Where to publish a book – cheap dissertation

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I Want to Publish My Book. Now What?

This post is for all those people out there who don’t know ANYTHING about the publishing industry.

This post is for people who write me and say:

  • I’ve been thinking of publishing a book. How do I do that?
  • I want to publish my book, but don’t know whether to go the traditional route or self-publishing route. Which is better?

This post is for everyone unable to form a more specific question than:

How do I get my book published?

1. Identify Your Genre or Category

Novelists and memoirists follow a different path to publication than nonfiction authors.

  • NOVELS & MEMOIRS. You must have a finished and polished manuscript before you even think about how to get published.
  • MOST NONFICTION. You must write a book proposal (basically like a business plan for your book) that will convince a publisher to contract and pay you to write the book.

If you’re writing a hybrid work (personal vignettes mixed with instruction, or a multi-genre work that includes essays, stories, and poetry), then you likely have an unmarketable book on your hands, and you should self-publish.

2. Understand the Technical Process

Getting published is a step-by-step process of:

  1. Researching the appropriate agents or publishers for your work. (Writer’s Market is a good starting resource for all genres.)
  2. Reading submission guidelines of agents and publishers.
  3. Sending a query, proposal, or submission package.

The query letter is the time-honored tool for writers seeking publication. A query letter is a sales letter that attempts to persuade an editor or agent to request a full manuscript or proposal. (See my favorite how-to post on novel queries by Marcus Sakey. And see this post on the basics of book proposals if you’re writing nonfiction.)

Important: Almost no agent or editor accepts full manuscripts on first contact. This is what “No unsolicited materials” means when you read submission guidelines.

However, almost every agent or publisher will accept a one-page query letter unless their guidelines state otherwise. (If they do not accept queries, that means they are a completely closed market, closed to new writers or submissions.)

Also important: Most major publishers will not accept unagented work.

This means many writers should query agents rather than publishers.

3. Seek an Agent If Needed

In today’s market, probably 80 percent of books that the New York publishing houses acquire are sold to them by agents. Agents are experts in the publishing industry. They have inside contacts with specific editors and know better than writers what editor or publisher would be most likely to buy a particular work.

Perhaps most important, agents negotiate the best deal for you, ensure you are paid accurately and fairly, and run interference when necessary between you and the publisher.

Traditionally, agents get paid only when they sell your work, and receive a 15% commission on everything you get paid (your advance and royalties). It is best to avoid agents who charge fees, though standards are changing.

So … do you need an agent?

It depends on what you’re selling. If you want to be published by one of the major Big Six houses (e.g., Penguin, HarperCollins, Simon & Schuster …), probably.

If you’re writing for a niche/specialized market, or have an academic/literary work, then you might not need one. Agents are motivated to take on clients based on the size of the advance they think they can get. If your project doesn’t command a sizable advance (at least 5 figures), then you may not be worth an agent’s time, and you’ll have to sell the project on your own.

4. Can’t I bypass this whole query/submission process? Isn’t it all about knowing someone?

5. Isn’t traditional publishing dead? Shouldn’t I self-publish?

Typically, writers who get frustrated by the endless process of submission and rejection often look to self-publishing for satisfaction. Why waste countless months or years trying to please this or that picky agent/editor when you can easily get your book available on Kindle (or as print-on-demand) at almost no cost to you?

Such options may afford you the ability to hold your book in your hands, but it will not get your book into stores or lead to many sales unless you’re willing to put significant and persistent effort into marketing and promotion. Most self-published authors find that selling their book (or finding distribution) is just as hard—if not harder than—finding a publisher or agent.

To the credit of many who self-publish, independent authors can be fiercely passionate about their work and their process, and much happier and satisfied going it alone. But those who succeed and profit often devote years of their life, if not their entire lives, to marketing and promoting their work, and have a flair for entrepreneurship. write business plan In short: It’s a ton of work, like starting a small business (if you do it right).

So, you can self-publish, but it all depends on your goals. Read more of my advice here:

10 Things Aspiring Authors Must Understand About the Publishing Industry

  1. Publishing is a business, just like Hollywood or Broadway. Publishers, editors, and agents support authors or projects that will make money and provide a good return on investment. It used to be that this return on investment could happen over a period of years or several books. Now, it needs to happen with one book and in less than one year.
  2. Professionalism and politeness go a long way toward covering up any amateur mistakes you might make along the way.
  3. Unless you live under a lucky star, you will get rejected again and again and again. The query and submission process takes enormous dedication and persistence. We’re talking about years of work. Novelists and memoirists often face the biggest battle—there’s enormous competition.
  4. Never call an agent or editor to query or ask questions (or just ch

at) if you are not a client or author. Never query by telephone—and I wouldn’t do it even if the guidelines recommend it. You’ll mess it up.

