What does it mean to be published? In an era where anything you post online is technically your published work, where is the line drawn between professionals and hobbyists? The simple answer to this question is if you are getting compensated for your work, and you own your words (or have legally sold them to another entity), then you are participating in the more traditional and familiar publishing world. However, even within the more limited scope of “traditional,” there are a few distinct ways that you can be published, all of which have their advantages and disadvantages.
Often thought of as the “easiest” way to get published, it is not necessarily the case. Just because you can log onto Amazon and have your words available to the masses does not mean that they will become popular. In fact, publishing yourself is fast becoming a game of “who can get the most views on social media.” Fortunately, or unfortunately, when you publish yourself, you also have to look out for yourself. To make your book successful without the support and resources of well-known publishing houses is hard. Often your only channels of communication to the public are through social media, and even then there is so much metadata that your words can quickly become buried.
Besides, the intention of a book is to pull a reader in. It doesn’t work to push something somebody doesn’t want. This is, however, the approach that many people take when they self-promote on social media.
It is important to remember, though, by using purely social channels to advertise your works, you are effectively alienating a great portion of the population who does not use these mediums, and the people who do use these avenues are often too young or too uninterested to appreciate literary works.
In truth, Twitter is not there to sell books in 140 characters, Instagram is not being used to search new titles (even if you put an artistic filter on it), and Tumblr is not a community that should be used as a spectator sport for literature. Remember, half the battle of being published is the marketing and promotion that a book receives.
Publishing yourself without being dependent on anyone also has its advantages. DIY books are booming. According to The Guardian, in 2013 18 million self-published books were purchased by UK readers, and the numbers are only continuing to grow. So, while this is far from a bad publishing method, if you go this route be sure to differentiate yourself on social media from those who use social sites for purely social reasons.
Independent Publishers and the Big Houses
There are also more traditional methods to approach publishing, and these are through the publishers themselves. Although the self-publishing market is continually growing, using the tried and true method is still the simplest and quickest way to having your work available in print. If you elect to pursue this route to have your copy published, there are five basic steps that you must follow.
Step 0: Read
Without reading, you will get nowhere. Where else will you learn how words can be crafted and contorted to do your bidding? Books are the genesis of inspiration and ideas. After all, that is why you are writing in the first place, right?
Step 1: Write the Book
Another obvious step. Without a book, what are you trying to publish? While it is technically possible to begin searching for an agent when you only have an outline and a few chapters finished, it is in your best interests to have your entire novel on hand so that when you are asked to present it, you are able to offer it right away. Otherwise, you may find yourself scrawling out a manuscript in record time, which could really take the fun out of writing.
Step 2: Prepare a Letter of Inquiry and a Proposal
Today, few publishers will be happy to see an unsolicited manuscript come across their desk. Therefore, it is your job as a writer to interest them
enough to request your novel. To do this you must first provide a query letter. Along with your query letter, you should supply a synopsis of your novel, as well as an introduction of yourself as an author. While there are differences if you are pitching fiction versus non-fiction, the basic principle remains the same.
Step 3: Find an Agent
Getting an agent to represent you is like finding your own personal marketer. They will help send in your proposals and make sure that you have everything in order to make the perfect pitch. Agents are good to have if your book has potential commercial success, because they can generally get your novel looked at much quicker and negotiate bigger advances for you.
Step 4: Get Solicited by Publishers
If you have an agent, this step is unnecessary. However, if you are trying to hack it on your own, you will need to submit your proposal to many publishers simultaneously. Why? Simply because it can take publishers six months to get back to you and, if you went one by one, it might end up taking you 24 years to publish your book.
Step 5: Submit a Full Manuscript
Finally, a publisher will ask you to submit a manuscript whereby you will send one in so that they can make sure that what you have produced is satisfactory, and they are interested in making your book available to the public.
As you can see, no matter how you decide to approach it, getting a book published is not going to happen overnight. Regardless, do not get discouraged. There are many people vying to get their books discovered, so it will take time.
Publishers have thousands of manuscripts to sort through before they can find one that is worth their investment. However, working with a smaller publisher has its advantages. They can help guide you and work with you to help achieve your goals. Plus, as a traditional publishing medium, they have the ability to market your work even after its debut, in order to help ensure your success.
TEW turned 5 years old this week!
I can’t help but think, “wow” look how far we’ve come!
From a small workshop held in the offices of Patrice Perkins “My Lifestyle Zen” with Quinn Riley about “The 5 Steps to Becoming Your Own Boss” to our first book, book signing and launch at Ven Sherrod‘s gallery. We’ve come a long way, and it’s time to celebrate!
