Becoming a best-selling author takes a few leaps to get right. After many hours of writing your completed book, you’ll want to see it go places. You’ve worked hard, but it may be time to take the next step, leaving you to wonder how you go about publishing a book.
To get your book published, you’ll either need to self-publish or use the traditional method of going through a publisher. You’ll need to prepare your writing, title, and cover. You’ll also need to get your book reviewed before following the self-publishing or traditional process.
Publishing your writing is no easy feat, nor is it plain. To help your reach your author dreams, we’ll guide you through your publishing options, how to prepare for publishing, and how to follow self-publishing and traditional publishing routes.
The Different Ways To Publish Your Book
If you’ve written your book, a huge congratulations is due to you! To get the ball rolling in the publishing procedure, you’ll need to polish a few things to meet publishing standards. It will take time and money, but it is one of the most rewarding adventures.
Self-publishing is growing in popularity for many reasons. Independently publishing your book allows you complete control over the process and is a quicker complete timeline than going through a large agency. Doing everything on your own is more profitable, as publishing houses take a large percentage of profits.
Traditional publishing methods include hiring an agent, which can be hard to come by, and having your book evaluated ten times over by many people on the publisher’s council before acceptance.
Small press publishers are easier to weave through and offer great success stories – and movie adaptations like Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. The smaller press allows you to work with the publishing process, but more prominent agencies take over most of the publishing work.
Big publishing houses, known as the “Big 5,” include names like HarperCollins and Penguin Books. The benefits of both small and large publishers are that your book is guaranteed publicity, and it will see the shelves of bookstores.
Preparing Your Book
Once your book is written, it’s time to get into the nitty-gritty. Preparing for publishing can take a long time, so patience is due for the operation. It would be best to go over some of these processes again before your book is reader-worthy.
Book preparation takes some teamwork. Hiring people to help you out will only benefit you and save plenty of time and struggle. Other people’s perspectives can make your work golden, and it assists you in laying down the groundwork before going public.
Edit, And Edit Again
From agents to the public, many people will read your book before it reaches the end goal, so you’ll want to filter out any mistakes in your writing. You’ll get to know your book well, so buckle up! You can also hire someone to proofread and guide you.
Read through all your chapters, and you’ll find where you want to tweak the plot and characters. You’ll want to remove parts that don’t serve a purpose in your story and focus on building your chapters coherently.
To make your book enticing, you’ll need to:
- Limit using passive voice
- Use fewer adverbs in your dialog sentences
- Eliminate vague dialect (words such as ‘literally,’ ‘a little,’ ‘might,’ ‘some’)
- Remove clichés
- Ensure your writing doesn’t overcomplicate the sentence
Running your book through an AI checker like Grammarly helps you identify where you’ve missed spelling mistakes, sentence structure issues, punctuation, and many other language errors. Once you’ve run the book through AI, you’ll need to reread it to ensure everything makes sense.
After reading your book, give yourself a week before reading and editing it again, as you won’t believe what fresh eyes allow you to see and improve. You can also read it aloud to see if your writing makes sense to your ears, as the script can look different from how it sounds.
A book editing checklist includes the following:
- Ensuring the plot makes sense
- Ensuring the characters are well rounded
- Take out parts that don’t add to the story
- Make sure chapters build up correctly
- Edit sentences that use passive voice, excessive adverbs, vague dialect, and cliché writing
- Run through an AI checker
- Reread after the Ai checker and changes
- Read your book aloud
Format Your Book
Once you’re satisfied with editing the writing side of things, you’ll need to make it look prim and proper. Many people were born to format books, so hiring someone frees this step for you. You can find editors on Upwork, Fiverr, or Liber Writer to align your text for self-publishing or agent manuscripts.
If your wallet says no, endless resources online guide you on formatting according to fiction, non-fiction, poetry, and others. You can also learn to optimize your book to suit kindles, Amazon books, and manuscripts for publishing houses.
If you’re self-publishing, you’ll want to include your book cover in the formatted document, as this will be the final version you upload to self-publishing platforms. Ensure to research your chosen media to optimize correctly.
