Monday, May 30, 2016

Guest Post: Christopher Morgan: 5 steps to getting a book published

5 steps to getting a book published

My bucket list has been dwindling over the past decade as I've been slowly ticking things off one-by-one. I've learned to play the piano (badly), visited the Galapagos Islands, seen the standing Moai of Easter Island & learned to SCUBA dive. I've been on safari in Africa, visited the pyramids of Giza and stood on a glacier in New Zealand. The most recent entry on the list to receive a tick is writing and publishing a novel. The process wasn't what I was expecting but I finally managed to get Forestium: The Mirror Never Lies across the line with more books in the Portallas series to follow. Here are the major milestones I had to complete before I could put that tick into the box.

Step 1 – Turning intention into action
So many people think about writing a novel but very few of them actually do. The first major milestone is taking the plunge and putting pen to paper (or perhaps fingers to keyboard). Many people that write something never see it through to getting published either. Overcoming the initial hurdle of actually taking some sort of positive action doesn't necessarily come easy but it is the most vital first step in the process. Nothing else can follow until you get something written.

Step 2 – Editing
You've written something. That's great! Is it any good? Well, the answer to that question will initially depend on who you ask. If it's anyone that knows you, or has any vested interested in protecting your feelings (that's anyone that knows you), then they are not the right person to help you edit your novel. As the author, you are also not the right person to edit your novel – regardless of how good you think it is. A professional editor is an absolute must and it's one of the few things that you should devote the most attention and value to.

Step 3 – Cover art
Should people just a book by its cover? No. Do they? Yes. This is potentially one of the most influencing factors in your novel being a success or not. There are ways to get a book cover done expensively or cheaply but however you end up doing it, make sure to get a good cover that's appropriate for your genre and target audience.

Step 4 – Determine a publishing route
Here you have two basic options – indie (self-publish your work and join the hordes of independent authors our there) or trad (find an agent and a traditional publishing house). There are pros and cons to both approaches and what's right for you isn't necessarily right for me and vice versa. If you manage to find an agent and/or a publishing house, they will do much of the work of getting your book published BUT you will have to surrender a good portion of any income derived from the book. If you self-publish, which is much easier than you might think, it will require a lot more work BUT you get to keep a much bigger slice of the pie for each book sold. This is a much bigger subject than I can cover here but keep following for more information, as I will be presenting a talk on self-publishing in Melbourne in August.

Step 5 – Marketing
Even the best written prose in the world will languish in obscurity if nobody knows it exists. If you've gone done the trad route, then your publishing house will have their own marketing budget and will, hopefully, be pushing your book for you. That doesn't mean you can rest on your laurels. Social media, on-line presence, book signings and speaking engagements are all part of the picture. And trust me – nobody will sell your book more enthusiastically than you will.

Christopher Morgan is an author, blogger, IT Manager, graphics artist, businessman, volunteer and family man living in Melbourne, Australia. Much of his time is spent volunteering for his local community. He creates visual learning resources for primary school children, which are marketed through his company Bounce Learning Kids. He is also involved in local civics and sits on various community & council committees.

Christopher was born in the UK and grew up in England’s South East. At age 20, he moved to The Netherlands, where he married Sandy, his wife of 28 years. Christopher quickly learned Dutch and the couple spent 8 years living in the far South of that country before they moved to Florida in 1996. After spending 7 years in Florida, Christopher and Sandy sold their home and spent the next 2 years backpacking around the world. Christopher has visited more than 40 countries to date.

Whilst circumnavigating the globe, Christopher wrote extensively, churning out travel journals. He and Sandy settled back in the UK at the end of their world tour, where their two children were both born. In 2009, the family moved to Melbourne, Australia, where they now live.

FORESTIUM is Christopher’s debut novel and is the first in the PORTALLAS series

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