  • Agents and editors do not want you (a non-client or author) to visit them at their offices. Do not plan a visit to New York and go knocking on doors, and don’t ask an agent/editor for a lunch or coffee appointment if you don’t have a relationship already. If you’d like to interact with an agent or editor, attend a writers conference.
  • When working with a traditional publisher, you have to give up a lot of power and control. The publisher gets to decide the cover, the title, the design, the format, the price, etc. You have to go through rounds of revisions and will likely have to change things you don’t want to change. But you must approach the process like a professional, not a creative artist.
  • You must be an active marketer and promoter of your book. If you come to the table with media savvy or an established platform (audience or readership), you’ll have an easier time getting that first deal.
  • For nonfiction authors: Don’t go looking for a publishing deal because you’re looking for the authority or platform that a book can give you. Rather, you must already have the platform and authority, and thus be qualified to write a book. YOU bring the audience to the publisher, not the reverse.
  • If you write fiction or memoir, the writing quality matters above all else. Read, practice, and polish. Repeat this cycle endlessly. It’s not likely your first attempt will get published. It will likely be your second, third, or fourth attempt. Your writing gets better with practice and time. You mature and develop. If you write nonfiction, the marketability of your idea (and your platform) matter above all else. financial business plan The quality of the writing may only need to be serviceable, depending on the category we’re talking about. (Certainly there are higher demands for narrative nonfiction than prescriptive.)
  • Think beyond the book. A lot of writers have dreams of publishing a book because it’s a dream that’s embedded in our DNA from an early age. We are trained to believe that authors have some higher authority or credibility, and that we’ve really “arrived” once we deliver that book into the world. But there are ways to be more successful, and spread a message to even more people, that have nothing to do with authoring a book. Make sure that your goals are best served by the book format. Increasingly, in our digital age, a book is a poor option (or the final format) for your message or service.
  • For all you beginners out there: What other questions or issues would you like to see me cover?

    How to publish a book

    What do the different publishing routes involve?

    The difference between the various alternative routes of ‘getting your book out there’ can be as huge as the difference between doing a gig at your local pub and getting picked up by a massive record label. There can be good reasons to do both things, in fact, but you do need to know which is which.

    The traditional publishing route

    If you want to get your book published by a traditional route (like Ian McEwan’s Atonement, right), then:

    • you need to get your work accepted by a literary agent, because the big publishers only take submissions from literary agents. Info on how to get an agent can be found here. Once you have an agent, he or she will take care of selling your manuscript to big publisher. And that means .
    • you will get paid an upfront advance for your work. That advance might be as small as £1,000 but can run to well over £100,000 for work with superb commercial potential
    • the publisher will invest in editorial, copyediting, and design work. They’ll also invest in sales and marketing. A very small publisher might have a budget of £15,000 (excluding your advance), but a bigger publisher is likely to spend upwards of £50,000 on getting your book sold, and sold hard. You will not pay a penny towards these costs.
    • you should expect real national distribution for your book – that is: physical books in physical stores. The exact extent of that distribution will depend on what kind of book you’re writing (eg: a big crime bestseller or a niche non-fiction work) and much else, but it is a publisher’s job to get the fullest possible distribution for your physical product.
    • you may get some newspaper review coverage. But don’t count on much. The extent of that coverage has declined over the years and the simple fact is that most books never get reviewed.
    • And of course, any big publisher will also distribute your book through every digital platform (Amazon, iTunes, and so on). They will do what they can to promote it digitally as well as physically.
    • It’s not very likely that you’ll get a TV or movie deal, no matter what, but these things are more frequent for authors who travel the traditional route.

    The digital publishing route (aka, indie publishing, self-publishing)

    The biggest disadvantage of the traditional route is simply that it’s damn hard to get an agent to take your work on – and even then, you have no assurance of selling your manuscript to a publisher. The huge advantage of the e-reading revolution from an author’s point of view is that anyone can do it. Amazon charges nothing for you to upload your work and it can sell it worldwide – an astonishing change for would-be authors. (And no one was more astonished than EL James who started out as a purely digital author, before Random House helped turn her into the global phenomenon that she became.)

    If you want to publish your work digitally, you need to be aware that:

    • Amazon will not pay an advance
    • Your work will not appear in bookshops. It will almost certainly not receive review coverage from national newspapers.
    • You will still face some costs (for editorial and copyediting work; see more on this below.)
    • Amazon’s US store lists upwards of 5,000,000 e-books. Simply being one of that number does not mean that you will achieve meaningful sales. It’s perfectly possible to be ‘published’ but still largely without readers.
    • Nevertheless, you get access to a worldwide audience and, essentially, for free, or close to it. That’s an extraordinary liberation for countless authors and we at the Writers’ Workshop hugely welcome those new freedoms.

    To make this new market work for you, you will need to (a) have written a fantastic book (or, ideally, several) and (b) be committed to marketing and selling them. But if you tick those boxes, there is no reason why you should not do exceptionally well. The careers of authors such as Hugh Howey are notable examples of how well indie publishers can do.

    It’s also worth emphasising that although indie-published e-books account for about 1/3 of the total market, they account for a much larger share in some areas (eg: crime and romance) and a negligible share in others (eg: literary fiction.)

    If you do want to self-publish (and we are firm believers in the value of this route for many authors), then we urge you to read and follow the tips given in our massive guide on the subject. That guide basically details the steps you need to take to make a success of modern Amazon-driven self-pub.

    The old-fashioned self-publishing route

    These days, old-fashioned self-publishing has a lower profile than it used to (although Virginia Woolf did OK with it, once upon a time). If you want to publish independently in the hope of convincing regular publishers to take you on, then you want to publish digitally – it doesn’t really matter if you have hard copies or not.

    Self-publishing in this old-fashioned sense involves:

    • Paying someone to design and print your book.
    • A ‘large’ print run for this kind of title might be 500 copies
    • Most such books do not break even
    • You will be responsible for sales and marketing. You can list the books on Amazon, of course, but you still have to find a way to bring them to the attention of your potential readers.

