As we move into the final quarter of the year, it tends to be a time of reflection and future gazing. Partner member Karen Williams, The Book Mentor, looks to the future of nonfiction publishing.
What is the Future of Nonfiction Publishing?
There has been a huge amount of change in the publishing arena since I started out on my book writing journey in August 2009, which I addressed in a recent article for ALLi. But while it’s all well and good reflecting on the past, what is likely to happen in the future and how will it affect non-fiction authors?
Is There a Need for More Books?
One of the biggest things that I’ve noticed over the last 10 years is the rise of authorship generally, of both fiction and non-fiction books. Non-fiction authorship has become the platform of choice for those who want to stand out. It’s also become easier than ever to publish a book, which has facilitated this growth.
One thing that we might wish to ask is whether there is a need for more books in the non-fiction arena. Personally, I believe that there is. In an ever-changing world, we are looking for people to inspire us, and I still believe it’s a great way to get heard. But I also believe that it’s only going to work when authors answer a problem or need faced by their readers. Even with advancements in technology making it incredibly easy to get access to information, many people are still looking for a reputable source that will help. Although if you wish to become an authority in your field, the deeper you niche the more likely you will build a business from what you know.
Your Book Needs to be Great!
Even if someone has a problem they wish to have solved, in our fast-paced world, people are becoming more discerning about where they spend their time. They will still read books that are recommended to them, but they won’t tolerate those which are sloppily written or presented badly.
Even if you have a brilliant idea that you want to write quickly, it mustn’t be to the detriment of its quality. It does frustrate me when I see a book written badly, or a good book published badly, or a great book which is not promoted well, so nobody hears about it!
How Should You Get Published?
There has been a huge rise in indie authorship. If you’re in no rush and you are willing to put in the legwork to get a publishing contract, then by all means go for it. But it may take time to get a deal and don’t expect the publisher to do all the work for you. Also be mindful of who owns your intellectual property if you want to build your business from your book with courses or other content.
If you decide to become an indie author, then get your book written in a timely manner and published professionally. But it does make sense to employ other experts to help you, whether you embrace the self-publishing or partnership publishing route. A good quality book is what you need if you want it to enhance your business and brand.
Print, Ebook or Audio?
You may be wondering which is the best medium to produce your book. I’m a visual person and like nothing more than sitting down with a paperback, but with my sixth book, Becoming An AUTHOR-ity, my goal is to initially record it as an audio book and release each chapter as a podcast. Technology will continue to advance, so embrace it. Make it easy for people to consume your information but the route you choose really depends on your audience.
However you decide to approach your book, for non-fiction authors, it’s important to note that your book is just the start and not the end game. You may think that writing your book is the hardest part, but how you promote your book after you’ve published is something important to focus on. So be clear what you’d like to have happen once people have read your book, how can you support them further and how you can build your business from the content that you’ve shared.
Self-Publishing 3.0, an ‘AskALLi: Quick & Easy Self-Publishing Guide’, explores the shift in the mindset of authors who want to make a living from their writing. I do believe that now is the time for authors to take back their power in terms of how they write, publish and promote their books, and that the book is just part of the author’s bigger picture and goal.
Although it’s easier than ever for non-fiction authors to publish their book, it doesn’t mean that everyone should do it.
If you do write a book, then make sure that it’s your best content to establish you as an authority and is published professionally.
Always consider your book as just part of your business and build your marketing plan around it.
OVER TO YOU
Where do you think the future of nonfiction is heading? If you're a nonfiction writer, where would you like to take your business next year?
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