Self Publishing Guide
Every writer has a voice that they long to be heard. It is just a matter of getting that voice out to the public by way of the book. Unfortunately, the big publishing houses will very rarely take a book by an unknown author. Most of them do not accept unsoliticted manuscripts at all and most will only deal with literary agents.
Literary agents do not usually accept manuscripts from an unknown writer, either. They look for books from someone who has a proven track record and will make them money. Agents usually have a law degree and act as a lawyer on behalf of their clients. Like most lawyers, they do not like to work for free unless they feel that there is something in it for them.
When you have finished writing your book or manuscript, you’re only over half of the hurdle. Choosing among the best publishing companies is your next step in ensuring that your story and your message will get read by the audience whom you want to share it with. If you should be very lucky (or brilliant) your manuscript could get accepted by several publishing companies. How then would you know which house to go for? Or if you are still wrapping up your book, which publishing companies should your eyes be on? Here are some guidelines to picking out the best publishing companies, regardless of what kind of book you are writing at the moment.
Know Your Genre
One reason why there are so many publishing companies is because each one of them wants to specialize on a particular genre or subject category. Some houses specialize in fiction and novels, some companies publish only academic or research-based works, and still others specialize in autobiographies, theological works, and so on. The best publishing companies would actually be those who already have a well-edited list of published titles in your genre, because it means that they focus on quality distribution rather than simply having a long list of titles. It doesn’t necessarily have to be the biggest or the oldest publishing house. It would be more advantageous for your part to choose a house that is already familiar with the book you are writing, because your target market would already familiar with your publishing company.
First time self publishers often seem to get hung up on what book cover they need for their first book. In almost every case we hear first time self publishers who want their books to be published in hardcover. That is, until they hear the price. Hardcover books are great, they are the premium of the book world, they last forever, look great and ooze quality - but - they are expensive. If you are a self publisher and you are paying the bill and a batch of say only 500 books is costing you say $20 each (plus shipping) you can easily be starting off with a bill of $10,000.00 No small sum to get started.
Hardcover versus Softcover
Compare that to a minimum book order of soft cover books, same size same quality, with a color cover, but now we can print a minimum of only 25 books, and now the price is only $5.00 per book for a total price of only $125.00 Now doesn't that sound a bit more comfortable. Thats the kind of issues we see on a daily basis. What I tell first time self publishers is this. Before you invest $10,000 in a book that you don't even know how well it is going to sell, first try out a few books in softcover to see how they go ... then, if they sell like crazy and you really want to make the investment, go for the hard cover books.
In the process of getting books created for our clients, the topic of manuscript editing comes up frequently. We often get asked the question, is the software that is available for editing manuscripts any good? Our answer is this, on the whole most is pretty good but like anything thing, some are good, some are not so good. Then we get asked the question is the editing book software as good as a person editing? Again, our response is, well, it depends on who the “person” is that is editing. We have seen some pretty horrific editing jobs come through from people who supposed to be “editors”, so it can work both ways.
Let’s take a moment to look at software based editing tools. First of all, there are not all that many to choose from, so that helps to make our decisions and evaluations less complicated. In many instances the issue is not how well editing book software works, the issue is about the author, such as, are they a competent a writer? Let me explain. We frequently are contacted by individuals who have tremendous content for books, these are very bright, talented people but their writing skills are not such that this information can be easily put into book form. Some of these people are those who use English as a second language or who, when they grew up were not exposed to some of the rigours of using the English language. They have a great story to tell but their writing skills and ideas need more work to get it into an understandable state.
For anyone who has some art and photography skills, now is their time to shine. As a long- time dedicated photographer and someone who grew up in the Kodachrome, darkrooms and processing labs era, photography today is wildly different and exciting.
It wasn't that many years ago that photo book printing was highly complex and enormously expensive. Today, with digital everything, extraordinary images are possible and you don't even have to go into the darkroom to make them. Even better, you can fairly easily have your own photo book printed to show off your prowess as a photographer and skilled artist.
Admittedly it is still somewhat pricey to create and have your own photo books printed, but like any similar endeavour, you need to make the best of your experience and your investment. More than many other types of self published books, those wanting to publish their own photo books need to have a clear vision of why they are producing a photo book and what they will be doing with it.