    We also urge you to be careful of who you employ to work with you on a project of this kind. We think the whole group of brands listed under the Author Solutions umbrella are sleazy and immoral. We urge you to avoid them for these excellent reasons. If you do want to self-publish, we recommend Matador, because they’re good at what they do and they won’t lie to you.

    How to get a book published: the pros and cons of the different routes

    Traditional publishing should attract writers who:

    • have written novels or mainstream non-fiction (but see provisos below!)
    • do want an advance
    • do want the kudos of a traditional publishing contract
    • do want distribution through bookshops
    • do not want the hassle of looking after the sales & business side of things
    • don’t mind that things are slow (often 18 months from book deal to print)
    • don’t mind that publishers, not the writer, will control all key decisions

    If you have written general fiction, literary fiction, bookclub fiction – or any other slightly posher genre of novel – then really you have very little realistic alternative to the traditional route.

    Digital publishing should attract writers who:

    • haven’t succeeded in obtaining an agent, or who don’t want the hassle and uncertainty of that route
    • are writing in one of the digital-friendly genres, such as crime, romance, erotica, paranormal or YA fiction, or SF / fantasy / horror.
    • want the control
    • are entrepreneurial and confident marketers
    • are confident enough with computers that they can handle the various (easy) digital interfaces which they’ll have to navigate to be successful
    • don’t care about the various little perks of traditional publishing (bookstore distribution, newspaper reviews, the kudos, etc)

    Traditional print self-publishing should appeal to writers who:

    • want to distribute their book to family, friends and other networks they have direct access to (eg: regimental veterans, members of a national association etc.)
    • want to preserve their writing in an attractive, permanent physical form
    • don’t care about making money – and indeed, can afford to lose their upfront costs.

    If you have written a memoir, then we urge you to get it printed up. It will be a family jewel for years and decades to come. A pile of papers or a digital file doesn’t have even remotely the same permanence.

    Self-publishing Non-fiction

    If you have written a niche non-fiction book with a clear search-friendly appeal (eg: “All About Crochet”, or “How to Build, Repair and Maintain a Dry Stone Wall”), then it’s highly likely that even a capable ordinary publisher would achieve very few sales in bookshops, simply because there aren’t many stores which now stock the more esoteric titles.

    That means you are now better off self-publishing your book and gathering 100% of the net receipts from Amazon as opposed to the 25% or so that a regular publisher would offer. i want to write my will You will have some upfront costs (in terms of printing, design and editorial), but you won’t need to sell many copies to recoup those costs. Talk to a good self-publishing firm (like Matador) about the best way to approach the issue of design, print run, etc. Use your own contact and networks to get the book sold.

    Start Here: How to Get Your Book Published

    If you want to get your book published, you have more choices than ever to accomplish your goal, and the path can be confusing if you’re new to the publishing industry. This post lays out the process in the simplest terms possible.

    There are three primary paths to getting published:

    1. Land a traditional publisher who will offer you a book contract. This is “the dream” or what most writers imagine when they think about getting published.
    2. Hire a service to help you publish your book. There are many types of publishing services out there, some cheap and some expensive. But the main thing they have in common is that they charge you to publish.
    3. Self-publish. This is where you act as the publisher, and hire the help you need to publish and sell your work, generally through Amazon and other major retailers.

    This post focuses on getting a traditional publisher.

    In a traditional publishing arrangement, the publisher pays you for the right to publish your work. Traditional publishers assume all costs and pay you an advance and royalties. You must persuade them to accept your work by delivering an effective pitch or manuscript.

    4 steps to getting a book published

    Getting your book traditionally published is a step-by-step process of:

    1. Determining your genre or category of work.
    2. Finding appropriate agents or publishers for your work.
    3. Preparing your submissions materials (a query letter, usually).
    4. Submitting your materials to agents or editors.

    Step 1. Determine your work’s genre or category.

    Are you writing fiction or nonfiction? Novelists (fiction writers) follow a different path to publication than nonfiction authors.

    • Novels and memoirs: You must finish your manuscript before approaching editors/agents. You may be very excited about your story idea, or about having a partial manuscript, but it’s almost never a good idea to pitch your work to a publishing professional at such an early stage. Finish the work first—make it the best manuscript you possibly can. Seek out a writing critique group or mentor who can offer you constructive feedback, then revise your story. Be confident that you’re submitting your best work. One of the biggest mistakes new writers make is rushing to get published. In 99% of cases, there’s no reason to rush.
    • For most nonfiction: Rather than completing a manuscript, you should write a book proposal—like a business plan for your book—that will convince a publisher to contract and pay you to write the book. Find out more information on book proposals and how to write one. You need to methodically research the market for your idea before you begin to write the proposal. Find other titles that are competitive or comparable to your own; make sure that your book is unique, but also doesn’t break all the rules of the category it’s meant to succeed in.

    An overview of major fiction genres

    Some of the most common novel genres are: young adult, romance, erotica, women’s fiction, historical, mystery, crime, thriller, and science fiction & fantasy. Work that doesn’t fall into a clear-cut genre is sometimes called “mainstream fiction.” Literary fiction encompasses the classics you were taught in English literature, as well as contemporary fiction (e.g., Jonathan Franzen, Margaret Atwood, or Hillary Mantel).

    Publishers Weekly often tabulates sales of nonfiction categories, showing which areas are most popular and growing (or declining).

    Some of the most popular nonfiction categories are: business, self-help, health, and memoir. Within the publishing industry, nonfiction is often discussed as falling under two major, broad categories: prescriptive (how-to, informational, or educational) and narrative (memoir, narrative nonfiction, creative nonfiction). You can get a sense of what nonfiction categories exist by browsing Amazon’s categories (see their lefthand navigation) or simply visiting a bookstore.

