Book review: 10 Steps to Publish & Succeed

When Jill Ronsley sent me a review copy of her new book just two weeks before Christmas 2013, I set it aside, fully intending to review it after the holidays.

A year later, 10 Steps to Publish & Succeed: How to Put Your Best Book Forward published in August 2013 has won first place in the 22nd Annual Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Awards (winners will be announced publicly this month). Seems like now’s a good time to write that review, eh?

Here’s what I like about this book: Ronsley packs a lot of useful information into under 125 pages. In her 10 steps, which range from “Publishing Basics” to “Proofreading,” she focuses on the essentials — buying an ISBN, what an editor will do with your manuscript, and the difference between offset and digital printing, for example.

The emphasis is on printed books

The majority of the book focuses on topics related to publishing printed books, but there’s definitely information useful to e-book-only authors, too — including the importance of high-quality cover design.

Authors-to-be should heed Ronsley’s advice — and she shares it generously. That’s another one of this book’s best features — readers benefit from the author’s years of experience as an editor and publishing consultant. She stresses the importance of not taking the DIY route, recommending instead that authors hire outside editors, cover designers, and interior book designers. Here’s a sample of her wisdom:

“. . . if you are publishing independently, you cannot afford to have mistakes or omissions that brand your book amateurish after publication.”


The book is loaded with gems that will help novices avoid costly or embarrassing mistakes.

Marketing, publicity, and promotion

I was happy to see that the longest chapter addresses marketing and promotion, since your book will go nowhere without a well-thought out marketing plan. I was disappointed, though, that in a section titled, “What are book marketing, publicity and promotion?,” Ronley doesn’t offer definitions for all three of those terms and the two she does offer are weak, at best.

What’s more, she seems to equate “publicity” with exposure in general. Those of us with public relations degrees will tell you that it has a specific definition: “Publicity” is that free media exposure you get when you or your book are mentioned by the news media. Her advice is solid, though, and as with the rest of the book, she hits on the key points authors need to know.

If you’re looking for a concise guide to getting your book out of a Word file and into print, 10 Steps to Publish & Succeed: How to Put Your Best Book Forward by Jill Ronsley is definitely worth reading.

What’s your favorite “how to get published” book? Tell us in a comment!

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