For the traditional route, this will be the manuscript you send to agents, and it needs to adhere to standard formats for easy readability. Agents will further guide you on any corrections you need to make to your manuscript.
Give Your Book The Perfect Title
Your book title might have been the first thing you thought of, but after a lengthy writing and editing process, there might be better fits. Giving a title is best to name after the editing process because the many changes could have given you new and better ideas.
Your book’s title needs to fascinate the reader, and a slight vagueness piques the curiosity. Make sure the name isn’t too similar to another title, as that could make readers think that they’ve read it before, or you might run into copywriting issues. Shorter titles are your best bet to make the most impact, and nowadays, most bestsellers use one to three-word titles.
Keeping your title simple is a necessity. If it’s too complex, abstract, or punny, it might go right over potential buyers’ heads into the dust of a non-sale. Non-fiction titles work well if they fill a person’s need, like ‘Foolproof Weight Loss.’ Fiction titles also benefit from straightforwardness.
You can come up with a few book titles and have a poll to see which one works best. Ask friends, family, and your socials which catches their interest most to stay to the ways of marketing research. If you’re going through an agent, they’ll also have great advice for you.
Design A Catchy Book Cover
Despite popular belief, people do judge books by their covers. Flashing a well-designed book to a reader grabs their interest and makes them want to know more, especially if they’re scrolling through Amazon to find a new one. Remember that if you’re printing your book, you’ll need a spine and back cover design too.
The book cover should visually explain what your writing has worked hard to portray. Gather inspiration from themes in your book or things you’d like to give your readers a hint about. You can look for images on Pinterest to inspire you.
You can look at other books in your genre to get clues on the standard. Once you’ve gathered a few visual ideas, you can start formulating the cover. Ensure the design is clear and well thought out according to design principles like color theory, balance, and contrast.
If designing the cover seems intimidating, or someone could better conceptualize your ideas, plenty of graphic designers out there would love to take on the project. You can brief the artist on your thoughts, like color schemes and the themes of your book, so they can create the cover of your dreams.
Find Third-Party Feedback
Your friends and family would love to read what you’ve spent so much time on! They are a great start to finding out what the public might think of your story, and they may even have fantastic ideas to add or questions that need answers.
After you get feedback from your first readers, you can edit according to suggestions if you see fit. You can ask your friends and family specific questions to optimize your writing, such as: What would you change and why? Do you like the characters, and for what reason? Is there anything you’re confused about?
To broaden the scope, you can find other people to read your draft through social media and websites, known as beta readers. Once you’ve published the book, giving your beta readers a free copy is best practice, as you don’t usually pay them.
You can make an anonymous questionnaire on Google detailing questions about your book so that everyone who has read it can offer valuable feedback. The questions can be about the plot, characters, chapter development, writing style, and anything you feel would contribute to bettering your writing.
After you’ve edited the book using the feedback, you’ll want to go through the process again with the same people and new people. You can repeat the feedback procedure as much as you like but remember that not everyone will get what you’re trying to portray, and that’s fine as long as some people do.
Self-publishing is entirely rewarding, and not just for the profits, but for the hard work and collaboration that goes into it. Some people feel that independent publishing doesn’t count as much as winning over a publishing house, but that’s not true – self-publishing is just as honorable.
You’ll need to work extra hard if you independently publish because publicity gets gained on your own. You’ll need to determine what platforms you’ll use to sell your book and optimize it for them. There are four different self-publishing models to follow. A tried-and-true recipe is to self-publish and sell eBooks on multiple platforms in conjunction with a POD.
The self-publishing models include:
1. Print on demand (POD) – you can find websites where your book will be printed and sold as a hard copy once someone has purchased it. You can do this with Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP).
2. Vanity Publisher – A company where you pay to print your books and sell them on your own. They don’t edit, proofread, or market. They print your book, and you make all profit.
3. Subsidy Publisher – A publishing company that shares the cost of editing, distribution, and marketing, but they own the books and pay you royalties.
4. Self-Publishing – You manage all aspects of printing, publishing, and marketing and sell on your desired platforms.
Price Your Book
Pricing your book will depend on your choice of the self-publishing model. You aim to make a profit, so if you’ve used a vanity publisher, you’ll divide the cost of editing, printing, and marketing by the number of books you have and add your profit margin.