    Some books are “big” books suitable for what’s known as the “Big Five” New York traditional publishers, while others are “quiet” books, suitable for mid-size and small presses. The most important thing to remember is that not every book is cut out to be published by a New York house, or represented by an agent, but most writers have a difficult time being honest with themselves about their work’s potential.

    Here are some rules of thumb about what types of books are suitable for a Big Five publisher:

    • Genre or commercial fiction: romance, erotica, mystery, crime, thriller, science fiction, fantasy, young adult
    • Nonfiction books that would get shelved in your average Barnes & Noble or indie bookstore—which requires a strong hook or concept and author platform. Usually a New York publisher won’t sign a nonfiction book unless they anticipate selling 10,000–20,000 copies.

    Works that can be difficult to sell:

    • Books that exceed 120,000 words, depending on genre
    • Poetry, short story, or essay collections–unless you’re a known writer, or have a platform
    • Nonfiction books by authors without expertise, authority, or visibility to the target audience
    • Memoirs with common story lines—such as the death of a loved one, mental illness, caring for aging parents—but no unique angle into the story (you haven’t sufficiently distinguished your experience—no hook)
    • Literary and experimental fiction

    These are the “Big Five” publishers in the United States, responsible for publishing the largest number of books for a general audience. You’ll need to find a literary agent if you want to be published by the Big Five.

    If you write fiction or memoir, the writing quality usually matters above all else if you want to be traditionally published. Read in your genre, practice your craft, and polish your work. Repeat this cycle endlessly. It’s not likely your first attempt will get published. Your writing gets better with practice and time. You mature and develop.

    If you write nonfiction, the marketability of your idea (and your platform) often matter as much as the writing, if not more so. The quality of the writing may only need to be serviceable, depending on the category we’re talking about.

    If your work isn’t a good candidate for a New York house, don’t despair. There are many mid-size houses, independent publishers, small presses, university presses, regional presses, and digital-only publishers who might be thrilled to have your work. You just need to find them. (See the next step.)

    Deciding If You Need an Agent

    In today’s market, probably 80 percent of books that the New York publishing houses acquire are sold to them by agents. Agents are experts in the publishing industry. They have inside contacts with specific editors and know better than writers what editor or publisher would be most likely to buy a particular work.

    Perhaps most important, agents negotiate the best deal for you, ensure you are paid accurately and fairly, and run interference when necessary between you and the publisher. The best agents are career advisers and managers.

    Traditionally, agents get paid only when they sell your work, and receive a 15% commission on everything you get paid (your advance and royalties). Avoid agents who charge fees.

    So … do you need an agent?

    It depends on what you’re selling. If you want to be published by one of the Big Five, most certainly.

    If you’re writing for a niche market (e.g., vintage automobiles), or have an academic or literary work, then you might not need one. Agents are motivated to represent clients based on the size of the advance they think they can get. If your project doesn’t command a sizable advance (at least 5 figures), then you may not be worth an agent’s time, and you’ll have to sell the project on your own.

    Step 2. Find publishers and agents.

    Once you know what you’re selling, it’s time to research which publishers or agents accept the type of work you’ve written. Again, be aware that most New York publishers do not accept unagented submissions—so this list includes where to find both publishers and agents. This is not an exhaustive list of where you can find listings, but a curated list assuming you want to focus on the highest-quality sources. Some writers really dislike conducting this research. business plan builder While I think writers should undertake this task for themselves, if you prefer to hire someone to find appropriate agents and publishers for you to submit to, try Grad Student Freelancers.

    • WritersMarket.com. Thousands of listings can be found here—it’s by far the best place to research book publishers. You’ll have to pay a modest monthly fee to access their database. You can also purchase the print edition, which comes with free access to the online database.
    • PublishersMarketplace.com. This is the best place to research literary agents; not only do many have member pages here, but you can search the publishing deals database by genre, category, and/or keyword to pinpoint the best agents for your work. Subscription required.
    • AgentQuery.com. About 1,000 agent listings and an excellent community/resource for any writer going through the query process. Free.
    • QueryTracker.net. About 200 publisher listings and 1,000 agent listings. Basic service is free.
    • Duotrope.com. Geared toward the literary market; very useful if you’re shopping around poetry, short stories, essays, or literary novels. Subscription required.

    Here’s an example of a deal report in Publishers Marketplace. It tells you the agent who represented the author, the editor/publisher who bought the book, and the working title.

    Step 3. Prepare your submission materials.

    Every agent and publisher has unique requirements for submitting materials. The most common materials you’ll be asked for:

    • Query letter. This is a 1-page pitch letter that gives a brief description of your work. (More on this below.)
    • Novel synopsis. This is a brief summary (usually no more than 1-2 pages) of your story, from beginning to end. It must reveal the ending. Here’s how to write a novel synopsis.
    • Nonfiction book proposal. These are complex documents, usually 20-30 pages in length, if not double that. For more explanation, see my comprehensive post.
    • Novel proposal. This usually refers to your query letter, a synopsis, and perhaps the first chapter. There is not an industry standard definition of what a “novel proposal” is.
    • Sample chapters. When sending sample chapters from your novel or memoir, start from the beginning of the manuscript. (Don’t select a middle chapter, even if you think it’s your best.) For nonfiction, usually any chapter is acceptable.

