Publishing has undergone a lot of changes in the past decade. We’ve seen the rise of audiobooks, and new publishing opportunities have presented themselves.
And today, we’re going to look at the three publishing avenues available to us briefly:
- traditional publishing
- indie or self-publishing
- hybrid publishing
Then we’re going to talk about what you need to do before you even start writing your query letter or formatting your book.
Don’t fret though, we’ve going to look at the three different types of publishing in more detail in separate posts.
You’ve Finished Your Book – Now What?
You’ve finished your book, gone over it a million times, had it beta read, and made all the necessary adjustments to your manuscript. It’s as good as you can make it, and you’re ready to share it with the world.
Now, what do you have to do?
Do Your Publishing Research
Well, you’re going to have to keep doing some research, especially if you’re wanting to go down the traditional publishing route.
I find it’s a great idea to look at the different options that you have available to you first.
At some point or another, most writers try out the traditional route. It beckons writers with lucrative book deals (that are disappearing), accolades, and public recognition, among many other things.
However, it’s a timely process where only the best are accepted, leaving many writers frustrated.
Then again, most of us are looking to the “Big Five” publishers to see our brilliance. Thankfully, there are a lot of smaller presses or independent editors that are looking for stories.
You just have to look for them. Which means that you need to do your research.
You can also choose to publish online via self-publishing or hybrid publishing. With self-publishing, the author tackles the entire process from beginning to end, while hybrid publishing combines elements of traditional and self-publishing. Hybrid publishing is essentially charging writers to publish, according to Jane Friedman.
You’re going to want to do your research here too to find out what is going to work best for your needs and budget.
Self-publishing is a great way to get around the pitfalls of the traditional publishing landscape. But it means that you’re not only responsible for writing and editing your book, but also the selling and marketing.
That can take up a lot of your time and energy, but you get to control the process and how much money you spend and make.
If that doesn’t sound like something you’re comfortable doing then you might want to look into hybrid publishing. It helps with the marketing and design aspects of publishing your book, but it comes at a cost.
Don’t Fall Into These Self-Publishing Traps
According to Jane Friedman, the number one treason why authors go down the DIY route is because they are hoping to land a contract with a traditional publisher.
And those attempts fail 99 percent of the time.
It is hard to capture the attention of a publisher once you’ve self-published a book, but can be a good way to sell them on your next book.
Do think twice about doing this for a book series, though, Jane Friedman cautions:
If a traditional publisher is not interested in book one, they almost never pick up book two in a series when the first one is self-published.
There are exceptions to the rule, like Andy Weir’s The Martian, but remember that those are exceptions.
The second thing you should look out for is a lack of patience. It will take time to find a traditional publisher willing to take a chance on your work. So make sure you’ve exhausted all of your agent and traditional publishing options before you decide to self-publish.
The last thing you need to be aware of revolves around money. Yes, you can earn a lot more money self-publishing your novel, but it’s not guaranteed. Each book and author is different – some will be bestsellers and some won’t. It takes a lot of time and effort to promote your work, and you have to do this everyday.
The Six Questions You Need to Answer
Once you’ve done the research, ask yourself these six questions to help you figure out which route to take:
- Do you want or expect to see your book in bookstores?
- Do you want to hit the New York Times bestseller list or get major media attention?
- Does your book appeal to a specific audience that you can (or already) reach on your own?
- What are the qualities of the audience or the market you are targeting?
- How much of an entrepreneur are you?
- Do you want the validation, guidance, and support of a publisher?
There is no one right or wrong answer to these questions because they’re context dependent, which means that the answer changes between each author and book.
There’s no one way to publish your novel.
You’re going to need to do your research to find the best solution for you. But above all, make sure that you’re reading the fine print before you sign any contract with Amazon, a publisher, literary agent, or editor.
For those of you who have self-published, what was the biggest learning curve? For those who have traditionally-published, would you do it again?
Stay safe, everyone!
Until next time!
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