Malik Sharrieff

The 6 Things Writers Forget When Starting a Book Project

Almost every writer that I have encountered over the last 10 years of publishing has had the belief at some level that they are an artist practicing their craft. Somewhere in their mind there exists an image of themselves as the literary equivalent of Picasso or DaVinci, and that their next project will be a work of divine artistic expression.

In every case, these writers have been separated into two groups:
  1. Potential authors who can be convinced that authorship is a vocation and not some spiritual calling, and
  2. Those writers who can’t be talked down off this psychological ledge.

In both cases, writers need to be educated that writing is a process that must be practiced, refined and perfected.

The process of seeking perfection is specific to each writer. However, there are fundamentals that are almost always overlooked by writers until they decide to embrace the reality of the literary industry.

Here are the basics you need to remember:

  1. Don’t copy someone else’s wrong answers: You have to understand that your process will be different than for another writer because you’re different. Also, different projects may require you to adapt your writing process. Be willing to change if necessary.
  2. Plan your project: Break the project down into manageable portions and schedule the completion of each portion. Get a whiteboard or a notebook; I create weekly agendas in a Word .doc file. Whatever method you use, track you progress on each task and you’ll keep moving forward.
  3. Create a support team: When you are developing your book concept, start talking to friends, colleagues and family. Get them to commit to work-shopping ideas, copy editing, reviewing and doing grass-roots marketing. Having 3, 5, 10 or more people that volunteer to do a few small projects each to support your book will make an incredible difference in your production.
  4. Plan your promotional effort(s): Yes, you need to do this before you start writing! Once you have a solid book concept, you need to plan your marketing. Identify your target reader, find out where they access their entertainment options or can receive your marketing message, find out the things that stimulate them to emotion. Not only will this intel help you get their attention, but you can build it into your prose to win readers for life!
  5. Make a publishing plan: You’ll need a publishing plan sometime between establishing your story concept and completing the first 10 pages. Since you will need to be executing your publishing plan as you complete your book, you will need this in place as soon as possible (or sooner).
  6. Establish your budget(s): Whenever a new writer comes to Write On Press for consultative services, they are always asked the question, “What’s your budget?” for any project they are asking for support on. Nine out of 10 have no clue. The one writer in 10 destined for success will understand that they need a marketing budget and a publishing budget at the very least.
In conclusion:

Remember, being an author is a choice of profession. You have to prepare and train for it just like any doctor or engineer.

When you begin a book project, it’s like you are preparing to create a new product for distribution to a consumer market. Save the romance for your characters and focus on the business of literary success.

Feel free to comment or ask questions below, or discuss how you plan for your book projects.

 

Until next time, keep writing!

~Malik

P.S.:

If you have any questions, shoot us a note at the contact us page.

Malik Sharrieff

Start Building Your Support Team

Start creating your team!

It’s important as a first time writer that you begin assembling a team of people that can coach and encourage you to success.

Here are the 6 most important people a writer can have in their circle:

A cheerleader: Cheerleaders come in many forms. This person can be a parent, sibling, or friend, but the only requirement is that they’re positive and encourage you to pursue your dreams.

An editor: Good edited content is crucial to your success! A good editor will help you to fine tune those areas where we’re no longer as proficient as we once were (i.e., grammar, spelling, and punctuation.)

Beta readers: Beta readers are avid readers of your genre. Think of these people as the “focus group” for your book. Because they are a part of your target audience, they will provide feedback to help cater your book to the needs of the genre.

A mentor: A mentor is someone who’s already achieved the success you are looking to attain. Being in the company of a successful person, (no matter the industry) is motivation in itself!

A writing coach or a publishing consultant: This is the expert. The person who knows the publishing industry in and out and can advise you of the correct steps to take every step of the way. Wondering whether your manuscript is ready to publish? That’s where a writing coach comes in. Need help developing your publishing, marketing or distribution and sales plan, this is where a publishing consultant is invaluable.

Other writers: These are the people who are on a similar journey and can relate to your challenges. These are people that you communicate with regularly and help each other to become better.

I sincerely hope this list helps you to begin giving thought to the importance of a support system.