    The All-Important Query Letter

    The query letter is the time-honored tool for writers seeking publication. It’s essentially a sales letter that attempts to persuade an editor or agent to request a full manuscript or proposal.

    Here’s an example of a query letter for a novel.

    Step 4. Submit your materials.

    Almost no agent or editor accepts full manuscripts on first contact. This is what “No unsolicited materials” means when you read submission guidelines. However, almost every agent or publisher will accept a one-page query letter unless their guidelines state otherwise. (If they do not accept queries, that means they are a completely closed market.)

    After you send out queries, you’ll get a mix of responses, including:

    • No response at all, which is usually a rejection.
    • A request for a partial manuscript and possibly a synopsis.
    • A request for the full manuscript.

    If you receive no requests for the manuscript or book proposal, then there might be something wrong with your query. Here is how to improve your query letter.

    If you succeed in getting your material requested, but then get rejected, there may be a weakness in the manuscript or proposal.

    How Long Should You Keep Querying?

    Some authors are rejected hundreds of times (over a period of years) before they finally get an acceptance. If you put years of time and effort into a project, don’t abandon it too quickly. Look at the rejection slips for patterns about what’s not working. Rejections can be lessons to improve your writing.

    Ultimately, though, some manuscripts have to be put in the drawer because there is no market, or there isn’t a way to revise the work successfully. Most authors don’t sell their first manuscript, but their second or third (or fourth!).

    Protecting your rights

    You have nothing to fear in submitting your query or manuscript to an agent or publisher. If you’re worried about protecting your ideas, well, you’re out of luck—ideas can’t be protected under copyright, and no publisher or agent will sign a nondisclosure agreement or agree to talk with a paranoid writer who doesn’t trust them. (Just being blunt here.)

    If you’re worried about protecting your copyright, then I have good news: your work, under law, is protected from the moment you put it in tangible form. You can find out more about protecting your rights here.

    Do you have to “know someone”?

    No, but referrals, connections or communities can certainly help! See the related question below about conferences.

    The self-publishing option

    Typically, writers who get frustrated by the endless process of submission and rejection often look to self-publishing for satisfaction. Why waste countless months or years trying to please this or that picky agent/editor when you can easily get your book available on Kindle (or as print-on-demand) at almost no cost to you?

    Such options may afford you the ability to hold your book in your hands, but it rarely leads to your physical book reaching bookstore shelves—which ends up surprising authors who’ve been led to believe otherwise.

    Self-publishing requires significant and persistent effort into marketing and promotion, not to mention an entrepreneurial mindset. It usually takes a few books out on the market before you can really gain momentum, and most first-time authors don’t like to hear that—they’re not that committed to writing without an immediate payoff or some greater validation.

    Finally, most self-published authors find that selling their book is just as hard—if not harder than—finding a publisher or agent.

    That said, independent authors are fiercely passionate about their work and their process, and some are much happier and satisfied going it alone. But those who succeed and profit often devote years of their life, if not their entire lives, to marketing and promoting their work. In short: It’s a ton of work, like starting a small business (if you do it right).

    So, you can self-publish, but it all depends on your goals and what will satisfy you. To learn more: Start Here: How to Self-Publish Your Book.

    Posting your work online

    Many writers wonder if they’ll ruin their chances at traditional publication if they self-publish an ebook, use Wattpad, or put chapters on their website. In brief, no, you are not ruining your chances. Read more about this issue here.

    Navigating the publishing industry

    • Publishing is a business, just like Hollywood or Broadway. Publishers, editors, and agents support authors or projects that will make money and provide a good return on investment. It used to be that this return on investment could happen over a period of years or several books. Now, it needs to happen with one book and in less than one year.
    • Professionalism and politeness go a long way toward covering up any amateur mistakes you might make along the way.
    • Unless you live under a lucky star, you will get rejected again and again and again. The query and submission process takes enormous dedication and persistence. We’re talking about years of work. how to hire a ghostwriter Novelists and memoirists often face the biggest battle—there’s enormous competition.
    • Never call an agent or editor to query or ask questions (or just chat) if you are not a client or author. Never query by telephone—and I wouldn’t do it even if the guidelines recommend it. You’ll mess it up.
    • Agents and editors do not want you (a non-client or author) to visit them at their offices. Do not plan a visit to New York and go knocking on doors, and don’t ask an agent/editor for a lunch or coffee appointment if you don’t have a relationship already. If you’d like to interact with an agent or editor, attend a writers conference.
    • When working with a traditional publisher, you have to give up a lot of power and control. The publisher gets to decide the cover, the title, the design, the format, the price, etc. You have to go through rounds of revisions and will likely have to change things you don’t want to change. But you must approach the process like a professional, not a high-maintenance artiste.
    • You’ll be far more attractive to a publisher if they believe you’ll be an active marketer and promoter of your book. If you come to the table with media savvy or an established platform (audience or readership), you’ll have an easier time getting that first deal.
    • For nonfiction authors: Don’t go looking for a publishing deal because you need the authority or platform that a book can give you. Rather, you must already have the platform and authority, and thus be qualified to write a book. YOU bring the audience to the publisher, not the reverse.

    Why you should attend writing conferences

    Your education and insight into the industry will advance exponentially. You’ll gain an understanding that’s often impossible from just reading about it. You will meet agents and editors, and start to see them as real people. If you have an appointment or consultation with a publishing professional, it will shorten your path to publication. You can get the reasons, immediately, that an agent or editor may not be responding favorably to your work.

