Updated: Aug 24
As I began my journey to become an author, I was stepping into the unknown. I had published articles in magazines and written thousands of technical papers; however, writing a book is a whole new world, and I found it an emotional rollercoaster. I wonder how many never start or finish their writing dreams because they do not understand the path, and the way can be treacherous without a good guide.
I have included some critical aspects of my journey to assist anyone looking to make their mark and become a published author.
1. Do not overpay!
Publishing is shark-infested waters. They are looking to take advantage of your hopes and dreams, and I was a bit. Another author referred my first editing team. However, they neglected to fill in the part where their famed publishing contract was one where they had to pay the publisher to get published. Do not fall for this trap.
In addition, I had signed an hourly contract -- colossal mistake. Do not sign any agreement that is done in billable hours. They would read my work, get on long calls to discuss, and dredged me through hours of high billable rates with multiple team members. They then withhold billing for weeks and dump massive bills in my email box.
I fired them. I went through multiple reviews and had them cut billing in half before I paid, and we closed the contract. I stepped back and called all my friends for guidance on where and how to continue this work.
I found a self-publishing organization that did a fixed rate, and we agreed to terms and moved forward.
2. Consider All Publishing Options
There are two paths, each with pros and cons -- and nowadays, the scope of support publishers offer is insufficient to cover all your needs. The likelihood of getting a publishing contract is minimal unless you have done the groundwork to build a massive social following; the most recent target I have heard is publishers are looking for over 250,000 followers before a publisher takes you on. If you have a large following, be prepared with your book outline, introduction, and first chapter. Like any business pitch, you must summarize your market research, target audience, and potential reach. You are selling yourself, so get ready to sell! This process is helpful in also clarifying your book and reader audience. The more time you can do this independently, the less it will cost.
You can engage a booking agent. However, the benefit is only there if they have strong connections with various publishing houses, so interview them and ask for other author references.
The second path is self-publishing. It can be done, but you will want a team to assist. The time and effort to complete all steps is faster the first and subsequent times with the help of an expert team. It also lets you focus on what you want to do: write.
3. Not all editors are the same
I have worked with three editing teams, and my final copy utilized three different editors who read, reviewed, proofed and provided the final manuscript. What I found was that other editors have different levels of skills.
One was great at writing and creating an engaging story.
One was great at basic editing.
One was great at profound proofreading.
Even with three editors, I utilized Grammarly to help clean up further once I had my final copy.
4. Chat GPT as part of the team
I have been working on my book for two years, and I did not find Chat GPT until after the final manuscript was created. There are two areas where I find Chat GPT extremely helpful and will utilize more as an ideation partner on future books.
1) creativity and imagination, great at clarifying a path or thought; I like to use Chat GPT to help develop a concept.
2) marketing content, as I have begun to market and sell my book, create my website, and develop branding content, it helps move faster.
Chat GPT will never be able to replace my story; at least is not capable as of now. This is where authors are still necessary, as our lived experiences matter most and cannot be replicated. Focus on sharing your story. This is what will resonate the most with your readers.
5. Set your vision and trust yourself
The hardest part of writing is sticking with it. Set aside a time and a place to be able to focus and write. I had a friend tell me, "Write every day." In my life, this is not possible. I am running a consulting & now publishing agency at RizeNext.com, engaged in non-profit work at Tech-Moms.org, and am a mother to eight children. My method was not to write every day but to set aside dedicated blocks of time -- either a full day or four hours, to dig in and write.
I had to orchestrate harmony, just like my book describes, in being able to pause and restart as needed to ensure my physical, mental, and emotional health was tended to with care. I would initiate an idea and then go for a walk or cycle, and my "life-first model" came to me as I sat on an indoor bike at the gym. I flipped to the back of the book I was reading and wrote it all down -- it came to me like a lightning bolt!
I am excited to hear about your projects, thoughts, and stories. As we shifted to creating RizeNext Publishing, we want to help everyone's voice be heard. I am hoping to read your story soon! Contact us @ email@example.com
Get ready to bloom!
CEO & Founder, RizeNext Corp
Author, Orchestrating Life-Work Harmony