There are many huge content creators who built their businesses and went on to become published authors. New York Times found that 81% of Americans want to be published authors, so it’s not a surprise that when people get an opportunity to become authors, they take it.
If you are one of those people who would love to be a published author, and you aspire to be like creators Pat Flynn, Jenna Kutcher, James Clear, or Mark Manson who went on to become bestselling authors, know that it is very much possible.
Let’s talk about what are the benefits for content creators of becoming published authors, how to know if you are ready, and the process of how to make that dream into a reality.
Content creator guide to becoming a published author
Why online course creators publish books
There are numerous reasons why content creators should consider publishing books but here are three main reasons:
Publishing a book is a new business venture that can open new doors for your brand. You might attract new opportunities, increase your profits, and establish your business as a brand.
Pat Flynn sells courses on how to start a podcast and other online business ventures, and he has been doing it for years. He has two books published Will It Fly? and Superfans, which both cover the core topics of building a business and a dedicated audience which helped him expand his brand from the “podcast and passive income guy” to a business and marketing expert even outside the online world.
Establishing you as an expert
Publishing a book and becoming a published author can help you establish yourself as an expert in your niche and field. It adds credibility to have a published book under your belt as one of your achievements.
Writing a book is a huge milestone on its own, but getting it published is an even bigger milestone. It’s an accomplishment that allows you to stand out in a crowd and show people that you are a thought leader who has valuable, high-quality ideas to share with the world.
Publishing a book, especially if you are going the traditional publishing route (more on this later), can be a great opportunity to get media coverage for your brand. As an author, you can do interviews with media outlets, pitch yourself as a podcast guest to large podcasts, and attract all sorts of PR opportunities.
It can be super beneficial not only for the sales of your books but also for your business. You get an opportunity to connect with new audiences you might not be able to reach otherwise, and it gives you a chance to pitch your offerings and generate new business.
Should you publish a book?
So, now you know all the ways becoming a published author can help your brand. But how do you know if you should publish a book and if you’re ready to take on such a project? The answer to this question is – it depends.
The easiest way to know if you are ready to become an author and publish a book is when you are approached by publishing houses interested in pursuing you. Most often, it will only happen for already established names who have large platforms, like Jenna Kutcher.
She had been a content creator for almost a decade, running her business selling courses, and digital products and running a podcast before she was approached with a book deal and decided to become a published author.
However, even if you have a smaller platform, you can still very much become a published author. If you feel like you have something unique and valuable to say, and want to establish yourself as a thought leader and an expert in your niche, then it means you are ready.
How to publish a book
If you decide that you want to become a published author, there are two routes you can take to take you to your destination:
- Self-publishing: you write, edit, format, and publish the book all by yourself through platforms like Amazon.
- Traditional publishing: you get a literary agent to represent you, who will pitch your book idea to traditional publishing houses and sell it for you.
There are cons and pros to both ways, and one isn’t better than the other. They are just different and will fit different people and their needs better.
Traditional publishing versus self-publishing
When you self-publish, you have much more control over the whole process and the marketing. With traditional publishing, a lot of these things are out of your control, but usually, it means that you don’t have to worry as much about marketing and promoting your books.
Also, with traditional publishing, you don’t have to invest any of your own money upfront. All the publishing expenses are taken care of by your publisher. With self-publishing, you have to pay for the editors, cover designers, and marketing all by yourself.
Lastly, there is a different royalty system with both systems. With self-publishing, you earn a higher percentage of royalties, and you can start earning money the moment you publish your book.
When it comes to traditional publishing, you will get a book deal with a publishing house for an amount of money that will be paid out throughout a period of time. Your agent gets a cut from this sum of money, referred to as advance.
And you only start getting paid royalties once your book earns out the advance the book publisher paid you when they bought your book. The royalty rate is lower than with traditional publishing because the publisher and your agent take a cut.
Now, let’s go over the process of self-publishing and traditional publishing if you want to learn how to do it:
Let’s quickly go over the process of how to self-publish your book:
Step 1: Write a book
The first step is to write your book from start to finish. It’s a good idea to do your market research and validate your idea before you outline and write the book.
Step 2: Edit the book
Once the book is finished, you will want to edit it. It is a very important step because it will ensure that your book is of the highest quality. You might consider hiring an editor to help you with that, and it’s usually a good idea to do that. Look for editors who work with non-fiction books.
Step 3: Get the cover
The next step will be to design the cover. You can do it yourself in Canva or Adobe InDesign, but if you want to produce the highest quality product, it’s best to hire a professional who specializes in designing non-fiction book covers.
Take some time to see what other non-fiction books in your niche do for covers, and then discuss with the professional designer what you want for your book cover.
Step 4: Format the book
Once you have finished the edits and have your book cover, the next step will be to format the interior. You can do it in Canva, or use software like Vellum, or you might even hire a book interior designer.
Step 5: Copyright the book
You might also want to consider copywriting your book with the US Copyright Office. You can do it by going on their website and it will cost you $50 to do so.
Step 6: Publish a book
Finally, it’s time to publish your book! You can use platforms like IngramSparks which allow you to publish a book in ebook, paperback, and hardback formats. They allow libraries and bookstores to order copies of your book, which might offer more exposure than publishing with Amazon directly.
However, you can also use Amazon KDP and publish your book in Kindle, paperback, and hardback formats.
Step 7: Market the book
Once your book is published, you will want to dedicate a massive amount of your energy to marketing your book. It could be social media promotion, paying for ads, doing guest podcasts, and submitting your book for reviews.
Traditional publishing process
Now, let’s go over the process of how to publish a non-fiction book traditionally:
Step 1: Write a book proposal
First, you will need to write a book proposal for your non-fiction book. The proposal will have to outline your idea and convince the publisher that it’s something worth their attention.
This works similarly to putting together an outline for your online course. Do a lot of research and validate your idea by emphasizing why what you have to say is different from what is already out there and important.
Step 2: Find an agent
Once you have the book proposal ready, it’s time to start looking for a literary agent to represent you. Some publishing houses for non-fiction books allow authors to submit book proposals directly, but it is a general rule that the author is represented by an agent when they query their book.
You can find a non-fiction agent for your book by looking up what agents represent your favorite non-fiction authors. Alternatively, you can look up Reedsy’s database to find non-fiction literary agents who are looking for authors to represent.
Step 3: Refine your proposal
Once you have your agent (and this might take some time, so be patient!), you will closely work with them to further refine your book proposal. Literary agents are experienced with what publishing houses are looking for, so it is a very important step that will increase your chances of getting a book deal.
Step 4: Find a publisher for the book
The last step will be to submit the book proposal to the publishing houses. It will be something your literary agent will handle, and it’s a process that might take some time. Be ready for negotiations and meeting with the publishers to discuss your ideas, as it’s sometimes part of the process.