Publishing 101 – Getting a Book Published

Publishing – First Steps


Publishing your work is not as hard as most people make it out to be. Doing it traditionally, through a publisher, is difficult. There are many things to do first, and hopefully, you have done so.

The first steps are to get your work ready for the public. That includes rewrites, proofing, and cursory edits. All writers know they want to present the best, cleanest, and most comprehensive work possible to the public. Doing this first step is the best way to start your writing career. From there we have the two routes to publish your work – Traditionally and Self-Published.

Some may say, “What about vanity press?”

Vanity Press is another form of publishing, but due to the actual cost of it, I’ll not discuss it for the reasons of it being covered under Self-Publishing. My thoughts about it is a Vanity-Press will publish anyone who is willing to pay them, so thus falls under the same umbrella as Self-Publishing for this discussion.

Since anyone can publish anything under self-publishing, it is best to focus only on the traditional route.

Traditional Publishing

The first step is to build a list of publishers you want to submit to. Ensure you keep track of the companies you send your submission to for it could be detrimental if you double submit.

Each publisher will have their own method of submissions. Locate the submission page and make sure you follow their instructions perfectly. I cannot tell you how many submissions went in my company because the writer didn’t follow the submission process. Keep record of when you sent the submission and only follow up after three to four months.

Publishers are busy. They usually receive hundreds of submissions a month and the competition is furious. Writers know a publisher (a good one that is) will boost the sales of their books beyond what an author can do. It is this reason why they seek publication. The bigger the publisher the broader their reach.

Who to Send To?

But don’t discount small press publishers, they usually take more author input and spend a lot of money getting your work ready.

Besides following the steps about sending your work to them, something you should realize about publishers is they are in it to make money. If you have a polished manuscript, then submitting it is a good idea. If your manuscript is a draft, don’t send it. Publisher will not look at it if the work is still a rough draft. If you get offered a contract, make sure you realize what it says. Read it. But don’t get all high and mighty about an advance if this is your first novel. Unless you have high sales from other novels and a guaranteed following, you’ll not get an advance on sales. Do the math, for some publishers are getting creative in how they figure your royalties. Make sure you always get a good cut of what the book makes and that you receive it on all revenue generated by the publication. A good royalty mark is 20% of the book gross while some offer as high as 30%. Demanding a set dollar value per book could reduce the amount of money you get from sales. And doing such, the publisher may also put in a clause about returns which will be detrimental to you.

After you’re accepted and signed, there is not a lot left to do but follow the editing instructions sent to you by the publisher.

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