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How do I Write & Publish a Book That Writers Read?

by Thomas Metcalf

Writing a book is a rewarding experience, and publishing and marketing it just adds to the satisfaction. As a writer, you probably know what writers need, and if you have experience in writing, you can give your work the voice of authority. Writing and publishing your own book will demonstrate to your readers that your ideas work.

Defining the Project

Before you start to write, you must decide what the finished product will be. Your book can be a how-to guide for writing a particular genre, a style guide or a marketing resource. You can publish an e-book, a paper book or both. Your self-published work can be a stepping stone to publication with a traditional press. If you need help with some steps in the writing process, such as editing, cover design and page layout, Createspace.com is an online resource that you can use to accomplish all of that. You can also find affordable resources at eLance.com for virtually anything you need. And you can call on friends and members of your writing club for constructive criticism and ideas.

Preparing the Manuscript

Outline the scope of your book. Electronic books can vary in length from a few pages to many more. If you plan to publish a paper book, it will likely be longer. Since you're writing for writers, your book will be offering advice and information to your fellow scribblers. Write in a style that writers will find easy and helpful to read. Before you finish your manuscript, have it edited and reviewed. A copy editor will check it for typos, grammar and punctuation -- those errors that would mark you as an amateur if published. Reviewers will evaluate your content and give you feedback you can use for marketing purposes.

Publishing the Book

Once the manuscript is complete, it’s time to publish. The format will depend on how your audience likes to read. If you publish a workbook, paper will be the best alternative for readers who like to mark up their books. If you have a print version, then find one of many high-end laser printing houses that can print and bind your work in short runs -- less than a thousand copies -- that are virtually indistinguishable from the traditional offset method. If you go the electronic route, you'll want to produce it in the major formats used online -- Kindle, MOBI, EPUB and Barnes & Noble. Test the results for glitches before you go public.

Marketing

Pricing at the proper level is vital. If you sell a Kindle version, the right price is between $2.99 and $9.99, because in that range Amazon offers a 70% royalty rate. Since you're writing for writers and people who want to be writers, you know your audience well. Reach out to your market through social networking -- blogging, writing articles online and sharing excerpts from your book on your website. Cross-promote with others by advertising your products on each others' websites. Plan author’s events, such as lectures and book signings, at bookstores. Send press releases to your local newspaper. If a local college offers continuing education courses, volunteer to teach one related to your topic.

About the Author

Thomas Metcalf has worked as an economist, stockbroker and technology salesman. A writer since 1997, he has written a monthly column for "Life Association News," authored several books and contributed to national publications such as the History Channel's "HISTORY Magazine." Metcalf holds a master's degree in economics from Tufts University.

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