In my last article I discussed writing a novel. What I didn’t mention is that it is only the tip of the iceberg. There is an old saying, ‘A book without an audience, is not a book’.
As the internet has become more advanced new publishing options are born.You have completed your manuscript, hired an editor and got it proofread. So, what’s next?
In the traditional way the chances of getting your book published is lower than winning the lottery! However, getting published by a traditional publisher in no way guarantees a bestseller, but certainly gets your book more exposure.
So, what is your first step? You need to find a literary agent and write a proposal letter included with your posted manuscript. Your letter and manuscript need to stand out from the rest as literary agents receive thousands every week. They have an important decision to make. They may recommend one they feel will be an investment for the publishing company. Therefore, if the first page does not grab them, the literary agent may well not bother to finish reading it.
If the literary agent does recommend you and the publishing company takes you on, then chunks of the story will get chopped and rewritten. They will make sure your book has a professional cover (in which you have no say regarding the design), and then maybe two years later you will have a book that will be distributed and marketed.
However, apart from the long wait, there is another drawback. As the publisher has assigned the rights to your book, you will lose some of the ownership and the percentage of the royalties will be low. However, as it is a traditional publishing company, they will make sure you have plenty of exposure and your books will be at the front of the bookshop’s shelves.
While traditional publishers make a profit from selling books, vanity publishers (also known as subsidy publishers) make money by charging the author for publishing the book. Both parties then share the profits when the book is sold. However, the book remains in the publisher’s possession and the author receives 10-15 % percent of the royalties. Therefore, we can say that vanity publishers are shrewd. They know the author has worked hard on polishing their manuscript and is feeling dejected by all the previous rejections. So, they will send a congratulations letter saying that the manuscript has been accepted. Then they will charge a hefty sum. They will do minimal distribution and little marketing, and why do they need to? They have already taken the author’s money, which is their prime motivation.
So why do people go down this road? Frequently many authors are first-timers, not knowing the difference between traditional and vanity publishing, having erroneously been led to believe how self-publishing works – or they were not at all familiar with the publishing market.
This is the fastest and easiest way to publish your book. As it is very difficult to go through a traditional publisher, this is the route preferred by most authors. The self-publishing company helps set up the paperback, eBook or hardcover, but the author remains their own boss. They must do everything- and I mean everything- from making sure the manuscript is well edited and formatted, the book cover is professionally designed, and once the book is published, it is the author’s duty to promote and market. However, the up-side is the royalties are much higher- as high as 70%.
Here are the top ten best self-publishing companies for authors:
- Kindle Direct Publishing
- Barnes & Noble Press
- Apple Books
- Self-Publishing School
- Publish Drive
There are many other self-publishing companies in this increasingly popular field, enabling many authors previously hidden in obscurity to have an opportunity to shine.