Want to get published? Do these first.

I invited one of my writing coach clients to attend the January 2016 meeting of my writers group, IWOC, Independent Writers of Chicago. The topic was “How to Write, Publish, and Market Your Book.” My client and I are working on her memoir. I knew the meeting would be useful for her. It was also extremely helpful to me.

The presenters were Jim Kepler, principal of Adams Press and longtime IWOC member, and Kim Bookless, self-publishing consultant. Their suggestions were confirming and practical. I’ve already stolen – I mean – incorporated the new ones into my coaching practice.

However, two of Jim’s recommendations were so terrific, I had to share them immediately:

  • Discover your category. Let’s assume you already have a super idea, which is actually pre-step one. Perhaps you’ve already started writing your book. Maybe you’re even in the rewrite phase, poor thing. Wherever you are in the process (and I’m thinking the earlier the better if possible), Jim suggests that you spend time wandering around a major bookstore to see where your book would be categorized. Examine those books. (You might want to take a look at the categories and books on Amazon.) It’s possible that your category might change as you proceed. You might have to go back to the bookstore a few times. I know, it’s a hardship.
  • Write the descriptive blurb for the back cover. When a book is published, there’s usually a teaser of some kind on the back cover that’s meant to encourage you to buy the book, such as a cliffhanger synopsis or some juicy promise to the reader. Write that. However, remember that it’s almost certain to change as you write – and rewrite – your book. Probably many times, in fact. But it will give you an idea of what your book is about – for now, anyway – and who it’s for – again, for now.

These two suggestions from Jim are especially brilliant. So much so that I wish I had thought of them. And, by the way, they only sound easy.