Ever since my friend Jennifer Tubbiolo and I started Relevant Pages Press we have been inundated with writers all eager to publish their books. Can I just tell you something? That thrills me! I love talking with writers who have this light in their eyes as they talk about the book they want to write.
What I get uncomfortable with is the fade of that same light as I dig a little deeper. I hate that I may inadvertently be the cause of a writer thinking that maybe they can't become an author.
I believe that anyone with a dream to become an author can become one. Hey, if I can become one, anyone can become one. But, having a desire to write and publish a book and actually doing it are two different things. It took me almost 8 years and three massive revisions before I felt that I got Cultivating Peace: Receiving God's Peace within Your Chaos right. There were many, many days when I wanted to pull my hair out and give up, times when I had to wait because my funds were low, times of rejection by publishers, and disappointments from hybrid self-publishing companies. There were also times of joy and excitement as I received the amazing cover design from my graphic designer, praise from a reader, and as sales have taken off.
Writing is tough, and filled with a ton of ups and downs, but so worth pursuing. If you want to become an author, here are my top five things to consider in determining if this is the right time to pursue that dream:
Do you have a solid foundation? It's one thing to have an idea, but have you thought it through all the way? Is it a topic that you are passionate about and one you want to spend months (even years) working with?
How well do you know your target audience? Defining your target audience is imperative. Writing for "all women" or "teenagers" produces material that often misses the mark. Some of the best advice I received was this: "Write for ONE person. Be able to describe that person clearly and completely and write as if writing only for them." It may seem limited, but it has actually helped keep me focused as I write, producing much better quality content.
Is your heart ready for this? Writing is a demanding enterprise not for the faint of heart. Good writing takes time, discipline, and a ton of revision. It takes a willingness to pour your entire self into crafting something valuable from a mere idea and then allowing others to critique it, often to the point of completely re-writing whole chapters. Can you handle that?
Do you have a plan? Do you actually have the time to write or, better yet, are you willing to make the time? Writing a book can become a full-time endeavor, especially near the end when graphic designers, copy-editors and interior layout designers all need you to make changes and sign-off on their work so that the publication deadline can be met.
Do you have a way to fund your project? Becoming an author not only means writing a well-crafted manuscript but also producing a quality product. You will need a graphic designer to design your cover, a copy-editor to revise your content, an interior layout designer to put each page together in order to create a professional look, and a way to market your book. Traditional publishing offers some of this as their service to authors, at the exchange of losing all rights to your material and waiting on their timing to produce your book. Self-publishing allows you to keep those rights and publish on your time table, but the cost of production is up to you. In both cases however, marketing is left to the author to create the buzz needed to sell your book.
So, what do you think? Are you ready? If so, let us know! We'd love to be considered to walk with you through the journey of making your dream a reality.