Feel free to comment or ask questions below, or discuss the types of people you have included in your support team.

 

Until next time, keep writing!

~Malik

P.S.:

If you have any questions, shoot us a note at the contact us page.

Malik Sharrieff

The Frustrations of Modern Publishing

Recently, I participated in a social media discussion with authors about which was better: traditional or self publishing?

As the owner of a publishing company and a self published author my answer is neither, both… well, it kinda depends? Honestly there are major trade offs and considerations for both publishing paths.

And ladies and gents, therein lays the greatest frustration with the publishing environment today.

There are so many different publishing strategies these days that authors are going bananas trying to wrap their heads around it all. Let’s carve this into more digestible bites, shall we?

Back in the Good Ole Days…

Way back in the golden age of publishing, authors really only had one option to gain fame, fortune and nationwide distribution, and that was traditional publishing.

Of course there were many more traditional publishers than today. Most of the small and mid-sized agencies have become imprints of the Big 5 traditional publishers (if they survived at all).

In those days, authors had to be discovered like starlets on Hollywood and Vine. That publishing model hasn’t changed much to this day. The Big 5 only need a few hundred good manuscripts each year to turn their profits and they receive several hundred thousand each year to choose from. So it’s very obvious how an aspiring author could pull all their hair out in the attempt to get the attention of a traditional publisher.

Add to that, the typical publisher assumes total control of your project and usually contracts you to between 3% and 10% royalties on sales. That feels like financial molestation to someone who has poured out their soul into a project.  These days those imprints of the Big 5 will typically not handle copy-editing or more than the most basic marketing. More frustrating is that if your project doesn’t perform, you could get dropped and be on the hook for expenses.

Self-Publishing Made Everything Better, Right?

Uh, No!

With a market of authors screaming for alternatives to the traditional publishing path that only worked for 1% of all authors that took it, the literary marketplace opened up with alternatives galore!

Now you can publish on KDP, Smashwords or LULU.com for free. You could also contract with vendors at every level of your project to get your book into distribution. Or even work with publishing platforms or even boutique publishers like Write On Press.

Now that there are options for every author, there should be no more frustrations, right?

Unfortunately, it seems like there are so many options that some authors are sitting on stacks of manuscripts with no idea how to move forward.

Talent unactualized; drying away in dusty corners until it drifts off in beams of afternoon light, riding on a mild breeze made by the woeful, somber sighs of melancholy authors.

Each one of these new options carries its own set of trade offs and considerations that make it appropriate or inappropriate for any given author. So how do you know what pat is the right one for you?

Seek Aid From an Experienced Guide…

In every other facet of professional life, we find someone to advise and offer direction. What’s more ironic is that most fiction authors will create guides and mentors for their protagonists (sometimes their antagonists, too), but fail to find a guide for themselves.

Protip:

Just because you are an incredible writer does not make you an adept publisher. Find someone with expertise in the publishing industry to give you direction. The direction you receive should not be general, but tailored to your needs, your project(s) and/or your literary career.

Try doing a search for publishing consultants or literary consultants. Find a professional that can analyze your needs and help you create a strategy that will use your talents, resources and available budget in a way that will successfully get your project to completion and into the marketplace.

Shameless Plug…

Yes, Write On Press does offer publishing consultations. Yes, services are reasonably priced and worth every penny, but that’s not the point.

The point is that if you are confused about how to move your project forward, visit the services page and schedule an appointment or email Author Service to ask questions about working with a publishing consultant.

Stop stacking up unpublished works of genius! Get some help and relieve the frustrations of modern publishing!

Your friendly neighborhood publisher,

~Malik Sharrieff

 

If you would like to schedule a consultation with a Write On Press Publishing Consultant, please send us a note at: authorservice@writeonpress.com, or visit us at www.writeonpress.com.

Connect via email or digital meeting platform (i.e. zoom, gotomeeting, etc.).

Feel free to comment or ask questions below, or discuss your past publishing plan(s).

Until next time, keep writing!

~Malik

P.S.:

If you have any questions, shoot us a note at the contact us page.

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