Book publishing was always a big concern of mine from the time I started writing back in 1985. I wrote every day by hand, not typing a single word until I was out of high school. Once I started typing out my first manuscript, I began looking for publishers.
I was very young and thought my writing was great. I didn't need anyone to review it. I sent a large envelope full of double spaced, Courier New font manuscript pages, 258 pages in all, to the first publisher I found in a literary magazine.
Needless to say, I didn't even get a response from them. My manuscript probably went straight into the trash, and for good reason. It certainly wasn't ready to be published.
Book publishing goes way beyond the initial writing stage. I skipped many steps along the way that would have given my first story a chance in the world of fiction. After years of just writing my stories, I discovered the ins and outs of publishing and what it really was. Of course I still didn't know about self-publishing at this point.
Book publishing isn't really as difficult as it sounds. It's mostly about your attitude and personality. If you are a people person, full of confidence, and willing to give up everything to pursue your publishing dreams, then seeking out a fiction book publisher is what you were made for.
A publisher is a company that produces a work of fiction into a final form, whether it is hard cover, paper back, or electronic books. There are traditional publishers who stick to the larger novels that are able to reap large sales based on the author or story. There are vanity press publishers who, for a large price, will publish your story, usually no matter how good or bad it is. There are publishers who only publish certain genre of stories and certain lengths of stories.
How on earth do you choose a book publishing company to represent you as an author? There are so many of them out there and every one of them has different criteria to meet before they will even consider your writing.
Well, some people have the patience to search for them and wait it out, sometimes even years, before their book is published. This deterred me and I actually lost sight of my publishing dreams for quite a few years.
When I started working on this website, I discovered how easy it was to publish a book by myself. Why go through all of the middlemen along the way when you can easily do it all yourself?
I discovered self-publishing companies that provided me with all of the tools and resources I needed. I didn't have to sign any contracts or hand over my copyright to anyone. Best of all, it didn't cost me a penny to use their service.
Despite the book publishing path I've taken, not all authors are willing to publish their own work. So, I will discuss both sides of the publishing spectrum so you will understand the entire publishing process so you can make the most informed decision with your fiction books.
Before you can start submitting your fiction to book publishers, you must complete your first draft. Some people submit a query letter to a publisher before they are finished with their story, but those are the writers who already have a few books published.
Once your book is completely written, you need to get it edited. First you should do some self-editing to fix as many errors as you can. The more work an editor needs to do, the more they will charge and the longer they will take to get your story back to you. Once you fix a lot of the basic errors yourself, hire a professional editor to clean up your manuscript.
The next step of the process is to incorporate all of the changes the editor made. Some editors make all of the changes for you and some don't. Again, you get what you pay for.
Once your edits are incorporated, you are done with your final draft. Now, before you can submit to a publisher, you must set your draft to manuscript format. Pretty much everything you did will now be converted to a basic format that is easy for a publisher to read. And most publishers have their own criteria for a manuscript.
Once you are done creating your manuscript, you must write a query letter and book synopsis. This will get you ready to submit your book.
Next, I highly recommend retaining the services of a literary agent. Most publishers won't accept unsolicited manuscripts or submissions, so getting an agent to represent you is a big plus. They usually don't charge up front and will only collect money in the form of a percentage of your royalties if a publisher signs you and your books sell.
Once you have an agent, they will start looking for a best fit publisher for your book. Now the wait ensues and you can move on to your next writing project. Be sure to stay in contact with your agent. If you don't hear from them at least once a week, hire a new agent.
Finding fiction book publishers yourself can be difficult, but can be done. You will have to do a lot more work and you will be the one directly contacting publishers using your query letter and synopsis to sell your book to them.
Once your book is signed by a publisher, you may or may not get an advance (a lump sum payment in advance of any sales income), depending on how big the publisher is and how they do business. They, of course, do the rest of the book publishing work, such as editing it again, formatting it for print, making the book cover, getting press materials ready, and printing your book. This process can take months and really take a toll on your nerves. But the quality of book that comes from it is superb.
A lot of traditional publishers require a thousand book printing at first to test the book. This will either come out of your advance or you will have to pay for it outright. Once they are done, they may or may not supply your book to their network of bookstores for sale. They will also require you to go on tour to market your newly published book under their brand.
The rest is on you to sell your book. They will provide guidance on marketing and sales techniques, but they will not sell the book for you. That is not what publishers do.
That is the traditional book publishing process in a nut shell. It can be very rewarding, but can also cost a lot of money up front. If you are lucky enough to get an advance, it may take many years to recoup enough to start earning residual royalties. You must be patient and never stop writing new stories.
Book publishing, as you have read, can be a lengthy, expensive process to say the least. This of course deterred me because I wasn't very confident in my writing (since I already got rejected) and since I didn't have the writing budget to support this en devour.
So, I did some extensive research knowing that print on demand companies were out there to help with book publishing. When I found the company I published my first fiction novel through, I was in utter disbelief. I discovered how to publish my fiction while at the same time taking money out of the picture.
I published Spy Among Spies: Operation Teardrop absolutely for no money out of pocket in under one week from the time my final draft was done. Of course I had to do all of the work, but it really wasn't that difficult either.
The self-publishing process is very different from the traditional route. Most of the work you do for a traditional publisher is preparing your story for submission. With self-publishing, you avoid several steps in the process because you are the publisher. You don't have to format a manuscript, you don't have to write query letters or a synopsis, and you don't have to sign contracts with agents or publishers.
There are self-publishing companies out there that charge you to do the formatting and setting everything up for you called vanity presses that advertise that they are self-publishing companies. Be warned that you do have to sign a contract with these companies and you can't just change your work any time you want once it's published.
With self-publishing, you must format your book for print. What you see is what you get. This doesn't take very long, but can be tedious when you start numbering pages, the longest step of the process. Next you upload your book file to the online book publishing platform.
Next you must create a book cover for your story. All of the publishing platforms that I use have templates, but I prefer to make my own using Photoshop. You can also hire a book cover designer to make one for you for a fair price.
After you upload your cover image, you are pretty much done. You hit publish and it gives you the opportunity to purchase a proof of your book. You can proof it electronically, but I recommend buying a copy and proofreading the entire book. Remember, what you see is what you get. If you don't like something, you will have an opportunity to correct the discrepancies, then publish it.
Once it is published, you are done with the book publishing process. You can now sell your book offline and on line. Simple, isn't it? Well, learn the details of book publishing so you can get your books to the public.
Don't let that dream inside of you fade away! I hope I didn't scare you with all of this information. I just want you to make an informed decision on book publishing and do what's best for your fiction stories. Never let money get in the way of your publishing dreams. Learn how to publish fiction for pure profit!