In psychological terms, context is almost everything. Much as we like to think that we know how we will act and react in a given situation, without the richness of...
So, having written my book, and to be honest a question I pondered whilst I was writing it, how should I try and get it published. I say ‘try’ because we’ve all heard stories about people trying to find an established publisher only to discover that they receive a billion manuscripts a day and only think about looking at a couple; OK a mild exaggeration, but no doubt it’s a tough route to go.
What are the options?
Self-publishing sounds like one option, but in fact it covers a multitude of possibilities (and let me say right now that I’m no expert on any of them). These range from essentially paying a company to publish your work for you to sending it to an on-line company who do nothing more than print one off (or send it electronically) when a request arrives.
Paying to be published strikes me as a risky route to go. You have no way to know how effective the support you’ll receive will be, and with the publisher earning all their revenue from your business with them (rather than from the sales of the book) they don’t have a compelling need to market it aggressively on your behalf.
The print on demand type services are an interesting way to go. My friend Jay Wright wrote a book on Guitar Acquisition Syndrome and lodged it with Lulu.com. He’s sold several thousand around the world through his own marketing efforts, through guitar shows, guitar stores and EBay. With a print on demand service there’s no major risk; you can order a large number of copies to get the average cost down slightly, but you can order small numbers too.
Self-publishing offers the attractive potential of receiving a higher profit per sale. With no publisher’s profit to consider the sales model is a very simple function of volume and price. What’s more, the print quality is excellent and you don’t have to fight with anyone about pricing, marketing, the cover design or anything else!
With so many advantages to the self-published route why look for a publisher?
I think there are several potential advantages:
- It’s easy to look at publishers as the enemy, but they should be the people with the knowledge and expertise to help make the most of your (and their) product.
- Being master of your own destiny is all well and good, but if you respect someone else’s opinion having someone care about your all the elements of your book should help make it better, not worse.
- Publishing works like an implicit endorsement; yes, there are many lousy books that have been published, but nevertheless anyone can self-publish. At least a published book has found one person who thinks enough of it to bring it to the book-buying market.
Downsides? Not finding a publisher who wants your book is probably the biggest! And once you have one they may suggest changes you don’t agree with, fleece you with a contract that is unfair, not lift a finger to market your work, and probably a thousand other things I’ve yet to encounter!
I’ve decided to try and get a publisher for my book. I want the expertise, I want someone to help make my book as good as it can be and I think that the added endorsement will enhance its status.
But I know finding a publisher won’t be easy. I’m willing to be persistent. But it’s a big publishing world, how the heck do you decide where to start?
I’ll discuss that next time, when a big stroke of luck shines a bright light on the murky world of publishing!