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Digital publishing has really transformed the world of publishing, now that anyone can publish their own book through different methods. But while the platform is more open, you still want to be careful to make sure your execution is as seamless as possible.
Now that brand owners have the ability to self-publish or use other digital publishing methods, this platform makes it easier to demonstrate your expertise in the field. Recently, our CEO Stacy Jones sat down to chat with a an expert book editor to help shed light on this topic. In this blog post, Hollywood Branded takes a look at how you can position yourself as an expert through publishing a book from the advice and expertise of Eric Anderson.
Eric Anderson of Arts & Drafts Editing specializes in editing, book development and writing coaching services, and has worked with hundreds of authors over the last decade. From concept to query letter, Eric helps authors to develop their ideas, find their niche, and edit their work to make it ready to publish.
His clients have included publishing companies, executives of international corporations, Harvard PhD students, and internet marketing specialists. He frequently works with entrepreneurs and business executives to help their brands get a very unique sales edge as published authors. Publishing a book can help lend authority to your brand, but there are a lot of mistakes you can make along the way.
Question: Can you start off by telling us a little bit more about you, and what got you to where you are editing today?
Answer: When I was in college, I was studying Art History and Studio Art. And I was doing a lot of tutoring for other students. And Studio Art doesn't really sound like it's going to lead into editing, but it's amazing the crossovers. Because we would sit down with a piece of art that we'd made and critique each others' work in a circle, and try and make everything better.
You know, you're trying to bring forth what works about a piece of art, what doesn't work about a piece of art, and let the person grow and develop their skills into something more the next time they make something.
That really translates into editing. It doesn't necessarily fix your commas and your grammar, but it really works for that structural stuff, those ideas that you want to pull out, wrestle with, and get them on the page in the clearest way you can.
Question: What led you into editing now? Starting off in Studio Arts and getting into publishing, did you start writing for yourself? Did you just start working with other people to correct their writing and editing?
Answer: A little of both. And then out of grad school, I got hired by a publishing company. So I worked in the office for a while, and then made the transition to editing. It was a better fit for me than desk work, and it allowed me to travel a bit, and my family moved across the country, and so it just allowed that sort of freedom.
I went back to school for a project management degree, and that really helped to set everything in motion. And then you get some long-standing clients, like our mutual friend, and away you go.
Question: So, typically, when you're working with someone, how do you even start a project? Or if we even dial it back further, how does someone start writing a book? What is the best way to go about that?
Answer: Yeah, some people just have it in them. Some people just can't help but sit down and everything flows out of their fingertips. And that's great. So you can have someone come down and write a full book and then come to an editor and say, "What can I do with this? Can we clean it up a little bit?" And that's one way to do it.
Other people sit down at the keyboard and they have a great idea and they can't get it out. So that's where writing coaches come in. Where they can sit down with you and say, "Okay, what's your idea, and now let's see if we can break it down into segments so that we can start writing each piece of it." And once you start getting one word on the page, then the next word's a lot easier.
And with the right help, you can get the structure to make it coherent and to make it engaging, and so that the final product really doesn't show that you don't know how to write a book. It seems professional, and it seems wonderful, and everybody loves it.
Question: When you're looking at the literary agent route versus the self-publishing route, can get really good quality in the self-publishing route?
Answer: Oh, absolutely. You can get just as good quality. Particularly if you're willing to go through all of the steps that a traditional publisher would. They have a regimented system for making sure that their books represent the company in the best possible way. If you're willing to go through those steps as well, you can make an amazing product. And then it's just a matter of selling it.
As a consultant, you can use a book as part of your marketing funnel. So on your website, you can have the book offered for cheap or even free, as a way to get those email addresses onto your email list, so that they can start selling your consulting services. So it can open up a whole range of things. Once somebody sees on your website that you have a book, they say, "Oh, this person must know what they're talking about. So I'm going to be much more liable to hire them as a consultant."
Question: When you're working with authors, do you try to manage their expectations on how much money they're actually going to make from writing a book?
Answer: Absolutely. That can be a really difficult topic. It's different for a consultant or a public speaker who has a ready-made audience. For someone writing fiction, it can be a real uphill battle. So if you think you have the greatest idea ever, and anybody around you will tell you that it's the best. Your parents, your friends, will tell you that it's the greatest story they've ever read. But self-publishing can be expensive, and it can be hard to sell enough books to pay yourself back, let alone make a lot of money.
And that's one of the problems in the industry right now, is that some companies prey on those expectations. So they offer to do a movie trailer out of your book, in hopes of teasing you into thinking that it's going to be the next Hollywood blockbuster. When in reality, that's probably not going to happen. But people pay a lot of money for that, and there's a lot of broken dreams, I think, out there.
To hear the rest of the interview and learn more about writing a book and getting edited/published you can listen to the full interview.
Want to read more about positioning yourself as an expert in your field to increase visibility for your brand? Check out these other blog posts we've written on the subject!
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Topics: Business Advice, Podcast Interviews, HB Podcast