At the back of our mind, all of us have this thought that getting your own book published is not everyone’s cup of tea and is a challenging task. This is obviously true, but not impossible. But the outcome of the entire process depends on the kind of choices you make. Let’s get you acquainted to the general process of the journey.
The traditional method of publishing is still the primary process of publishing books. But before getting into the process, you need to finish your manuscript and determine your work’s genre or category. The next step is finding a literary agent, whose primary job is to sell your manuscript to a publisher. With their inside contacts with specific editors and knowledge on what editors or publishers would most likely buy, the guidance of these experts in the publishing industry can make your task simpler. Moreover, the biggest publishers don’t take work seriously unless it comes via an agent. Thus it’s kind of necessary to find yourself the right agent, but don’t go for agents who charge fees.
It takes a lot to get your work selected by a reputed publisher. Your manuscript needs to be excellent and meet the traditional standards of the industry. Formulate an outstanding pitch to make the publisher understand the value of your work and be prepared to give up a lot of power and control. You have to undergo rounds of editing and changing in the final format, cover, title, design, price, and almost everything about the book will get decided by the publisher.
Then comes the query and submission process, which might be pretty time consuming and you need to be patient all throughout. You need to create a one-page query letter, basically a pitch letter giving a brief description of your work. As I have already mentioned, this needs to be pretty convincing. Next is the novel synopsis, a brief summary of your story in one or two pages. You also need to add a novel proposal, which can include a few excerpts from the book or maybe the first chapter. Finally, you need to sign the contract to legally bind an agreement between you and the book publisher. The contract will outline the obligations and rights of each party, marking the financial arrangement between you and the publisher.
Once you are done with this process, the entire responsibility gets handed over to the publisher. They will handle the production of the book, including the cover design, typesetting, dealing with the printer, warehouse sorting, as well as the marketing of the book and managing all costs and payments. The publisher will pay you your money in the form of an upfront payment and further royalty payments depending on how good the book sells.
And there you go. If your book does well, it can appear in bookstores nationwide as well as smaller independent stores. The publisher will also try to achieve book reviews in newspapers or via book bloggers and other similar platforms. They will arrange for online selling as well such as Amazon and other e-retailers, both in the form of e-book and hardback or paperback, or maybe audiobook.
If you couldn’t bag a big publisher, don’t worry. There are many mid-size publishing houses, small and university presses and regional presses to help you publish your book. But to market your book to an exceptional level, you might have to work hard in this case. You have to attract customers and promote yourself. You can set up a blog and other platforms to reach out to your target audience and give them a hint on what to expect from your book and how it can be beneficial to them. This will help you build an audience over time and increase engagement rate.
Another great alternative is digital-only publishers. You can upload your work in Amazon and StoryMirror, at almost no cost, which will take only a few minutes. But here again, you have to market your own work and you cannot expect to make money or get book reviews in the first go. On top of that, you might have to invest a bit to publicise your work. Lastly, there are few crowd-funding sites, which you can use to publish your work. You just need to select the crowd-funder and follow their submissions process.
There are several independent publishers as well, but you need to beware of getting scammed. You might end up wasting a lot of money without getting any proper result. To understand more about book publishing, to be up-to-date and to build a network with agents and editors, you can start attending writing conferences as well.