Pakka Publishing Solutions
Books are forever. There is a mysterious, alluring charm about them: people want to own them, buy them, keep them, lend them and, most mysterious of all, people still want to write and publish!
The world may be crumbling all around, but we still want — no, need —to write; to share our thoughts. With new technologies and self-publishing service-providers, it may be possible for more writers to see their books in print. But, unfortunately, this has only made it more difficult to choose. The sheer number of companies offering different services — from pre-publishing to marketing and distribution — can make it exhausting to to find the right one.
PAKKA hopes to make it all clearer and easier for you to decide; to make you aware of publishing options available and offer advise so you can make the best decision for your needs.
There are several aspects to publishing:
1. Decide what you want to write about and why.
• Would you consider yourself an expert on your field/subject? (Example: don’t write about hand-gliding unless you have done it yourself.) Do you have speaking engagements? Are you well known in your field? Do you have a social media following.
• Are you an entrepreneur or freelancer with a new business trying to grow your market by publishing a book? Or have you already had a successful career and want to share the knowledge and skills you’ve gained over decades of experience with those who come after you?
• Any of these are perfectly valid reasons to write a book. Remember, people only buy books of people they’ve heard. Start by making yourself a name, get a discussion going on your favoured social media,
2. Choose a Topic for your book
• Yes, your topic not your title. (The title will come last; otherwise you’ll be putting the cart before the horse.) Be specific. Write it down in the fewest possible words. Don’t make it about everything you know. Decide exactly what you want to say.
3. Okay, now write your book
• This is when it can be fun but lots and lots of hard work.
• If it’s non-fiction, plan the outline: chapters, topics and sub-topics. Remember, you’re presenting an argument. You must convince your reader that you know what you’re talking about. Research your work, even if you’re already an expert in your field. You need the latest information out there.
• If it’s fiction your’e planning, be prepared to work a lot harder. Why is your story so special? You don’t want something derivative. Example: there are a million books on fantasy out there, so why write another one unless you have an extraordinary story to tell? There’s only one way to make sure that your story is exceptional. Read, and read, and read. (I’ll be very rich if I got a dollar for every non-reader who wanted to become a writer!) After you have downed a few hundred books, you’ll realise how many sound the same.
4. Decide how you’re going to market your book
• Yes, that’s right. Get used to it, you’ll have to sell your own books. There are hardly any bookshops left in Malaysia. (Not sure about other countries, but I suspect it’s the same.) Blame it on Covid, blame it on the recession, blame on the big publishers who’re only interested in big names and celebrities, whatever.
• In fact, you should think about the marketing process even before you start writing your book! Seriously.. What are you writing about; who are you writing for?
• If its non-fiction, start a conversation going on your topic on social media. Create a following. You’ll be surprised at how many people think the way you do, no matter how obscure your topic. With fiction, it’s a lot more difficult. I’d advise you to buy a lottery ticket; the odds of winning are less. Far less. In the pursuit of bestsellers just like the last one, they have killed the industry. If you’re new or unknown, they don’t want you. Indie publishers are more open but, often, lack the resources.
5. Get feedback on your book
• The worst people to give you feedback are your friend and family. “It’s so wonderful,” they’ll tell you; the worst feedback you can get. Send it to someone who’ll give you a proper and honest critique, even if you have to pay for it. The biggest problems they’ll find will not be in your ideas but in your organisation. You’ll need someone who will troubleshoot your work
6. Hire a professional editor
• Hiring a good editor can be the difference between writing a great or mediocre book. This is important. Many good books have been ruined or rendered unreadable by the lack of (or poor) editing. You may want to use your personal network, but it’s best to use a professional editor who has worked with publishers. Look at samples of their work. Again, the worst people you can ask are friends and relatives (especially if you don’t pay them or they don’t want your money). Most garden variety editors can do copyediting and proofreading. But you need someone who is familiar with structural, content, line and copyediting. Ask for a sample of previous work.
• Remember, behind every successful writer is a good editor.
7. Design the interior layout and book cover.
• The publisher you choose will do a professional looking job for you. Again, ask for samples. You could do this yourself too, but you’d need the software tools, skills and the experience for a professional looking printed book. If you’re using Amazon or other online tools, it doesn’t matter.
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