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Book Publishing Pitfalls

Updated on February 8, 2013
Books building up but publishing options still dry?
Books building up but publishing options still dry?

Every creative writer wants to get published, some more urgently than others - but the fact remains, that if you go down the publishing route without experience or guidance, you'll find an awful lot of con-artists out there trying to cash-in on your desperate desire to publish your book.

In this article, we'll be looking at 3 things in particular:

  1. The publishing routes to avoid
  2. The publishing routes to look for
  3. Online resources to help you

Book Publishing Routes to Avoid

So, you've written a book... maybe it's a fantasy novel, a short romantic fiction or an anthology of poetry. Whatever it is, it's yours, it's unique and you want to get it read by millions!

Most people hear the word "Publishing" and think it's their instant route to fame and fortune. But there are thousands of 'companies' out there who know how passionate you are about seeing your name in print, and won't hesitate to bleed your funds dry...

Perhaps the most common of these set-ups, are organisations referred to as 'Vanity Publishers' - and they come in all sizes, shapes and forms.

Vanity Publishing

So, the first thing to say about vanity publishing, is that in 99% of cases, it is not the route to take when publishing your book. But it isn't that easy... many vanity publishers will not call themselves vanity publishers (and that's mostly due to the fact that they know they're playing a dirty game). Instead, most vanity publishers will package themselves as attractive, passionate publishing houses that want nothing more than to help you get your book to the shelves.

This is a great, big, fat lie.

How to Spot a Vanity Publisher

Today's age of writer is getting wiser, more experienced and more weathered to the con that is vanity publishing, and as such vanity publishers are taking on new forms.

They will often hit you with adverts and convincing promises, such as "Writers wanted for manuscripts on all topics".

Even though a vanity publisher won't say immediately that they will accept all work submitted, they will. They work on the premise of asking you to submit your manuscript, and then sending you hugely complementary messages about how much they love your work, explaining that for a simple fee, they can get your work printed at once.

Vanity publishers are nothing more than print shops, set up to play on your own desire to get published and charge extortionate fees to send you prints of your own book that are often low quality and you cannot sell.

What about the 1% vanity publishing is right for?

Because vanity publishers do little more than print your manuscript so that it looks like a book, there is very little value to a writer who wants to be seen by thousands or even millions. To become a well-known and profitable author, you need the support of a heavy marketing team or publishing house.

IF however, you only want to 'publish' your book for personal reasons, and to distribute amongst friends and family for prosperity... then you might find that a vanity publisher meets your needs.

Remember to be careful here though, as they are a dangerous kind of company to get involved with, particularly if you have even the slightest glimmer of hope that you might want to make it big - they'll take that hope and extort you for all you have.

Book Publishing Routes to Look For

There are 2 main ways you can publish your manuscript for public consumption in the mainstream market. Both have pros and cons, which we'll explore a little here:

  1. Self-Publishing
  2. Mainstream Publishing


This is perhaps the easiest way to get your book published in the shortest period of time... but the most difficult way to achieve long-term success.

Anybody can publish a book themselves with the right resources - often available at a fairly low cost from places like halfway houses, or even online publishing services for Kindle like Amazon. This is very easy to do, and requires only a little time and effort... but 'publishing' your material is the easy part. The hard part is getting it in front of an audience.

To make it successful as a self-published author however, you're going to need a team of highly experienced, powerful marketing professionals behind you, who will know exactly how to penetrate the market and get your book on the shelves.

Mainstream Publishing

By far the hardest route to get accepted, this route is by far the most successful (if you make it). Large, well-respected publishing houses have all the in-house resources and connections needed to get your book into print and on the shelves with ease...

But to get accepted, you need far more than a good talent with the pen... you need persistence.

Did you know that JK Rowling (author of the Harry Potter books) was rejected by all the biggest publishing houses, before being accepted by Bloomsbury? And look how successful the books were...

Resources to Help You

So, if you're looking to get your book published and want to avoid the pitfalls, then you might want to check out the links below:

Amazon Self Publishing. This free service allows you to publish books online and list them on Amazon's online book store. Although Amazon provides tips on how to market your product, you really need truly professional expertise to get it read by the masses (books don't go viral without the right sort of nudge!)

Novel Writing Academy. Although this is a paid service, it is not like the countless vanity publishers and value-lacking money grabbers you'll find out there. It's a fantastic resource that provides tips, advice, links, help articles, support and more in getting your book published. It's a fairly low monthly cost for the value you get, and you will even find help on perfecting/finishing/starting your book.

List of UK Mainstream Publishers


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