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Publishing Options Once Your Book Is Written

Updated on June 23, 2014

One Step Completed….and Now What?

You spend six months, a year, or maybe longer, writing that book of yours. With the final period it is completed. Now what?

Well, before we start chatting about publishing, I feel it is vital I say a word about editing. This will be quick, so pay attention and take notes. Are you ready?

If you have visions of publishing your book, and you have hopes of actually selling it, then pay to have it edited. Period. End of lesson. Just as a doctor who treats himself has a fool for a patient, a writer who edits himself has an idiot for a customer.

I just completed my second novel, “Resurrecting Tobias.” I edited it myself twice, then sent it to an editor. After three edits, I was doing a final read-through, and lo and behold, I found errors. No, my editor did not miss them, but I had made the errors when I corrected other errors.

Get an editor! Do not scrimp on this step.

Okay, your work is edited, and it is now ready to be published. What are your options?

Well, in the old days, your options were few. You would get a list of publishers, and you would send queries via snail mail, and then wait months for a response.

Welcome to the year 2014, and your options are seemingly limitless.

It is impossible for me to cover all of your options in one article, so today we are going to talk about a few of the more common paths that authors take to publish their book:

  • Become your own publisher
  • Self-publish ebook and hard copy
  • Attain an agent
  • Attain a traditional book publisher

Of course there are other options, but let’s chat about those four for the time being.

The journey begins
The journey begins | Source

Become Your Own Publisher

This is the most basic of publishing options, and one that can prove profitable if you have written a decent book and you are a marketing machine.

Take your manuscript to a local printer and have them print your books for you. Prices vary greatly with this option. I actually did this with my first novel and it cost me six dollars per copy if I had one-hundred printed. I sold them for $13.95, so every book showed a little over seven dollars in profit.

Shop around for the best deal, have your books printed, and then use those marketing skills to sell the heck out of your book. Remember that in this scenario, you are the publisher, so while you are at it, create your own publishing company with a professional logo. Have business cards printed. Create the illusion of professionalism.

I can hear some saying, “But that isn’t honest.”

Really? Why not? You are, in fact, the publisher of that book. You are not the printer but you most definitely are the publishing company. Marketing is all about illusion. Embrace that fact and you will be much better off in the future.

Self-publish an Ebook and a Hard Copy

So many options here that it is impossible to cover them all. Let me give you a brief outline for those unfamiliar with this common practice.

Companies like Lulu and CreateSpace will create an ebook and/or a hard copy of your manuscript. Some companies charge for this out front before they do anything for you. Some take a percentage of each sale. They provide the marketplace for you, making sure that your book is available online.

Easy peasy! But you still have to market it, so maybe not so easy peasy after all.

Acquire an Agent

Why do this? If you can have your book published by Lulu, why should you bother with an agent?

It’s a valid question.

There is still a market for traditionally published books, those published by Random House and Penguin, with national distribution coverage and a marketing budget that dwarfs your own budget by, oh, a thousand fold at least. There are, in fact, still readers out there who want to hold a book in their hands. We call them dinosaurs, and I am proud to be among their ranks.

Your chances of being published by a national publisher are greatly enhanced if you have an agent hawking your book to the publishing companies. Agents have contacts in the industry. Yes, agents will charge you a fee for their services, but agents can also make things happen for a writer who has no contacts in the industry.

For some this will be a rocky road
For some this will be a rocky road | Source

Acquire a Traditional Book Publisher

This is called cutting out the middleman (the agent) and going right to the very source of power in the publishing industry. You query publishers yourself…and then you query more publishers…and then, while you are at it, you query more. Then you wait….and wait….and wait some more. You may hear back in a month. You may hear back in three months. You may not hear back at all.

This is the ultimate crapshoot in the publishing industry. Usually, if a writer is not represented by an agent, their query will be received by a publisher and then be tossed in the slush fund, aka the garbage heap. If the publisher has time at the end of the month, they might read your query letter. If they don’t have time, your query letter will be washed out with thousands of others, and forgotten.

Marketing, Marketing and More Marketing

Once you have published your book, the real fun begins, and I am being very facetious when I write that.

If you self-publish, plan on months of marketing. You will need to contact local bookstores and have your book placed in the stores. You will need to contact local newspapers and try to get someone to write an article about your book. You will need to do the social media circus. There will be book signings and book readings, and the making of videos and on and on and on and on….because….if you don’t do it, who will?

