Three Types of Publishing:
When people think of publishing, they typically picture large publishing houses like TOR, Penguin-Random House, and Harper Collins. While these large, well know publishing houses certainly lend credibility to your book, they are not the only means to success. In fact, many people feel that with the advent of self-publishing, traditional publishing is going out of style. In order to find success as an author you need to first have a cursory understanding of publishing.
I want to go over vanity publishing first because it comes with the MOST risk to the AUTHOR. Vanity publishers come in all sizes, but regardless of the size their goal remains the same-PROFIT. Vanity publishers often moon light as experienced ghostwriters when in fact they are making a huge profit off your book by contracting your project out to ghostwriters who may be inexperienced and are working for very little money. A vanity publisher will tout its service as a one stop shop for writing, editing and "publishing", this entices a lot of first time authors. However, when they say publishing, they mean printing and binding. They often do not distribute your book. When you are finished, they will mail you a box of your book to do with as you please. They are not vested in the success of your book.
Here comes the shady dealings. Any published book needs a unique ISBN number before it can go to market. Vanity publishers will assign the book with an ISBN number. Here is the important part: they own the ISBN number, not you. That means that they can collect royalties in addition to the cost they already charged you for editing, designing, and printing your book. They also retain the rights to your cover design and any other work that they may have done. While you are able to get out of your contract "at any time", they still keep the ownership of your ISBN and cover art. This means that they will continue to collect royalties even after you have parted ways. It also means, if you leave the vanity publisher, all you will leave with is your original manuscript and nothing else, even though you paid for these services.
If you are paying to get your book published, it is a vanity publisher. Even if they call themselves something else. If they ask for your money, they are a vanity publisher. Buyer BEWARE.
Self-publishing is one of the many wonders of the technological age. Self-publishing has done for books what YouTube has done for television. Very simply, self-publishing allows you to upload a digital file of your book directly to online book sellers and within 24 hours it is available to purchase. It puts the power of content in the hands of everyone, not just the select few people with contacts in the elite publishing word. While the responsibility to market, promote and design your book falls on you, you get total creative say and you keep ALL the profit. There are many online outlets that help with publishing by distributing your book online, formatting your book, and you can even find help marketing it.
Printing On Demand:
I know I said there are three types of publishing, but this really is an extension of Self-publishing. Many companies, including amazon, offer printing on demand when you self-publish your book electronically. It simply means that when someone orders a hard copy of your book, they will print it for a fee. They are able to keep their fees small because they are not wasting money printing books that no one has purchased just to have them collect dust in a ware house.
Traditional publishing is an important corner stone of publishing. It acts as a funnel for high-quality books, weeding out the books that aren't worth our time and highlighting the ones that are. However, traditional publishing is exceptionally difficult to break into. Nowadays with self-publishing being as popular and successful as it is, publishing companies are suffering, which means they are even more hesitant to take a chance on an unknown author. While most people aspire to gain fame and notoriety through traditional publishing, the truth is most agents, editors and big publishing houses are looking to successfully self-published books as a resource for material. Editors receive hundreds even thousands of manuscripts in a week. They call this the slush pile. Searching through the pile for quality material is like the cliched needle in a hay stack. Where as looking on amazon for already successful material that they can obtain and distribute is much easier, more profitable and less labor intensive.
The first step of traditional publishing, like self-publishing is to have a great book. The next step is to get an agent. Editors at publishing houses will not read manuscripts not sent by agents. Getting an agent can be tricky enough. They too have slush piles that are time consuming and difficult to read through. You have to submit a query letter and a portion, or sometimes all, of your manuscript and hope something in the first few lines really sparks their interest. Once you have an agent, you will begin querying publishing houses and editors. The process is long and difficult. Even the best authors have received countless rejection letters from the big publishers. I always encourage my clients to try to traditional publishing, but to never rule out self-publishing.
I always advise my client to self-publish first. Work on making a name for yourself as an author and gaining attention for your book. Then once your book has gained some success you can reach out to publishers, or wait for them to reach out to you!:
Here are some of the reasons self-publishing is so advantageous.
- It is free-that's right. Self-publishing doesn't cost you anything up front. You simply upload your book and bam its for sale. Keep in mind that no one will know about your book until you do some marketing, but that can also be free if you are internet and social-media savvy.
- It is easy-The major self-publishing outlets walk you through the process step-by-step.
- Set your own price-When you put your book up for sale you can charge as much or as little as you would like. It is important to do a little research and see what other books are selling for, but in the end the decision is yours.
- Total Control-You have complete creative control over your book. You can design the cover, choose the length, write the blurb, choose how to advertise it.
- Open Doors-Once you have gained some success through self-publishing, you will open the doors to the traditional publishing world. They will seek you out to acquire your talent and get your book on the shelves.
How I can help you Self-Publish?
Just like traditional publishing, self-publishing is flooded with books. The difference is, there is no gate keeper. No one is there to tell you what you can and cannot publish. This frees you up to get your book out there, however that also means there is stiff competition. That is where I come in. It is my job to help you stand out from the crowd by honing your ideas and providing professional support. Most people are not aware of the amount of work and dedication that is required to write an excellent book. A great idea is only the very first step. A successful book requires extensive planning and outlining, attention to detail, multiple edits and polishing on top of expertly crafted prose. Having a professional on your side through the planning, outlining, drafting, editing and publishing process puts you way ahead of the competition.
I can provide:
- Professional Support
- Outlining and Planning
- Crafting High Quality Prose
- Attention to Detail
- Guidance Through the Process
- Connecting you to the right professionals to help finish your book (i.e. cover art)