Aspiring authors have more choices than ever when it comes to how to publish a book but where do you look for book publishing help? It used to be that the only way to publish a book was to sell your idea to one of a handful of large publishing companies. While these traditional publishers are still going strong, an ever-larger share of the book market is now occupied by self-publishers, who do much of the work of publishing themselves, retaining control of artistic and publishing decisions as well as royalties. Now, a third, middle-ground option is available for authors, called hybrid-publishing, ideally offering the best of both worlds between traditional and self-publishing.
Finding Book Publishing Help
How do you find book publishing help to decide which path is right for you? Your decision will depend on a number of factors, including your goals as an author, and your experience and expertise in areas such as design, promotion, editing, and distribution. Beyond the simple pros and cons of self-publishing and traditional publishing, the decision will depend on the specific situation for an author at a given time. There is no single answer for everyone. Here are a few considerations when making your decision on how to publish a book.
1. Is traditional publishing your ultimate goal?
Many authors eventually envision their book published by a traditional, large publisher. Besides the symbolic prestige of being published this way, some goals can only be achieved through the painstaking, and often long process of shopping your book around to large publishers.
If you want to see your book widely distributed, available in bookstores all over the country, traditional publishing is probably the way to go, according to columnist, blogger, and publishing expert Jane Friedman. Self-publishers will rely primarily on online retailers such as Amazon to sell beyond local and regional markets. This is not a bad thing, but some authors seek the traditional sense of success that comes with seeing hard copies of your book available in bookstores everywhere.
If you are aiming for attention from major media outlets, such as a spot on the New York Times bestseller list, traditional publishing provides a much clearer path forward. While self-publishers may appear on the New York Times ebook bestseller list, and on Amazon lists, it may be tougher to receive traditional media coverage as a self-publisher.
Certain genres and types of books have well-developed digital markets already in place – but many do not. In these areas, traditionally publishers have retained their key role for these communities of readers. Children’s books are one example of this. Librarians and teachers often use traditional avenues, such as reviews and trade publications, to choose books for children.
Some authors may prefer the book publishing help that comes from working with traditional publishers, who will provide many of the services that self-publishers must figure out for themselves.
Whatever your reason, if you want to be traditionally published, set that as your goal and stick to it. Do not self-publish, figuring you can use it to gain a traditional publishing deal later on. Agents and publishers very rarely take interest in works that have already been self-published. If this is your goal, exhaust all of your options shopping around to traditional publishers before considering self-publishing.
2. Are you ready to self-publish?
Traditional publishing has its downsides. The process of getting an agent and shopping your book around can take years, and once you have a publishing deal, it may be years still until your book hits shelves. Once they have their final product ready, self-publishers can publish a book on Amazon in a matter of hours, and start seeing returns within 60 days.
Royalty rates can range between 7 and 25 percent for traditionally published books, and that money can take long periods of time to actually reach you. While they may have to invest more money themselves, self-publishers have control of most or all of the money earned by their book.
For authors with less traditional goals, such as those who may be supplementing or promoting a business, self-publishing might be the right choice.
While traditional publishers will make many of the decisions when It comes to things like illustrations, editorial choices, and cover design, self-publishing can also offer full control over every creative decision. Of course, another way to look at this is that self-publishers must be ready to make these decisions, and do this work on their own with less book publishing help.
For true self-publishers, everything from editing to cover design to marketing to distribution is in the hands of the author. Few if any authors will actually have expertise in many of these areas. For a final product that can compete with traditional published works, you will be investing in your own work, to hire top-notch professionals in areas you aren’t prepared to handle yourself.
This brings us to hybrid publishing.
3. Are you interested in a middle ground?
Following the last decade of rising success for self-publishers, a middle-ground is rapidly emerging, providing authors with the best of both worlds for publishing a book. This is a great option for authors who do not feel the need to traditionally publish, but who may lack the time and broad expertise necessary to find success self-publishing.
In hybrid publishing, a company may offer authors in-house experience, expertise, and book publishing help, for an up-front fee. Some of these services are available to any author who is motivated and able to pay the fee. Other hybrid publishing may require an investment from the author, but would provide editorial input, and may screen submissions based on their quality. Ultimately, the term can refer to a range of options on the spectrum between traditional and true self-publishing.
Authors will likely retain most of their royalties, and will keep more creative control, while gaining access to a team of experts and years of experience. While it may lack the prestige of traditional publishing, and may still involve some degree of a screening process unlike self-publishing, in many other ways hybrid publishing is the perfect answer for authors who want the best of both worlds.
Ultimately, the right choice will depend on your skills and experience, as well as your goal for your work. In any case, there are more options now than ever before for authors seeking to publish a book.