Is there a book in you? Most of us have contemplated authoring a book and most will never do it. The entire process from writing a manuscript to getting it published can be overwhelming. Historically, if you wanted to publish a book, you needed an agent to get a traditional publisher to look at your manuscript. Editors and publishers agree that the odds of being published are only 1-2%. They only accept, and publish one or two out of every hundred manuscripts they receive. However, it is not as daunting of a task as you may think.

Authoring a book on a topic of your interest or expertise can help you accomplish a number of goals: For your practice, are you trying to add value for your clients with being a published author or get a leg up on your competition by publishing a book? Do you want to market your skills and knowledge to become a paid speaker?  Do you want to author a book to diversify your income streams and market your services to business and industry. Or do you want to share the knowledge and skills you have gained over decades of experience?

Being a published author establishes strong credibility in the profession and the local community. Moreover, it is a great marketing tool and can be an additional income stream for the savvy professional counselor in private practice. I have found books to be both an effective marketing strategy as well as a viable income stream.

However, it is one thing to write a book, but it is another to get it published. I learned this the hard way. In 1993 I submitted my first book, “Harnessing the Power of Conflict”, to numerous publishers and was rejected by each one. Being a little oppositional defiant, I did not want to take no for an answer. So, I decided to self-publish. Now it is much easier to self-publish then you think. If you choose to self-publish, my advice is to hire an editor to help guide you from start to finish. I hired editors for all my books.

One editor has this advice: “Writing a book doesn’t have to be as difficult as it may appear. First and foremost, the book needs to be of help to people. It can’t suck and people have to want to read it. To begin, start by developing an outline of the topics that you would like to cover in the book and make sure you include subheads under the major chapter headings. Start gathering your research together and group by chapter. Organize and re-organize the chapters until you have a flow of information leading from one chapter to the next. Then, start writing.

The hardest part of writing is trying to develop clever and all-encompassing introductory paragraphs. Why not jump right into the “meat” of the book and start writing copy that you are comfortable with. Then when the book is done and you have lived with it for a while, go back and write your introductory paragraphs and your conclusions.

Once you have completed your manuscript, it is important that you have a professional copywriter or proofreader review the manuscript. They will check not only for typos and spelling errors, but also for grammatical and voice errors. No matter how knowledgeable you may be on a specific subject matter, no one will be impressed if the language of the book is not accurate, clearly written, and free from errors.”

You can find someone to help edit your book in a number of places. Check with your local high school and college English teachers. Call any local magazines and see who they use for proofreading.

Once you are ready to go, try getting an agent(traditional), consider pitching your book to ACA, APA, NASW or other professional publication or self-publish (amazon/kindle) or marketing firm.

According to for traditional and self-publishing:

Traditional Publishing Process:

  • Need to query an agent
  • Agent has to accept representing you
  • Agent has to sell your book
  • You get an upfront advance (typically under $10,000 for first time authors)
  • You rewrite, write, or edit your book
  • The publishing house has the book rights
  • They create the cover
  • They professionally edit it
  • They format it in all versions
  • They publish it
  • You get between 10% – 12.5% royalties
  • Takes between 1-3 years to publish after an agent says “yes” to representing you

Self-Publishing Process:

  • You can publish at any time
  • You pay for cover design (& choose it)
  • You pay for editing
  • You pay for formatting
  • You upload and publish yourself
  • You get full royalties: 60% on Amazon for print books
  • You keep all rights to your book
  • You can update or republish at any time
  • You can publish as many books as you want, as quickly as you want
  • You can write and publish a book in as little as 90 days (with our system)

Hire a Marketing/Communication firm:

  • You pay for cover design (& choose it)
  • You pay for editing
  • You pay for formatting for printing and kindle eBooks
  • They get bids for printing the book and you pay for printing X number of copies
  • You retain all the copies and ship orders
  • You get full royalties
  • You keep all rights to your book
  • You can order more copies at anytime
  • You can use as a marketing piece.
  • Cost is about $2,500.00 for all the above and one hundred copies

You will also want to get an ISBN (International Standard Book Number) for your book. An ISBN is a 13-digit code that uniquely identifies each published edition of your book, along with its publisher and physical properties.

An ISBN is useful because it provides a universal reference number for your book that will work across many different platforms, libraries, and marketplaces. It also acts as proof of ownership over the content of your book, so it is important for self-publishers to have.

Most self-publishing platforms, including Kindle Direct Publishing, will provide you with a free ISBN number for your book when using their platform to publish. If your self-publishing platform does not, you can buy a universal ISBN at Also get a barcode which is a graphical representation of your printed book’s ISBN and price. Barcodes make print books easier to sell.

Here are some resources:

Lulu: Online Self-Publishing Book & Ebook Company