Many of us dream of becoming published authors. We imagine how great it would be to flip through the pages of our own book or see it on the shelf of our favorite bookstore.
The publishing world has undergone seismic changes in the last decade. Those changes have spawned countless websites, seminars, podcasts and blogs devoted to assuring would-be-writers how simple and accessible the publishing process has become.
There are indeed more ways to get published than there were in the past, but it isn’t quite as easy as some suggest. Even though hurdles remain and the process can become expensive, the benefits of being a published author are undeniable.
Here are just a few reasons those working in local history, at small museums, in destination marketing or offering local tours and events might want to take the plunge and write a book.
- To establish your authority and enhance your credentials
- To expand your knowledge base
- To build new programs and tours around the material in your book
- To add public speaking to your repertoire
This is the first installment of a series covering the nuts and bolts of authorship. Upcoming posts will delve into the following areas:
- How to choose an appropriate topic, determine whether if fits with your project’s scope and what to do if it’s too narrow or too broad
- The pros and cons of working with a traditional publishing house vs. self-publishing
- The benefits of outsourcing certain tasks such as editing, layout and cover design
- How and where to market and sell your book
- We’ll talk about how much you might realistically earn from your book as well as how much you might have to spend to see your work in print
- We’ll even include tips on how to structure your writing project so that you actually finish it
Ground Rules and Assumptions
This series is about works of non-fiction. Novels, short stories, poetry, personal memoirs, plays and screenplays are beyond our scope.
We will focus on books of regional interest: local history overviews, travel guides, books about specific attractions such as churches or historic houses, as well as those about interesting people or significant events. We will also discuss local legends, folklore and ghost stories, a special category that bridges the fiction/nonfiction gulf.
This series is not about scholarly works. It’s about books written for the general reading public.
We are going to focus on physical books, although you or your publisher may choose to offer a digital version of your work in addition to the hard copy. As we read more and more material online, especially on mobile devices, physical books are acquiring a patina of specialness. Their real world, non-digital nature is an integral part of their appeal. Keep this in mind as you contemplate your own project. Your book can be more than an interesting and informative read. It can also be a souvenir, a memento of a visit to your town or attraction.
One final caveat. This series is for those who want to write a book that is properly researched, edited and professionally produced. Something you will be proud of, in other words. It is not a “How to Write a Bestseller in Your Spare Time and Get Rich” series.
In our next post we’ll tackle choosing the right topic and structure for your book.