It's good that you've written a book. Congratulations. I hope you enjoyed the process. Good for you!
You're already way ahead of the game because, these days, many of the people trying to get their books publishedÔÇª haven't even finished it. Some haven??t even thought them through. (Believe it. It's true.)
But that's not you. You're finished. You've given it to anyone who'll read it and made any changes that made sense. Your book is as ready as you can make it with what you know at this point. Good. Good.
Now, before running around struggling to get an agent, an editor, a publisher, or even a publicist, please, get a platform.
What's a platform? A platform is a "place" or "vehicle" through which people can find you on a regular basis and where, if they like your writing voice and what you have to say, they can begin to create a relationship ($$$) with your writing. Twitter calls them "followers," Facebook calls them "friends," TV stations call them viewers, and the Internet in general calls them "users" and wants them to be "unique."
But a platform is a platform. If you have a newspaper column, there you go. A radio show? Fabulous. If you have a networked blog, that works as long as you're consistent with your content and your effort. What about a monthly event you speak at? Or a professional practice? All good. If you belong to a book club or a network of book clubs, own a store or coffeehouse, own a business, belong to or direct a non-profit organization or a network of organizations, edit a popular newsletterÔÇª all work, as long as you:
1. Have regular access to the members of your platform.
2. Can quantify your reach.
3. Are actively promoting and developing it. (I call it feeding the child.)
A potential author with a good book on his hands and no media experience can get his book published. Especially if his book is about marketing, and he happens to be a consultant who speaks at three yearly events, each drawing between 5-10K participants. If he also has some media contacts, and a blog that has a close to a hundred thousand unique weekly visitors, he'll definitely get published. Remember, I said, "with a good book."
So, to answer the question I'm asked at every single event I speak at: yes, you can publish your book even if you're not a big celebrity, and even in these hard publishing times. Just (a) work your ass off at being a fantastic writer, and (2) get and develop a really good platform.
Anjanette Delgado is the author of 2009's Latino Book Award for Best Novel/ Romance/ English for The Heartbreak Pill (Atria 2008), due out in Spanish as La p?¡ldora del mal amor (Atria 2009). She's a book editor with Santillana USA. Author's website Email the author