You’ve written your content and are now ready to have the rest of the world read it. What should you do next? Traditionally, the next step to getting your work out there is to find a publisher that will be willing to publish your manuscript.
This step is extremely challenging as most big publishing companies wouldn’t give just any manuscript the time of day unless it was endorsed to them by an agent. Most publishing companies cater to the more established writers because they know that the risk of the book flopping is smaller with these bigger names.
Luckily, this is no longer the only route a writer can take to get a book published. You, as a writer, can publish your book without the help of a publisher. So, if your question is, “Can anyone publish a book?” This article will help you. And yes, the answer is that anyone can now publish a book. The solution is self-publishing.
Self-Publishing A Book: Do It Yourself!
Self-publishing is the process by which the author takes responsibility for the publication of his or her work without any involvement from a publisher. Self-publishing can refer not just to books, but all types of written media like comics or magazines.
This term also covers the publishing of ebooks or as a POD or print-on-demand physical copy. It can also refer to zines, brochures, pamphlets, albums, etc. Today, even web fiction is seen as a major medium for self-publishing.
So you see, not only can anybody publish a book, but they can also publish any type of written content AND get it in front of people all around the world. The only limit is your imagination.
Different Publishing Options
If you have a book idea or have already written your manuscript, you have a couple of different options to get it turned into a final product. You can go down the self-publishing route mentioned above or you can try your hand at the traditional publishing route.
The main difference between self-publication and the traditional model of publication is the entity that bears the risk and costs of publication. All these are shouldered by the author. All the duties involved with finalizing the book are also done by the content owner. This could include getting an artist for the book cover or hiring an editor.
While it may have been looked down on several years ago, self-publication is now a huge industry. In fact, it has grown to become the first choice of authors when it comes to getting their work out. It is a $1 billion market that is highly competitive.
Self-Publishing Has Its Advantages And Disadvantages
We have compared the pros and cons of self-publishing and traditional publishing here.
Main Advantages Of Self-Publishing
However, in short, the main advantage of self-publishing your work is that your book gets published much faster than when you go down the traditional route. If you decide to self-publish, it could take as little as a few days to a couple of weeks to get your book in front of an audience!
Of course, it would depend on how ready your manuscript is for publishing. But you don’t need to wait for it to be picked up by a publisher, have to send any query letters to agents, or wait to be approved by a board. You are in complete control of your work and can get it out there as soon as you want to.
Another advantage has to do with creative control. With traditional publishing, the publisher has a say in everything, even your picture for the book jacket. If you choose to self-publish, you have complete control over everything. You can opt to hire a professional editor or make your book cover if you choose.
Editing is a breeze since you won’t be printing copies in advance. This is advantageous if your book cover is not attracting enough attention or if you spot an error in your work. You don’t have to go through dozens of editors to make the changes.
Another factor that you can look at as an advantage is that your book has a longer shelf life. Since huge publishing companies handle numerous authors at a time, your book will eventually be removed from the shelves to make way for new works. If you decide to self-publish, you can highlight that book for years.
Finally, self-publishing comes with risks, but it also poses higher rewards. The authors are responsible for shouldering all the costs of getting their book published, but they also get one hundred percent of the royalties. This means that they get everything should the book become a bestseller.
Some disadvantages of taking the self-publishing route:
The downside of self-publishing is that because anyone can now publish a book, the amount of available content has increased dramatically. This makes it harder for readers to find your book since they have to weed through a lot of subpar content to find the good stuff.
Additionally, because you are shouldering all the risks and costs, there is also a greater chance that you will not make any money from your book. But then again, this is also true for traditional publishing and nothing guarantees a traditionally published book will do well. In either case, it takes a lot of hard work to market and ensure your book's success.
This includes working with the digital retailer and marketing the book. Marketing content is time-consuming and some of the tasks you can expect to do yourself or with a small team are:
- maintain a blog
- build a mailing list
- ask for reviews
- social media marketing
- interacting with fans,
- and so much more.
While some authors welcome this, it can take a lot of time that could go into working on your next book!
Additionally, being associated with a huge publishing house gives the author extra visibility and prestige. The publisher already has the system and the contacts needed to promote new titles. If the author wished to do a bookstore reading or a fan signing, it would only take the publisher’s staff a few calls to make it happen.
If you decide to hire a person to take on these duties, the salary would be coming out of your own pockets. This cost, along with the rest of the professional fees for getting the books out will be shouldered solely by the author. This problem is not encountered by writers working with a publisher since it is the publishing company that pays all the fees.
This means that the pressure of earning from the book sales is bigger. If the author only sells a few units, he would not be able to recuperate his investment. And this is the truth for many authors. If you check the different retailers, you would find thousands of titles that were bought only a few times, probably by the friends and family of the author.
What Is the Cost of Self-Publishing Your Book?
The cost of getting your book published will depend on many factors including the length of the work and the total production costs. It can set an author back around $2000 up to $4000 per title. This covers professional cover design, editing, interior formatting, and marketing.
The cost of professional editing makes up the bulk of this cost. Editors charge anywhere from $2000 to $3000 to work on a 60,000-word book. This includes analyzing the manuscript, fact-checking, copy editing, and proofreading. Some editors also provide commercial viability reports to give you an idea of how readers will accept your work.
Cover design is the next element that affects the cost of the book. Professional designers charge around $300 to $750 for a book cover. Obviously, the more intricate the design, the higher the cost will be. To cut back on cost, some designers work with stock images rather than coming up with new art.
If you want to hire somebody to take care of book formatting, this would set you back another $250 or more. You can do away with this by using a book editor app if your work is composed mostly of words. However, if you are planning to publish a cookbook or an educational book packed with graphics, you might need to hire a professional.
How to Self-Publish Your Work?
If you’ve decided that the pros of self-publishing outshine the cons, then the next step for you is to work on publishing your book. You could even go one step further and start your own book publishing company!
Once you are done with the manuscript, the next part would be editing and proofreading the content. You can do this yourself or get another person to do it for you. Hiring an editor is ideal to get an unbiased opinion.
While the editing is being done, you can get started on designing the book cover and formatting the interior of the book. Again, hiring an artist is ideal but if the cost is too much, you can also do it yourself. There are numerous graphic design platforms that you can use to come up with a book cover.
Designing the interior of our book may not sound important, but it is highly necessary to give your work a professional look. Typesetting has numerous rules to follow. This ensures that your work is readable and pleasant to the eyes. Check out other similar titles to get an idea of how the other authors handled their content and cover.
Next, you will need to decide whether you want to see your book actually printed or solely released as an ebook. Most authors go for publishing through Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing. This platform makes it so easy for authors to upload and list their books for free. It also lets the reader buy copies of the title in ebook or printed form.
With print-on-demand, the author doesn’t need to get the book printed in advance, risking paying for hundreds of copies that may not be bought. Once a reader orders a printed copy of the work, the service provider makes an individual copy. The cost per printed book is higher but is still preferred by self-publishing writers.
Once the book is ready for listing on the retailer’s platform, you will need to work on marketing it. Know that the success of your work hinges on the first few weeks after it is launched. To ensure high visibility, solicit reviews and get people talking about your work. You can send out advance copies of your work to reputable reviewers.
Keep your fans updated by posting teasers and announcements on your social media accounts. Plan to hold promos like giving out discounts for a certain period. Give online readings and fan meets to keep the interest up. The more units you sell in the first weeks, the more visible your book will be on the retailer platform.