There is something satisfying in picking up a physical copy of a book that YOU have written personally. Being an author not only raises your self esteem, it also increases the respect others have for you, both privately and in business, but how do you go about getting your book published? I’ll tell you about three common routes.
1. Going with a publishing house
When conventional publishers accept you on as an author, you hand them the first draft, sign a contract and they take on responsibility for editing, design, marketing and sales. If you are a celebrity or an established author with an existing publisher, this is a comfortable way to go. For most writers however, the main difficulty is getting your foot in the door.
Each publisher receives several thousand manuscripts a year from potential authors – because of the competitive market and tight budgets, they only take on one or two new authors a year at best. Currently, publishers are not even likely to look at manuscripts sent to them unless they come through an agent.
Your first step is therefore to find an agent willing to take on your book. Agents earn their income from successful signings of authors by a publisher. If you do overcome these hurdles, your potential income will be a small percentage of the book sales.
2. Self publishing a completed book
Pre-digital era, book printing was an expensive business with long print runs required to bring down the cost per book. Nowadays, you can have just one copy of your book printed. “Print on demand” is the new digital solution.
There are many small publishing companies providing this facility for writers as well as Lulu.com, being the most commonly known international large company. A basic single paperback of 200 pages will cost circa £5 per copy to print (delivery excluded. based on Royal Size, standard paper, perfect bound, B&W Sept 09. You do achieve further cost saving by printing more books in one run.
You also have the option of publishing your book as an e-book, for example in Kindle format on Amazon.
Once you have the book self published, you have to market it yourself. However, if you sell direct to customers, your profit per book is 50% or greater, if you set the price right.
If you are happy to design the layout, content and covers of your book from start to finish, can find a good editor to help you out beforehand and are confident to both produce and sell the book all by yourself – this is your route.
Self publishing with assistance
If you want to self publish your book and ensure that you are producing a better work with a professional appearance, then you can do this with added assistance. Again there are many small companies out there who offer such a service to a greater or lesser extent. you also need to gauge whether you are happy to communicate with someone purely over the internet or would like a more personal touch.
Many writers welcome the chance to talk to someone face to face during the planning and editing stages of their book and it is worth asking around to find such a company in your area. This is the service Milton Contact Limited provided and I particularly enjoyed seeing the initial ideas, text and images developed into a book that is even better than the author originally envisaged.
We used to take authors through from the first draft manuscript – giving independent and constructive feedback. We then created a layout of your text and your pictures in discussion with you. Books can be formatted for print – here we helped find the most cost effective printer for a quality publication. Alternatively, you can have an e-book, and we were able to help you with that too.
Of course, you can have both – print and e-books.
All our books have an ISBN (International Standard Book Number) and copies are registered with the British Library and the the Agency for the Legal Deposit Libraries (ALDL).
The option of self publication with assistance is for authors who wish to enjoy the benefits of self publishing of a professional looking book with a greater peace of mind, and do not mind paying a bit extra for the service.
Note that you are still responsible for marketing and selling the book once it has been printed. Basic packages are cost effective if you are confident in reaching your target audience, more extensive packages can include help with a web presence and provision of marketing material and other services.
There are three routes to getting your book published, depending on your needs and eligibility.
- You can approach a literary agent to see if they can get your manuscript accepted by a conventional publisher in a highly competitive environment. If successful, all the work is taken out of your hands, as is most of the income.
- You can do everything yourself and utilise the services of a self publishing company like Lulu.com to print your book. Cost effective, high profits per book but you have to market it yourself.
- Self publishing with assistance if you are happy to pay a bit extra. This can range from ensuring your edited manuscript and artwork is presented with a professional look to having local assistance with the planning, editing and design of your book and, if desired, with a web presence and marketing materials. You end up with a printed book in your hands or an e-book you can truly be proud of.
If you would like to know more about books we have published, go to our Published books.