Decisions writers make once their book is written.

Moving from Writer to Author.
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By David Joel Miller, writer, blogger, and mental health professional.

Decisions you must make once you finish your manuscript.

You have finished your manuscript, which is probably a first draft, and now you must make a lot of decisions. Frankly, some of these you could have made before you wrote a book, but unless you are well along your journey to becoming a writer, publisher, and entrepreneur, you probably won’t do that. I know I didn’t. I will walk you through the decisions I had to make and some of the lessons I learned.

Why did I write this book?

Unless you’re doing write-to-market or someone else presented you with an idea, you probably got an idea and went to work on writing your book. Now you must ask yourself why you wrote this particular book and what you will do with it now that you have it.

If you wrote it because you felt you had something you needed to say, you probably want to get the maximum number of people to read it. If you are hoping to make money, maybe even make a living by writing, you need to look at what will be most profitable.

If you go on to write a second book, you will probably have a much clearer idea of the intended readers. The more refined your idea, the better your chances that this book will accomplish what you set out to do.

What do you intend to do with this book?

Not having a clear idea of your objectives results in people writing books that end up in drawers, never to see the light of day again. Writing a book about yourself or your problems can be very therapeutic. A lot of self-help books start that way. Most of them aren’t things that should be shared with anyone else. Writing an epic novel can be a lot of fun. Many books began with the author putting their daydreams down on paper. But now what?

If you decide to share this with others, you move from being a writer to taking on the many other responsibilities of getting your book ready for others to read.

Are you going to run off half-dozen copies of your memoir and hand them out to family and friends? Or will you try to get your book in front of a wider audience?

All these decisions I’m going to give you aren’t always made in this order, but eventually, you’ll have to think about these things. I know I did.

Should you Self-publish or submit to a traditional publisher?

Will you go looking for an agent or publisher? Or are you going to self-publish? If you hadn’t thought those things through before you started writing, you had better do it now.

Both have their advantages. If you find an agent or a publisher, they can do much of the work for you. They can also prevent you from making a lot of serious mistakes.

Submitting your book to a publisher or agent includes a high risk that you will get rejected. Even if you get it accepted, unless you sell a lot of books, you won’t see much money. But you will have the publisher helping you through the process of getting your book out there.

One warning here. Paying a publisher to get your book printed usually results in spending a lot of money and ending up with a garage full of books. Real legitimate publishers will pay for the expenses if they expect to sell some books, and they reject it if they don’t. People who charge you to print your book plan to make their money off you, and whether you ever do anything with the books is not their problem. I suppose there are some exceptions to this, but bad experiences are so common I cannot encourage that route.

I decided to do the self-publish route.

I finished my first nonfiction book shortly before I turned seventy. I wanted to say that I had achieved my goal of writing a book and seeing it published. I wasn’t sure I would have it in me to write more books. Looking back, I wish I had done things a little differently, but I’ll share those challenges with you.

If you decide to go the self-publish route, even with the help of one of the major platforms, you will be wearing one, two, or maybe even a dozen hats in addition to being a writer. Each function you will have to perform has a learning curve. I found some of those curves as steep as climbing a shared granite wall. But I’m still climbing.

So, are you ready to become a published author?

If you reach this point, you have finished your manuscript, decided you wanted to get it out in the world, and probably have decided to self-publish your book. You’re now ready to move from the art of being a writer to the business of being a published author.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller.

Seven David Joel Miller Books are available now! And more are on the way.

For these and my upcoming books, please visit my Author Page – David Joel Miller

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For more information about David Joel Miller’s work in mental health, please visit the website.

For my videos on mental health, substance abuse, and having a happy life, please see: Counselorssoapbox YouTube Video Channel

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