The next time you’re perusing your local bookstore, consider this: each of the novels you see before you were labors of love. We’re not just referring to the labor of one brilliant writer. Behind every published author is a team of experts and support people who pushed that author through manuscript completion, the publishing finish line, and the post-publishing world. While each role on that team of experts is essential, here’s why a good publishing strategist can make or break your publishing experience—especially for non-fiction writers.
What Does a Publishing Strategist Do?
The publishing process has many moving parts, both strategic (like crafting the perfect book description and author bio) and logistical (like getting ISBNs and copyright protection). Your publishing strategist is the person who keeps track of those parts to make sure things keep progressing in the right direction—including you!
The person who fills this role doesn’t always need “publishing strategist” in their title or background. But you will want someone with solid project management experience, preferably someone with experience as a writing or publishing coach.
It’s All About Building Your Brand
When it comes to non-fiction writing, your book is your brand. In order for your book to have the most success, your book, professional brand, and personal brand should all be strategically aligned. A good publishing strategist will know how to set your entire business up for success, not just the book. (After all, the book is just a stepping stone!)
Five Key Functions of a Publishing Strategist For Non-Fiction Writers
Your publishing strategist serves five key functions:
1. Prevent Overwhelm
Talk about information overload! One of the hardest parts of publishing is not knowing what you need to do and when. This can make it very difficult to stay on track. Your publishing strategist is there to lay out a concrete plan for you to follow. That plan could be daily, weekly, or monthly, but the important thing is that it’s tailored to whatever is realistic for you based on how you operate best.
2. Hold You Accountable
Your publishing strategist holds you accountable for the timeline you worked so hard to establish together. This includes making sure you’re meeting deadlines and accounting for things that might prevent you from meeting those deadlines, such as ensuring you’re staying on topic as you finish your manuscript.
3. Provide Marketing Guidance
When you’re in the middle of finishing a manuscript, it can be hard to focus on anything else. The reality is that you should be marketing your book to your target audience from day one. Not to mention, non-fiction writing requires industry-specific PR and marketing guidance for things like your book launch. Your publishing strategist will help you navigate the overwhelming and confusing landscape of book marketing to ensure your book gets off the ground and into the hands of your target audience.
4. Ensure You Have a Plan After Publishing
Once you’re published, the work doesn’t stop there. Then comes equally important steps like creating online courses, webinars, and workbooks to complement your book—or even featuring your book on audience-specific podcasts. These should all be part of the post-publication portion of your marketing plan, which your publishing strategist can help you navigate.
To learn about the costs of producing a high-quality book, check out our downloadable Book Cost Blueprint.
5. Share Your Vision and Excitement
Your publishing strategist should absolutely share your vision and values. That way, you know every decision they’re helping you make is with your message in mind. They’re also the perfect person to celebrate with once it’s all said and done. (After all, who else really knows your struggle if not your publishing strategist?!)
As an LGBTQ+ and women-owned B Corporation™, Publish Your Purpose’s mission is to elevate voices that are often excluded from traditional publishing. We seek out authors and storytellers with diverse backgrounds, life experiences, and unique perspectives to publish books that will make an impact in the world. If that’s you, let’s chat!
Save Yourself Time and Money
Just like investing in an editor is crucial to the success of your book, having a good publishing strategist can make or break your publishing experience. Not only do publishing strategists help things go more smoothly, but they actually save you money in the long run by helping you get crystal clear on the intent and purpose of your book. This means knowing who your audience is and the best way to reach that audience. It also means knowing how your book will fit into your business, and how you can leverage your book to elevate your business.
Authors who are able to answer these questions end up saving time and money in the publishing process because their work often requires less editing. It’s also better for your brand, heralding the success of your next book, and your creative wellbeing.
Trust the Process. Publishing a book is an emotional rollercoaster. You will have days where you question everything. You may even find yourself wondering, “Is this really worth it?” The answer to this question is: Yes! Publishing a book is about more than just bragging rights. There are tangible ways that being a published author can elevate your brand, business, and career trajectory. By having a robust plan in place and the right experts in your corner, you’ll be able to trust the process even on the rough days.