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Alternative Forms of Writing and Publishing

When you publish your book, you will be credited as a published writer, which is an important step in building a platform. Being a published author opens many doors. Showing agents and editors that your book has been published will increase their confidence that, if they take on your project, you will deliver.

Many authors who cannot get their books published by traditional houses are turning to self-publishing and putting out e-books. Increasingly, traditional publishers are monitoring self-publishing and e-book offerings and buying those that show promise for their lists.

When authors pay to have their books published, it’s called vanity publishing. Some vanity publishers may design the covers and get involved in distribution and publicity, but mainly they just print the books. And, according to most publishing professionals, they often don’t do a very good job (though that situation seems to be correcting itself, these days).

Another option is ghost writing.

Writers tend to fall into two general categories:

  1. those whose main objective is to pursue writing careers
  2. those who want to write to further their careers.

Check this idea out—If you’re in category 1, you can build your writing career by writing with or for someone in category 2.

Action Steps

1. Define your platform. Once your message is clear, you can address how you will share it with others. What is your platform? Get clear how your message will benefit others and what makes it helpful, inspirational, entertaining, and unique.

2. Start with just one! Make a list of all the community organizations you belong to—your religious affiliation, local garden clubs, civic organizations, and so forth—and get booked with a speech. Even if you start with just one group, eventually you can branch out and approach others.

3. Align with a media outlet that reaches your desired audience and write how-to articles or short stories for them. Share your platform. The most comfortable for most people is print, so develop any opportunity that will give you space!

4. Work your way up to newspaper and magazine print interviews, local radio talk shows, and television appearances. Keep a tape or request a copy of each and every appearance. Have your best tapes consolidated.

5. Keep records of your appearances and document what you’ve done. This will be especially helpful when writing your bio and demonstrating your promotional abilities.


Most publishers now require nonfiction writers to have national platforms. This means that they have continuing national visibility. Publishers want authors who are entrepreneurial, promotion minded, and willing to aggressively market their books.

Create a national platform by giving talks, speeches, and participating in workshops. Write columns and articles and become a frequent interview subject. Develop a dynamic website, make strategic alliances, and link to the sites of those with whom you are aligned, and build an extensive list of names. Increase your visibility and your brand. Then understand the steps that are involved in the publishing process.

Tags: beneath the cover, Publishing, writingabook

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