective Clearly

“One thing I learned early on while publishing my first book and having spoken to several published authors and agents is to have your objective clearly defined. Whether it is to help generate leads, project yourself as a thought leader, getting more speaking engagements or generate income; defining this will at the beginning will help you achieve your goals faster.” ~ Rahul VarshneyaArkenea

7. Hire a Strong Editor

“Find the best editor available to help you polish your manuscript into the best possible shape. An editor can help you find gaping holes that need filled and ways to get your message across succinctly and persuasively. To help you save money, make sure that you’ve performed your own self-edits before you send it to your editor so she doesn’t have to correct punctuation and grammar.” ~ Nicole Munoz, Start Ranking Now

8. Hire a Literary Agent

“Most large publishers will only work with agents. If you are writing your first book, you want to work with an expert that will help you clearly outline your objectives and already has the connections and knowledge within the industry. Be the master of the subject you are writing about and hire an expert that will have the best chance at putting in the hands of your future readers.” ~ Hillary HobsonHighest Cash Offer

9. Consider Partnering With an Established Author

“Most entrepreneurs are busy running businesses, and, let’s face it, writing a book takes a lot of time. Also, drafting pithy, easily consumable and conversational content does not come naturally to many people. It may be worth the investment to partner with an established author who can shepherd your book through the often daunting process from idea to outline to finished manuscript.” ~ Alexandra Levit, PeopleResults

10. Don’t Do It to Make Money

“I wrote my first book out of passion for the topic (financial literacy education for kids). I was told over and over again by authors that few books make money (the margins are just so small). Go into it knowing that it should be something you either simply must do and has nothing to do with the money, or do it because it builds your brand and meshes well with your existing platform.” ~ Darrah BrusteinNetwork Under 40

11. Lower Your Expectations

“Don’t assume you will be the next bestseller out there. With so many places to get content nowadays, you may start to get traction after your first book. Be patient and keep going. Publish it anyways and make sure to share it as much as possible. Just don’t start with the assumption you will be rich doing it.” ~ Zach Binder, Ranklab

12. Packaging Is Everything

“While the contents of the book are important, the most important part of publishing a book is making it look professional and polished. Spend money to get a great cover design, get influencers to comment on the book, and promote it heavily. You are not going to make money from your book. Publishing a book establishes credibility for yourself that you can then leverage in the future.” ~ Ryan Shank, PhoneWagon

13. Think of Your Book as a Brand-Building Tool

“As an entrepreneur, one of the most important things to keep in mind is building your reputation and brand. Your first thought should be providing information your customers need. Answer some of their most pressing problems and use the book to establish your expertise. Then you can sell it or even give it away as a lead generating machine.” ~ Shawn PoratScorely

Typewriter Photo via Shutterstock 9 Comments ▼

The Young Entrepreneur Council The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world's most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched StartupCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.

9 Reactions
  1. This is a really interesting post, especially getting the input from various people. I have been thinking about trying my hand at writing a short kindle book for some time. If for no other reason, than to go through the process of writing, publishing, and marketing the book to see what the Kindle Publishing business is really like. It seems that it’s gotten overly saturated over the last few years, but is still pretty interesting from the outside looking in.

  2. Re: 5 – Be clear about your publishing options. If you want to “work with a publisher”, you have to have talent, a great platform, and—in most cases—a sizeable audience to get a traditional publisher to want to work with you and PAY YOU to publish your book. “Self-Publishing” usually isn’t. Self-publishing companies are those that YOU PAY to be your publisher. If your book sells, they profit the most. (See: “double-dipping”.) Indie-publishing is for those who know the benefits of DIY. In the “indie” model (think indie-music and garage band tenacity), YOU ARE the publisher. You control your process, IP, and PAY YOURSELF. You may be able to deduct some or all of your expenses.

    Re: 8 – Be wary of agencies-for-hire. The Writers Guild of America cautions writers about working with agencies that require up-front fees. Reputable agencies earn commissions on sales of quality properties to traditional publishers. Some agencies offer review, formatting, and other services to generate revenue. Work with creative professionals to create your best manuscript. Legitimate agencies are looking for polished, well-written manuscripts that they believe they can sell to traditional publishers.

    Pet peeve: I take exception to calling printed books the “dead tree” format. Most US book printers are now using or make available high-percentage recycled content paper stock and other papers harvested from sustainable forests. I’d like to think to think that “The Giving Tree” is pleased every time it contributes itself to a professionally published book that provides readers with beneficial content.

    At a time when there is no short supply of emailed white papers and eBooks–just like Adam notes–nothing measures up to the prestige of a professionally published book. Whether you give it away as a calling card, sell at the back of the room, or offer it on your website, a physical book says “I have skin in the game” and “I am committed to this content” in ways that the eBooks never will. Consider your publishing options carefully. Partner with good people. Put out a quality book product.

  3. I agree about hiring an editor. Most writers skip this part because they are confident with their own abilities. But they are badly mistaken. This can also prevent them from creating a good book.

  4. A great tool to try before submitting your first manuscript is Copyleaks. I’ve been using it for the past 6 months to track if others have been using my content elsewhere. I found out a website was scraping my content without my knowing and since then I have learned how important it is to protect me content.

  5. hi, cool stuff, thanks

  6. I tried Self Publishing and after spending $4k it became clear this industry’s marketing strategy. Yes, they can make your book available EVERYWHERE, but that’s it. It’s not on anyone’s shelves, it’s just available if you order it. However, no one knows it exists. I liken it to having a yard sale with nothing in the yard, no signs, nothing. What you’re NOT told is no one is promoting your book so it’s as though it was never written.

  7. I tried Self Publishing and after spending $4k it became clear this industry’s marketing strategy. Yes, they can make your book available EVERYWHERE, but that’s it. It’s not on anyone’s shelves, it’s just available if you order it. However, no one knows it exists. I liken it to having a yard sale with nothing in the yard, no signs, nothing. What you’re NOT told is no one is promoting your book so it’s as though it was never written.

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