How do you go about having a book published?
I've been looking into publishing companies. I've noticed some want money up front and some don't. What are the steps to publishing? What happens once you submit a manuscript? Does anyone know the step by step process?
One usually writes a 'query letter' and sends hundreds out to publishers (there is book called 'writers' market' that comes out annually that lists publishers). Then wait for hundreds of rejections.
Any publisher that wants money up front is called a 'vanity press'; don't do it, most just rip you off. Legit publishers will cut a contract with you and pay you either up front for the publishing rights, or offer you royalties.
Or, you can learn to self publish on sites like Lulu.com. Many famous writers were self published in history. Once self published, the real work is to go to work marketing the book. I have found this to be far more difficult, time consuming, and 'work' than writing.
Most publishers might give you 10% of the cover price, while if you self publish, you only pay for the actual printing of the book and price the book as high as you think people will pay, but you get 100% of the profits after the cost of the printing. These days, ebooks are fast outpacing paper books. To really get you book on the market, you will have to purchase an ISBN number so that it can be listed in the big bookseller markets like Amazon, etc.
Never pay to be published, unless your desire is something simpler. Like a book for family. But if you believe in your book, go away. Run behind a professional publisher!
One day some will recognize his work.
Writing is like modeling. There are many more scammers out there than reputable companies.
Rule #1. If they ask for money up front, they're a scam (or a vanity publisher, if you want to be nice about it). They're not publishing your book and selling it; they're taking your money. And printing a few hundred books and trying to sell them yourself is just silly. It isn't going to work, no matter what the "publisher" tells you.
Rule #2. Traditional publishers are dead or dying. You can still get work published by these houses, and you do so by querying them with a manuscript. Most queries get trashed or ignored, and a very few will get accepted. You might get a small advance, or you might simply get a cut of the proceeds. Only a fraction of these published books are successful, so even this doesn't guarantee you any significant income.
Rule #3. Self publishing is cheaper and easier than ever. You can publish Kindle books through Amazon for free, as well as print books through Amazon CreateSpace. Print On demand publishers, like Lightning Source International, allow you to deliver books to bookstores and customers for a nominal fee (less than $100 for set up). The key is that these publishers distribute your books through retailers - book stores, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or other major websites - and you don't have to buy inventory.
The simplest way to get published is to write and edit your own manuscript. You can sell it as an Amazon Kindle book or through Amazon's CreateSpace without any upfront fees at all (even for ISBN numbers). If the book is successful, then you can purchase an ISBN and use a cheaper printer (like LSI) to maximize your distribution venues and profit potential.
I have been published traditionally and non-traditionally (self-published), and there are different processes for both. I offer here the traditional "method" I used to get published in 2000.
Get a good literary agent first. They have all of the contacts already. They will move the book forward and get it to the right publisher.
Real agents and publishing companies do not charge "reading fees." If an agent takes you on as a client and manages to find a publisher for your book, the agent would take a percentage of the what the publisher pays you. Like others said, watch out for scams that ask for money.
The traditional publishing method means you'll have to write a query letter and a synopsis and begin shopping it around to agents (the Guide to Literary Agents is a great book to start with). You can also submit directly to publishers, however most publishers will not accept submissions from writers without an agent. This method is time consuming on the front end because it takes a long time for agents and publishers to reply to you, and rejections never stop hurting.
Self publishing is easy because it costs virtually nothing to create an ebook. But this method is more time consuming on the back end because you're the only one marketing the book and not everyone owns an e-reader. Self publishing dumps the slush-reader job onto the consumer who is much less likely to read as much as someone working at a publishing company. So the question is; where do you want to spend your time? Marketing the book to agents/publishers or marketing it to the general public?
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