Well, we’re finally at the last week of this month’s lessons on traditional vs self publishing. What I want to share today is the path to self publishing. In a nutshell, you write your book, you get it edited (of course), you have it formatted, you get a cover designed, you obtain an ISBN number, and you select a printer.
You can choose between the brick and mortar printer down the street if you need hand holding or in the mid-west if you want the best prices. Or you can choose an online printer known as a POD, print-on-demand. Some of these are Lightning Source, Author House, CreateSpace, LuLu, and iUniverse. They’re called POD because no longer do you have to store thousands of books (remember my 10,000 book fiasco) as the printer will print and ship books as you need them.
I’m not the authority on POD since they change as often as Lady Gaga’s hair color! I suggest you do your research, ask other authors, and get involved in a writers’ group either virtually or in your neighborhood. I belong to www.publisherswriters.org and we have a Yahoo group where anyone can ask for referrals to printers, editors, cover designers, etc.
One thing I will say, the research is part of the process. But once you find your printer, editor, cover designer, and formatter, you won’t have to look again. One of the members of our group here in San Diego has printed 17 books with Author House and he raves about them. I have a friend who has had a long relationship with iUniverse. Yes, some of these have been around for a while, and others have cropped up recently.
I suggest asking the printer for a sample book. Do the same with cover designers—check out their samples. Same goes for copyeditors and formatters. These are the people who will form your self publishing team.
So you finally have that glorious book in your hands. Now what? And then comes distribution and promotion. Yes, you have to sell the darn thing, not only to get your money back but to make profits, spread your message, and attain whatever other goals you have for your book. You might want to hire a book publicist to start or get tips from other writers. But I think book promotion is a topic for another set of lessons.
I just want to leave you with this last piece of vital information. No longer are traditional and self publishing your only options. Welcome to the bright shiny world of e-publishing…
Andrea Susan Glass
Have you made up your mind yet as to which path you’ll choose for your book? The reason I ask is that if you decide to submit your book to a traditional publisher, you don’t need to write the whole book. So before you write “the end” it would be best to choose one path.
So let’s say you’re looking for a major publisher. You might want to look in books similar to yours to see who publishes them. You can also look online on Amazon and in the library in Literary Marketplace. Additionally Writers Digest lists publishers and their specialties/genres such as women’s fiction, memoir, spirituality, or young adult.
You’ll need to do some research on the publisher and see if they’ll accept queries or if you need to find a literary agent first. If you need to find an agent, then go back to your research, see which agents represent the books in your genre, and do some searching in the resources I mentioned as well as online.
For both fiction and nonfiction books, you’ll first submit a one-page query letter. Find out if the agent or publisher accepts e-queries. If not, use snail mail. E-queries tend to get much faster responses, so do as many of those as you can with the appropriate agents and publishers, that is, those who represent your genre. I’d highly suggest you have a professional writer/editor like me review your query letter before submitting it.
If the agent or publisher is interested, they’ll ask for a synopsis or the whole book for fiction and a book proposal for nonfiction. Writing a book proposal is like writing a mini-book. I’ve written several of them and I really enjoy it, because it encourages the author to take a global look at the book: overview, market, promotion, author bio, book outline, sample chapters.
Either have a professional write your proposal or at least have it edited. Remember, this is your first impression and you won’t have an opportunity to make a second. The agent or publisher wants to see your writing style and gauge the success factor of your book. Less than 1% of proposals get accepted, which is why so many authors are turning to self publishing.
We’ll look at the self publishing process more in depth next week.
Andrea Susan Glass
PS. If you’d like to see a sample book proposal I’d be happy to send you one I wrote for a client. Just email me at email@example.com.
I hope your week has gone well for you. To pick up from last week, now that you know a bit more about traditional publishing, I’d like to discuss the reasons you might choose the self publishing option and the benefits and drawbacks of this path as compared to traditional publishing.
Today, self publishing has never been easier with computer design programs, digital printing, and POD (print-on-demand) presses. I remember the first book I ghostwrote for a client about 10 years ago. We printed 10,000 copies to get a break on the price. That book went on to win the San Diego Book Awards for best how-to book, but we also got stuck with thousands of books we couldn’t sell.
So why would someone choose to self publish? You might want to self publish if: you like to control everything; you want all the profits; you’re clear about your target audience and how to find them; you want your book out sooner than later; you have a team of people to design your cover, format your book, copyedit the content, and help you promote it. If you have any of these desires, you might choose this path.
These are some of the benefits and drawbacks of self publishing: quick turnaround time for producing books, keep all profits, low set up and printing costs, full control over content and cover, can easily add other books, CDs, or other products, comfortable promoting book; however, you may not have distribution to get into book stores, in some industries self published books have less prestige, quality may be inferior, and you have to handle all aspects of production and promotion.
Now not all of these apply in every situation; I’m just trying to give you an overview so you can see the primary distinctions between traditional and self-publishing so you can make a wise choice. And it’s not unheard of for a self published author to later be picked up by a publisher if you’ve done a good job promoting and selling your book.
So weigh both options, choose your path, and go build your book to bestseller status! Next week I’ll go over the process of obtaining a traditional publisher.
Andrea Susan Glass
PS. Please feel free to contact me for a complimentary discussion if you’re still undecided or have more questions. Sign up at www.writersway.com
It’s hard to believe the summer is half over and I haven’t even taken a vacation yet. Have you? I hope so.
Well for those of you still hanging around, I thought this month I’d discuss the difference between traditional publishing and self-publishing. When a prospective author comes to me and wants to write a book, I ask them right away whether they plan on seeking a publisher or publishing themselves. Some are pretty clear while others don’t have a clue which path they want to pursue.
Those who are sure they want to find an agent or publisher to publish their book will take a different path from those who are clear that they will self publish their book. For those of you who aren’t sure, let me explain some of the pros and cons of each path.
This week I’ll focus on traditional publishing and next week self-publishing. With the ease and popularity of self-publishing and more recently e-publishing, it seems traditional publishing’s days are numbered. Over the years, the number of traditional New York publishers has dwindled, and of those left many have merged. Additionally, mid-size and small publishers have sprouted as digital publishing has made book printing more accessible to those who want to start a small press.
In case you’re not familiar with them, your traditional publishers are Little Brown, Random House, Simon & Schuster, Harper, Hay House, Wiley, and a few more. Look on your bookshelves at your hard cover books and you’ll find the traditional publishers.
Let’s look at why someone would choose traditional over self publishing: wants someone else to handle printing, distribution, and sales; wants the prestige of having a large publisher; wants a literary agent to handle writing career; wants publisher to arrange promotion; has a platform and wants to expand a brand; wants the support of an in-house editor. If you have any of these desires, you might choose this path.
Now, here are some of the benefits and drawbacks to traditional publishing: publisher pays all production costs, does initial promotion (in most cases), distributes books, has sales team; however, it can take years (or never) to find an agent or publisher, you’re expected to have an established following (platform), you only get a small percentage royalty, you have minimal control over cover and content, you’ll wind up doing the bulk of promotion.
If you’re still not sure which path is right for you, stay tuned to my next installment on self publishing.
Andrea Susan Glass
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