How do I get published on writing about autism?

Autism: a heart-rending issue for families and one that seems to be increasing by the day. Here, in our Agony Columns series, we look at a real case of someone who has asked me (Suze) for help in getting their message, and how they can help others, out there.

How do I get published on writing about autism?Writing a book on autism as the parent of an autistic child

Dear Suze:

I would be very interested in connecting with yourself to see if you would be able to help me. I would like to publish a book on autism to help me gain a good professional credibility in my business. I have published a couple of blog posts which have got over 2000 hits in the first 24 hours

However I only set my business up in November so funds are still so tight so this may have to be an aim for project. What I would like to do is write a book that covers the facts of autism, but also the reality and heart of what it means to be a parent of autistic children. A book to give other parents support that they are not on their own with these feelings.

My son would also like to add a few chapters to the book from his point of view as an autistic teenager.

I would be really interested to hear your thoughts on this book idea and also any guidance as to how much I need to raise to get this idea of the ground. Thank you so much.

How to write content that will grow into a book

What I think you should do is to continue with your blogging which obviously is resonating with a lot of people. This has two clear advantages.

One, it builds up an audience – a “tribe,” if you like – to whom you can then sell your book onwards when the time comes. In parallel you can build your mailing list which will be important for your activities both with the book, and with the business generally.

Two, you can use the blog as a testing ground for the information you want to convey, and even get feedback from readers to help you produce even more targeted content.

To make this work smoothly you should plan your blog posts almost as if you are planning chapters of a book: start at the beginning and work through to the end, in posts of, say, about 1,000 – 2,000 words a time.

I know this approach works because three authors on my website (including me!) have done exactly this – worked through a series of blog posts that eventually became the foundation of a book. All you need to do once the series is complete is to edit the posts appropriately, add the necessary additional elements, and you’re up and running.

As I’m sure you’ve gathered you can submit proposals directly to publishers who take on books such as yours.

While you’re writing, build up your audience

In your shoes, however, I wouldn’t do that until you have formulated your blogging plan and are well on the way to completing it. Not only will that make your submission/proposals more coherent, but also will give them more weight.

Bear in mind that today’s traditional publishers love nothing better than an author with a good, large following and a book that’s based on large following numbers.

Call them cowardly or lazy as you will, but the reality is that traditional publishing is probably on the way out so they need to depend more and more on authors doing the marketing for their books … even though they are still being somewhat miserly about royalties, etc.

Other ways to get your writing published

Should your chosen traditional publishers decide to turn your book down, there are ways in which you can “self-publish” it – as an eBook initially – at very low cost. The benefit there is that when it’s released on Amazon as a Kindle book, its performance can be calculated and made known to traditional publishers who, on the strength of your having a healthy existing following, may have a change of heart.

I have had that happen to me with my book “How To Write Brilliant Business Blogs” which I self-published in the first instance … and a year later it was noticed by an American business book publisher who took it up and (once we had agreed a suitable deal!) published it over there.

And even the glorious “50 Shades Of Grey” started out as a self-published title.

Do you want to write a book and get it published?

I may be able to help you. Check this out now.

And what are your views on existing (written) help for parents of autistic children?

Please share your thoughts here.