Ejaz Naqvi, MD, the bestselling iUniverse author of, The Quran: With or Against the Bible? is yet another of our authors to be named to Kirkus Reviews’ best books of 2013. When iUniverse Blog contacted him to congratulate him on this achievement, we asked him what it took to become a published author.
Here’s what he said:-
“If you have ever thought about writing a book, my one simple advice is this: do not procrastinate. The time to write a book is now- not next year or when you have “more free time”, because that “more free time” is an illusion. Here is a brief overview of what it takes to be an author.”
First of all. You need to ask yourself why you want to write a book. Many people have different reasons- you have a message and want to get your message out, you want to be viewed as an “expert’, or achieve fame, or for financial reasons. Perhaps you have the itch to put your thoughts into writing, and last but not the least, you want the book as a stepping stone to Hollywood. As we all know, many books have been transformed into successful movies.
Choose a genre. They are broadly divided into fiction and nonfiction. Both vary from children’s books, to travel, politics, religion and spirituality.
Decide on a publisher. There are two types of publishers: Traditional and Self-Publishers, both with their own set of pros and cons. Traditional publishers include names such as Simon and Schuster, Harper Collins, Penguin Random House. These are typically harder to sell to. They tend to be more “controlling” but offer the advantages of brand recognition and prestige, and provide a full range of publishing services from editing to distribution and promotion. You will likely need to hire a literary agent who serves as an intermediary to present your manuscript to publishers- a challenging task in itself, without any guarantees that your manuscript will ever be accepted. On the other hand, the self-publishers offer a fair guarantee that your work will be published but without necessarily having the same brand recognition. However, many of the “hybrid” self-publishers offer the same type of full service packages that the traditional publishers offer, but at a cost upfront. These agreements are non exclusive-another advantage for the self-publishing route. Many of them now offer editing, distribution and promotional services.
iUniverse is a full service publisher that helped me from the word go- from manuscript editing, to distribution and printing and promotion of the book. I enjoyed working with my editor a great deal. They are full service publishers without the hassles of finding an agent and a traditional publishing company. Even after all the hard work required when finding a traditional publisher, there are no guarantees that they will accept the manuscript.
Start writing! The manuscript starts with the two questions in mind. Why are you writing what you are writing, and who is the target audience?. The next question you have is what need does your book address, or in other words, what’s the niche of your book. Before you submit your manuscript, read it over, and over again and once you are done doing that, read it one more time! Nothing irks the publisher more than a poorly written manuscript with typos and grammatical errors, realizing though that you are an “expert”, not a trained writer. After the initial submission, there likely will be few rounds of editing between you and your editorial support team.
Book distribution. This will likely be taken care of by your publisher. You can do it yourself, like any other service, but this tends to be time consuming. The two largest distributors in the United States are Ingram and Baker&Taylor. Make sure you have an eBook version to go on Amazon, Barnes and Noble and other similar outlets. iUniverse can do that for you as well.
Book Launch and Promotion. Once you have agreed on a final manuscript, it is submitted to the publisher for printing and distribution that you may have agreed upon. A commonly asked question is: When should I start promoting my book? The simple answer is: when you start to write the book! It is often too late to wait until your book is already published!
Many authors feel that the writing was the easy part! The real challenge is to get the book out into the hands of the readers (or their desktops). There are many ways to promote your book. Word of mouth works well. However, in order to gain wider recognition, it is always helpful to promote it through social media (Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads are few of the examples), as well as traditional media such as radio, television and print. Make sure you have a web site dedicated to the book.
Remember, writing a book was the easy part. Getting the book out is more labor intensive than writing. Also remember that promoting your book is not an event, it’s a process.
No one cares about your book as much as you do. It is your baby, so you need to be personally involved in the manuscript and book promotion, even if you work with nationally recognized publishers. The folks at iUniverse work with you every step of the way.
Two words on what it takes to be successful- Passion and Perseverance. Jack Canfield, a NY Times bestselling author who has sold over 500 million books, was rejected over 100 times when he first sent his manuscript for his initial book in the Chicken Soup for the Soul series!
Ladies and gentlemen, start your (writing) engines. I wish you the very best.”