Publishing Options Once Your Book Is Written
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.
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.
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- William Holland | Helping Writers to Spread Their Wings and Fly
Buy Resurrecting Tobias, or follow the blog to find tips about writing
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.
Find agents here
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.
Find publishers here
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?
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.
Because that’s what writers do.
2014 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)
“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”