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Self Publishing and Traditional Publishing

Updated on February 20, 2015

Why Not Do Both?

Today it seems, authors feel they have struck it rich when a large publishing company notices them and some truly have. However, horror stories told of attempts to get an independent book published through a large company are not for the faint at heart. Many firms will not accept any work submitted by the author. A literary agent is required. If the firm does accept manuscripts from the author, the work is considered unsolicited. Unsolicited work is placed in a slush pile which are mile high towers teetering on the brink of collapse under their own weight. Hired published readers sift through these stacks of literature in search for that needle in the haystack they can take to their editor. When a manuscript is chosen, the author still must market his or her own book. There are no free rides. Either way you choose it will be difficult. So how should a new author publish, traditional or self-publish? Why not try both? You may just be that needle in the haystack or you may want more control over your work.

How to submit work to a publisher?

  1. First step- Determine whether the fictional, non-fictional story is a good fit for the publisher. Some publish only Fantasy/Sci Fi., Romance, Horror and so on. Make sure that precious manuscript ends up in the hands of someone who will appreciate it.
  2. Second step- Generally small publishing companies will accept unsolicited manuscript. Most well known companies accept manuscripts from a literary agent. Research each agent before you submit to him or her. There are many con artist out there.
  3. Third step- To submit an unsolicited manuscript read the submission instructions and follow them exactly. The publisher may throw the work out simply because the instructions were not followed.
  4. Forth step- Wait. It may take a publisher 3 months, 6 months or longer to read a piece of literary work. Be patient. The saying goes, ‘If you need the answer right now, the answer is no.’
  5. Read the fine print. Even if a publisher wants to buy your book, do you want to give up the rights to it? Remember this is your business.

How to self-publish a book?

  1. First step- Determine what format the new book will be.
    1. On Demand publishing is a great way to sell books. After a customer buys the book, the book is printed and shipped.
    2. EBooks are another way to publish. So many customers utilize computers, iPhone, kindles etc. to read. It is instantaneous.
    3. Have the books printed. Keep in mind the books will need to be stored.
    4. All of the above. Some self-publishing companies do it all.
  1. Second Step- There is nothing worse than reading a story and constantly having to correct mistakes made by the author. Most publishing companies sell editing packages. Friends and family will only edit so many manuscripts.
  2. Third step- Submit.
  3. Forth step- Market the book. The business of selling a book is like any other business. Advertise! There are many free ways to advertise. Get a free business Facebook page. WIX offers a free website. Get as many customers talking about the book as possible.

This process is not easy. Like opening any business, it takes commitment and a lot of hard work.


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