clipboard with to-do list leaning against stack of books

13 Steps to Publish a Book to Catapult Your Career to the Next Level

(Forbes first published my article here.)

Do you have in mind what next job or career you’d like to explore—for a paycheck or even for pleasure or other personal purposes? Now that people are living well into their mid-90s and working into their 70s and even 80s, we often hear of the 50- and 60-year career.

According to a recent article in the Wall Street Journal, approximately 80 percent of the population says they have a book inside them—and would love to see it emerge for the public. If you identify with this feeling, you’ll find these practical steps helpful in reaching that book writing and book publishing goal:


Checklist For Publishing Your Book


1— Find a unique, publishing angle or message you want to get across.

2— Research books online at places like Amazon to find out what others have written on your topic. Why? So that you can cover new ground. While I’ve heard a few book coaches tell aspiring authors not to read what others have written so their work won’t be “derivative,” editors at major publishing houses say otherwise. They always advise authors to look at what’s been done in the past, so they can write something different. While you may write on the same general topic (such as leadership, communication, or sales), editors and buyers expect your work to be unique: A new perspective on an old idea. New research. New data. A reversal on “conventional wisdom.” A new format—for example, practical rather than theoretical. A different tone—for example, humor rather than straightforward prose.

3— Develop a book proposal. A winning proposal contains a complete business plan for making your book a profitable investment for your publisher and yourself.

4— Write a query to an agent (basically a summary or Readers Digest version of your complete book proposal), asking if you can send along your full proposal. If your proposal interests them and they’d like to represent your work to publishers, you’re off and running. If you decide not to waste time in winning a contract because you have a timely topic, you can do simultaneous submissions. That is, you can submit your query to several agents at once. When you get a response, send the entire proposal to the agent(s) expressing interest. (Just be sure to tactfully let them know of the simultaneous submission.)

5— Sign a contract with the agent to represent you on a commission basis (basically like a Realtor® signs a contract to sell a house for the homeowner). You’ll work while your agent sells the project to a publisher.

6— Begin writing your book while your agent “shops your proposal” to appropriate publishing houses and eager editors wanting to land their next successful book.

7— Review the offer(s) that your agent brings you and sign the best contract, committing to a specific deadline to turn in your final book manuscript. (At this point, your publisher will send you an advance upfront against future book royalties.)

8— Start marketing your book and expanding your platform (fans) while the publishing house produces your book. (They’ll have your book ready in about 6-7 months from the time you submit the final manuscript.) For many authors, myself included, I start the marketing effort way before I turn in the manuscript by including tweetable quotes, referring to influencers and their work, and publishing articles and blogs on the book’s topic to solicit pre-orders at online stores.

9— Send out advance reading copies of your book (or the page galleys) to influencers and request endorsements for the book cover and your marketing literature.

10— Send out promotional copies of your book as soon as you receive these complimentary PR copies from your publisher.

11— Keep promoting, promoting, promoting the book for the next 2-3 years.

12— Leverage the media coverage you receive upon publication of your book by using it in future promotional efforts. For example, each media feature or mention typically brings you 1-5 more engagements or bookings.

13— Turn those book sales into other high-ticket products and services such as courses, workshops, mastermind groups, and so forth.


That’s the publishing path to long-term success and ongoing profits as an author! So go write!


Learn more ways to make your book idea a reality—sign up for Dianna’s Booher Book Camp at


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