Three books published, one more in the works, a collection of over 60 stories by our co-authors about their entrepreneurial journey….what a blessing and what an experience. Thank you to Glenn Murray of 220 Publishing for helping me bring this vision to life 5 years ago!
The Inspirational Book Series for Entrepreneurs prepares to launch Volume 4 – “The Creative Edition” in early 2017
[TEW] is a tribute to and a reminder of our community’s commitment to not just inspiring others, but taking actionable steps to turn our dreams, talents, and abilities into fulfilling, successful businesses + helping others along the way. If looking for a supportive community for entrepreneurs that do even more work than they talk, unleash the entrepreneur within you and join us!#unleashtheBiz
Grab a copy of TEW 1, 2 or 3 online at www.tewyou.com
Stay tuned for our August meet-up!
Entrepreneur Empowerment Call, “Commitment to Consistency” this Monday at 7:30 pm will feature Brand Strategist Lashonda Vinson and Author, Graphic Designer and Entrepreneur Julie M Holloway. We are going back to the basics of Entrepreneurship, Branding and Design!!
It is debatable whether anyone is born an entrepreneur. It is entirely possible to become one with careful planning and good routines. Being an entrepreneur is not just about financial gain; a successful entrepreneur will want to influence and help their local community. Not everyone can become this sort of person; they need to be confident, bold and capable of taking risks when necessary. A true entrepreneur will be able to create their own success story even when starting with nothing. The following are essential steps that all budding entrepreneurs should follow:
You own way
To be successful it is essential to have a goal, something to aim for. A true entrepreneur will always keep this target in sight and will achieve it no matter what obstacles are placed in the way. It is essential to have self confidence and belief; to know that you will reach your target. One of the most important attributes to have to ensure this is possible is to not be afraid of failure but to embrace any setbacks and turn them into new projects and new ways of achieving the dream.
Beat the odds
It can be tough to make it in the world of business. There are a huge range of variables that can affect any business decision and change the course of a business at the drop of a hat. Careful planning will ensure that, no matter what the odds, you will be well prepared and should be able to take something good away from every encounter.
To be an entrepreneur you will need to be self-motivating and have a high level of energy. This will be essential when dealing with the challenges of creating a successful business. A belief in yourself and in the product you are selling will enable you to lead by example and show the business world what you are capable of.
No matter how good you are as an entrepreneur there will come a point when you will need assistance. The right mixture of professional and enthusiastic people will enable you to build your business rapidly and successfully. No matter how confident and capable you are it sometimes helps to have someone else there who can assist when there are issues beyond your standard remit.
The most important sign that you are successful is that you have customers! No business can mange without customers and you need to keep them at the forefront of your mind every day. Your product needs to cater to their specific need and you should have a business plan confirming the target market and how you will sell to them.
To be successful you will need to earn the respect of your peers and other businesses in the local community. The best way of achieving this is to have a strong code of ethics and morality and to make sure you always live by this code.
Attract your audience
The internet has opened up a global market place and many people will now look through the internet for the best deal. It is essential to know where your target audience is most likely to engage. Social media sites allow the option of reaching out to many people at once.
It is impossible to achieve anything in business without organizing your finances, time and productivity. Time management is exceptionally important and effective communication is vital to ensuring everyone knows what they are doing and when. If you are not organized then there will be many hours of productive time wasted.
Most entrepreneurs do not start with the sole goal of becoming rich. They create something because they have a love of the product or service and want to share it with others. Of course most start-up businesses have only limited funds and financial planning is essential to ensure the company has the funds to trade and become the success you dream of.
A competitive spirit is essential to stand a chance in the world of business. The ability to negotiate successfully will also be an additional skill which will be frequently utilized. There are many tricks to negotiating successfully but the most important one is to listen to the other party and try to help them achieve what they wanted. From this point you will be able to obtain what you need and the negotiation will be a win-win scenario.
By Davis Miller and TheGapPartnership.com!
Working from home offers flexibility and the opportunity to eliminate the stresses of a long commute to an office. But, in exchange for this freedom, you need to ensure that your home office set up is optimal for comfort and productivity. Creating personalized choices for your space will enhance your chance for success and foster an ideal work environment.
Know Your Office Needs
Different jobs require different tools to make your home office arrangement successful, so assess and understand your personal needs. Do you need a fax machine or scanner? Do you need a dedicated phone line or can calls be conducted via your mobile phone? Assess whether you are more productive with a traditional desk or if you think better on your feet with a stand-up desk. Are there extra tools that are required for your position? For instance, a graphic artist might need extra desk space to design, while accountants may need a fireproof safe to store client’s account information. By making a list of the tools you need, you will avoid clutter or forgetting an important tool.
