I was fortunate enough to speak with Gini and get her perspective on the dos and don’ts of publishing a book.
Can you talk a little about what a new writer can expect in the current publishing environment?
It’s very competitive. Publishers ask what is your platform and what is your connection to a celebrity. Concentrate on building a platform and looking for a celebrity. Actively get followers on Twitter, make Facebook Friends, connect with people on LinkedIn.
Sometimes, people self publish their own books and use that to get speaking engagements and press releases. Then, they are ready to find a big publisher.
What must writers do besides "write" the book?
Make sure you have a good book. Get feedback. In terms of having someone review it, [our publishing company does] that. Or else, get associates, other writers or join critique groups to give you feedback. Before you send it out, you want to test that it’s a good manuscript.
If it’s nonfiction, put a proposal together—even if you completed the book, you need to have one that includes an overview, a chapter-by-chapter outline, as well as marketing and promotions sections, which will explain how you’re going to help promote the book yourself. You should also include a competitive survey of what else is out there and what makes your book different. You will also need a couple sample chapters, usually the intro and another chapter.
Even if you self publish the book, you still need the proposal. And if you haven’t had much sales from the book, change the title, so it’s like a brand new book.
What advice do you have for new writers?
Don’t quit your day job. Before you put a lot of time and effort into it, you might check what else is out there. Sometimes, people write books on experiences they have or because it’s therapeutic. Maybe you could show how your experience can help others. Think about what’s out in the marketplace and how you’re going to be different and if there’s a place for it. It’s not going to sell well unless you put a different spin on it.
Look at who else is publishing. I use Amazon, put in keywords and see what’s already there. I display the results by looking at rankings, date published, by title.
What is the biggest mistake you see new writers make?
Not thinking market oriented. Thinking they have the greatest manuscript, and not getting feedback, not rewriting, not taking other suggestions to heart and then complaining about it.
To learn more about Gini or to purchase one of her books, click here.