Do you have a book in you? (Green Marketing)
Writing a book is a bucket-list item for many people.
Some have done it, but never showed it to anyone.
Unpublished novels, plays, and scripts sit in drawers across the nation.
Have you ever considered writing a book about your life, your business, or an area of your expertise?
A book can help you market your business and yourself.
It can act as an introduction to new customers and can also chronicle your story and knowledge that might otherwise be lost if never written down.
Everyone has a story to tell, but the question is do people want to read it?
Before you devote the time it takes to write a book, start off by writing a first chapter/essay and then sketching out what the full book contents would be.
For instance, if you are writing about growing apples in Pennsylvania, you might break the book into the sections on the care of apples, the varieties available, and how to harvest/market them.
Take that first chapter and outline around to a few folks you trust and ask them for their thoughts.
Do they think there is a market for this book? Do they know of similar books that already exist? Would they purchase such a book themselves?
If there is positive feedback to the concept, start to research publishers who might be interested in.
There are fewer around these days then there used to be as numerous publishing companies have folded or emerged in the last few decades.
When approaching a publisher, know that the first thing they will look at is your social media following.
Gone are the days of the hermit novelist dropping a new title on the public every decade or so. In the modern era, paper and printing is extremely expensive — publishers want a sure thing.
They need to know you have a built-in audience of willing buyers.
They want someone already savvy about green marketing.
Aren’t you glad you already regularly read this column?
Sometimes the publisher comes to you.
Last year, I was approached by a Cool Springs Press/The Quarto Group to co-write a book on urban gardening.
They knew my reputation for speaking and writing on the topic of small-space gardening solutions that I have built up over several years and offered me the book deal. They had done the market research and knew that now was the time for a book on city gardening.
Out of that was born The Urban Garden: 101 Ways to Grow Food and Beauty in the City, published this spring.
Of course, you can always self-publish.
These days, self-publishing is not the vanity press of days of old.
Many legitimate authors turn to self-publishing as they know they will make more money in the end or that their niche is so narrow that no publisher will think it worthwhile.
Print-on-demand services like LuLu.com and ebook selling through Amazon.com, make self-publishing easier than ever.
If you do go that route, do yourself a favor and hire a professional proofreader to go over it before you hit publish and get a graphic artist to design the cover for you.
These two nominal investments in the quality of your book will put you head and shoulders above the rest of your competition.
Perhaps you have a book in you? I bet once you sit down at a computer keyboard, you’ll be surprised to see what flows out of you.
(Editor’s note: Kathy Jentz is the editor/publisher of Washington Gardener Magazine, the publication for Mid-Atlantic home gardeners. She can be reached at KathyJentz@gmail.com.)