Designate a Specialized Area for Work
Once you determine what you need in your office, decide what space works best to be your home office. If you need tons of space, consider designating an entire room to work privately. If you have kids still at home or a spouse that also works from home, having a designated room helps set boundaries between home and work. If your space is limited, then appoint a workable corner where a desk and chair will make an appropriate work area.
Find Appropriate Storage Solutions
A cluttered work area leads to disorganization and unnecessary stress, so it is crucial to balance your work area with the appropriate storage solutions. Buy a desk with built in storage space or add a filing cabinet to store necessary files. Portable containers also make excellent storage solutions for files and paperwork. A bookshelf can complement your office decor with some personality and give you extra storage space. By keeping your office area organized, you will work more efficiently and feel less overwhelmed because you aren’t staring at a stack of papers.
Create Optimal Lighting
Good lighting is crucial for your productivity. Poor lighting creates eye strain, headaches and drowsiness. But with optimal lighting, employees notice an increase in their comfort, mood and energy level. Therefore, if the sun shines too brightly in the early morning hours, install blinds or window treatments to increase or decrease light depending on your needs. In addition, implement task lighting near your desk to help you focus on a specific project, especially for those occasional late night hours.
Incorporate Ergonomic Furniture
Working from home doesn’t mean you should skip out on office furniture. Spine Health recommends ergonomic furniture that provides back support and helps reduce fatigue. Although it might be tempting to slide onto the couch to do work, avoid mixing your personal life with your professional tasks. By creating a comfortable office, you can still maintain your professionalism without feeling cramped or stiff.
Accessorize Your Walls
Since it is your personal office space, get creative with your decor so it reflects your personality. Find motivational decor, or add a fresh coat of paint to jazz up a plain wall. Hang up a few pictures and create a cork board to post to-do lists or other reminders.
A home office has numerous advantages. By creating a proper office setup, you can create an optimal work environment that enhances your comfort and productivity.
Featured Artwork by Julie M. Holloway
Purchasing our own home or house is a dream everyone wants to achieve in their life. An owned house is an important asset that needs to be purchased with care. If 2015 is the year you wish to own a house, I suggest you follow these important factors helping you to decide whether to start looking for houses to purchase.
The satisfaction of purchasing a house comes with great responsibilities, hence it’s better to understand our own duties and obligations as an owner, before starting a hunt for house & mortgages. To know whether you are ready to own a house, evaluate yourself based on these home buying tips.
Is your personal situation good?
Ask yourself that who is gonna live in the house you are planning to buy. Single and plans to marry? Have children who require a yard or need an apartment type property where you don’t have to worry about the garden or building maintenance?
Answer like you’re being interviewed, the stage of your life you are and think about your priorities, among them whether to look afford the house of your dreams with all advanced facilities or just to have a secure roof with least amenities, however with a lower payment.
Are you financially stable?
Think, the money you earn, is it adequate to mortgage payments & everyday living? Buying a house usually needs a down payment, which is not accepted if it’s borrowed or has closing costs. It’s the largest expense in a purchase and certainly the bank will ask for proof that from where the money has come.
Moving is always associated with additional costs, and since there are different types of mortgages, it is better to know how much mortgage can you pay?
Is your job secure?
Another factor you should consider before buying a house is your employment status. You must analyze whether the company you are employed with is stable. Additionally, you have a fixed income or have a room to grow.
Having a secure job will aid you qualify for different types of mortgages, since it’s one of the most important necessity.
How is your credit history?
Like most buyers, if you are counting on a mortgage loan, then certainly its approval will depend on your credit history or report. Getting a pre-qualification is always ideal, as you will not only qualify for a buy, but also you will get an idea of the amount until which you can purchase a home. Hence, you should consult a financial institution for the pre-qualification.
Owner and other expenses
Along with a monthly mortgage payment, you will have owner costs such as maintenance fees, taxes and insurance. It’s not just about having money saved for purchase of your new house. After purchasing the house, the life continues, and so the obligations. Therefore, it’s important not to kid yourself when making a budget.
Besides mortgages & ownership costs, there are daily life expenses such as food, fuel and medicines, etc… you need to take into account when deciding a budget for your home.
Before starting to find a house to purchase, you should evaluate yourself based on the above factors to know if you are eligible & have enough savings, only then you should proceed to buy & look for mortgages.