When I first started out, the thought of publishing my books overwhelmed me. I didn’t feel like an author, and I didn’t feel confident enough to call myself a publisher. I had no real experience writing or publishing, but I very quickly found my feet and my books went on to be bestsellers.
You don’t have to be an author to publish a book. You can learn as you go along, write a non-fiction book based on your knowledge and experience, or hire a ghostwriter to finish the book on your behalf.
Every author has been in your shoes at some point. The important thing is to understand the process of writing and publishing a book, and then take the necessary steps to make your dream a reality.
In this article, I will explore:
- Can anyone just publish a book?
- What are the requirements for publishing a book?
- How do I write a book with no experience?
- Is self-publishing a good idea?
- How do I know if my book is good enough to publish?
Can Anyone Just Publish A Book?
Anyone can publish a book because the internet has made self-publishing easy and accessible. However, it can still take time, effort, and financial investment to ensure the book is of the best quality.
I know the publishing process can be quite daunting, especially if you’re not familiar with it. There are a lot of steps involved, from writing the book itself, finding a publisher or learning to self-publish, and then marketing and selling the finished product.
I’ve made a lot of mistakes in my self-publishing journey, and I don’t want you to make the same ones. So, if you’re not sure where to start, take a look at my article Is It Hard To Self-Publish A Book? (And where to start)
What Are The Requirements For Publishing A Book?
In order to publish a successful book, you will need to write the book, find a publisher, and know how to reach your audience.
1. Write The Book
This may seem like an obvious step, but it’s worth mentioning because it’s not always easy. Your book may be fiction or non-fiction. It might be a low-content workbook or a hundred-thousand-word epic fantasy. You might write it on your own, with others, or hire a ghostwriter.
The way you decide to produce your book is up to you. The important thing is that you produce original work that you have the right to reproduce.
If you aren’t sure you have the rights to the book you’d like to publish, you can learn more about copyright and publishing rights in my article link to If You Self-Publish On Amazon, Who Owns The Copyright?
2. Find A Publisher
Once you’ve finished writing your book, you’ll need to find a publisher. The traditional method involves submitting a query letter to literary agents or publishing houses. If you’re lucky, one of them will be interested in your book and offer to publish it.
I prefer the self-publishing option for my fiction. We can do this through online platforms like Amazon, Draft2Digital, or Smashwords. But the choice is yours. The important thing is to get your book out there.
3. Know Your Audience
Finally, you’ll also need to market and sell your book.
For many writers and publishers, this can seem like the most difficult step. The trick is to know your audience. If you know who your readers are, what they are looking for in a book, and where they will find their next read, then you are 90% of the way to making your book sell.
It’s never too early to understand your audience, and many authors start writing with their audience in mind, knowing they will have eager readers the moment they hit publish.
How Do I Write A Book With No Experience?
If you’ve never written a book before, the thought of doing so can be daunting. But don’t worry – if you’re willing to put in the work, anyone can write a book.
Here is my step-by-step starter guide for writing and publishing a book with no experience:
1. Choose your topic
This can be anything that you’re passionate about or have expertise in. If you’re not sure what to write about, try doing some market research. Start with a niche or a genre you are interested in reading, and see what’s selling well. Could you do something similar but with a twist that makes your book original?
2. Research your topic
Once you’ve chosen a topic, it’s time for in-depth research. This will help you develop a better understanding of the subject and make sure that your book is well-informed and accurate.
Don’t skimp on this step just because you are writing fiction! It is important to understand what other writers are producing in your niche. What are the popular ideas? What has been done before? What would make an original twist?
3. Outline your book
Once you’ve done your research, it’s time to start outlining your book. This will help you organise your thoughts and structure your book in a way that makes sense.
Note: Some writers like to ‘write into the dark’ or write ‘by the seat of their pants’ – if this is you, you will still have to structure your book in a way that makes sense, even if this happens after you have written the first draft.
4. Write your book
Now it’s time to actually start writing your book. This is where the hard work comes in, but it’s also where the magic happens.
The best way to write a book is to form a consistent writing habit. If you write at the same time every day, for the same amount of time, your daily word count will gradually increase. Focus on daily writing, and extensive projects will soon happen with little thought.
5. Edit your book
Once you’ve written your book, it’s time to revise and edit it. This is an important step, so give it the attention it deserves.
First-time writers will benefit from the help of Beta readers or developmental editors (see below) who can give you professional feedback to make sure your book is working the way you want it to. This can be expensive but is probably the most important stage to get right.
6. Find a publisher
The next step is to find a publisher for your book. This can be done by submitting a query letter to literary agents or publishing houses, or just going ahead and publishing on Amazon KDP.
7. Market and sell your book
Finally, you’ll need to market and sell your book. If you put in a lot of effort in stages 1 & 2, then this stage will be so much easier. If you know your niche, and you know the readers who love the type of books you write, then marketing to those readers will be a thousand times easier.
Is Self-Publishing A Good Idea?
Self-publishing is a great option for people who want to publish their book without going through the traditional publishing process. It’s also a good option for people who have been unsuccessful in finding a publisher for their book.
That being said, self-publishing can be a lonely venture with a steep learning curve. I’ve been self-publishing my fiction for over a decade, so I want to run through a few pros and cons I’ve discovered on my journey:
- You retain complete control over your book
- You can get your book into the hands of readers much faster than if you went the traditional publishing route
- You don’t have to worry about finding a publisher for your book
- You’ll need to invest time and money into marketing and promoting your book
- You won’t have the same level of editorial support you would if you were working with a traditional publisher
- There is a risk that your book will not be well-received by readers
It is worth noting that many of these same problems come up if a smaller independent publishing house publishes your work, and even if you are lucky enough to find yourself published with one of the big five.
How Do I Know If My Book Is Good Enough To Publish?
The best way to know if your book is good enough to publish is to get feedback from beta readers and developmental editors. They will read your book and provide feedback on things like plot, characters, and writing style.
Beta readers can be friends or family members of the author, but they need to be readers rather than fellow authors. They read the book in its early stages to provide feedback, often as a survey. You can often hire beta readers online, or find beta readers in forums or through companies such as TCKPublishing.com.
Because beta readers are often not professionals, I have found that you need to have a significant number of beta readers before you get good-quality feedback. This can be difficult to organise but is often worth doing for early drafts of a novel.
Developmental editors are professionals who work with authors to help them improve their writing. They can help with very specific issues or offer more general guidance on the genre. Developmental editors come at a cost, and you may need to send your book back several times before you are happy with your work.
My developmental editor was fundamental to helping me finish my first novel, and I highly recommend finding one if you can afford it.
If you want to publish a book, it’s important to have a good understanding of the publishing process. This will help you make better decisions about things like marketing and promotion.
So while you don’t need to be an author to publish a book, it’s definitely helpful to have some knowledge about the publishing process. And if you’re interested in making a career out of publishing, it’s essential to understand the ins and outs of the industry.
Good luck, and happy publishing!