HAS THE STORY BEEN WRITTEN? There are many stories of abuse out there. For an agent to take notice there must be something unique
about the story beyond survival. So a lot of thought ahead of time is required before spending many, many hours on something that may go nowhere.
Check out other abuse and survival memoirs and see how they how selling. What makes your story different from them? What would make your book
sell? This is not said to discourage you from writing….it’s just a reality check on the process.
GATHERING DATA: If you feel you need to write a book, you can start by gathering your data and recording it in chronological order. Then you
can decide where to go from there. It may be that just expanding the facts into a rough draft will be enough for you to process what’s happened in your
life. (Some who contact me have already done this step.)
WRITING CAN BE CATHARTIC: Writing your story may help you process what happened. So even if you choose not to publish, you may
benefit from putting the words down on paper (or on the computer screen).
LEARN TO WRITE TO SELL: I learned to write beyond my experience in business writing. You can read my writing journey on this websites
Writing page. From my experience, there is not a lot of money to be made in having a book published, unless you hit the NY Times Bestselling List. If
you made $20,000 that would make you a mid-list author and not many authors even attain that level. Many authors, traditional or self-published, do not
sell more than a couple of hundred books. An agent will not even consider a manuscript if it is not well-written and edited. One way to learn to write is
to join a writer’s club where you can meet other writers and hear speakers on how to write and publish. In California the California Writers Club is a
statewide organization with branches throughout the state. Colleges also offer writing classes.
GET BETA READERS: Once you have your manuscript finished, you need feedback to get your manuscript in its best form. Use beta readers,
preferably someone who is not a good friend or relative. You should not pay for this, but you could offer a free book when it’s released.
GET A PROFESSIONAL EDITOR: After you have polished your manuscript based on input from your beta readers, you must get a professional
editor. The average cost for a good editor is $10 per page. I eventually paid almost $4,000 to have my manuscript edited and polished. But it may not
need to cost this much. An agent will want a polished book. This step is especially important if you choose to self-publish. No one wants to read a
poorly written, poorly edited piece of work.
LEARN ABOUT PUBLISHING: I read how books and attended conferences to learn how to get published. I was surprised to find out how much
marketing an author has to do to sell his/her book, even if they get a mainstream publisher. I list the books that helped me and some writing sites on the
WRITING page. There is also a good list of resources on JANE FRIEDMAN'S web site. I have attended several of her on-line seminars sponsored by
The Author's Guild. I found her spot-on and she shares lots of information at her web site. You can sign up for free or for pay newsletters.
LEARN ABOUT MARKETING: I have heard many authors complain that they only want to write the book. They do not want to do all the hard
work required to market it. If you aren't willing to market it, don't publish it. Check out PREVIOUS EVENTS for all the marketing steps I have done
even though I was traditionally published. From what I've seen and heard, you can only make it with self-publishing if you are willing to put in a LOT
OF WORK for marketing and publicity. This I know from experience from self-publishing my second book "The Little Book of Success" that's available
in paperback and electronic download formats. I chose not to do marketing and it just sits there, selling occasional one or two copies...and I have the
exposure of people who visit my "Dance" website.
DECISION ON HOW TO PUBLISH: There is always the decision as to whether a writer should get an agent or self-publish, I can't advise you
either way. As mentioned above, each writer's journey is different. It's hard to get an agent. It's not that hard to self-publish (do it through Amazon's KDL
and Create Space and Smashwords for relatively little expense) but it is not the end-all, as mentioned above. Smashwords (you sign up for free) will
send you a list of people who charge a reasonable fee to format your book and design a cover. While I found this list valuable, I have never received any
money from them for my self-published book. A good source to keep up-to-date with the latest in the publishing world is JANE FRIEDMAN'S web page.
DO NOT PAY AN AGENT OR PUBLISHER: One thing is for sure....you should never pay to have your book reviewed by an agent. Also, if
you self-publish, you should never pay to have it done....I'm talking about the companies that want to charge you $4,000 to do it. You will probably not
get your money back in sales (remember as stated above...the most authors only sell 100 - 200 books). You can find a link to Predators and Editors in
my Writing Links. This is a sight that will give you red flags on people in the publishing business. Always consult this once you think you've found an
editor or publisher to work with and before you sign any contracts. If you query online, be sure you explicitly follow the directions from the agent.
FINDING AN AGENT: If you choose to try to publish traditionally you will need an agent for the larger publishing houses. Some smaller houses
will take direct queries, but they are few and far between. As for which agents to approach...go to a bookstore and find women's stories and find out
who is publishing them. Look in the "thanks to" section to find their agent's name. Or use The internet to search for agents taking memoirs.
REJECTION HURTS: One must be able to take rejection and negativity. There's plenty of it out there. I was able to shoulder this
because I did my recovery work and I was strong enough to take it. Many agents will send a rejection letter or you may even
never hear from them. Many victims don't realize how the public will turn on them and think it's the victim's fault. If you want to
see what I mean, go to my Amazon book page and look at the one and two star reviews. So if one is suffering from PTSD
because of her experience, putting oneself out in public may not be mentally healthy.
WRITING AND PUBLISHING IS A BUSINESS: You must take a hard look at the bottom line....how much will you spend in marketing
(even if you have a traditional publisher you will have expenses associated with marketing…travel expenses, books to sell, etc….publishers do not do
book tours for most authors) and how much you will earn? You need to operate with a budget. How much can you afford to lose if the book doesn't sell?
THE REALITY OF PUBLISHING: My recommendations for anyone who wants to publish their life story are found in all the above. They are
not provided to discourage you from your publishing quest. They are provided so you know the reality of getting published…the good, the bad, and the
Good luck with your writing journey.
Motivational Author and Speaker
Featured on DATELINE NBC
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Many women express an interest in writing their story for publication. I have put together a list of items to be considered
when embarking on such a project. It comes from my experience of how I got published, but each person's journey is
different and one must adjust for her own circumstances.
IS YOUR ABUSER DEAD? If mine had been alive, I would not have been a able to get my story published.
Antisocials (psychopaths, sociopaths, narcissists) love t sue. So I think it's prudent for all authors to make sure that they
will not be drawn into court over something they might publish. Even if you change names and locations, sometimes you can
still be held liable if the abuser can prove that he could be identified in the way it was written. If you self-publish, you will
want an attorney to review the manuscript (a cost to factor into the budget mentioned below). If you have a traditional
publisher, they will have an attorney review the final manuscript well into your further editing that you will be doing for
|Copyright 2017, Barbara Bentley. All rights reserved. No contents can be used without permission from the author.