One popular career many students consider pursuing is writing. With the explosion of online content and new media, those with writing skills have find themselves in many new and interesting jobs including copywriting, blogging, and creating content in both traditional and new media channels. On the corporate side, demand for writers to help with everything from adding website content to publishing their annual reports to make consumer guides more readily accessible is increasing as well. So, it is not a surprise that many of those pursuing writing as a career, reach a point where they would consider getting published to raise their public profile and advertise their skills.
There are several ways of publishing, which we can broadly categorize into two types – self-publishing and traditional publishing. If you know the right steps for getting your work published, you will find out that it is not difficult as you may think.
In this article, we are going to take a look at both methods and take you through the entire process. This will provide you with a clearer picture of how you can go about publishing your book for instance.
As the name suggests, in self-publishing, the author themselves is the publisher of their book. There are various methods by which authors can publish their books on their own like e-books, print-on-demand and even audiobooks which are growing in popularity. Looking at these print and electronic means, let consider these methods:
Many people prefer audiobooks over traditional books today due to their convenience. Usually, a narrator is required to record the book in an audio format, and the listener can listen to the contents of the book while they’re driving, exercise or busy doing any chores. The author themselves can also narrate the book to eliminate the expense of hiring a narrator (since self-publishing is usually focused on conserving money).
As the term suggests, the author publishes the book and a third-party printing company is able to print a custom copy and ship it on demand. This saves on the need for expensive print runs and having to get bookstores and online vendors like Amazon to stock it or deal with unsold inventory later. So when a new author is looking for an affordable book publishing method, this is often the first choice that comes to mind. Another benefit of print-on-demand as noted is that excess printing costs are avoided since the supply does not exceed demand. Even if you are selling direct to market and not using traditional bookstores, with print on demand there are no stacks of books that you need to store and the printer typically mails direct to your customers.
When a book is published electronically, costs are even lower. This is because even when there is demand, the book is sold online with no printing or shipping costs incurred. Typically, there are few setup up fees from a printer or publisher. This is the best option for writers who are on a budget, and it can also help you reach out to a larger audience.
The process of publishing traditionally is more complicated than self-publishing methods but is often worth the effort given the greater exposure of going through an established firm. Traditional publishing, as opposed to self-publishing, requires the involvement of a publishing company. A new book that is to be published is usually first viewed by a literary agent, who is the gatekeeper. If the agent finds the book appealing, they will reach out to established publishing companies to get a contract. Agents have established relationships with publishers increasing the chances of publication, but will charge a percentage of any fees/royalties you earn. The quality agents as well as whether their expertise fits with your area varies and so you definitely want to do your research and go with an established agent or agency. You can also reach out directly to publishers on your own, though this is harder, especially for first time authors.
Steps to Follow for Book Publishing
It takes a couple of reads to ensure that there are no typos or grammatical errors. To ensure that your work does not look unprofessional due to such mistakes, you must go through the text multiple times and edit whenever required. There are professional copy editors you can use as well. Consider an actual book editor who can give advice on broader issues like plot, what to include vs. excise, or which sections you need to develop further.
2. Target Identification
Every book falls into a genre, and it is based on these genres that the readers choose their books. Agents also will try to put your book in a specific genre and select publishing houses based on that if you pursue a traditional publishing route. This is why you need to try and identify your target audience according to the genre. The most reliable audiences are associated with genres like romance, thrillers, fantasy, science fiction, young adults, and children so you can look into these if you’re motivated by maximizing sales or exposure.
3. Submitting the Book Proposal
Once you have found a literary agent, you can submit your book proposal to them. This may include a synopsis, a letter of query, as well as a few initial chapters of the book. If you do not find an agent, you can also directly submit your work to a publisher and you might get noticed if the stars are on your side. If not, remember that publishers receive 1,000s of submissions a month in some cases and try not to take it personally. If possible, solicit feedback if an agent or publishing house is willing to do so. Given the time and uncertainty of traditional publishing remain you still have self-publishing as an option in your back pocket.
Publishing a book has become easier than it used to be, with self-publishing become easier with more and more ways to reach your audience each year. However, traditional publishing has not lost its charm either, especially due to its large audiences and greater reach. Whatever means you choose to publish your works, it is most important that you are patient throughout the journey.