But what a majestic trip it will be
But what a majestic trip it will be | Source

And That’s All There Is to It

There is nothing easy about this process, so don’t expect a walk in the park.

As I mentioned earlier, I am now at this point. I decided to have an ebook published, and I also have hard copies produced by CreateSpace. At the same time, however, I am going to query agents and traditional publishers, and try to interest them in my book. Yes, you can do both.

Hopefully, then, I will be selling ebooks while I have some books printed and I market them to bookstores….all the while trying to attract the attention of the national power brokers and having my book picked up by a national publishing firm.

In other words, the book is finished, and now the hard part of this process begins.

Of course, if you have no desire to actively market your book, then just publish an ebook and relax. Your relatives and friends will buy it because, hey, they are obligated to do so. You will have attained your goal of publishing a book, and a worthy goal it is. Be proud, then go back to your computer, and start working on that next book.

Why?

Because that’s what writers do.

2014 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)

“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

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    • Janine Huldie profile image

      Janine Huldie 2 years ago from New York, New York

      Wonderful advice Bill and I am truly wishing you only the best of luck now with this book and many more to come! Happy Monday my friend.

    • carol7777 profile image

      carol stanley 2 years ago from Arizona

      I have been this route twice..As I prob. mentioned before. The first time I had 1000 copies printed by BookMasters--2.50 each. And having an editor is not even a question..It has to be done..I did the second time and the publisher sent it back for errors. I went over it and did it myself...Getting a traditional publisher today is a daunting task as you well know. Easy enough if you are a well known or celebrity including politicians.

      Ebooks are the item of the day...This writing, publishing and selling is a full time enterprise. When I wrote the first book in the 90s...books were still hot and there were not a lot of self published books--in comparison to the present. Standing out in the crowd. Check Mike Hamilburg in Los Angeles. He may not still be in the biz...He did some biggies and is very nice...Just an idea. He tried to get a book published for me many moons ago. Advice is all sound here

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 2 years ago from SW England

      I find this useful because I have no idea how to go about publishing on the net; it's a minefield to me and, truthfully, I'm scared! However, not any more as you have made it much easier to deal with, so thank you, bill.

      I'm a dinosaur; I love to have a book in my hand. I also love my kindle because it saves space on holiday so maybe I'm not such a dinosaur after all. The best thing about it is that we have a choice in this modern age!

      Great hub as ever, bill. Here's to another week in which to write - yes I know, I haven't published for ages and when the sun stops shining I shall get some done.

      Enjoy your day, bill! Ann

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks Janine. I need all the good wishes that I can get. Enjoy your Monday, Janine.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Carol. I will check out Mike...very nice of you to suggest him. We writers have to help each other, don't we? this is a community and community helps.

      I appreciate you my friend.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Ann, good morning fellow dinosaur. Truthfully, for an ebook, I paid a good friend to download it for me. I don't travel those minefields well at all, and for $100 my aggravation is gone. Simple solution for me.

      Have a great week my friend.

      bill

    • WillStarr profile image

      WillStarr 2 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      We must also have realistic expectations, because publishing is a tough business where success depends on dogged perseverance, hard work, talent, and a heavy dose of luck.

      Good points, Bill.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Will, thanks for adding that. I find many an unrealistic expectation during my day of following writers. As you said, tough business....and I like that it isn't easy. :)

    • CrazyGata profile image

      CrazyGata 2 years ago from Puerto Rico

      Hello Billy and thank you for your FB friendship request. Here returning the honor and making sure I read your article. Typing from Puerto Rico.

      Most of all, I appreciate the solidarity. Writers make the world go round. Humanity does not feed on food, but stories. I write this as a reminder to myself and humbly share it with those of us embedded in "analysis paralysis".

      The other day I read in the New York Times about this woman who, after being diagnosed with breast cancer (I think it was breast cancer) decided to write about her last year of life. She used her smart phone. The book is a best seller. I do owe you the title but I will post back.

      Our stories matter, which is the spiritual or human side of the useful hints shared here. If we know and remain convinced that our stories matter we will eventually share them with a larger audience if that is our desire.

      Thanks for the inspiration Billy! Voted Useful. Socially shared and following.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Mara, what a wonderful comment. I couldn't agree more my new friend. Our stories matter! That says it all.

