So, you want to write a book? You are not the only one. Many people look back later in life and consider writing memoirs as a keepsake for family members or even for themselves. It can be therapeutic and a way of processing feelings, too. Others, simply prefer writing essays, articles, guest posts to list on their resumé in order to get an agent and a publisher or start a blog as another way to get their words out.
Whatever you hope to see published one day, don’t be discouraged by your age: talent doesn’t have an expiration date and there is no single path to authorship, as every writer’s journey is unique. Of course, you need to be confident enough to bear some rejections at first. You also have to take into account the fact that you can’t improvise as publishing is a rigorous process.
How to get your book out in the market
I have journaled for many years. These entries provided material for some of my books and helped me see how much progress I have made in my life. I have published via traditional publishers and a hybrid publisher, and both have advantages.
Here are some tips to help you get your book published.
They usually require an agent to pitch the book proposal. AgentQuery, QueryTracker and PublishersMarketplace are good places to start with your research. The other way is that you can look for the name of a literary agent in the acknowledgements of a book similar to yours (as most authors usually thank the one who represents them), then search for their website and submit a book proposal. Don’t be discouraged by writing your idea: there are many templates online you can use. They typically include a summary, your bio, target market, media hooks and a sample chapter.
In general, it’s better to aim at those publishers that cater to women only or those less represented in the mainstream press. Founder of Bold Story Press and former Vice President and editor in chief of McGraw Hill (the largest publisher in the U.S.), Emily Barrosse, focuses her work on female writers and offers seminars for potential women authors to learn about writing and publishing.
Eight out of the ten best-selling books are authored by men. And print, television, cable, and online media are still dominated by males. I want to do my part to change that – she explains-. During my 35 years in the publishing industry, I saw the many hurdles that women authors had to overcome in order to publish their work. So when I started Bold Story Press in 2020, I decided to focus my efforts on empowering women authors to share their stories.
Roxane Gay Books is another interesting publisher to keep an eye on as it prioritizes underrepresented writers.
I love stories about difficult women – says Roxane Gay, a bestselling author, essayist and writing professor who has recently started a book imprint with Grove Atlantic with plans to release three titles a year, a mix of fiction, nonfiction and memoir-. I welcome your so-called unlikable protagonists. I enjoy dark, gritty stories but I am also open to happy, joyful but unsentimental stories that reflect faith in the overall goodness of humanity.
As reported in The New York Times, Gay – who is particularly interested in queer and feminist voices – also plans to offer a paid, one-year fellowship program that would serve as a crash course in publishing, for applicants without access to such jobs through traditional pathways.
Focused on moving fiction and memoir from both well-established and first-time authors, Zibby Books is also a publisher to watch out for. Founded by author, book influencer, and Moms Don’t Have Time to Read podcaster Zibby Owens and Leigh Newman (the former books editor of Oprah.com and senior editor-at-large at Catapult), it aims to release one book per month, with “a commitment to diverse literary voices”. The idea is reimagining each channel of how books are brought into the world, from inception to publication.
Nowadays, e-books remain the fastest-growing market segment and a way for authors to bypass the traditional gatekeepers and publish on their own. There are many self-publishing platforms available you can use such as KDP or CreateSpace powered by Amazon, iBooks, Lulu or IngramSpark.
Basically, self-publishing allows you to have full control of the creative process, helps you get your book to market as fast as you want, and of course, guarantees your book will be published. Authors usually keep all of the royalties but of course, self-publishers platforms deduct their commission from sales. The rest of the money is yours, and you begin receiving payments right from the very first book sold.
The power of self-promotion
Whichever way you choose to go, you must do most of your own marketing. Gone are the days of extensive book tours paid for by big publishers. The good news is that book tours even may be done online, as the pandemic taught us.
Be prepared to invest time in creating and updating a blog, building a mailing list, soliciting reviews, using social media and book discounting sites for promotions, contributing articles to websites and blogs that can drive traffic to your page. Also, there are many women writer support groups online that can give you tips and cheer you along the way. Don’t give up on your dream.