Emma Amoscato blogs at FreeFromFarmhouse about raising a family with food allergies. She is a former national features journalist and her book ‘Living With Allergies’ is being published in 2019. Here she shares her top tips on how to go from blog to book deal.
Do you want to write book? It’s on the wish list of plenty of bloggers and although it may seem like a distant dream, is becoming a reality for more and more people – including me.
In April 2019, my book ‘Living with allergies: practical tips for all the family’ will be published by White Owl. It’s exciting, scary, overwhelming and one of my biggest achievements. The anticipation is liking waiting for your due date but hopefully with less pain and more champagne!
So, how did I do it? My background is as a journalist and I did have a book published in a completely unrelated field back in my 20s. But this one came as an opportunity directly off the back of my blog. I heard, through a journalist contact, that my publishers were looking for books in a new a series, which I unsuccessfully pitched. They loved my blog though and were looking for new health titles so asked me to write a proposal for a book about allergies and here we are!
It was something I had been thinking about for a while but hadn’t actively pursued. Many people aren’t quite as lucky for things to fall into place like that and you may need to pitch multiple publishers or find an agent who can help you find a home for your book. Here are some tips…
Know your goals
Why do you want to write a book? I’ll let you into a secret – it probably won’t make you your millions. Generally, unless you are bestseller, there is not a wealth of money in book sales. However, if you want to be seen as an expert in your field, increase opportunities, grow your blog traffic, help others or just satisfy a personal ambition, then these are all good goals.
Your blog is your biggest selling point
More and more publishers these days are looking for authors who already have good followings, popular blogs or large social media platforms. They know that this goes a long way towards supporting book sales. If you don’t have a huge following, do you have a well established niche – this is what helped me write a book about allergies. Write the kind of content you want to be turning into a book to showcase your skills and engagement.
Write an on point proposal
Publishers receive hundreds of proposals and yours needs to stand out. Make sure you can answer these questions:
- Why this book and why now?
- Why these publishers? Show knowledge of their previous titles.
- Who is your competition and where does your book sit in the market?
- Who is your ideal reader and why would they care?
- Why you? Show you are integral to the book and have the skills and experience to write it.
Once you have established these answers, you will also need to submit a sample chapter and a plan for the rest of the book.
Understand the numbers
Most publishers will offer you an advance and then royalties, which are a percentage of sales. The advance is the amount you get before the book is published and is usually paid in two instalments – when you sign the contract and then when you deliver the manuscript, or when it is published. The amount you get can vary greatly, but you then need to earn this amount back through your royalties (usually 10% on hardback and 7.5% on paperback) before you are paid any more. If you have an agent, you will need to pay them a percentage too.
Realise what you’re getting into
Writing a book is a lot of work. Yes, I know you are aware of that but believe me, it is more work than you think it will be! There is the planning, writing, editing, revisions, proofreading, images and back and forth with the publishers and any contributors. It can make you question what you have taken on. It can keep you up late at night and stop you having the time to invest in other areas of your blog. And I haven’t even got into the marketing yet. But when you see your front cover – which I can’t wait to reveal! – it all seems worth it.
Collaboration can be a great tool for expanding your network and making your book seem more appealing. Is there a similar blogger you could team up with? Or an expert in the industry? This will make your book more appealing to publishers and help in the marketing too. My book has been reviewed and endorsed by Allergy UK and the publishers have said that has already contributed to interest from booksellers.
Go for it!
If you are still convinced you want to write a book, then go for it! Research publishers and agents who work in your niche, order a pile of similar books so you fully understand the market and map out some content. Do not be discouraged by people saying no and know that by building a successful blog, you already have a lot of the attributes you need to be a published author.
I am just starting to look at the marketing and PR efforts for my book and how I can support my publishers to promote it. Then, I already have a clear idea of what my next book will be – and the one after that!
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