    • profile image

      DJ Anderson 2 years ago

      Hello, Bill,

      My vision cannot take me beyond finishing my book and finding

      someone to edit my book. I cannot get a handle on the process

      following editing. Will have to face those bridges when I come to

      them.

      Your advise seems absolutely feasible. You have traveled this path

      twice, and you know what you are talking about. I will have to come back and read this next year, or the next year.

      Many thanks for all the good advice.

      DJ.

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 2 years ago from Central Florida

      I didn't know about being your own publisher. Now I know why 12/59 was published by Mutare Enterprises. I always wondered about that.

      It seems the best way to go is to find an agent who's willing to represent you. That would take the burden of marketing off your shoulders - at least a lot of it, anyway.

      Great info, as usual my friend!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      DJ, one step at a time my friend. You have your hands full right now. Write the best book you can and then move on the next step...and I'll be here to read it when you need me.

      bill

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Sha, it is the best way to go, and also the hardest. Good thing I'm stubborn. :)

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 2 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Very cool and helpful

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks Eric. Have a great week my friend.

    • old albion profile image

      Graham Lee 2 years ago from Lancashire. England.

      Hi Bill. Yes it seems to be a minefield once you are ready to publish. Great help as usual Bill.

      Graham.

    • DrBill-WmL-Smith profile image

      William Leverne Smith 2 years ago from Hollister, MO

      There is always something more to do. I just compiled an eBook from the 20 episodes of The Kings of Oak Springs. Kept it simple. Amazingly easy. Used Lulu, available for any epub reader. Neat! Thanks for your continued encouragement!! ;-)

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Graham. I would think most writers would question their sanity at some point in the process. :)

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Bill, that option is very easy indeed, and I'm glad you found it to be so. Best wishes with your ebook.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Isaac Weithers 2 years ago from The Caribbean

      Well, this is the real deal, so we better pay attention. The marketing is the humbug; but the competition is so stiff, there's no survival without. I dread getting to that point, and yet I want to more than anything else. Thanks, Bill.

    • denise.w.anderson profile image

      Denise W Anderson 2 years ago from Bismarck, North Dakota

      Let's do it! We can do this, Bill. Thanks for the nuts and bolts basics.

    • MartieCoetser profile image

      Martie Coetser 2 years ago from South Africa

      Thank you so much for sharing these most important tips, billybuc. Marketing is most certainly the hardest work. I hope with all my heart a traditional Book Publisher discovers you and realizes your ultimate dream :)

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Dora, if you want it bad enough then it will happen. There are obstacles every step of the way in this process, but we need to soldier on.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Yes we can do this, Denise. Get out there and write my friend.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Martie, and I want the same thing, but...if it doesn't happen, I am still proud of the book. :)

    • profile image

      sheilamyers 2 years ago

      Short and to the point. Although I've self-published all of my books, I'm going to start looking for an agent and see if I can't get one interested in getting my books out there in a way more people can find them.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Sheila, I look at this way: you have nothing to lose by doing so, and quite a bit to be gained. Good luck my friend, and thank you.

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Fuller 2 years ago from Southern Illinois

      It's bound to happen. A publishing company will come knocking on your door hoping to get your book before someone else grabs it. Thank's for all you do to encourage us to be the best we can be...

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Ruby. Tomorrow's hub will interest you more I hope. :)

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 2 years ago from England

      Great advice Bill, and I am wishing you the best of luck with your book, you will get there I just know you will!

    • BNadyn profile image

      Bernadyn 2 years ago from Jacksonville, Florida

      Thank goodness this is 2014 and we don't have to necessarily use snail mail to go through this process. I think it's smart to make your own cards and a publishing logo if you are going to publish a book yourself. I heard someone once say that everyone, no matter what you do for a living, should have their own business cards. Thank you for continuing to break all of this down for us, filing it all away for reference.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Nell. I hope you are right. :)

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      BNadyn, by all means, get cards printed up. You can get 250 of them for under ten bucks, and it just might be the best investment you will make. Thank you for being here once again.

    • cecileportilla profile image

      Cecile Portilla 2 years ago from West Orange, New Jersey

      Very useful and inspirational billybuc. Thanks for going the extra mile to help other writers. Voted up!

    • Perspycacious profile image

      Demas W Jasper 2 years ago from Today's America and The World Beyond

      Ditto what cecileportilla just commented.

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Good luck with your book, Bill. I hope you achieve all your goals.

