Multi-award-winning international speaker, author and thought leadership strategist Mindy Gibbins-Klein reached out to TIPM this week and we discussed the subject of preparation and what strategy independently-minded authors of non-fiction work should employ prior to publication of their book projects. We asked Mindy for her top ten tips.
1. Consider all the publishing options available to you and ensure you are comparing apples to apples. Be clear on the most important factors for your book project (profit per book, distribution, rights, promotional opportunities, amount of work involved on your side etc.) and compare your options before jumping in.
2. Understand what value you are bringing to the party (such as your knowledge base and writing style), and what value any publishing partners bring – such as editing, great book design, knowledge of what sells in your book’s specific market, marketing muscle, distribution capability etc.
3. Write about what you know, but be prepared to listen to your publisher, if you have one. Don’t be tempted to write about ‘trendy’ subjects just because you think there is a market. With millions of books out there, only the truly authentic and substantive books are going to resonate with readers. You can relax and write about what you know and what you care about most.
4. Understand whether your book is simply a marketing tool, to be sold on your website and Amazon, or if you would like it to be distributed more widely on other channels and in physical bookstores. If it is the latter you want, you will need to create a book that is the right length, look and feel and subject matter, and you should consider a publishing partner that with marketing experience and access to traditional distribution channels.
5. Be easy to work with. Any good editors, designers, publishers, sales reps or publicists will bend over backwards to help you if you are professional and polite. Don’t be a prima donna!
6. Understand how your book fits into the bigger picture, for you and for your publisher… and related to point 3 above, this consideration can make a huge difference when you are using the book to market to access another product or service.
7. Be open to new ideas, but be willing to fight for the things you believe strongly in. You are the subject matter expert, but chances are others have more experience in different aspects of bringing a book into the market and maximising sales. Work together in partnership with the right people and it can be win-win for all.
8. If you are going to get help with your book, consider getting help as early as possible in the process. It is much easier and less painful to work with someone when you formulate the idea and concept, craft the structure and content, than it is to ask for editorial comments or critiques after you have done a lot of the work, possibly in the wrong direction!
9. Understand that no matter how you publish, you will still be main owner of the marketing and promotional plan. Not only that, but there are things you can do better than any publisher (such as social media), and things that only you can do (like videos of you talking about your book!)
10. Make time each week after the book is out to do proper promotional activities. The books that do well are the ones that are promoted. The books that do well long-term are the ones that are promoted long-term. If you don’t have the skills, the stomach or the time to do this, consider publishing with a partner who will complement your own skills.
Mindy Gibbins-Klein (MBA, FPSA, FRSA) is a multi-award-winning international speaker, author and thought leadership strategist. Her flagship book 24 Carat BOLD outlines the four attributes found in true thought leaders. Her latest book The Thoughtful Leader takes thought leadership to a new level.
Founder and CEO of REAL Thought Leaders, The Book Midwife® and Panoma Press, Mindy has authored and co-authored eight books. She is also a regular contributor to the business press on thought leadership and raising your profile.