    Many writers are familiar with the reasons to attend conferences, but not all understand how to get more out of them. Here are 3 ways you can get the most out of your experience.

    • Select a conference where you can meet with a specific author, editor or agent who is absolutely ideal for your work (after lengthy and intensive research). Get a critique session or an appointment—but only if you feel like you’ve taken your work as far as you possibly can on your own. This is important.
    • During any formal appointments or critiques, plan to talk about 10-20% of the time. Before meeting, develop a specific list of questions that, if you had the answers, you would know specifically what your next steps are (for your project or your career) when you leave. Do not attend any appointment expecting to be offered a deal or representation. Go for the learning experience and the opportunity to have a professional consultation. That’s what it is.
    • Closely study the backgrounds/bios of every speaker, agent, and editor who is attending. Be knowledgeable for any chance conversations you have; having this knowledge will also spark questions you could ask during panels or social hours. Don’t be the person who asks the obvious question you could’ve figured out by paying attention to the program. Delve deeper. Make your questions count.

    When to hire professional help

    Should you hire a freelance editor to help improve your manuscript before submitting? There’s no one right answer for everyone, but I discuss considerations and guidelines here.

    Reasons you might fail to get published

    • You rush to submit your work before it’s ready. This is particularly true of writers who are dizzy with excitement after having just completed their very first book-length manuscript. But if you’ve just spent months (or years!) writing a manuscript, why rush it to an agent or editor, and why rush it to just ANY agent or editor? And why rush it if you’re new to the publishing business?
    • It’s tough to achieve objectivity. When you finish a significant manuscript or proposal that took a long time to complete, you need time away and distance to assess it without feeling attached. And especially if you’re trying to identify, from a market or commercial standpoint, why your work is appealing to agents or editors, a great amount of distance is required. self publish book This is my theory on why so many queries and proposals fail. The work itself may be outstanding, but the writer hasn’t achieved the necessary distance to either evaluate or communicate the commercial merit of her own work.
    • It’s tough to make progress without a mentor. A good critique partner can be invaluable to your growth as a writer. When you don’t have the time or willingness to take enough steps back from your work, or see its flaws, others can offer a really hard push.
    • It’s easy to take validation from family and friends as a sign you ought to write and publish. Has your family encouraged you? Have your friends told you that you’re a brilliant writer? Do your children love your stories? While you need support, you also need to ignore what these people are telling you. They’re not publishing professionals. You need to write because you can’t do anything else. Because you would suffer if you didn’t. Your motivation to write has to come from within. Don’t write (only) because you were given validation or permission by someone close to you. What you really need (require) is your own inner conviction.

    Also consider: What is your motivation for trying to get published? A little self-reflection might be in order before you chase after an agent or publisher. Read my post 3 Questions Every Creative Person Must Ask.

    Mostly what this game boils down to is patience. If you don’t have it, you will get frustrated and give up.

    If you’re looking for more in-depth guidance:

    How to Self Publish a Book in 2018

    Historically, if you wanted to publish a book, you needed an agent to get a traditional publisher to look at your manuscript. In fact, many publishing companies won’t even open a manuscript if it doesn’t come through an agent. What’s worse is that even if they do open it, it’s still unlikely that your book will be published and sold in bookstores!

    Is there a better method?

    Yes! In fact, there is another way for your book to not only be published, but to even become a bestseller! This method has led to the success of many authors, and is changing the book and traditional publishing industry.

    Personally speaking, I’ve self-published 6 bestselling non-fiction books on Amazon, sold tens of thousands of copies, and continue to collect thousands per month in royalty checks. The success of my books has been directly responsible for the strong performance of my business, which has grown to over 7 figures in less than 2 years.

    Five years ago, in order to achieve this level of publishing success, you would have needed to be extremely lucky to even land an agent who would attempt to find you a deal at one of the “Big 5” publishing houses.

    This is no longer the case. Not only do you no longer need one of the “Big 5” companies to publish your book, now self-published authors are actively turning down offers from publishing companies!

    So If you are trying to publish your book and are having no luck landing a publisher, self-publishing could be the best option for you.

    Because many writers get overwhelmed with the abundance of information about the self-publishing process, I’ve created a step-by-step comprehensive self-publishing guide that will walk you through on the beginning steps on how to write your book all the way to self-publishing it on Amazon’s Kindle (KDP) Network.

    This guide will cover:

    1. Deciding Why You Want to Write a Book
    2. Writing Your Book
    3. Getting Feedback on Your Book
    4. Choosing a Book Title
    5. Hiring a Great Book Editor
    6. Designing a Book Cover that Converts
    7. Creating Your Kindle Direct Publishing Account
    8. Formatting and Uploading your Book
    9. Self-Publishing Your Book
    10. Pricing Your Book
    11. Forming a Launch Team
    12. Maximizing Book Launch Exposure
    13. Celebrate!

    1. Deciding Why You Want To Write A Book

    What you need to decide first when self-publishing a book, is WHY you want to write a book. I encourage going through this brainstorming process as it’s the only way to ensure that you’re 100% committed to writing a book (and doing it for the right reasons).

    Here are some questions for you to consider:

    • Are you an entrepreneur or freelancer with a new business trying to get a leg up on your competition by publishing a book?
    • Do you want to leverage your skills and knowledge to become a paid speaker or coach?
    • Do you have a well established business and you want to write a book to diversify your income streams and land speaking engagements?
    • Or do you already have a successful story, and want to build an asset that will share the knowledge and skills you’ve gained over decades of experience?