    • Frank Atanacio profile image

      Frank Atanacio 2 years ago from Shelton

      Billy you are indeed a wealth of information.. just wondering why I haven't caught your hubs earlier...HMMM :)

    • Anna Haven profile image

      Anna Haven 2 years ago from Scotland

      Hi Bill

      Sounds like your hands are full at the moment. I am sure that it will all work out for you and that all your hard work will be rewarded.

      As you deliver yet more sound advice and wise words for us all, even though you are busy.

      Thank you. :)

    • breakfastpop profile image

      breakfastpop 2 years ago

      Thanks for this terrific advice. If I manage to pull a book together, I will use this as my guide, along with all your other fabulous pieces. Voted up, useful, interesting and awesome.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Cecile, it really is my pleasure to help writers. Thank you.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks Perspycacious. I appreciate you stopping by.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Alicia. I'm a pretty hard man to please with my own work, but I'm trying.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Frank, it's weird how that happens...I thought I was following you as well....oh well, we finally got it right. Thanks buddy.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Anna, thank you. I'm juggling quite a few balls in the air right now, but that's what I need to do. Hopefully I won't drop too many of them.

      bill

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks breakfastpop. I always appreciate you being here.

    • CyberShelley profile image

      Shelley Watson 2 years ago

      Good luck Bill, and thanks for the realistic advice. It sounds as though this may be the hardest part and as you said you wonder about your sanity.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Shellye, sanity may be overrated. LOL Thank you!

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 2 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Great advice always so important and lots to think about from your work.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you once again, DDE!

    • Sparklea profile image

      Sparklea 2 years ago from Upstate New York

      Hi billy buc...voted up and awesome! When I finish my book, all I have to do is call up your hubs, and follow your instructions on publishing step by step. Do you realize what an asset you are to we who write and long to publish a book? Your information is SO valued, and greatly appreciated...you have no idea! The biggest thing is not to get discouraged...and you keep the spark alive, believe me! The greatest tragedy to any one of us who write is to leave the earth without at least having finished a book. I promised my daughter I would not pass into eternity without a book written. I'll probably title it, "I Promised My Daughter I Would Write A Book: Here It Is." God bless, Sparklea :)

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Lea my dear, I love the title for your book. It is perfect. Now all you have to do is write it. :)

      As for sharing my information....it is useless if it is not shared, don't you think? Of course you do.

      blessings dear friend

      bill

    • Sparklea profile image

      Sparklea 2 years ago from Upstate New York

      Thanks bill, I AM working on it...and I AM considering that title. :)

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I love it, Lea. Thanks again.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

      Good advice here, Bill. I admire the way you see multiple options.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Flourish. There are always options. They may be hard to see at times, but they are always there.

    • vkwok profile image

      Victor W. Kwok 2 years ago from Hawaii

      Thanks for showing us these options, Bill!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      You are welcome, vkwok. Thank you!

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 2 years ago from United States

      Short and sweet - Good advice. Best of luck with your sales.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks Pamela....whether it sells or not, I'm already moving to the next idea in line. :)

    • lyns profile image

      lyns 2 years ago from USA

      Billy, this is an awesome hub on publishing options once your book is written, very needed information in this hub, you have given writers different avenues than going through the middle man, I think this is awesome and gave us all things to consider, I really appreciate you sharing this information. And your closure Outstanding "Why because that's what writers do" love this entire hub very very useful Thanks again. Have a good one. Voted up and Plus.... lyns 6/30/2014

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I'm glad you found this helpful, lyns...do what you do my new friend...write...and pour your heart into it while you are at it.

      bill

    • lyns profile image

      lyns 2 years ago from USA

      Thank you I will, and thanks for the encouragement, Have a great one lyns 6/30/2014

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      my pleasure, lyns...:)

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 2 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Yes, exactly. That is what we do. And if we aren't doing it, we're thinking about the next story, THEN doing it!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      There is always a next story, isn't there, Deb? I'm two books ahead right now....and when I finish those two, I'll have to more floating in my head....I love being a writer!

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image

      Glimmer Twin Fan 2 years ago

      Because of your articles I am actually toying with the idea of putting together a book of crafts of a certain niche. Of course it is a very very long way off, but this is good advice to remember, especially the editing. Thanks Bill.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I'm glad to hear that, Glimmer. Your articles would make a great book...at least an ebook, which is so easy to put together. If I can be of any help, don't hesitate to ask.

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