You’re a writer with a vision to have a best seller like Khaled Hosseini who wrote “The Kite Runner.” You spent countless hours, months to several years writing to produce a manuscript. Take a moment and give yourself a round of applause. Not many sane people will commit to writing a book. It can be argued that being crazy enough to think outside the norm can be all the difference of writing that masterpiece. But how do you go about getting your book published?
It’s no easy question to answer. Your manuscript is your baby and just like a newborn not just anyone is going to get close enough to hurt your pride and joy.
There are a ton of options nowadays that can be broken down into a few categories:
- Traditional publishers like Penguin Books
- Print On Demand (POD) like Lulu Press
- Vanity Publishers like Dog Ear Publishing
- Self-Publishing as in Do It Yourself
Just to clarify many of the companies mentioned along with others do a little bit of it all catering their services to the needs of the author. Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing is for that writer who wants to make an Ebook only. Meanwhile Createspace (also an Amazon company) will allow that same writer to make a paperback or hardcover of their book with the option of leveraging KDP for an Ebook.
Self-publishing perception was frown upon for years. The great debate was authors who self-published were not good enough to be published by traditional publisher. Despite Stephen King’s first novel “Carrie” and Robert Kiyosaki’s “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” were both originally self published. Dana Beth Weinberg’s Author Survey Results: Expectations of Traditional Publishing and Self-Publishing gives insight on what authors think about their publishing options.
Melissa Donovan’s A Writer’s Guide to Types of Publishing Companies gives a more in-depth explanation of each type of publishing company. But how do you know the best approach for your book? As you prepare to decide how you will bring your book to market here is a list of 10 questions to consider:
- What is the publishing company’s reputation?
- What’s the purpose of my book?
- Who’s my potential market?
- What’s the budget needed to achieve my vision?
- What’s the time frame to get my book to readers?
- What skills do I possess?
- What skills do I need to outsource?
- How much promotion do I need?
- How important is it to me that I get a fair percentage of all book sales?
- Will I publish my book as Print Books only, Ebooks Only or both Ebook and Print Books?
If you were putting together a book about your family history a POD would be good enough. But if you want your book to be available at every Barnes and Nobles, Books-A-Million and Independent Book store in the United States you’re going to need an agent to help you land a deal with a traditional publisher. Finally, if you want to hedge your bets for increase exposure back with higher revenue than a traditional press you may elect to work with a small press.
Rashaun J. Allen is the author of A Walk Through Brooklyn & In The Moment. He has been featured in several publications such as: The Chronicle, The Troy Record, Albany Student Press & UA Magazine.