Publishing a Book Is Like Applying for a Job

Want Ads

In many ways, publishing a book is like applying for a job:

  • You scour the want ads searching for a job opening, and you scour the Writer’s Market and other lists searching for agents and publishers.
  • Self-publishing is like starting your own business. Writing is a business, if your books are for sale.
  • A prospective employer first looks at your resume and cover letter before deciding whether or not to contact you. A prospective agent or publisher first looks at your query letter and book proposal. A prospective reader first looks at your cover, title, description, and sample.
  • Contacts and social media can help you meet employers, find head hunters, discover training opportunities, get resume help, be referred, and become part of a support network. In the writing world, contacts and social media can help you meet other writers, connect with editors and designers, learn publishing and marketing tips, discover agents and publishing opportunities, get writing help, and give and receive valuable support.
  • Referrals from contacts, supervisors, and previous employers can be quite valuable. For authors, word-of-mouth referrals, book reviews, and recommendations are golden.
  • A product or service needs to be highly marketable and effectively marketed in order for the business to succeed. Books similarly must be marketable and effectively marketed.
  • Ultimately, valuable skills sets and experience are necessary for any job. Writing and storytelling skills and experiences thus serve authors. The writer is a craftsman.
  • At a job, customers pay the employees’ salaries; without the customers, the company would go out of business. In the publishing world, readers pay the authors’ and publishers’ salaries.

Chris McMullen, author of A Detailed Guide to Self-Publishing with Amazon and Other Online Booksellers, Vol. 1 (formatting/publishing) and Vol. 2 (packaging/marketing), Facebook page, Twitter

5 comments on “Publishing a Book Is Like Applying for a Job

  1. If you aren’t the next big hit author, prepare to work obsessively. One big misconception is that publishers do all the marketing / media work. No, publishing is a two-way street between the publisher and writer. It takes both working hard to get books in the hands of readers.

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