3 RULES OF GET­TING PUB­LISHED

Mod­ern rules for au­thors look­ing to get pub­lished

Storizen Magazine - - Contents - - Rodolf Her­nan­dez

Get­ting a book pub­lished has never been eas­ier than in the cur­rent mar­ket en­vi­ron­ment. You can quickly find il­lus­tra­tors, graphic de­sign­ers, and pro­gram­mers who can all help turn your project from just a dream into a real, tan­gi­ble prod­uct. De­pend­ing on your own skill and time, much of the process of build­ing and de­sign­ing a book can be down on your own. But, fo­cus­ing on the writ­ing and build­ing a team around you to help with everything else is just as fea­si­ble (and pos­si­bly even a bet­ter idea). Cer­tainly, work­ing with a big pub­lish­ing house makes the process much eas­ier, but walk­ing that path to­ward a deal can be daunt­ing and un­suc­cess­ful. Be­cause of how de­moc­ra­tized the pub­lish­ing process is now, this tra­di­tional ap­proach might not even be the best for some. An au­di­ence can be de­vel­oped with the proper so­cial me­dia out­let (plus a lit­tle de­ter­mi­na­tion on your end). So how do you go about get­ting a book into the hands of a po­ten­tial au­di­ence? For me, the process in­volved three com­po­nents: hon­ing my cre­ativ­ity, cre­at­ing an au­di­ence, and de­vel­op­ing a great book.

Find­ing Your Voice Of all the ad­vice I can of­fer, the best I can give is for you to find your voice, and never give up in do­ing so. Be­fore try­ing to build a so­cial me­dia fol­low­ing, or try­ing to put to­gether your first book, make sure you’re writ­ing in a style and tone that feels nat­u­ral. Reading other writ­ers that you ad­mire and en­joy is a good way to learn what works, as well as learn new ways to im­prove your­self. How­ever, this kind of em­u­la­tion can be a slip­pery slope; de­spite how much you think you’re im­prov­ing, you may be los­ing your unique style by try­ing too hard to sound like some­one else.

Of all the ad­vice I can of­fer, the best I can give is for you to find your voice, and never give up in do­ing so.

Writ­ing us­ing a blue­print isn’t sus­tain­able. Be­ing con­sis­tency is good, but make sure that your con­sis­tency doesn’t be­come stale. Ex­pand­ing your style and con­tent is great, but make sure you take smart risks with your voice. Re­fine­ment of your writ­ing will take time, so don’t rush your de­vel­op­ment. Even though I’ve been writ­ing pro­fes­sion­ally for many years, that doesn’t mean I was good as soon as I started (or that I’m even any good now!). Look­ing back at my pre­vi­ous work to review my strong and weak points has been a good prac­tice for me, and some­thing I sug­gest to any writer who hopes to grow. Build­ing a Com­mu­nity Grow­ing your au­di­ence is the next step if you’re look­ing to pub­lish work in the fu­ture. This is good for two main rea­sons: the ob­vi­ous one is that your com­mu­nity will be the ones who sup­port your work by buy­ing, but this com­mu­nity is also where you’ll get your feed­back. Not ev­ery­one will nec­es­sar­ily give you di­rect and ac­tion­able ad­vice, but the ac­tion (or in­ac­tion) of this group can be telling. If you’re reg­u­larly post­ing on so­cial me­dia (which you should be), then you’ll un­der­stand that en­gage­ment can vary be­tween posts. Herein lies the key: while there are other fac­tors at play that de­ter­mine your en­gage­ment by post, for the most part, the com­mu­nity will re­spond pos­i­tively to your best work. If a give work is par­tic­u­larly well­writ­ten, mov­ing, or oth­er­wise ex­cep­tional, your com­mu­nity will ex­press this with their en­gage­ment. If, how­ever, a given post isn’t well-re­ceived, then you know that there’s a pos­si­bil­ity there for you to im­prove.

Ul­ti­mately, this hon­esty must start with your­self: you must ei­ther ac­cept that per­haps writ­ing isn’t for you or com­mit to a life­long jour­ney of con­tin­u­ous im­prove­ment.

