Writing a book is one thing; getting it published is another. Authors have so many book publishing options available today, they can easily make a choice that they will regret afterwards. Before deciding how to publish the book, an author must understand what each option offers.
Digital technology and the internet are changing the landscape. Separation between publishing, distribution, and sales activities is blurring. Amazon.com launched the transformation by being a book retailer that branched out into printing, traditional publishing, and self-publishing services.
Traditional Publishing Option
If you want to try the traditional publishing route, you usually have to go through a literary agent. However, some publishers are now accepting un-agented submissions at specified periods during the year. Traditional publishers invest in editorial, copyediting, design, printing, marketing and sales. Authors generally get an advance from the publisher.
The biggest disadvantage of the traditional route is that getting an agent is not easy, and there is no assurance a publisher will purchase the manuscript. If you are an author who thinks traditional publishers will not be interested in your book, you can use a subsidy publisher, self-publish directly, or use an assisted self-publishing or done-for-you publishing service.
A subsidy publisher requires authors to pay for publication costs and distributes books under its imprint. An author is paid royalties, but ownership passes to the subsidy publisher.
Self-publishing involves paying for design, editing, and printing and being responsible for sales and marketing. There are fewer limitations or restrictions as the writer controls editing, length, layout, and design of the book. Writers can revise as they please. Authors can upload work on Amazon for free, but they will need to make potential readers aware of it.
Assisted Self-Publishing Service
Assisted self-publishing means the writer has the support of a team of experienced professionals with a book coach and a virtual author’s assistant being key members of the team. Visit AuthorsAssistants.com to explore this option.
Done-for-You Publishing Service
This option provides a combination of services. An e-book can be sold on the author’s website, through ClickBank, or through Kindle after setting up a KDP account. Authors can also sell via iBooks or Kobo. However, using iBooks, KDP or Kobo requires obtaining an ISBN number for the book.
For a paperback book at reasonable cost and an Amazon.com listing, CreateSpace, an Amazon subsidiary, is the way to go. Lulu.com also offers good value. Be aware that bookstores will not stock books from CreateSpace. For bookstore distribution, Lightning Source and Ingram Spark offer optimal value.
Publishing involves pitfalls the writer must research. The easiest options also have limitations. The writer must make the cost benefit decision. However, keep in mind that an e-book can later be picked up by a major publisher if it generates enough interest.