Step One: Write the best book ever.
Step Two: Land a contract with a sick amount paid in advance.
Step Three: Sit around and wait for fat royalty checks to land in the mailbox.
I can almost hear the laughter from those who have published a book or are in the process of finding a publisher. If it were only so easy.
The primary rule of becoming an author is to manage your expectations because if you attempt to follow the first three steps above, step four is likely to be:
Step Four: Cry yourself to sleep because only your mom bought your book.
Don’t be dismayed; Tactical 16 Publishing is here to guide you with reality, objectivity, and proven methods to become a profitable author. I will describe how to publish and sell enough copies to make your mom proud.
Step One: Understand what you are trying to accomplish.
Defining what success looks like for you and your work is essential and is the first step in becoming a profitable author. Making yourself knowledgeable on the many pathways to producing, marketing, and distributing your book is a key element. Remember that unless you have a proven track record as a writer or a massive captive audience, convincing others that the book has value is often the more difficult part of writing a book.
Step Two: Build an Audience
The best way to generate sales is to have several platforms to promote your book before, during, and after it is released.
A good way to build a following is to write short articles for someone else. They may even pay you for your effort. The idea is to have published content that will help build credibility. If you look, there are plenty of organizations, entities, and individuals who need content and who are happy to publish a well-written article. Another approach is to write about your expertise or interest in a blog. The idea here is to build awareness for your work and to gain followers. This will also improve your writing. Consider investing in Noah Lukeman’s The First Five Pages to further improve your writing; you can find it on ABEbooks.com for a few dollars. We recommend this resource to all of our inspiring authors regardless of their experience levels.
Build a Social Media Presence
Having a social media presence on as many platforms as possible will help give your book exposure. And it’s the best type of advertising: free.
Don’t like social media? Go old school and join some clubs, societies, or groups to expand your networking connections. Networking is a valuable tool to spread the word about your book. Consider joining Toastmasters International to improve your speaking abilities while you also meet new people.
Build a List
Start building your connections and contacts across social media and organizations including clubs, associations, and groups. Create social media posts about your book and what you are writing about. The idea is to familiarize people with your work and to keep it at the forefront of their minds.
The first champions of your work will be your friends and family. While that is an easy win, your goal is to build a massive list. This will take a bit of reflection. Ask yourself who have you come in contact with even briefly in the past. Include co-workers and peers from schools, social events, and clubs you have attended. Don’t be shy about building your list because, in reality, it comes down to statistics.
Step Three: Test and Edit
Coordinate beta readers to review portions of the manuscript for candid feedback without critiques on your grammatical errors. Beta readers should be able to give you a feel for the topic, plot, and characters, as well as areas for improvement; editors will give you enough feedback on the pace, flow, and grammar. Remember that more is better when it comes to beta readers. You don’t have to implement every comment, but if you hear the same comment more than once from more than one person take notice and make changes.
Write drunk. Edit sober. This saying, often misattributed to Ernest Hemingway, has some truth to it – and it’s not actually about drinking. Getting your story written is easier when you approach the task with a relaxed state of mind, rather than worrying about the mechanics of writing.
However, all manuscripts must be edited, and this is a requirement for all authors when they sign with Tactical 16 Publishing. Editing is sometimes painful and the more difficult part of completing your manuscript. This is when you must remain steadfast and do the work no matter how badly you want to be finished.
Step Four: Marketing
You have completed your manuscript and have worked through several rounds of meticulous editing; your book seems finished and ready, but the work of promoting has just begun. Promoting the book before it is available for purchase requires timing. Promoting too early may cause customers to lose interest; promoting it too lateon’t build enough buzz for the book. Marketing is the most difficult part of becoming a profitable author. Self-publishers offer differing levels of support in marketing; do your homework on what they offer and how much it will cost.
Don’t be shy about your book. Get out there and promote it in as many different ways and places as you can. We suggest that you plan and host a fun, engaging release party at a location where people will want to show up at. If you are not a planner of parties, there are plenty of people who can help with organizing an event. A search on the web for event planners will give you options. Technology has made live events on social media easier, and this can be a cost-effective way to reach people around the globe. Consider incorporating a live streaming event with your existing in-person event. Remember to check with the venue hosting the event about live streaming on social media.
The journey to becoming a profitable author is an adventure. Following these steps and getting in front of the release with your marketing plan is essential. Properly marketing a new book doesn’t have to expensive if you’re willing to put in the work. Remember that expert advice is invaluable. Thoroughly researching the available options to publish your work will allow you to select the best partner to help you reach your goals as an author.
Chris Schafer, CEO, Tactical 16 Publishing
Tactical 16 Publishing is an unconventional publisher that understands the therapeutic value of writing. We help veterans and first responders, as well as their families and friends, to tell their stories in their words.
You don’t have to be a polished author to become a Tactical 16 author. If you can write with passion and be unapologetic, we want to talk.