So you've written your manuscript! You've spent hours behind that laptop screen telling your story, sharing your expertise, drawing in your reader. You've typed in that last sentence. And it feels amazing, doesn't it? Congratulations! Now comes the part most new authors can lose a little steam with - the publishing of their book. Sigh.
But it definitely doesn't have to be something to stress over! In fact, the publishing industry is an interesting and ever-evolving place and the old 'traditional' way of getting your writing in print is not the only way to do it, that's for sure. Finding the right publishing option for you depends on a few factors like,
What your publishing goals are
What kind of book you're writing
How much creative control you'd like
There's actually a lot of possibility here and your dreams of being a published author are closer than ever.
The first option we'll chat about is self-publishing. There's a lot of ways to self-publish these days and a variety of vanity publishers more than eager to sell you a package with them. These companies will usually cover the whole production, cover design, text setup, printing etc. for the cost of the package you purchase. I can't speak for every vanity publisher out there, but from my experience, they are quite expensive and the quality is not great. So, if self-publishing feels like the right route for you, there's hope! I recommend the 'author control' option, using platforms like Kindle Direct Publishing or Ingram Spark. With this option, you are responsible for the formatting, cover design and marketing etc. of your book.
Pros: You get complete creative control of both your written content and outward design. You can create a marketing plan that feels good to you, like using your social media platform to spread the word about your new book. Basically, you're running the show here!
Cons: I suggest hiring an editor for your manuscript, someone to design your cover and format your text, if these are not your areas of expertise. Fortunately, there are a lot of freelancers willing to help you out with this!
These are publishing companies that have a submission process and you must apply to have your work published with them. You must do your research when looking up hybrid publishers - you don't want to mistake them for vanity publishers as some, at first glance, can appear similar. Some of these hybrids will charge fees for different services, like editing and formatting, but they are reputable companies and because you must submit your book for acceptance, there's a higher standard of work published through them. These hybrids are usually smaller publishing houses and though you won't always receive a paid advance with them, you do have some creative control and once signed on, you have the opportunity to grow with them for all your future books you'll write.
Pros: Credibility publishing with a reputable publisher.
Cons: Some fees involved. You need to be very clear on what the company is all about as not to sign on to a deal that doesn't make sense for your budget or goals.
There's a lot of thinking out there that suggests signing on with a traditional publisher is difficult, time-consuming and full of a stack of rejection letters. While I agree it does take effort and persistence here - AND a few rejection letters - it's definitely not impossible! A lot of larger big name publishing houses, require an agent to even send your query letter (we'll get into agents in another post!) but some of the smaller traditional publishers WILL accept your submissions, no agent required. Just be sure to follow their guidelines and do EXACTLY as they ask or your work may not even make it to the right person. This route requires a little more patience but is well worth the effort if you land that amazing book deal, which usually includes a decent advance and a lovely contract for future books!
Pros: You have to be ambitious and savvy here, writing the most compelling query letter. If you do, you can land a very nice contract with a dream publisher.
Cons: This can be a lengthy route, but if you're all in, why not! I say go for it!
A published author is a published author, no matter what route you choose to take. And even if you started out with one route, doesn't mean you can't adjust your goals and strive for another. Sometimes it's best to get your work out there, build that fan base and then pitch to the larger publishing house. They'll be impressed with your efforts and quite thrilled you already have buyers ready and excited for your next book! The other thing I suggest is building your social media and website presence as an author. Start garnering interest here to attract in those potential readers. It's an excellent way to spread the word!
If you have any questions about the publishing process and which route might be right for you and your goals, send me a message! I am always happy to share my thoughts and experience with you. And lastly, I want to remind you that imperfect action is better than no action at all. Get that book out there! No matter how you do it, the world needs to read it and it doesn't do anyone any good sitting in that dusty drawer. Someone out there is waiting for your story.