Each month, the Nonfiction Authors Association asks a burning publishing question of its very own Authority and VIP members. Here’s what they have to say!
NFAA: If you were beginning your author career today, what would you do differently?
If I were back at the beginning, I would set up a mailing list and collect subscribers. I’ve sold thousands of copies of my first book, and I could have asked each of those readers if they were interested in receiving future announcements. Even if you’re not producing a regular newsletter, you’ll have the contact information and permission you need to send an occasional announcement (and someday you might have a newsletter). I recently received an email from a band I loved twenty years ago, and was delighted to learn they were back and recording music again. As long as you don’t spam them, fans will be glad for a way to connect with you.
Emily currently writes women’s fiction, as well as working as a freelance copyeditor, in North Carolina.
Book title: Bread Science: The Chemistry and Craft of Making Bread
Get set up to work faster and with more dedicated productivity and focus. Work to network more and learn the ropes sooner.
Andrew J. Courtice, Sr. Retired AF, Author of Lifetime Learning: The Missing Mindset, Third Edition; The Approaching Perfect Storms email@example.com
I would start building my brand earlier, while I was writing my book. It was extremely difficult to start from scratch to build my brand AFTER I’d published my book. I didn’t realize that I could start small and engage my audience as I was writing and publishing my book. Building that momentum early would have made the PR journey tons easier.
Renee is a ghostwriter, speaker, and publishing consultant who believes your stories matter and together, our stories will change the world.
Gratitude – The 30-Day Writing Workout using the 12 Minutes A Day The Write Choice Method™. www.reneesettle.com
The first thing I would have done would be to join the Nonfiction Authors Association and take the time to overview many of the available resources for members.
Since my book was based upon my life experiences, I wanted to produce it as nonfiction. The biggest problem I had was I had never written a book before and was starting up a consulting business at the same time.
I allowed my deadline for publication to cause me undue stress at that time. That is why it has taken me so long to produce my second book. Being an author has opened many doors of opportunity for me, which is why I don’t have the same urgency this time around. Accept that we are all different in our backgrounds, perspective, and expectations. Our readers are too. Use that to your advantage and create a literary work that can be used for both edification as well as appreciation for the story.
Continuously employed from 1974 to 2011 due to a plant closure, I have leveraged experience and education to obtain success in the 21st century.
Learn more by reading: I Am Not An Anachronism or visit www.donpolley.com
If I were beginning my author career today (as I did in 1962), I would view it as a business in which the reader is my client and the editor is my client’s agent. I must solve a specific problem for the editor (deliver a manuscript that the editor believes the reader will enjoy) before I can solve the reader’s problem (how to do something or how to entertain the reader). Writing is a business!
Dan Ramsey (DanRamsey.com) has authored more than 100 books, including The Working Writer: How to Make a Good Living and a Meaningful Life as a Professional Writer (with practical tips and advice for anyone who writes), plus two other Kindle titles in his Working Writer series (Working-Writer.com).
As a professional freelance editor I work with dozens of nonfiction authors every year, and I see two mistakes new authors make on a routine basis: they’ve never been professionally edited, and they have little or no platform when they publish a book.
First piece of advice: Establish a relationship with an editor early in your career. Most writers know their book manuscripts should be edited, but working with an editor before reaching that point can have huge benefits. You’ll learn a lot about your own writing strengths and weaknesses by working with an editor on your blogs, website text, or guest posts. By the time you’re ready for help with a book manuscript, not only will you have a relationship built with someone you trust, but you’ll also be a stronger writer. And because you’ve established a strong professional relationship with your editor, they can often be a source of information, support, and referrals to other professionals.
Second piece of advice: The lack of a platform hurts authors, so my advice is to spend time every day—starting day one—growing your platform. Become active on social media, write blogs, pitch articles to online sources, speak in your area of expertise—anything that increases awareness about you as an authority. Whether you plan to publish traditionally or independently, the larger your platform, the greater your opportunities for selling books.
As a freelance editor with a background in traditional publishing, Candace Johnson understands what it takes to get published, and she specializes in editing nonfiction self-help/self-improvement/mind-body-spirit books and book proposals. https://changeitupediting.com
I’ve wanted to be a writer since I wrote my first story in the third grade about a pig with a curly tail and, considering I grew up in the suburbs and at the time I wrote that, I’d never been to a farm or seen a live pig, I guess it showed some imagination. Fast forward many years when I finally published my first book in 2008 and it was a long way from a farm animal story—it’s about human resources.
My advice to writers is not to wait years to write! My only regret is that I didn’t get serious about writing a lot earlier than I did—I wish I’d found time to write every day or at least more often than I did. However, I’m very happy that it finally happened and in the past ten years, I’ve published several books and have two others in progress. Both new books are creative nonfiction, which is a far cry from writing business books.
Barbara Mitchell is an award-winning author, consultant, and speaker based in Washington, DC. She is the co-author of The Essential HR Handbook, The Big Book of HR, The Essential Workplace Conflict Handbook, The Conflict Resolution Phrase Book and The Manager’s Answer Book. www.bigbookofhr.com, @bigbookofhr and @gotworkconflict
Linda Joyce Vaughn
I would research other well-read books in my chosen genre. The more you read, the better you write.
- See how the books are formatted
- What elements of their writing style appeals to me; what draws me in/turns me away
- Observe people, elements, ways of life in order to sharpen my memory of the past
- Do more constructive journaling (dates, times, places, small details, current mindsets, and traditions and conditions)
Linda Joyce Vaughn is an American author and the ninth of eleven children, who believes that large families could be a genre unto itself. The Second Room on the Right.
Want to connect with fellow nonfiction writers? Join the Nonfiction Authors Association tribe! Subscribing members can participate in our members-only Facebook group, plus receive many other exciting benefits.