How to Write and Get Your Book Published Here's how to take your idea from the land of dreams to bookstores.

By Alinka Rutkowska

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Most business leaders and entrepreneurs have amazing ideas that they'd like to get published. After all, in growing a business most entrepreneurs have amassed a good many kernels of wisdom, and being entrepreneurs it's natural to see that telling their stories, and entering into the world of book publishing, offers the possibility of an inspiring second act. Usually, the main challenge in turning an idea into a published work is knowing where to begin.

Writing a manuscript

In writing a manuscript, it's important to first identify your goal with the material. Figuring out what you want to happen after getting your book published, whether that be to value-add to your life or your business, will help you to assess the focus of the material.

A common mistake by most first-time authors is not identifying their audience. For greater success, ask yourself these questions: Which market are you trying to tap? Who are your target readers? Why are you targeting them? What action do you want them to take after reading your book? Which genre do they belong to? The answers to these questions will affect the content and language of your book, as well as your marketing strategy, but will also provide you with an outline for getting started.

Find competing titles and read them to determine why you think they are successful. Study book cover designs, titles, descriptions, and contents to assess why you think readers picked up and bought those books. Ask yourself why people recommend certain books to their friends, family, and colleagues.

Companies invest millions in market research so they can develop the best product names to increase conversion. It works the same way for book titles, so spend the appropriate time researching the best type of titles for your content. Like any brand, your title should be memorable and impactful.

Make a list of topics and subtopics before creating an outline. Once you feel you have covered enough ideas, arrange them in a logical order, and then schedule your writing sessions like you would schedule your meetings or any other business function, and start writing!

Do not self-edit while writing. Set a different schedule for editing draft material. Remember that the first draft is usually awful. Do not be hard on yourself when reading your work. What's important is being able to get the idea out of your head and into your draft. Once you have edited your material yourself, hire an additional editor to review your work. Even established authors need help from professional editors. A fresh set of eyes can help clarify meaning and intent.

Related: Why You Should Write a Book to Build Your Brand

Traditional, self-publishing, and hybrid publishing

In traditional publishing, authors sign a book deal and the publishing house finances the production of the book. In this model, the author often gets an advance against royalties, finishes the manuscript, and then sends it to the publisher. What's good about traditional publishing is that authors do not need to shell out money or worry about the rest of the book creation process. All they need to do is write. Some authors, however, do not prefer working with traditional publishers because they want more creative freedom as well as control over the book creation process.

Self-publishing authors enjoy total creative freedom and control. Authors do not need to go through gatekeepers and decision-makers to get their books into the hands of readers. However, this also means that authors have to finance every aspect of the book creation process. Furthermore, for indie authors who want to physically create and distribute their books, printing is quite expensive, and self-marketing and accessing distribution channels can be overwhelming.

There are a lot of risks involved in self-publishing, which means there is also the potential for great rewards. For this reason, a lot of indie authors choose to distribute their books digitally rather than risk investing a huge sum of money in printed material. Kindle Direct Publishing addresses this concern by offering a print-on-demand service. With this model, authors are still able to distribute physical copies of their books but are not required to order hundreds of copies at one time.

With traditional and self-publishing on opposite ends of the spectrum, hybrid publishing falls right in the middle, filling a huge gap in the marketplace. In this model, the author finances the book creation process but receives professional expertise from editors, writers, graphic artists, marketing specialists, and publishing strategists, as well as traditional distribution channels. With a hybrid publishing company, authors have control over the book cover design, interior design, marketing, and content, and enjoy 90% of the net royalties. With traditional publishing, authors only get a fraction of that reward.

Ultimately, you decide on the way you'll get it done, but remember, the world will be different once your book is out.

Related: Consider This Before Self-Publishing Your Book

Wavy Line
Alinka Rutkowska

Entrepreneur Leadership Network Contributor

USA Today and WSJ best-selling Author

Alinka Rutkowska runs a hybrid publishing house with traditional distribution (via Simon & Schuster) through which more than 500 entrepreneurs have been able to share their stories with the world; 172 of Leaders Press authors have become USA Today and Wall Street Journal best-selling authors.

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