Publish It in Pieces

Your book may not be finished, but you can still begin to profit from it by publishing it in parts.

The way we read is changing, as more people devour books, articles, magazines, in small ways – in short-segments, through headline alerts, or excerpts of articles, or summaries of longer-form works. But also, in more literary terms, in stories, or in investigative articles that carry the weight but not the length of a book.

Short stories, for example, are seeing a renaissance of sorts thanks to people willing to read a few thousand words on a smart phone or tablet rather than spring for a full-length novel. And you’ve probably already noticed that timely publications that cover current events are appearing with more frequency in digital bookstores.

You can take advantage of this. You may be working on your book, as a longer exploration of a topic. But if you’re building a platform to expand your audience, strengthen your brand and attract new readers, you’re already beginning to share your precious information and expertise with your tribe, in the form of your blogs or newsletters.

Don’t think you have to save everything for the book. You can dole it out bit by bit. Price it accordingly — $1.99 (or even 99 cents), or give it away for a limited time. People are willing to take a chance on new voices when the price is right (never underestimate the power of impulse buys, even when what you’re offering is something important and innovative – people will come back to you for your expertise again and again).

You’ve probably begun to explore self-publishing options – such as Amazon’s Kindle program, Smashwords or Barnes & Noble’s self-publishing program, to name just a few. Work with a designer to come up with a look for your short-form piece (the online publishing world can help you here), have it edited by a professional to ensure that it is free of error, and put it up there.

Don’t wait for the perfect moment before taking advantage of people’s hunger for what you have to say. Just say it, through publishing it, and reinforce the brand you’re working so hard to build.

Bob Hughes
Author: Bob Hughes
Robert J. Hughes ("Bob") was a staff reporter for The Wall Street Journal for over a decade, specializing in culture reporting. He was the paper's theater reporter, wrote on publishing, the art and auction markets, television, music, film and philanthropy, and reviewed books.
  • Anonymous

    I love how much easy it is to use Amazon and Kindle to get content into the readers’ hands. Writing smaller e-books is a much less daunting task than a full-blown novel.