Newsletter 592 – Beware of Publishing a Book

Bookwriting7Many years have passed since I first met Michael Hyatt. He was with Word Books when I was involved there in a major publishing project. Since then, I’ve watched Michael’s career evolve to his present role as an astute observer of the publishing industry and dispenser of helpful guidelines for any who want to get published and/or known professionally. I don’t read all of Michael’s blogs and I disagree with some of his self-marketing values. But much of what he writes is excellent and very practical including his recent podcast on publishing (http://www.michaelhyatt.com – November 26, 2014.) You can learn from this even if you never plan to write, but want to market your ideas and services.

  • Hyatt states, “There’s never been a better time to get published. Changes in the market have conspired in the author’s favor.” But the publishing industry keeps changing. Sending a manuscript or proposal to a publisher almost never works. If you are unknown, it’s too risky for a publisher to produce your manuscript. Life stories or books on mental health issues seem especially unlikely to sell. The potential market is too small.
  • The best authors have innate ability but even more, they are skilled practitioners who consistently refine their craft. They write almost every day. Most are avid readers. They know that writing is hard work.
  • Successful writers (or private practice coaches) are effective marketers. Unless you are famous, a successful writer, and/or have a big platform like a major radio program, few publishers will advertise your work. It’s not worth the cost, risk, and effort. You need to do ma yourself.
  • Digital publishing opens huge new possibilities. Currently about two-thirds of books published in the United States are digital. This “gives the opportunity to get your book out there…. [but] it’s not going to mean people are going to beat your door down to get your book, because if they don’t know who you are or have a relationship with you, that’s not going to happen.”
  • Here’s another critical issue that sometimes we forget: No one person – writer, speaker, counselor, coach, leader – is likely to reach everybody. Decide on your audience. Know your audience well. Then focus on that group.

Is this discouraging? It’s realistic but not hopeless. Take time to learn about publishing. Sometimes a coach or friend can help. Then apply what you learn. What do you think? Please comment.

  1. Thanks for this post. I started a blog six months ago. Writing on my blog is a way that I can hone my skills and make the world a little brighter. It also provides a way to start now and practice self determination.

    Thanks for the post!

    http://smswaby.wordpress.com

    • I am doing a lot to rethink my blog: its purpose, audience, direction and design. Bottom line, however I write the blog for me. It keeps me sharp, fresh (I hope) and looking for new materials (mostly recent publications) that keep me up to date. BTW, have you noticed you can get an indication of how your post was received by the number and tone of the replies you get within the first couple of hours after you send out your post. And have you ever wondered if anybody is reading what you write?

  2. Great Post. There is much to think about. To be encouraged by others is critical. For me, I don’t think there’s ever been a time of having to keep going by faith. My ‘mantra’ is “Don’t Give Up!”

    • You have a UK address so of course you know that the most famous advocate of the Never Give Uo mantra is your fellow countryman, Winston Churchill. Stay with this – but be open to adaptations so you are not tied to another famous statement (attributed to dozens of people, it seems) “Crazyness is doing the same things over and over again and expecting different results.”

    • David Fogleboch
    • December 5th, 2014

    Thank you for the advice. I am the unknown with a potential book and this article has encouraged me to write! The book is on the worse and the best Biblical examples of leadership- Jesus on the Pharisees and Paul writing to Philemon.

    • Thanks David. I do not always agree with Michael Hyatt’s values but he is a great guide to getting published. You should get in touch with his blogs and follow his advice if you have not already done so.

    • Brad Smith
    • December 5th, 2014

    Hi Gary, nice to see you writing again. Would love to catch up with you.

    • Brad, I feel a lot of guilt about my long period of silence. Lots going on here that I can tell you about. We have been in transition for several months and experiencing other pressures. But overall everything is fine. Let’s try to connect over Christmas. Are you settled in the warm and sunny south? Far cry from Massachusetts!

    • Steve Pylypiak
    • December 6th, 2014

    Gary as a new and aspiring coach, I’m thoroughly enjoying and learning from the ideas and writing you’re sharing here. I’ve learned much from your books on Christian Counseling and Christian Coaching over the years while taking courses that used your books as texts. THANK YOU for being a tremendous teacher to this life-long learner and I’m looking forward to following the blog!

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