Prophecy of Thol – My review. Please check the review/book out. Was one of my best reads for 2017. Will be reading her other book Hot Chocolate come the next month. Now her post is longer than what I normally put on this blog. Stick with it, it very informative and has a huge amount of useful stuff you may need to know. – Laura
Many people yearn to write and get a book published. Once the book is written, there’s a whole heck of a lot more work to do. I can’t tell you how many people I’ve talked to on this subject that are naïve to the point they think they can just call up a literary agent, or a book publisher and their book will be published. If only it were that simple.
Before the onset of digital publishing, the traditional route of getting published was a process that would take a writer through a gauntlet that could take years before ever seeing their book in print—if the writer were lucky.
Traditional Publishing vs Self-Publishing
For the writer going the traditional route, he would have a couple of choices.
(1) Get a literary agent to represent him, or (2) find a publisher to accept his work.
Both of these choices require sending query letters to agents and publishers. Then waiting for a response. When a writer chooses this path, I think it is wise to set a specific amount of time he is willing to wait before moving on to other methods of seeing his dream come true.
Query letters to publishers are easier to send these days due to the wonders of email. I’ve kept a copy of Writer’s Market (by Writers Digest) on my bookshelf for years. It is available in the reference section of nearly all libraries, and it is an excellent resource for finding the publishers that publish your genre.
Nearly all listings in Writer’s Market have publishers’ contact information including website address, street address, phone numbers, and email addresses. Some listings specify a particular person to contact. Most listings include instructions on how to submit a query letter or a manuscript.
Always go to the website and verify that the contact listed at the publishing company is valid. They move around – a lot. Remember, Google is your friend.
There are similar resources for literary agents. Perform a search on the Internet.
Always check the literary agent’s track record. How long have they been in the business? How many books have they taken on, and of those, how many actually got a publishing contract and made it into print? If it’s pay to play, they might not even bother trying to get the books published. Steer clear of any literary agent that charges upfront money for reading your manuscript. They earn their fee when they sell the book.
Perform your due diligence for publishing companies you wish to contact. A mom and pop publisher may accept your book, but the quality may look like something that’s been sitting in a doctor’s office waiting room for a year.
If you’re lucky enough to snag the attention of a good literary agent, or get a publishing company to read your book, then there’s the whole waiting period to see whether they will accept it and bump your book forward down the road to success. If they reject it, cross them off the list and keep going.
After your query letters are sent, there’s no telling how long it will take to hear back from said agent or publisher. The best thing to do is keep a spreadsheet for your submissions to easily track them.
Next up is the self-publishing route, or a small press. I prefer total control which is why I started Artistic Origins, my own publishing company, back in 1995. I’ve had several literary agents over the decades, but none of them were of the caliber to get a publishing deal. And as I tend to joke – I’m aging here – and unless I take my book to the market myself, all I see are cobwebs around my waiting corpse.
File a Doing Business As (DBA) form with your new company name at the County Clerk’s office, or whatever the agency is called in your corner of the world. This piece of paper and the number assigned to your company name will allow you to function as a business.
Places like Amazon want to know who published your book, and there are forms to fill out.
Hire an Editor
Whichever route you take, the very first thing will require is an editor. Not a proofreader, and not your Aunt Sue who was an English teacher in high school or junior college, but a book editor. Be prepared to pay someone. It’s an investment in yourself, and you can write off the expense on your taxes.
I’ve heard it all: “I’m a new, unknown author. I can’t afford an editor.”
My response is always the same: “Honey, you can’t afford to NOT hire an editor. No one wants to read your garbage that isn’t even spellchecked.”
Then there’s the unexplained confusion of new authors in regards to the electronic file they get back from the editor. There are all sorts of markups in the file. What to do with those.
Hint: you read through the document, look at the markups and comments and either accept or reject them. Next up is to make sure the file is clean – that there are no more comments or redlines through the document. Not it’s ready for publication.
Many writers lose track of the file versions and inadvertently publish the wrong file, the one that has all the errors. Then they get mad when the reviews call out the horrible lack of editing.
Hire a Graphic Artist
Your book will require a great cover. Find a graphic artist, explain your vision. give the artist a synopsis and have your cover created.
Don’t skimp out. Your cover is critical for your success. You want all files formats: native, JPEG, TIFF and a PDF. You will use the JPEG, TIFF or PDF book cover for various marketing purposes, including uploading the cover to various websites, and social media accounts.
The native file (Illustrator, Photoshop) is important for down the road if you need to make a change. Anyone who has the program can make the change so you won’t have to wait for the original artist to get around to your book.
If you’re going to print a paperback, you’ll need the front and back covers and the spine. The spine has to be the correct size for your total number of pages and may have to be adjusted.
Hire a Formatter
You’ll want to have an eBook (MOBI, PRC, EPUB), paperback, PDF and a web PDF (this has the cover attached). Your formatter can create all versions.
Kindles and their APPs read MOBI or PRC Files. EPUB files are for iBook’s and the Nook.
An ISBN number is required to sell a book in a story, whether a brick and mortar store, or an online entity. It contains the registration information of the company that bought the ISBN number that is assigned to a book title.
The ISBN number appears on the back of a books and consist of a barcode that sometimes shows both the 10-digit and 13-digit ISBN number over or under the barcode. Sometimes the price is listed as well.
You can purchase a single ISBN or several. I use a different number for each version: paperback, eBook and audiobook. The number is associated with your company so it will appear in your Amazon listing, or any other listing where you sell your books.
From this point there are many avenues to take. You can choose to hire a printer to have your books printed (short fun), of use the many choices for Print on Demand (POD) so you don’t end up with books in storage.
Once you have the eBook file, you can upload it to Amazon and everyone else on the planet that carries eBooks, unless you have an exclusive with Amazon, in which case they are the only company that will be able to sell your books until your exclusive expires.
There are many other things to consider, but whatever you decide, do your homework!
Dawn Greenfield Ireland
Author, Editor, Publisher, Writing Coach
Contact me for a Consultation