Goldielocks and the Three Publishers
Across the globe, creativity and self-expression have surged forth in the form of fine writers and storytellers via the internet. You may currently be reading this blog with your own published book in hand. If so, send me a link so I may read it. More likely, you may be sitting there with a nearly completed manuscript wondering, “How should I go about publishing this?”
One of the first twilight dreams of an author is being published through a big name publishing company such as Penguin, Random House, Hachette Livre, or HarperCollins.
The thought of having your book picked up by a big-name publisher leads to grandiose ideas of fame, fortune, and champagne bottles spilling over silk carpets in a room full of joyful people. But let us break down the logistics. If you’re picked up by a publisher, your book will be taken under the literary microscope, giving it the necessary developments that are sought after in the market. The publisher begins with perfecting the piece with the help of skilled editors. Once thoroughly edited, the publishing team develops compelling press releases in order to drive successful sales.
You may be thinking, “Great! Give me an email address so I can send my book in!”
Major publishing companies will not accept unsolicited work. Therefore, the first thing you must do is to find a literary agent. An agent represents you, and their job is to sell your book to the publisher who offers the highest bid. If a publisher loves your work, they will often offer an advance. Let’s pretend you’re offered a modest, $30,000 advance. That would be distributed to you in chunks over the next few years. The agent fee comes out to about 15% of the initial advance payment, as they are responsible for the sale. The more money the agent makes you, the more they receive. A good agent is worth their weight in gold but can be difficult to hook.
After the advance is paid in full, you would begin to collect royalties on your book, which usually averages 10% of each copy sold. If all goes well, the publisher, the agent, the reader, and you, will all be happy. Unfortunately, there are thousands of people trying the same thing, with the same few dozen publishers and a couple of hundred agents. We aren’t saying it can’t happen, it just takes time, tenacity, a bit of luck, an awesome query letter, and a great agent. And most importantly, your book needs to be excellent. This leads us to the next angst-ridden form of publishing: Self-Publishing.
Self-publishing is the rebel’s way of getting their work out to the world. There’s no waiting for publishers to accept your book and no need for an agent to woo the publishers. Except for retailer’s costs, you keep 100% of your profits and can have your book published whenever you’d like, just how it is. The downside to this approach is that your book will be published without the discerning eyes of a trained editor and you’ll need to develop your own press releases. If you are an editor, then skip ahead because you should already know your craft and have multiple sets of eyes to look over and perfect your book. If you are not an editor, read on.
You might have the next trend at your fingertips, but nothing sets apart the great writers from the subpar more than poor grammar and sentence structure. There’s a reason why most books include a list of people that authors are thankful for. It’s because these people were crucial to the publication, mostly by giving honest criticism before the book was released. In other words, they catch the embarrassing garbage that is lingering in the middle of your book before your audience does. When you self-publish, all of the spelling errors, grammatical mistakes, and run-on sentences are left there, often unbeknownst to you, for your consumers to find and complain about in Amazon and Google reviews. Don’t expect 5-star ratings when they are struggling to get through the first chapter. As a self-publisher, your ratings are your press. Although you will be collecting 100% of profit, nothing kills sales faster than a handful of poor ratings.
Let’s not forget the other elements that need addressing when you self-publish. You’ll need an attention-grabbing cover and a back cover copy that sings, letting your reader know why they must read your book. The interior needs a cohesive design, the typesetting should be set, and the book needs to be uploaded to Amazon KDP for Kindle and something like Ingram Spark for worldwide print distribution. Don’t forget you need at least one ISBN number and must attach a barcode so the world will know that this puppy is yours.
If the idea of publishing your book is becoming a daunting task, relax. There is a third method of publishing called Hybrid Publishing. When working with a Hybrid Publisher, such as Ghostwriters Network Publishing, you’ll work hand-in-hand with a team dedicated to helping you develop, edit, promote, and publish your novel. Ensuring the publication of your novel is something to be proud of. With a professional graphic artist and editor provided by the hybrid publishing company, you will have a cover that says, “Buy Me!”, a finely crafted back cover with a nice headshot and exceptional book description. All of the ISBN numbers and barcodes will be covered as well. Hybrid publishing takes the headache and hassle of dealing with Amazon and print distribution off your hands.
Your time is better spent writing your next book, so consider working with a reputable hybrid publisher. One of the best things about a hybrid publisher is that they will take zero royalties! They will also allow you to grow as a writer without the waiting game of traditional publishing or the brave leap of faith that is needed with self-publishing.
Flashback to the popping champagne bottle, silk carpet, and the gathering of thrilled friends!
The modern world of literature can be a dazzling but sometimes cut-throat place where results are needed and instant gratification is sought after. As a writer or storyteller, you need to determine which form of publishing will be best for you. Whether it be traditional, self or hybrid publishing, one thing is certain; you must find the one that is just right.
If you’d like to know more about how Ghostwriter’s Network Publishing works, write to me. I’d love to hear from you. We have a team of editors, graphic artists, and even ghostwriters ready to help you make your dream of being a published author a reality.
Katelyn M. Stewart is a freelance writer and frontperson for the indie/rock band, The Randys. She drinks coconut milk and Irish whiskey but never together. Reach out to her any of these social media platforms with questions concerning her work.