Work backwards

There’s writing, and then there’s publishing. It can feel great to just write and not worry about the outcome. But it can also burn you out, quickly.

Work backwards: Figure out your publishing strategy, and you’ll figure out your book.

Knowing how and when you’ll release your non-fiction book can dictate your approach, saving you time and money in the process.

First, understand the three basic models for publishing:

  • self-publishing (you’re in charge of producing the book, in print and/or digital versions)
  • hybrid publishing (you hire a team to produce the book)
  • traditional publishing (you convince a publishing house to buy your book and produce it for you)

Then, figure out:

  • your reader, and how they consume content
  • your ideal publishing model
  • when you want to release your book

Here are some examples of publishing strategy dictating the writing approach:

  • Your audience consumes mostly online content, in small doses, so a short ebook is enough.
  • You’re self-publishing with a limited budget, but a print publication is important to you and your reader. A shorter page count will save you money. You hire an editor to help you streamline your idea into 30,000 words rather than 50,000 words.
  • You’re planning on finding an agent and publishing traditionally, so you focus on crafting your proposal and sample chapters rather than your full manuscript.
  • Your message is super timely, and needs to come out sooner than a publishing schedule would dictate. So you release your idea as a 10,000 word essay this month, or a series of podcast episodes, rather than a book in a year.

Curious about where to go with your writing? In The Publishing Plan, I help you build an action plan so your writing actually moves you toward your publishing goals.

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