How to Become a Published Author
So, you have a story to tell, but where do you begin? How do you become a legitimate published author? Everyone has a story, and—aside from the sheer thrill of seeing your name in print—there are many reasons why you might be champing at the bit to tell the world your tale. You’ve seen things, […]
So, you have a story to tell, but where do you begin? How do you become a legitimate published author?
Everyone has a story, and—aside from the sheer thrill of seeing your name in print—there are many reasons why you might be champing at the bit to tell the world your tale. You’ve seen things, you’ve done things, you’ve learned things, and you know someone, somewhere will resonate with the narrative you have to share. By publishing a book, you can write your own legacy, forever documented with an ISBN number.
But where do you begin? How do you become an actual, legitimate published author?
“The traditional route is that an author would put a proposal together, write a proposal and find a literary agent to shop a book for them,” Jonathan Merkh, president and publisher of Forefront Books, explained to Worth. “Once the literary agent shops the book and a publisher is interested, they come to a deal where a publisher might offer an advance in order to buy the rights to the book. And then from there, typically, once a manuscript is delivered, it’s usually a year to a year-and-a-half process between the time a book deal is done, and a manuscript is delivered, to the time that the book finally comes out.”
While that might all seem somewhat straightforward, in actuality, it’s not.
“It’s getting much more difficult to get a book published today because of the word platform,” Merkh said. “Publishers are taking fewer and fewer chances—and not publishing as many books. Because if you do not have a platform, they will not publish, even if the idea is good. What most publishers are focusing on now are big names with big platforms.”
And when it comes to platforms, the publishing industry set a high bar; according to Merkh, even 100,000 followers on social media is considered really small in book publishing. Traditional publishers are looking for authors who already have a platform that reaches several hundred thousand to millions of people.
“The word discoverability is a key word in publishing,” Merkh explained. “And that is: How are people going to know about your book in order to want to buy your book? And if you don’t have that platform, it’s tough.”
With traditional publishers unwilling to take risks and digital transformation taking hold of nearly every part of our lives, there has been a huge impetus toward self-publishing in recent years, with Amazon’s Kindle and e-books opening the flood gates. However, to truly compete in the saturated self-publishing market, you have to take charge of all the variables—from the cover design and copyediting to all sales. Not to mention, by taking this route, it’s next to impossible to get your book into bookstores.
There has to be a better way, right?