Ever consider putting pen to paper and entering the literary world? Is there a book in you? Most of us have contemplated writing a book and most will never do it. The whole process from writing a manuscript to getting it published can be overwhelming. However, it is not a daunting task as you may think.
Writing a book on a topic of your interest or expertise can help you accomplish a number of goals. It establishes strong credibility in the profession and the local community. Moreover, it is a great marketing tool and can be additional income stream for the savvy professional counselor in private practice. We have found books to be both an effective marketing strategy as well as a viable income stream.
However it is one thing to write a book but, it is another to get it published. We learned this the hard way. In 1993 we submitted our first book, Harnessing the Power of Conflict, to numerous publishers and were rejected by each one. Being a little oppositional defiant, we did not want to take no for answer. So we decided to self publish. If you choose to self publish, our advice is to hire an editor to help guide from start to finish. Our editor, Kathy Velasco of Velasco and Associates (velascomarketing.com), offers the following advice:
Writing a book doesn’t have to be as difficult as it may appear. First and foremost, the book needs to be of help to people – they have to want to read it. To begin, start by developing an outline of the topics that you would like to cover in the book and make sure you include subheads under the major chapter headings. Start gathering your research together and group by chapter. Organize and re-organize the chapters until you have a flow of information leading from one chapter to the next. Then, start writing.
The hardest part of writing is trying to develop clever and all-encompassing introductory paragraphs. Why not jump right into the “meat” of the book and start writing copy that you are comfortable with. Then when the book is done and you’ve lived with it for awhile, go back and write your introductory paragraphs and your conclusions.
Once you have completed your manuscript, it is important that you have a professional copywriter or proofreader review the manuscript. They will check not only for typos and spelling errors, but also for grammatical and voice errors. No matter how knowledgeable you may be on a specific subject matter, no one will be impressed if the language of the book is not accurate, clearly-written and free from errors.
You can find someone to help edit your book in a number of places. Check with your local high school and college English teachers. Call any local magazines and see who they use for proofreading. Call some local advertising and marketing agencies and check on their availability.
Once you are ready to go you can approach commercial publishers, considering pitching your book to ACA publications or self publish as we have done. You can even consider a “print on demand” option such as lulu.com or booksurge.com. In the June edition of Psychotherapy Finances (psyfin.com), the editors offer a very detailed description of self publishing. For more information Google self publishing or try http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Self-publishing or http://www.ehow.com/how_107987_self-publish-book.html
Norm Dasenbrook and Bob Walsh are counselors in private practice, consultants, and authors (www.counseling-privatepractice.com)