You sat down, organized your thoughts, and got to work writing. Whether you wrote a novel or a how-to book, you should give yourself a pat on the back and take a breath. There are more things to do ahead.
After you’ve reached the end of the writing process, for now, what do you do next?
Once the book is edited, you must first consider if you want to publish it or not. This may seem like a non-sequitur, but not everyone is looking to give up their baby. It may be something you only want to be shared with your family. Or it could be one less thing to check off a bucket list. Just be sure you’re ready to move to the next step to getting your book (manuscript)published.
First, there are three basic ways to get your book published
Traditional book publishing is when a publisher offers the author a contract and, in turn, prints, publishes, and sells your book through booksellers and other retailers. The publisher essentially buys the right to publish your book and pays you royalties from the sales. Traditional publishing is the dream scenario for most writers/authors.
Traditional publishers have the advantage of distribution, promotion, marketing, and name recognition. Most don’t allow author submissions. They only consider works represented by a literary agent. Some of the mid-size to smaller publishing companies have short open submissions periods during the year when they take the submissions of unagented writers. You can get more information through Writer’s Market, Reedsy, or other literary/writer focused publications and/or sites.
The Big Five and numerous imprints
Hachette Book Group.
Simon and Schuster.
Top Nine Independent Publishers (NY Book Editors 3/2020)
- Europa Editions.
- New Directions
- Mango Publishing.
- Graywolf Press.
- Melville House.
- Akashic Books.
- Algonquin Books.
- Sourcebooks (not on NY Book Editors list, but a large publishing house)
Best Independent Publishers (Reedsy 2021)
- Akashic Books. Publisher of: Fiction and Nonfiction. …
- Bellevue Literary Press. Publisher of: Fiction and Nonfiction
- BOA Editions. Publisher of: Poetry and Short Fiction
- C&R Press. Publisher of: Fiction, Nonfiction, and Poetry
- Catapult Books
- City Lights Publishers
- Coffee House Press.
- Enchanted Lion Books
Additional Publishing Models
A hybrid press or hybrid publisher is a publishing house that operates with a different revenue model than traditional publishing while keeping the rest of the practices of publishing the same. To be a hybrid publisher, a company must uphold longstanding publishing industry standards and best practices. This model usually requires the author to contribute financially.
Most offer packages to choose from with differing levels of author/marketing support and distribution. Do your research and talk to other writers that have gone this route for their feedback. Atmosphere Press is an established hybrid publisher.
Self-publishing is the publication of media by its author without the involvement of an established publisher. The term usually refers to written media, such as books and magazines, either as an e-book or as a physical copy using POD technology.
Self publishing has lost a bit of its negative stigma, but it’s still a cautionary tale. Authors retain all of their rights, and have total control of the book from cover design to marketing. To self-publish a book and have it wind up on book shelves is a hard proposition. Business people and public speakers do well with self-publishing as a result of back of the room sales at seminars or conferences. Self publishers have to pay for distribution, warehousing, shipping, editing, marketing, and public relations. So, it gets pricey.
Vanity press publishing, also called subsidy publishing, differs from self–publishing in that the author assumes all the risk and pays the publisher for everything. The editing, formatting, cover design, and even marketing the book are paid for by the author through the various packages offered when an author signs up.
With vanity publishing, authors pay to have their books published. Because authors are paying to have their book published, there is little to no editing. It results in books with grammatical and typographical errors to name a few. Some authors have been scammed out of thousands of dollars with little legal recourse.
Do your research.
With the exception of vanity or subsidy presses, decide which avenue you’d like to travel for your journey to publishing. Talk to fellow writers/authors who have been published traditionally, with a hybrid, or as a self-publisher. They will provide you with the pros and cons of each.
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This post is a part of a series on publishing and writing. The next post will focus on literary agents, query letters, and representation..