Options for Publishing Your Book

Whenever I’m approaching the end of a book edit, most of my clients begin thinking about the next step. So, what are the options for publishing your book?

All that hard work…

That precious manuscript of yours that took you months, maybe years, to write, has now been professionally edited. You’re ready to look into what to do next.

This blog does not pretend to go into all the possible publishing options that exist. Nor is it a comprehensive go-to of publishing. The purpose of the blog is to give you a boost in the right direction so you can begin thinking about those next steps, and what option suits you and your book best.

e-book or print book?

This is your first consideration. How do you know whether it’s better to produce your book as an e-book or a print book?

Clearly, there are no printing costs associated with producing an e-book. Also, you don’t have to consider book storage as you do when producing a print book, a factor many first-time authors overlook. Do you have storage space in your home for 100+ books?

photo of books on bookshelves for post options for publishing your book

Where will you store your books?

Type of book

The type of book you have written may determine whether it will sell better as an e-book or a print book. For example, a coffee table style book, while expensive to produce, is designed to be picked up and looked at, rather than read on a device. It all comes down to preference as to whether users want to read a book on a device, or in traditional paper format. As an example, my daughter has written and published several plant-based cookbooks, in both print and e-book formats. She has received positive feedback on both styles. Check out her books here: The Hippie Cook Cookbook.

Audience

If the potential audience of your book is not tech-savvy, you are likely to sell more copies of a print book. Nevertheless, with so many people joining the digital age regardless of stage of life, the tech-savvy population is on the increase and this may not be such a big consideration.

Options for publishing your book: Should I try mainstream or subsidy publishing, a literary agent, or self-publishing?

photo of signposts indicating confusion for post options for publishing your book

This is the next big consideration: deciding whether to make submissions to publishers and literary agents, to contact a subsidy publisher and try for a publishing contract, or to self-publish your book.

Mainstream publishers

The first thing you need to know about publishing with a mainstream publisher is that they call the shots. You don’t just walk into a publishing company office with your manuscript proudly tucked under your arm and ask for the editor. Neither can you get the name of the submissions editor and address a personal request to them.

(That is, unless you know someone who knows someone and can get an introduction to the submissions editor in the publishing house. But even that, of course, is no guarantee. They have to approve your book, and it has to fit with their current publishing list.)

You must join the ranks of all those other author hopefuls and follow the publishing house online submission guidelines – to the letter – to stand any chance of your manuscript even being read. And that’s only when they are accepting unsolicited manuscripts. An unsolicited manuscript is yours and mine: the publisher hasn’t asked to see it; you are essentially cold-calling them with your manuscript.

The times that a publisher accepts unsolicited manuscripts may change. There are currently four mainstream publishers in Australia accepting unsolicited manuscripts. You will find them by clicking on this link (they are listed towards the end of that blog). Also, there are usually specific days, with a cutoff time, that they accept these manuscripts,

(For help doing publisher submissions, click here.)

Subsidy publishers

With subsidy publishing, the author contributes to the cost of producing the book (the publishing costs), and the publisher assumes responsibility for editing the book and for all aspects of producing the book. They also have channels for distributing the book. A reliable and ethical subsidy publisher is worth gold.

Literary agents

Literary agents work in a similar way to publishing houses. They accept certain types of manuscripts only, and like publishers, may only accept unsolicited manuscripts at certain times. Some may not accept unsolicited manuscripts at all. Please click here to find two links to Australian literary agents.

(For help making submissions to literary agents, click here.)

Vanity publishers

I have one word to say if you are considering a vanity publisher: DON’T. To read a sage article on why to avoid vanity publishing, click on the following link that ends in the word ‘beware’ to see what the Australian Society of Authors (ASA) has to say.

Self-publishing

The stigma of the self-published author has disappeared, and it is possible to be very successful indeed in promoting and selling your book. I have a client in Baltimore who, in September 2018 alone, sold 7,000 copies of her book Sidelined: The Penalty on Amazon! Check out this amazing lady who works full time yet has now written and published two books: Bianca Williams Books.

What a self-publisher isn’t

Let’s start with what self-publishing isn’t! Many organisations provide author services. They are not self-publishers. 

What is self-publishing?

The reflexive ‘self’ in the word means that you, the author, are also the publisher of your own book. You write the book, and you publish it.

This means that you buy the ISBN and the barcode for your book, and register it with the national and state libraries (the latter is free in Australia). You also need to have a typesetter lay out your book and design a cover. You are in full control of how your book looks (within the limits of what is possible), and are responsible for distribution and promotion. You can set and control the price of your book. If you list your book on major databases such as Amazon, however, you lose control of the pricing but gain a worldwide audience.

If you would like to self-publish, you may be interested in seeking help from WriteDesign Publications

Options for publishing your book: Promoting and distributing your book

Promoting and distributing books, including via your own website and social media, is a whole topic on its own, which I plan to discuss in the future. Watch this space!


Hopefully, you are now a little more informed than at the beginning of this article ‘Options for publishing your book.’


Please contact me for more in-depth information and pricing for any of the following services:


Gail Tagarro Author