How to Publish Your Book
Publish your book First Draft Cover Illustration
Small Press or Self Publishing Your Book
Just how do you make money from your writing? I've published two children's books, so far, the first, The Tales of Zebedy Do Dah, with a small press Onlywomen Press and the second, Archie Parchie Piddley Poo, self published with Authorhouse. There are pros and cons for both options and it really depends on what you want.
You've written your masterpiece and leafed through The Writer's Yearbook (always a great gift idea if any of my family is reading this, hint, hint!), but you can't decide which way to go. you're certainly not going to make any money if your manuscript sits in the drawer, so make a decision and be brave.
The Small Press Option
One bonus of publishing with a small press is that you don't necessarily require an agent. Many small presses invite unsolicited manuscripts (MS), but you need to research how they like the MS submitted.
The first thing I did was to research small publishers to try and find one whose other work was similar to the content of my book, which was a series of children's short stories. I had always been taught that it was very bad form to send your MS out to more than one publisher at once, but more and more often I hear that writers send their manuscripts to several publishers simultaneously, and even bidding wars are acceptable (Oh to be that sought after).
Just like larger publishers, small presses may reject your manuscript, often with the standard rejection slip, although some may offer advice along with the "Your manuscript is lovely, just not right for us......."
I was lucky, I posted off my manuscript fully expecting not to hear a thing for at least three months or so, and debating with myself when to start chasing up an answer, but the next afternoon I had a telephone call from the Editor accepting my work. To say I was amazed is an understatement.
The Long and Winding Road to Success
I naively thought that my book would be in print within a few months, not so. This is one of the downsides to a publisher producing your work IT TAKES TIME - ALOT OF TIME! I wrote mybook in 2005 and the MS was accepted in spring 2007. A contract followed quickly, but the book is only just being released now, Autumn 2009, some four years after the first pen stroke on paper.
When you tell anyone that you've had a book published I guess everyone tends to think of JK Rowling's success, but you need to think of book publishing as a long-term venture.
Your Publisher may insist on edits and re-writes and you have to accept that they know their market, grit your teeth and just knuckle down and get on with it, even if you disagree.
Small Press - The Plusses
On the plus side of publishing with a small press, you will benefit from your Editor's knowledge of what is good writing and what works in their particular market.
You will also benefit from the fact that your Editor is PAYING for all of the publishing costs of your book, the typesetting, proofreading, design, illustator (in my case), printer, shipping etc., the list is long.
You also have the benefit of all their marketing knowledge and assistance. Your Editor may well throw a launch party (be prepared to travel at your own expense - don't get sniffy about the cost involved), and will most likely set up book readings, and promote your book within stores.
The beauty of self-publishing is that you pretty much have complete freedom to publish your book in it's entirety without editorial input. No one is going to tell you to cut parts or re-write them, but it does meant that you don't have that safety net of another's professional opinion.
Self-publishing is also QUICK! Your book will be in print in weeks not years, which means you can begin marketing it and earning money from it. I'm not going to go into 'how to market your book' mode here, that's a whole other article.
The downside really is the cost. Shop around - decide what you can afford. Not only do you have the publication cost, but you have the marketing costs too.
Some writers are so at home behind their keyboard that they find getting out there and 'selling your book' (clicking the link lets you visit my store. To return here hit the back button) really difficult. It's hard to face rejection again and again from bookstores. Times are difficult and booksellers don't have alot of spare cash. If you're a shrinking voilet don't go down the self publishing route, or you'll have a big box of books under your bed forever!
Alot of the marketing you do will be trial and error, as you don't have a publisher's reputation or knowledge.
In short, yer pays yer money and yer takes yer choice!
If you're a cocky git, totally independent, control freak with some money available, go down the self-publish route.
If you want the benefit of a publisher's knowledge skills and financial backing, go for a small press.
Of course, you could go down another route entirely and pay to have your book read by a proofreading service. reputable ones will give you lots of feedback, making sure your book is ready to find a publisher. Some proofreading services act as talent scouts for agents too.
The next step would be to find an agent, which entails researching what the different agents like, and then getting your manuscript out there. Once again, this takes alot of time, so don't expect results quickly.
Writiers used to expect an advance of tens of thousands of pounds for writing their book, which would tide them over financially until the book was published. Now, you could expect an advance of between £500 to £1500. How times have changed! Anyhow, goog luck!