Have you been posting poems and short stories on social media for a while but do not know if it’s time to show the world? Perhaps you’ve been writing in your closet for a while but do not know whether to post on social media first or to publish immediately? Whatever your case is, this article is for you.
Publishing a book is often perceived as the final stop for aspiring authors. While some are eager to ‘go public’, others wait for the perfect time. But is there a perfect time? There is no rule that says a writer has to publish at a particular time.
As Nigerian kids, we grew up reading books by other kids our age. We’d read storybooks written by seven and eight-year-olds and yearn to publish a book as well. While this was valid, several factors discouraged us. For example, our age, information about the publishing industry, plagiarism, and many more. And so, we just never got to publishing.
But, the information that deterred us then still does. Many writers still ask questions about publishing. It means there would never be a perfect time for publishing.
When asked how he knew he was ready, Kolawole Oyedotun, author of Ballad of a loner, said, “I never knew I was ready, I only felt it was long overdue and people needed to know what happened in my world.”
Although there isn’t a perfect time, here’s a checklist to guide you.
WHAT TYPE OF PUBLISHING CAN I AFFORD?
There are different types of publishing types of publishing and their cost are different as well. Luckily, the internet has made self-publishing free. With a manuscript and access to the internet, you can publish your book.
Get started by uploading your manuscript on thelensmedia. Fill the form and submit it.
You’d be required to upload a book cover. Publishing is free and you’d earn eighty percent profit from every sale.
AM I GOOD AT WHAT I DO?
Although being the best as a first-time author isn’t feasible, being good is crucial. We know good writers. They are the ones whose works we read on the internet and end up commenting an epistle. Sometimes, we head to their DMs.
We also know those who need improvement. They are the ones we comment fire emojis under their posts, without words to supplement.
As a writer, before publishing, you should know how your work is perceived. If you post on social media, read between the lines, read beyond the cheers. What exactly are your readers and friends telling you?
On the other hand, if you don’t post regularly on social media, reach out to trusted friends to criticize your work.
What this means is, you’re getting feedback from your potential readers. Ask the right questions and work on the feedback you get. You’re ready when your work is perceived well.
DO I HAVE A TARGET AUDIENCE ?
Before releasing a product, it’s paramount to know if there’s a market for it. After all, the sole purpose of selling is to make profits.
There are different ways to determine if you have potential readers asides from social media posting and feedback. And one of them is, publishing for free.
Publishing a book for free can be complicated. No writer wants to spend money on a book cover, editing, and marketing, only to earn no profit.
On the other hand, it’s a great way to get honest feedback, not only from friends but from strangers as well.
Kolawole, whose book is free, said, “I still don’t know why I never attached a price tag to it, maybe I felt it wasn’t good enough to have people pay for it. Maybe it was because it released sadness into the minds of readers.
“But, I also felt the origin of art should be first appreciated in its natural state and no amount of money can measure up. I like to call it the gift from the universe through me.”
However, he added, “The responses were amazing. I didn’t expect many reviews. I’ll definitely sell my next book.”
The only thing holding you back from publishing is you. Nothing else. If you want to know you’re good enough, make a move. Start posting on social media and asking for criticisms. If you’re confused about publishing, research. If you think your work requires improvement, take courses and classes.