If you’re like many writers, getting published is probably one of your biggest goals. Although this goal may seem daunting, there are a number of tried and true strategies that have helped many writers not only get published, but also realize commercial success. Fortunately, the barriers to being published have never been lower for those with the determination and just a bit of luck.
While there is clearly no one set path to becoming a published writer, a very common path as of late involves starting off as a blogger, transitioning to e-books, and then building on your success online until you’re invited into the world of publishing.
There’s no reason you can’t be writing right now and connecting with a real audience. Blogging can provide you with the motivation you need to actually complete your book. It sets out the clear goal of posting regularly, provides you with clear feedback from readers over time, and helps you gauge what your audience wants before you present a more polished finished product. In effect, you can end up writing enough for two books over the course of a year as your blog posts accumulate.
In order to pursue blogging with the end goal of publishing in mind, you should try to do the following:
Many bloggers find the easiest way to transition to publishing is to focus on a specific niche topic, such as food, politics, business or travel. You should post on a topic that interests or excites you, but try to find a unique angle to cover it. For example, you may love posting about cute animals, but that’s pretty much been done. Instead, think about how Matthew Gasteier’s blog took a friendly take on how cute animals deserve their “comeuppance.” His blog quickly exploded in popularity and went on to be published by Villard Books under the title “FU, Penguin: Telling Cute Animals What’s What.”
If you’re posting on a topic like business or tech, write about a problem that people need solutions to. Darren Rowse used his blog to produce the highly successful “31 Days to Build a Better Blog,” which walks readers through the process of building their blog up from scratch. Rowse provides a clear step-by-step solution that millions of readers are potentially interested in.
Promote your blog on social media, through guest posts and even using some SEO techniques. You will also find that once you produce an e-book based on your blog, you will have to spend a substantial amount of time marketing your book yourself. While self-publishing allows you to enjoy earning 70 percent of the proceeds of sales of your book, promoting blogs and e-books requires a lot of time.
While toward your publishing goals, you probably also need to pay the bills. Writing for an agency like Scripted not only helps you support yourself financially, but also allows you to hone your writing skills over time as you receive feedback from clients.
Try to create some overarching themes and continuity between your blog posts, which will help you build the format for an e-book. This is what Walker Lamond did: He started a Tumblr blog based on fatherly advice he would provide his unborn son and later turned his blog posts into his book “Rules for My Unborn Son” after he received a book deal from St. Martin’s Press.
After you have enough blog content, start to craft your e-book based on your posts while adding new content to ensure your e-book has extra appeal to your established audience.
Read More: Building Your Brand Online as a Writer
There are many roads you can take to become published.
If your blog takes off and you start seeing serious traffic growth to your website, it’s not unusual for agents to come knocking on your door seeking to offer you a book deal. However, for most aspiring writers, it will take some footwork on your part to get noticed.
If you choose to end up marketing your e-books on platforms like Amazon, it’s very possible that Amazon’s internal publishing houses may also approach you if your e-book gains in popularity. That’s why so many e-book authors try to leverage Amazon to start making serious money.
However, if you feel you’re hitting a wall, hiring an agent shouldn’t be out of the question even if the agent will take a cut of your royalties in the end. Many big publishers tend to pass on any book pitches and manuscripts that aren’t handled through an agent.
You should also not be afraid to expand your search beyond traditional publishers in your home country. For example, Mike Stoner finally found an Asian publisher for his e-book “Jalan Jalan” after facing dozens of rejections from U.K. publishers. It’s a globalized world, so don’t be afraid to go outside your boundaries.
Read more: Simples Steps to Get Content Published
One of the keys to publishing is consistency. Don’t expect the success of your first e-book to skyrocket overnight, although it has happened to a lucky few.
British author Adam Croft is a good example of a DIY thriller writer who produced a number of thrillers before he ultimately landed a serious hit with “Her Last Tomorrow,” helping him become a millionaire in the process. It was also the e-book that won Croft a publishing deal for “Her Last Tomorrow” from Amazon’s Thomas & Mercer, who will also publish Croft’s next novel due for 2017.
Traditional publishing has its limitations. Dealing with potential rejections and having a publishing house take a substantial cut of your earnings are serious drawbacks.
However, publishers help you save time on marketing and help you appeal to a wider audience. Jenny Blake — who left Google to become a full-time blogger — said that finally getting her book “Life After College: The Complete Guide to Getting What You Want” published offered a certain element of prestige that opened many doors for her. Not only did traffic to her blog double within a year following publication of her book, but she began receiving offers to speak, gained a new level of credibility with her audience, and began selling out her courses.
Ultimately, going from blogger to published author can be a long but rewarding journey. Just remember to have fun with your writing or you may lose confidence before the big publishing payoff.
Need help building out a blog portfolio? Try using one of Scripted’s thousands of ghostwriters: