How can I get published? That’s the question on the minds of many aspiring authors, and the reason so many visit this section of Strategy Magazine. If there is an easier way to go about a seemingly difficult process, that’s definitely something worth looking into, right?
I was lucky enough to get an interview with Penguin/Random House’s Mark Ellwood, author of Bargain Fever: How to Shop in a Discounted World. I secretly wish everyone could speak with him one-on-one. His message is even more inspiring when delivered with his energy and charisma. For now, however, his top four tips to making your dreams of getting published come true will have to do (with an urging to see him speak live if you ever have the chance).
- Do your research. “The greatest way to sell a book is by having it based on a great idea,” says Ellwood. “It’s what gets people excited.” That, he stresses, comes from originality. “Before you start writing anything,” he explains, “Google the topic. If it exists, find another topic. Yes, you may be able to write it better; but think of it this way: if it sold brilliantly, another one isn’t needed, and if it sold miserably, publishers will be afraid to pick it up.” The crux? All original.
- Love what you choose. “When I was writing Bargain Fever, I loved what I was doing,” says Ellwood. “My mom is Scottish; so, she believes you can place two pounds in a wallet and hope they breed. I was born frugal. So, this process allowed me to learn about all the available ways to save money.” Ellwood elaborates by saying that if you don’t care about the topic, you won’t like the process. It will be difficult to produce something good, if you’re able to finish at all.
- Give a sense of urgency. Elwood wants all wannabe authors to understand the importance of creating a sense of urgency. “Ask yourself why the topic or subject matter is relevant now,” he instructs. “The subject must be relevant. It must answer a need or relate to what’s happening in culture. If you achieve that, the publisher will want to push it urgently for its ability to resonate with the market.”
- Become a marketing guru. Okay, maybe not a guru; but having a plan of action to assist the publisher in pushing the book should be a priority. “You should be able to tell the publisher who you are going to tweet at when the book is launched, and where you are going to travel for book signings, and where you are going to give live speaking engagements,” Ellwood encourages. “A publisher is like a parent with many children it must look after and nurture in their growth; you, however, have only one baby—that book—and you must ensure its proper care.”