With over 30 years in book publishing, people often ask me how they can get their latest manuscript published. The subjects range from making healthy school lunches or their new mystery about dog detectives. “How do I get published?” is not an easy question to answer, and often comes with a range of answers. What people may not realize is that there are many different types of publishers who cater to a wide range of audiences and needs.
The types of publishing I know best are Professional Development and College Publishing.
First and foremost, identify your audience. Who will want to read your book? If you think practicing educators will be interested, specify which ones and at what level. If you enjoy learning and citing academic research and developing an organization that fits a college course, then the world of college publishing may be the right one. Keep in mind, however, that higher education success requires that books fit a specific course such as Educational Psychology or Reading Methods, which are taught with some regularity, so make sure that your ideas fits a course structure.
The second major question, and the one you need to spend time reflecting on, is WHY will anyone read your book? Who will care? Potential readers need a compelling reason that will entice them to pick up and read your book. As the author, how will you make that happen? Sometimes we call that the “hook.”
The “hook” may be the title and some unique titles are enough to get attention. On the other hand, many cute, quirky, or witty titles don’t really move the needle.
It is critical that any author be able to describe their work in two to three brief sentences that highlight the approach, usefulness, and unique take.
Suggesting that the book will be written better, or that you have more experience than other authors, does not work. Let your audience determine that. Suggesting the specific steps you will provide to make their professional lives easier or more productive: now that will carry some weight.
Things to Consider:
- Know Your Audience
- Identify a clear and compelling reason for readers to care
- Think hard about your “working” title