By Austin Miller, Content Marketing Manager
From Gary Vaynerchuck to Eddie Huang, many Entrepreneurs have published Books highlighting their unique voice and establishing themselves as leaders of their industries.
Whether you're looking to publish a book about your success story or you'd like to sound off on your area expertise—writing a book is a great vehicle to legitimize and solidify your ideas. Maybe it's the historical role that books have played, or maybe it's just good marketing—but books (whether electronic or not) seem to carry a little more cache than your average internet article.
Reasons an Entrepreneur Should Publish a Novel
- Publishing a novel is a lead generation tool
- Publishing a novel is a branding tool
- Publishing a novel provides value to others
- Publishing a novel can help solidify you as an "expert"
- Publishing a novel gives you a chance to point out flaws in an industry (which hopefully you're solving)
In determining the math for “How to Write and Publish a Novel in 50 Days” we undoubtedly have to make some generalizations. Book length preferences vary by genre, target audience, publisher, and author. There are epic fantasies that range well over 100,000 words, mystery novels that tend to range from 60,000-80,000 and novellas that are not considered short stories but not yet novel length. For all intensive purposes we have decided on a word count of 60,000, so you may need to adjust your work load accordingly (i.e. instead of 3 pages per day you may only need to write 2 etc.)
-Each stylized novel page in word contains roughly: 500 words
-If you commit to writing 3 pages a day that equals: 1,500 words
-At 1,500 words a day we will achieve the 60,000 word goal in: just 40 days!
“But wait, why did you say 50 days?” Let’s be honest, it would have sounded a lot nicer when writing this “how to publish a novel guide” to put 40 days instead of 50—but with publishing and editing considerations that’s just not realistic. By adding 10 extra days, for mapping out your book, making edits, formatting, doing cover art etc.—you can feel a lot more confident with a 50 day time limit.
As you can see from the math, a 50 day goal is very achievable but as all writers do—you need help along the way. The rest of this manuscript will consist of several helpful tips and guidelines that will assist you in your literary aspirations.
How to Publish a Novel: Mapping out Success
How to Publish a Novel Step One: Set a Macro Goal
The first thing you must ask yourself is why do you want to write a novel? Is it to become rich and famous? Need to express yourself? Is it for pure enjoyment?
The reason does not matter so much, as long as you find it sufficiently motivating. Writing a novel is tough—it will test you in every way.
Once you have determined your primary goal, write it down. This is your macro goal—the end-all be-all object of desire you are looking forward too, the reason you’re willing to beat yourself up over the next 50 days.
Whatever reason you decide on for writing a novel, make sure it is enough to fuel you through the next 50 days and that you make it the focus of everything you do.
HOW TO PUBLISH A NOVEL Step Two: Quantify Your Goal
After you have determined your macro goal you will need to ask yourself, what are the necessary steps to achieve your goal. Here we are referring to your maximum goal (not the goal of publishing a novel, but what you hope to happen after publishing said novel.
Let’s say my macro goal is to be a rich and famous author. What quantifiable goal can I set that will make me “rich and famous”. Perhaps it is selling X number of books, and achieving a certain X amount of interviews.
Maybe your goal is not economically driven, but you just want to be considered an "expert" of your field. What quantifiable terms can we put next to this broad term? Perhaps we could write down, you want to have X number of reviews written about your work, you want X of new twitter followers, and X number of sales.
Do you see how even non-number driven goals can be quantifiable? The most important thing you can do in goal setting is to set measurable goals and to define how many X’s it takes for you to reach your Y.
HOW TO PUBLISH A NOVEL Step Three: Set Micro Goals
Now that you have an achievable and quantifiable goal you will need to break your plan into months, weeks, days, and even hours. But before you can do any of this you must first write that book.
Yeah, about that…
We recommend you use a physical calendar (these are easy to find/print for free online). Of course you could also use one of the millions of digital calendars out there to keep you on pace—but there's something primally obligatory about writing something in ink.
Place the calendar on the wall next to where you write, make it so you can see your macro goals and micro goals at the same time. If you are trying to write a 60,000 word novel, make sure you write each day at what specific time you will be doing said writing. Merely writing down “three pages” is not good enough, you need to block out a specific time period in which you know you can get it done. If you fall short one page for some unforeseen emergency, make sure to tack those pages on to the next day—do not however, make this a habit.
Professional AKA A publishing house
This route is most likely for your well established CEO. (Publishing houses love to see what you have "accomplished" that makes you an expert at said topic.) Make sure that on your calendar when you start to near the final stages of your writing (perhaps a week in advance), you write down a specific date you will be contacting an editor. Do this in advance so you can receive confirmation.
But since this guide is for the "side-hustler" (and scrappier business owner) we will focus on the self-published e-book route.
If you don't have a huge budget, we recommend you email a university’s graduate school English department and do it in advance. Those students have plenty on their plates, and yes most of the students will be dying for a chance to make some money (and put something besides worked at Barnes and Nobles on their CV). But to do an effective job, they will need time to prepare and plan ahead.
Also, make sure to put a spot on your calendar for when to get in touch with your cover artist as soon as you have a good outline of your book. Think about whom you’re marketing to, and what you want them to feel when they look at the cover of your book. Take a look at other books in your genre and find out what they are doing. Chances are they have a professional marketing expert help choose a cover. And chances also are you don’t—so browse around and take a look at the bestsellers.
Getting in touch with an artist as soon as possible will also allow you to make changes in advance if necessary. After all you are on a 50 day schedule.
Marketing Your Novel
For the self-publisher, this will be your hardest step. The first (and most obvious) step is to reach out to family, friends, and employees. If the novel is brand-related or fits within your niche—feel free to exploit your business channels to market your book i.e. social media accounts, email lists, webinars, and partnerships.
After tapping into your core base, digital marketing will most likely be the most affordable and profitable way to market your book. Think about your value proposition "What will your customers learn from your book?" and use that to your advantage. Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram—all have ad platforms that are relatively inexpensive. If your book teaches people how to maximize ROI, or exploit a niche--say so! Don't just regurgitate the title of your novel without first considering what value you bring to others.
Let it be known that SEO is a marathon not a sprint. This is what you would call a "long play." It takes time, constant dedication, and guess what? More writing!
Not all business owners, side hustlers, CEO's, or entrepreneurs have a working knowledge of SEO practices (nor do they need to). But what they do need to know is that SEO is important (if not crucial) to a web-presence and those who are unfamiliar with the practice need to A. learn or B. hire out. (To read more about the importance of SEO, read our article Is SEO Dead?)
The biggest challenge for self-published authors is getting people to read your work. With so many people now publishing their material (much of it unrevised and ill-written) your masterpiece can easily become lost in the fray. If you don’t learn basic SEO skills you will never find your book at the top of anyone’s pile. If you are to be successful in your online endeavors you must become familiar with how search engines work.
This does not mean every writer needs to be a blogger, but you must have some type of platform you can reach an audience with. In order to receive you have to first give content to the world they find useful. Eventually these people will start to become curious as to who you are and more importantly—your works.
This means you have to be commenting on blog posts, forums, google + groups, etc. You need to be writing and submitting articles to various publications and websites, producing content about topics you know.
Where to Publish
Contact your nearby university’s Graduate School English Department*
(Only use online services if you are willing to pay professional rates.)
Smashwords provides an official “formatting guide” that you have to download, it is long, it is confusing, and frankly we do not recommend it. If you are interested in publishing through Smashwords we recommend a more user friendly version found here:
SEO Tips + Tools