How to Get Started to Publish a Book
“So many people say, ‘One day, I’ll write my story,’ but they never do,” a family friend told me a few years ago when I had a book signing for my self-published book, Every Day Lessons from Everyday People. And it’s true. So many people echo that sentiment: “One day, I’m going to write a book. One day, I’m going to write a screenplay. One day, I’m going to . . .”
But they never get anything finished. In fact, it’s estimated that over 80% of Americans want to write a book, but only 6% of them get even halfway through writing it. Of that 6% percent, who knows how many people actually finish their book and have the courage to publish it!
Don’t let 2022 be the same year where your idea remains an idea, your half-written manuscript collects dust on your desk (or stays unseen on your computer), and your story stays untold. If you’re like most Americans, the chances are you’ve thought about publishing a book. And I want to be the first person in 2022 to invite you to make that “far-fetched” dream become a reality.
Where do I start with writing a book?
“The man who moves a mountain begins by carrying away small stones.” - Confucius
Just like anything, publishing a book starts one step at a time. Be patient—yet disciplined—with yourself when you commit to the process. Here’s some concrete advice and tips from some of Cincinnati Book Publishing’s authors to get you on your way to publishing your book.
Start writing. Simple as that. Getting thoughts down on paper will lead to more ideas and a good understanding of what you think your book will look like. It can be anything—such as bullet points of key moments for your story, a rough outline structure, the introduction, the final chapter, your dedication, a catching description, etc.—but writing something will get you going in the right direction and illustrate to yourself that you’re serious about this endeavor.
Jerome Stanley, author of the recent novel Footsteps: Journey from Hate to Love, offers this piece of advice:
“Keep a journal. If you write daily in a journal, your thoughts can later lead to ways of developing a story. Let your own life experiences enter into a story that you are trying to communicate. Your philosophy of life, as noted in your journal comments, can help to enrich your storytelling.”
David Martin, the co-writer with his wife, Tammy, for their children's book Johnny the Gentleman agreed with this recommendation:
“Just start. I think the key is not to get paralyzed with perfection. Getting a skeleton draft on paper is a start. And the same is true with pictures (assuming it is a picture book), just get the draft pictures outlined. We also ran numerous drafts past friends and family for input. Completing draft after draft is okay and will lead to a better outcome. The last writing won't be completed the first time.”
Read books that you think will be similar to yours. To help get an understanding of what your book will look like, it’s good to do some research for and reading of comparable titles and authors. Whether your story is a war memoir, children's book, or cookbook, you can read related best-sellers, browse Amazon or another bookstore for a certain book category, or investigate authors with a similar story. You’ll slowly learn what works for that niche and decipher how you can distinguish your book and story to stand out.
If you want to get even more serious about publishing a book, talk to someone about it. This can be your spouse, sibling, co-worker, mentor, or whoever, but getting the word out will get you motivated to keep writing, a commitment to that person, and instant feedback or ideas for how to shape your book.
Dr. Alison Delgado, who in 2020 published her memoir My Race for Life—which revolved around her traumatic brain injury and recovery—offers that reaching out to family and friends for details about your book will help tell the story correctly. She explains that “hearing their recollections of that time and hearing their emotions helped me to tell the story as accurately as I could. It also helped keep my motivation up to continue writing as I saw once again how many people I had cheering me on.”
Or, better yet, you can talk to the team at Cincinnati Book Publishing, who’s been professionally publishing books since 1991. We’re a determined and energetic publisher that wants to help bring your book to life and share your story. If your manuscript is finished, halfway there, or just an idea, we’re happy to sit down and discuss it. A great book requires a team behind it, and CBP is ready to partner up with you. Unlike other publishers across the state, country, or globe, we’re right here in downtown Cincinnati—a publisher in your backyard eager to help every step of the way.
If you get started now, who knows, maybe you’ll be finished and ready to take the next holiday sales season by storm.
And if I can’t motivate you enough in a few paragraphs, here are some of my favorite quotes that may do the trick:
“The graveyard is the richest place on earth, because it is here that you will find all the hopes and dreams that were never fulfilled, the books that were never written, the songs that were never sung, the inventions that were never shared, the cures that were never discovered, all because someone was too afraid to take that first step, keep with the problem, or determined to carry out their dream.” – Les Brown
“I remind myself, 'Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.' (Cribbed from Voltaire.) A twenty-minute walk that I do is better than the four-mile run that I don’t do. The imperfect book that gets published is better than the perfect book that never leaves my computer. The dinner party of take-out Chinese food is better than the elegant dinner that I never host.” – Brené Brown, Daring Greatly
“Do or do not, there is no try.” – Yoda, Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back
Information for Cincinnati Book Publishing
Cincinnati Book Publishing is a full-service, hybrid publisher established in 1991. With extensive experience and expertise with nonfiction, CBP's mission is to publish and distribute books that matter.
Visit CincyBooks.com or call 513-426-6500 to learn more.