    Action Plan: Come up with at least 10 valid reasons why you want to write a book. Use the questions above as a starting guide to brainstorm.

    2. Writing Your Book

    If you’ve ever tried to write a book, you might have had moments where you’ve stared at a blank page for hours with nothing to show for it Feeling frustrated, you resort to procrastinating and get nothing done! This is normal, writing a book is hard work.

    In order to start writing your book, you must develop a writing process.

    Here’s are some effective ways to develop the writing process:

    • Buy a calendar. The best way to have your book complete is to have a calendar that schedules your goals per day/week.
    • Create an outline. An outline is like a map of your book that provides direction to your story. It keeps you on track and ensures that your ideas are organized.
    • Develop a writing habit. Condition yourself to write at the same time every day. With this practice, it will soon become a habit that will make writing a book automatic.

    To learn more tips on how to write, here’s a tutorial video of the simple process I use to write over 1500 words per hour:

    Action Plan: Create a resistance plan! Figure out which methods best filter out negative noise to get you into the writing process.

    3. Getting Feedback on Your Book

    When writing your book, it’s important to get as much feedback as early in the process as possible. As writers, it’s all too easy to retreat into your cave for a long period of time, spend countless hours writing what you think is the perfect first draft, only to find that a) your draft doesn’t make sense to anyone else or b) no one else is as interested in the topic as you originally thought.

    Not only can a fresh set of eyes on your book help you catch typos and grammatical errors, but a new perspective can give you ideas for tightening up your story and making the theme more clear. Giving your book to one (or more) “beta readers” before giving it to an editor can also cut down on the time and cost of paying a professional editor.

    Action Plan: Reach out to a few friends who could provide good feedback, and ask them if they’ll be willing to read a chapter or two (or the whole book!) as you finish writing.

    4. Choosing a Book Title

    Contrary to popular belief, you should never decide on a book title until after you are done writing your first draft. This is because choosing a book title first often results in you “writing yourself into a corner” because you’re trying so hard to align your story to the title of the book instead of writing what needs to be written.

    Don’t make this more complicated than it needs to be.

    The key to choosing a perfect title is: the simpler the title, the better. As you’re brainstorming ideas, always remember to keep it simple. Your title should also be clear on what your readers will receive by reading your book because experts state that a clear promise or a guarantee of results will further intrigue your readers.

    Here are some questions to consider when creating your memorable title:

    • Is your title going to teach a high demand skill?
    • Can your title impact someone’s life?
    • Can your book solve a very difficult problem?

    Action Plan: Once you’ve narrowed down your book titles, send out an email to your friends and family or put a poll up to your audience asking what title they’d prefer. You could also ask a community of other authors what they think. To learn more about book titles, check out our article on Book Title Ideas.

    5. Hiring a Great Book Editor

    Hiring a great editor can mean the difference between writing a bestseller, or a mediocre book. Therefore, it’s important to take as much time as necessary on this stage of the process.

    To find an editor for your book, begin with your personal network. Do you personally know any English teachers or others in the editorial field? Start there. If you don’t, then do you know someone who knows an editor?

    If you don’t have any luck finding an editor within your personal network, don’t worry! Depending on your budget, you can either hire a professional book editor, or hire a more budget-friendly editor from Upwork. Self-Publishing School also has a Rolodex of approved and vetted book editors who all do a great job.

    No matter how you find your editor, make sure you’re a good fit before committing to the full book by paying them a small sum ($25 or so) to edit a few pages or a chapter of your book. Make sure the editor is interested in the subject matter, that they can get your whole book edited in 3.5 weeks or less including back-and-forth revisions, and that their edits are both accurate and make sense to you. If you don’t feel you’re a good fit following a sample edit, then let that $25 go, and find an editor that’s going to work out rather than sinking more money into a relationship that might be a mistake.

    Whatever you do, don’t give up during the editorial process! If one editor isn’t working out for you or meeting your needs, find another.

    Action Plan: Find a friend or professional editor who can make sure your book is error-free, and start working with them sooner rather than later!

    6. Designing a Book Cover that Converts

    When it comes to self-publishing, a high quality book cover is one of the most important elements that will get your book to convert into sales! The reason is because your cover design is what readers see first and will immediately determine whether they want to read your book or not.

    So you must make sure that it is created professionally and that it will stand apart from the rest of the books in your genre or category.

    You can find amazing book cover designers on freelancing sites such as:

    Prices will vary depending on what type of service you want, but the end result will be well worth the spend.

    Action Plan: Find a book designer with any of these sites and your book will stand apart from the rest of its competition!

    7. Creating Your Kindle Direct Publishing Account

    Amazon has a self-publishing service called Kindle Direct Publishing where you can create and manage your Kindle eBook, paperback, and audio books. You can even link it with CreateSpace to offer print books to your audience. It’s the best way to start selling books quickly, and I’ve used it for all my self-published books. I highly recommend it for all new self-publishers!

    Setting up your KDP account is very simple! Start by following these steps:

    1. Visit https://kdp.amazon.com and create an account with either your existing Amazon account or your email address.
    2. Next, you must complete your tax information. You will not be able to submit your published book if you do not complete this step.
    3. Once your tax information is complete, hit “Finished” and your account is complete!

    Action Plan: Follow these steps to create your KDP account! With this platform, you can publish your book within minutes and soon have it appear worldwide!

