What to Consider if You’re Thinking About Publishing a Book

If there’s one thing speech-language pathologists have in abundance, it’s stories. SLPs who have worked in the field for a long time have so many experiences to share, whether it’s a session that surprised them or one that served as a reminder of why they chose this profession in the first place. And with more and more SLPs taking up creative pursuits in addition to their clinical roles, those stories are beginning to garner attention.

That’s why Lauren Hermann, our most recent guest on The Missing Link, recently published her own collection of SLP stories, entitled “But My Speech Is Fine!” Lauren’s stories cover the gamut of disorders and treatments SLPs might deal with day to day, offering insight to those less familiar with the field and relatable anecdotes to those immersed in it. 

If you’ve ever considered publishing a book of your own, Lauren spoke about what SLPs should consider before diving into their own project.

Do You Want to Go the Self-Publishing or Traditional Route?

One of the first things you need to decide about your book is whether you want to go the self-publishing or traditional publishing route. Those who self-publish are responsible for far more than just writing, but they maintain a level of control over their project that traditional publishing doesn’t allow. This means they can choose the title, editors, and cover design — but they also need to pay for and oversee those things. 

Traditional publishing typically pays an advance upfront, with publishing agencies hiring their own editors and designers to work on their titles. However, these professionals may be less familiar with the subject matter than an SLP would be, which is why Lauren didn’t want to be removed from all these processes. 

Whether you choose self-publishing or traditional publishing largely depends on your goals for your book, as well as your resources. Neither path is better than the other, but it’s worth considering the pros and cons before making your decision.

Figure Out a Writing Routine

When you’re still in the writing stage, it’s important to determine what kind of routine works for you. This may take some trial and error, especially if you start out overly ambitious. Whether you’re setting daily word counts or writing a chapter a week, however, having small milestones to reach will keep you accountable and ensure your book actually gets written. (That is, after all, the most important part of the process!)

You’ll Need a Good Editor (Or Two!)

Once you have the first draft of your manuscript, the entire thing will need to be edited — sometimes, more than once. If you’ve chosen to self-publish, you’ll need to find your own editors to polish your work. You’ll typically want a content editor, who ensures the quality of the narrative itself is up to par, and a copy editor, who corrects any grammatical errors they find.

If you’re going the traditional publishing route, you’ll have less to worry about on the editing front. Publishers find their own editors to work on books, though you might need to send back revisions based on their comments.

Cover Designs Don’t Need to Be Complicated

Despite the old adage to not “judge a book by its cover,” many people do just this — meaning your cover can make or break your book’s success. 

Those choosing to publish their book traditionally won’t need to worry much about cover design, though they also won’t have much say in the matter. 
With self-publishing, on the other hand, you’ll be responsible for finding a compelling cover for your story. (No pressure, right?) Luckily, this doesn’t need to be a complicated endeavor. Websites like 99 Designs can help you find graphic designers and hold contests that give you a range of cover options.

It’s a Learning Process

When Lauren wrote her book, her editor was able to help with formatting and uploading — two things others looking into self-publishing may need to learn about or hire someone to do. There are plenty of pieces of the puzzle SLPs may not consider when sitting down to write their stories, but that shouldn’t prevent them from doing so. 

Like anything else, publishing a book is a learning process and you can expect setbacks. Fortunately, there are others — like Lauren — who have done it already, and they have plenty of wisdom to share.

Want to learn more about Lauren and his journey to becoming an SLP, private practice owner, and career coach? Listen to him and Mattie chat on The Missing Link for SLPs Podcast.

Did you know Mattie provides coaching to SLPs? Learn more here.

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June 22, 2021

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