Many writers who choose to blog books dream of landing a traditional publishing deal. After all, so many successful bloggers have been discovered by traditional publishers because their readership or subscription base made them attractive as authors as well. That’s the foundation of the blog-a-book principle: create a large platform of potential readers for your book by promoting it as you write and publish your manuscript on your blog. If a traditional publishing contract is your goal, however, you need to know how to actually get your book traditionally published. Then you can set out to accomplish that goal.
Publishing is a Business
First, realize traditional publishing (actually all publishing) is a business. Specifically, it’s the business of selling books. That means that everything you do to attract a publisher must revolve around making you and your book project salable. You must focus on marketability. Literary agents, the gatekeepers to publishers, and acquisitions editors, the people who purchase manuscripts for publishers, don’t care if you were inspired to write your book by an event in your life or another author or have been writing since you were three. They only care if your proposed book is unique and necessary in the market and category you have identified for it and if you are targeting a big enough market. Like these publishing professionals, you must wear a business hat and look at the big picture to evaluate if your book idea is viable—if it will sell.
This takes an “author attitude.” You can’t be starry eyed about becoming traditionally published. You do have to possess optimism, but you must also be objective and tenacious as you willingly evaluate your project from the perspective of publishing professionals, like agents and publishers, to determine if it is marketable. Agents and publishers only take on marketable projects—and aspiring authors who can help sell books.
A Traditional Publisher is a Venture Capital Partner
When it comes down to it, publishers serve as venture capital partners for aspiring authors. If they think your project is a good investment and will earn back their initial investment they make—the advance on potential sales they pay you so you can write your book—they will back your project. That means they provide funding for editing, design, production, distribution, and possibly a bit of promotion. They invest in your book and in you. In return, they expect you to write the book on deadline and help promote it. That means they expect you to sell the book–not them, you.
You Need to Be a Good Publishing Partner
Indeed, publishers expect you not only to write the book you proposed but to promote the heck out of it for a good long time. That is why they look for writers with an author platform, a built-in readership for a book, which can be built with a blog. A platform makes an aspiring writer a good business partner for a publisher, or a good publishing partner. If you can’t help sell books, publishers won’t evaluate you as a good investment. They won’t trust that you and your proposed project will earn back the investment you are asking them to make.
That’s why author platform is essential when looking for a traditional publishing deal. For nonfiction writers, it’s required. For fiction authors, it’s becoming more and more important because platform always helps sell books. Therefore, novelists can help increase their odds of obtaining a traditional publishing contract if they add platform to skilled writing and unique plot line.
And that’s why blogging and blogging books are such good strategies for aspiring authors. Both build author platform and interest in a book.
Are You Ready to Approach Traditional Publishers?
Before approaching traditional publishers ask yourself if you are ready to do so. Do you have what they seek?
- A unique and necessary idea
- A never-before-told story
- A book that offers readers benefits and addresses their interests
- A big market or niche market
- A specific category
- A strong author platform
- A promotion plan built on your platform
- An attractive publishing partner
- An Author Attitude