Elic­it­ing this re­sponse from your au­di­ence is sim­ple enough, at least in the­ory. The ex­e­cu­tion is of­ten the part that kills peo­ple’s progress. With­out con­sis­tency, with­out pas­sion, and with­out pa­tience, build­ing a strong and healthy com­mu­nity is al­most im­pos­si­ble. Out of the last two and a half years that I’ve posted on In­sta­gram, I’ve missed maybe 3 or 4 days in that time frame. What keeps me go­ing ev­ery day is my pas­sion for writ­ing and ex­press­ing my­self. Craft­ing the poem, tak­ing and edit­ing the im­age, then post­ing it on­line doesn’t feel like a chore to me. Nei­ther did tak­ing the time to re­search which so­cial me­dia plat­forms were good for this kind of con­tent. De­pend­ing on where you choose to post, you’ll have dif­fer­ent con­cerns, but for the most part, find­ing a good set of hash­tags to drive traf­fic to your posts is a solid idea. Also, make sure to es­tab­lish re­la­tion­ships with your early sup­port­ers. Be­ing so­cial on so­cial me­dia should go with­out say­ing, yet here we are. Lastly, re­mem­ber that build­ing an au­di­ence takes time. Or­ganic growth will hap­pen, so long as you’re post­ing reg­u­larly and what you’re post­ing is ex­cep­tional. There are other meth­ods for im­prov­ing your en­gage­ment (e.g. writer/con­tent cre­ator groups, in­flu­encer mar­ket­ing), but none of th­ese can re­place sim­ply be­ing a good writer. Ul­ti­mately, this hon­esty must start with your­self: you must ei­ther ac­cept that per­haps writ­ing isn’t for you or com­mit to a life­long jour­ney of con­tin­u­ous im­prove­ment.

Fi­nal­iz­ing Your Project Make sure to have fun with get­ting your book to mar­ket. Yes, you need to have clear vi­sion for what you want your project to look like and you need to es­tab­lish a plan to ex­e­cute. How­ever, whether you

Of all the ad­vice I can of­fer, the best I can give is for you to find your voice, and never give up in do­ing so.

in­tend to self-pub­lish or if you plan to de­velop a pub­lisher pro­posal, re­mem­ber that at the heart of any suc­cess­ful book is at­ten­tion-tode­tail and a re­flec­tion of the artist. You could take time to learn how to use cer­tain pro­grams, or you could es­tab­lish im­por­tant re­la­tion­ships with pro­fes­sion­als that will help op­ti­mize your project. Edi­tors, il­lus­tra­tors, graphic de­sign­ers, all th­ese folks are eas­ier to reach than ever thanks to free­lance web­sites. How­ever, you get what you pay for, so if there’s any ele­ment to your book that you want to re­tain con­trol of, you may be bet­ter off learn­ing how to han­dle that as­pect your­self. For ex­am­ple, I learned how to use Adobe InDe­sign be­cause I had a de­sign in mind for my book, rather than pass it off to some­one else who might not un­der­stand what I wanted. Hav­ing a book ready for sale isn’t just about generating rev­enue. If you’re able to put to­gether a project and prop­erly es­tab­lish it on a given mar­ket­place (I like Ama­zon), this will strengthen your po­ten­tial pitch to pub­lish­ers. De­pend­ing on the or­ga­ni­za­tion, they might want to make their own ed­its, but hav­ing a book done and ready to present is a strong sign that you’re a ca­pa­ble writer and busi­ness pro­fes­sional.

Con­clu­sion With my book done now and on the mar­ket, my fo­cus is on con­tin­u­ing to put out the best work I can. Oc­ca­sion­ally, I make call-toac­tions to en­cour­age peo­ple to buy my book, but I never let my plat­form be­come too much like an out­let for mar­ket­ing pitches. Con­stantly throw­ing this in your com­mu­nity’s face is a sure­fire way to lose sup­port, so al­ways tem­per your ef­forts.

Oc­ca­sion­ally, I make call-to-ac­tions to en­cour­age peo­ple to buy my book, but I never let my plat­form be­come too much like an out­let for mar­ket­ing pitches.

Find­ing your voice (and sharp­en­ing your skills), build­ing an au­di­ence, and cre­at­ing an ex­cel­lent book is the best way to start at­tract­ing in­ter­est from po­ten­tial pub­lish­ers. Th­ese are busi­nesses, and busi­nesses don’t want to work with lazy artists who aren’t will­ing to grind for their dreams. Show pub­lish­ers that this is what you’re truly pas­sion­ate about, and soon enough, you’ll be on your way to be­com­ing a pub­lished au­thor. Rodolfo’s love for writ­ing started when he was just a kid, and now as an adult, he’s pur­su­ing this call­ing through a ca­reer as a writer and edi­tor. He stud­ied phi­los­o­phy in col­lege, so the na­ture of ex­is­tence and human emo­tion are top­ics that have in­ter­ested him for many years. He also has his master’s in busi­ness ad­min­is­tra­tion de­gree, which is a tes­ta­ment to his in­ter­est in be­ing an en­trepreneur along­side be­ing a writer. Although he started with spo­ken word po­etry, over the years he be­gan writ­ing more tra­di­tional po­ems and prose. His fu­ture goals as a writer, along­side con­tin­u­ing to cre­ate more po­ems, in­clude fin­ish­ing his first novel, writ­ing a col­lec­tion of short sto­ries, and ex­plor­ing other non­fic­tion projects on top­ics that in­ter­est him like in­vest­ing, en­trepreneur­ship, and tech­nol­ogy.

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