52 books in 52 weeks: The Business of Writing

I set myself the goal of reading and reviewing 52 writing guides over the year. Here is book 39, which is also courtesy of NetGalley and Pendragon Cove Press.

Thanks to NetGalley and to Pendragon Cove Press for an advance copy of The Business of Writing: Practical Insights for Independent, Hybrid, and Traditionally Published Authors by Kim Iverson Headlee.

First of all, this is not strictly a book on the business of *writing* per se. It’s actually a book on the business of *publishing*, with a lean towards independent publishing.

The book is packed full of nuggets of information telling readers the quickest and easiest road to publishing their own works, or what’s involved when someone else does it for them. If the book itself isn’t enough reading for you, there are also plenty of links supporting or illustrating what the author is trying to express.

It starts with the nuts and bolts of taxes, bookkeeping and expenses, mostly from the point of view of a small business rather than a freelancer. It’s also US-biased with some of the finance advice, but that can only be expected when the author lives in America.

Saying that, I picked up lots of useful stuff about blogging, SEO, marketing, book packaging, the importance of hiring contractors to edit or design covers, and I even went in and tweaked my own website using some of the tips here.

The first section is all about organising your finances, sorting out things like publication plans, arranging a book launch.

The second section is entitled “packaging” and includes hints for writing book jacket blurb (although the author hates to use the word “blurb”, but tells us why), hiring professional editors and book cover designers, print books, ebooks, audiobooks – even production of audiobooks.

The next section is about presentation, but not how to layout a manuscript when submitting to traditional publishing houses. This part discusses branding, pen names, meeting deadlines. It covers presenting yourself as a professional author.

And the last bit is all about marketing – promotion plans, advance reader copies, media kits, blog tours, blogging,

Basically, everything to do with producing a book.

I really enjoyed the blog-style approach and believe individual chapters started out in the blogosphere. I liked the author telling me what she likes to see when she’s visiting other authors’ social media sites, and what turns her off. She opened my eyes regarding paid for reviews or email advertising. And she doesn’t just stick to Amazon and Kindle. In fact, she tells us exactly why we should stick to just Amazon and only Amazon.

I’ll be trying out a few more of her suggestions in the coming months. If you’re thinking of venturing into self-publishing yourself, or even if you’re already there, there should be something for you in this book. And you never know, even the US-specific information is exactly what you’re looking for as well.

The Business of Writing: Practical Insights for Independent, Hybrid, and Traditionally Published Authors is available on Kindle for £2.25 ($2.98) and in paperback for £10.99 ($14.95).

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