    8. Formatting Your Self-Published Book

    If you’re on a budget, there are plenty of resources online that can tell you how to format your book yourself for free. You can start by looking at Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) forums where there are plenty of discussions on book formatting. You can also use KDP’s free resources to help format your book. Formatting can be a frustrating experience for the uninitiated though, so if you have a few bucks to spare, you might consider paying someone to help you.

    Here are 5 book formatting mistakes to avoid.

    If you want to pay for formatting, Liber Writer is a low-cost, effective option for converting a Microsoft Word file to Amazon’s Kindle format. If $60 is too much, you can also find people on Fiverr to format your book for Kindle.

    Action Plan: Make sure your book is formatted properly by using the free online resource above, or hiring someone who can handle the formatting process for you.

    9. Self-Publishing Your Book

    When you feel confident your book is ready for the public, you can create a KDP account and upload your book.

    1. On the KDP mainpage, locate and click on “Your Bookshelf”.
    2. Locate and click on “Kindle eBook Actions”.
    3. Then, locate and click on “Edit eBook Content”.
    4. Finally, click on “Upload eBook Manuscript”, and upload your manuscript file from your computer.

    Amazon also allows you to select 7 keywords or keyword phrases to make sure your intended audience can find your book when searching on Amazon. It’s highly recommended you also select two different categories your book might fit into so you can reach a broader audience. To select keywords and categories, look at other best-selling books in your niche and notice what keywords and categories those authors chose.

    Once Amazon finishes uploading your file, a confirmation message will be sent and you can preview the uploaded file to check for any errors.

    Create your Amazon author central account after uploading your book. Include a bio, photo, and link to your website or blog to help you stand out among authors. After a few more steps, you’ll be ready to publish your book, at which time you’ll click “save & publish” in your KDP book dashboard.

    Afterwards, you should be ready to publish your book, at which you’ll click “save & publish” in the book editing screen!

    Action Plan: Follow these steps to upload your book. You are allowed to upload your manuscript as many times as you want with each upload overriding the previous.

    10. Pricing Your Book

    One of the most important decisions when it comes to self-publishing a book is how to price it. The most common question I get from new writers is, “How much should my book cost?”

    To answer this, my general rule of thumb is to have your book priced is between $2.99 to $5.99.

    To be more specific, when beginning a launch, I would begin by pricing the book at $0.99 for the launch period. help me write a thesis Then I would set the price to 2.99, and I would moderately increase the price by $1 every week and measure how well the new price performs. Once you see a sales dip, that will determine the exact price of your book that will guarantee book sales.

    Action Plan: Find the perfect price by using this strategy that will attract your readers and best drive long term success.

    11. Forming a Launch Team

    Your launch team is the group of people who are dedicated to helping make your book successful. should be a passionate group of individuals who are eager to make your book launch successful. Remember, one highly skilled team member is better than a group of mediocre ones!

    To find quality candidates, here’s an questionnaire you can use to assess applicants and see if they’re qualified to market your book:

    • Why do you want to support my book?
    • What goals are you trying to reach with this project?
    • How would you market this book?
    • Which influencers would you reach out to and why?

    Action Plan: Create an application with questions that align to your thought process. Try to be open-minded with those who think outside the box – they maybe the perfect candidates that can get your book to become a bestseller. To learn more about book marketing, check out our article on How to Skyrocket Sales of Your Book.

    12. Maximizing Book Launch Exposure

    As soon as your book goes live on Amazon, be sure to leverage your launch team and your audience to help you market your book! It may be odd to ask your fans for help, but your fans are there to support your project and want to see you succeed. You might be surprised how willing they’ll be to help you if you just ask!

    Here are some marketing initiatives you can assign your team and audience to do:

    • Share content from your book as blog posts across social media
    • Submit reviews on Amazon
    • Help build your book’s website
    • Reach out to influencers for a future guest post or podcast feature
    • Share a book review on their YouTube channel
    • Buy extra copies to gift their friends

    The additional exposure generated from your launch team and audience will help push your book up Amazon’s rankings, which will drive more sales!

    Action Step: Create your book marketing launch plan using these methods. Measure each of these methods to see which will best get your book in the hands of new readers and convert into sales.

    13. Celebrate! (Now, decide what’s next)

    Publishing a book is just the beginning. Depending on your goals for your book, self publishing can get you more customers, free publicity, and establish you as an expert in your niche. This can help you land speaking gigs and build a business within your area of expertise. Your book sales can also help fund your lifestyle with passive income.

    Dream big about what you want your book to do for you. When you have a vision for where you want your book to take you, it will be easier to take advantage of opportunities as they arise. Getting clear on what you want will also help you to be more effective when expanding your network along on your journey.

    So there you have it…that’s how to self publish a book. If self publishing a bestseller is something you want to do, and you’re serious about changing your life and your business for the better by getting your book out there in the world, then you need to watch this free 4 part video training series, where I walk through the exact steps I’ve taken to write, publish, and market 6 of my own best-selling books (and how I’ve helped 1,000’s of students do the same).

    Like what you read and want to learn more? We’re holding a FREE online workshop where Chandler is revealing the exact tactics and strategies he used to write and publish 6 bestselling books in a row… and use them to build a 7-figure business in less than 2 years. Click here to save your spot now!

    Chandler Bolt

    At Self-Publishing School, we help people write, market and publish their first bestselling book. We’ve worked with tons of entrepreneurs, speakers & coaches to help them get their book written, become a bestseller & use their book to grow their business.

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