I had a business colleague reach out to me about a friend of hers who wrote a book and was thinking about getting it published and how to start the process. With the myriad of issues in publishing today I had no idea where to begin spewing my knowledge. Do I talk about editing, agent getting, publishers, self-publishing options. Do I talk about creating a fan base with facebook and twitter and all the other things involved with marketing?A thousand things went through my head but when I finally settled down I realized I needed information from this newbie writer first in order to think about what information was going to be the most useful to her. So I came up with a list of questions and I think they pretty much some up where a person who has never previously published a book before needs to answer before beginning the process.
1. How long did it take you to write this book? How long do you think it will take you to write the next? This tells me several pieces of information because while saying that it took five years to write the first book is okay – because then it’s just a hobby and your tinkering with it, having fun, say it will take five years to write the next means unless you’ve just written the great American novel, the publishing world isn’t going to be thrilled with that.
2. What do you write? Who do you most closely resemble in the publishing world? So many times people will tell me – I’m totally unique. I’m like no one else. I don’t fit any genre. This is not an okay answer. If you are deciding to go the traditional route – you must be able to give agents and editor of who you are and where they are going to shelve your books. I would make the same argument for self-publishers because in that case you have to know what target audience to market your book to.
3. What are you goals for this book? Do you just want to see it published? Or do you want to hit the NYT list? This helps me figure out if Indie Publishers are in play, or maybe you would be okay with just selling a few copies from Amazon or you want to go whole hog into the business of publishing.
4. What are your goals for your career? Do you see yourself making the NYT or will you just be happy to publish a book and say you did it? Obviously this helps me decide if I’m going to explain to the newbie author so much of what goes into building a writing career.
Any other questions you can think of to add to this list?