Reed Smith asked the following question on LinkedIn:
What is the best way to get a book published?
What is the best way to go about getting a book published. Any advice for a first time author?
This was my answer:
Im assuming you mean a non-fiction book; things work a bit differently for fiction. One of the best things you can do, whether you choose traditional publishing, self-publishing, or Print on Demand, is write a book proposal. (There are plenty of books about how to do this, some with examples, and also professionals to help you.) A proposal forces you to analyze your target market, your books strengths and weaknesses, your goals for the book, and your own ability to sell it.
No matter what form of publishing you choose, promoting the book is your job. Publishers care less about how well you can write (you or they can always hire a ghostwriter like yours truly to ensure the writing is up to their standards) than about whether anyone will want to read it and how youre going to reach them.
That means you need a platforma way to reach potential readers. If you do a lot of public speaking, have a large (in the tens of thousands) e-mail list, have a popular blog, know celebrities in your field who can endorse the book, etc. and so on, it will help you immensely.
Once the proposal is finished, writing the book is easy. And its the proposal that will sell the book for you. If it doesnt, you dont have to write the book, unless its so important for personal reasons that you dont mind investing the time and effort without expectation of financial returns.
Its funny how I can never write a blog post thats as short as my Answers on LinkedIn. Incidentally, my response wasnt chosen as the best answer. The best answer was Lulu.com, and I would agree that Lulu is one of the best POD houses. I would definitely recommend them to anyone whod already chosen to go that route. I wonder how Reeds book is coming along?