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Glenford Smith | Becoming a published author

Published:Monday | June 5, 2017 | 12:00 AM

Q: My query to you has to do with the feasibility of becoming a published author. I have observed that there are many Jamaican authors and poets who have published several works over the years. I myself have two books and a compilation of poems, many of which I wrote during high school, and a few in more recent years. I would like to get them published. What is your advice?


A: Thank you for your question. Over the past months, I have been approached by several authors, who like you are desirous of publishing their works. They have included poets and various kinds of book authors. They have several questions in common, such as you have, which keep coming up again and again.

Your question presents me with the opportunity to address them all. I will address the pertinent questions in the following order: publishing and self-publishing, educational requirements, financial returns, and Jamaican authorship.

Regarding publishing, you first need to decide whether you will go with a traditional publisher or you will self-publish. In Jamaica, two of the most prominent publishers are Pelican Publishers and Ian Randle Publishers. Make an appointment to discuss your book; they will guide you from there.

One of the critical things you will need, especially if you go with self-publishing, is a competent editor. It doesn't matter if you think you can write well. You will still need an editor to read through your work. A good editor will give you ideas about organisation and check for errors. He or she will also act as a mentor, adviser and psychiatrist.

If having a prominent printer do your book isn't important to you or you want to self-publish for one reason or another, this is easy. You can either print it here or abroad or go fully e-book. You can explore Amazon's Kindle Publishing, Apple's iBookstore, Barnes & Noble's Nook, and Google Play for options.

One thing you must not allow to hold you back is the myth that you need big educational qualifications or experience. What you want to do is make sure you know what you are talking about. Make certain you write interestingly.

Publishing your work is no guarantee of a windfall. A lot of money is not in the publishing as such. In some cases, books or

e-books in the right market can do well. But the reason for publishing is just to get your work out there and to know it has touched some lives.

In addition, it feels good and it adds to your credibility and marketability when you can say you are a published author. You should do it because you love it, not because it can make you rich.

In Jamaica, a person needs to have an alternative income source, and then anything else comes as a result is gravy. Jamaica is a small book market, where people rarely buy books. You have to think of a market like the United States, if you are desirous of making it big, as an author.

- Glenford Smith is a motivational speaker and success strategist. He is the author of 'From Problems to Power' and co-author of 'Profile of Excellence'.