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So You Are Ready to Publish
You Have a Manuscript
What is the Next Step?
You have worked for months (sometimes years) on this manuscript. You have edited and rewritten until you are not sure it's the same story you started out with, but you are happy with the way it has turned out. Now what do you do with it?
Well, write a one page synopsis of the book for starters. Most publishers want to see one. You also need a one page query letter. This is where you sell an agent or publisher on your story line...and on you. Next you need a one page bio, what makes you the writer they want to choose? Finally you need approximately 5,000 words of your text to send. Never send the entire manuscript. That will get you nothing.
It doesn't hurt to have a marketing plan in mind. Who is your audience? How are they going to find you amongst all the authors out there today? Do you have a web presence? Do you blog, have a website, Twitter, Facebook or any of the other social media? Have you created any hype about this upcoming book?
What is your marketing plan? How much of your own hard earned dollars do you have to spend on this? How much time are you willing to devote to getting this book out there? These are all questions a publisher or agent are going to ask you. They are also going to ask you about your author platform or branding. That is how you sell yourself.
Let's look at Lulu.com
Self-publishing has it's advantages. You control the cover of your book. You get help setting the price. My last book would have cost $7.58 to manufacture. Supposedly I get 80% of the profits. That's true if you buy from my Lulu store. If you buy from amazon.com they take a 55% discount off the top. If you set your book price at $12.00 and amazon takes off 55% they are only paying $5.40 for your book to start. Hmm, that is less than the cost of the book. Your royalty comes from the $5.40 so you get $4.32/book. Do you see a problem with this? You are short the cost of the book.
Yes, self-publishing gets you out there sooner, but are you making any money? Also when I published with Lulu.com, the cost to publish (getting your ISBN number) was $99.95. I have no clue what it might be today. They offer all kinds of services for different prices. You have to check them out.
Amazon Is Now a Publisher
Createspace.com is the amazon arm of the self-publishing company. It also has KDP direct for ebooks. It has changed since I last used them. But much is the same.
My latest book would have run about $6.32 for manufacturing costs. It would have been priced at $15.00. I'd have made much more if it were sold through my own personal createspace link. Otherwise amazon takes their 55% cut. Again leaving me with next to nothing in royalties.
Also when I was with them expanded distribution cost me $35.00 it is now only $25.00. My book through them would have gotten me a whole one cent in royalties through this program. Please read the fine print. I chose to opt out of that program. You could do that then.
Again you are going to absorb all the marketing costs. Createspace is just your printer. Books through them will NOT be on barnesandnoble.com nor will they be in bookstores. If you are hoping for a bookstore presence, this is NOT the route to take.
Start looking for a small press. One who specializes in your genre is a good start. There are plenty. Make sure they are NOT charging you for their services. If they are, then they are a vanity press. You won't make money on them. Check with preditors and editors (pred-ed.com). Look under publishers they have a lengthy list and are pretty accurate.
Check into Lightning Source. They are a print-on-demand (POD) but Ingram is their wholesaler. You want to be listed on Ingram. I don't know the cost, but at least you have a fighting chance of seeing yourself in a bookstore.
Network with other writers on LinkedIn, Facebook, or any other social network. Stalk their blogs to see how they are doing. Check writers in your genre. Go to conferences and workshops. Join a writing group and network.
Best of luck