Kindle Direct Publishing as a POD doesn’t cost you any startup, and you make a commission on every book sold. All you need to do is load your finalized PDF to become an author! You’ll need to drive your marketing to make money. Amazon will tell you the cost of printing your book, and you can price it higher.
If you’re planning on selling eBooks only, Kindle Direct Publishing through Amazon is the easiest, most convenient path. You make between 35% to 70% of every book sold, depending on if you opt for the KDP Select option. You’ll need to price it so that Amazon can add their discounted launch price to drive sales.
Use Amazon’s KDP
Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing is easy to use. They will outline what your document needs to become a sellable eBook. They will give your book an ISBN and optimize it for kindle readers. KDP has many authors’ success stories, and you can use kindle book-promoting websites like GorillaHub to drive sales.
Kindle Direct Publishing Select allows you a higher royalty pay-out, and Amazon will promote your book too. Using KDP select means that your book has to be exclusive to Amazon but do your research to see if it suits you.
You’ll need to create an account and follow the website’s easy-to-use interface to set up your book and paperback. To optimize sales, you need to fill in the description, categories section, and the age range of your prospective readers. Amazon even offers a pre-order function to create a marketing campaign before your book is released.
You can branch out and use other eBook publishing platforms like Apple. Still, as a beginner publisher, Amazon’s services work wonders and keep your efforts focused on one platform, making it simple and more manageable.
Market Your Book
If you’re an independent publisher, marketing will need to be your second passion next to writing to rake in sales. You can outsource marketing if you wish, but you’ll save money if you figure it out yourself.
The initial launch of your Amazon KDP published book sets the pace for the rest of your sales. You can make the book accessible for a day or two to get downloads, boosting the algorithm and raising your Amazon ranking.
You can reach out to social media influencers and give them a free copy to review so they can tell their followers about it – social media influencers are there for a reason! Don’t forget to maintain your socials. You can use paid ads to promote your book and gain a larger following.
You’ll benefit greatly from running a website for your book, and you can add yourself as an Amazon affiliate so that when people purchase, you gain profit from being an affiliate. Running a blog also helps promote your writing.
Traditional Publishing Process
The traditional publishing method takes care of many things, like editing, cover design, marketing, and other background work. Getting through to an agent may prove challenging, but the rewards are sweet.
Traditional publishers require many documents and extras that you’ll need to put together to get signed. You’ll need to set up a synopsis, book proposal, and a query letter and send all these documents to your agent once you find one.
Your agent will do a lot of the work, so you’ll need to prepare appropriately to maintain a professional status through the prospecting process for a publisher. You’ll also need to research the publishers’ requirements you plan on prospecting.
Put Together A Book Proposal
To publish traditionally, you’ll need to pitch your book to agents and publishing houses, and you’ll do so with a proposal letter. Your proposal letter is a business plan that covers your book’s ins and outs, from the target market to the marketing plan.
Getting the proposal right can be tricky, so look for online resources to guide you. Once you’ve found a literary agent, they can help you optimize your book proposal.
Your book proposal letter must include the following:
- Information on the book’s outline
- Your Target Audience
- Marketing Plan
- Your publishing history
- Past book sales
- Chapters samples
Write A Query Letter
Query letters are of utmost importance when you’re on the traditional route. You send query letters to literary agents to introduce your book to them to see if they will be interested in representing your book and finding publishers.
Query letters should greet each agent you email personally and start with a hook that entices the agent to want more of your writing. The hook is a short paragraph of your book and should represent your book’s concept, convincing the agent that it stands out from the rest.
You should follow the hook with a synopsis explaining the plot, primary characters, and themes that make up your story. It would be best if you also pitched your writing backgrounds, such as workshops attended and writing awards. You can bring that up if you have a decent social media presence too!
Get A Literary Agent
Literary agents are a traditional publisher’s must-have so you can get through to the agent’s contacts in the publishing industry. When you seek a literary agent, you should ensure they work with your book genre, or you’ll be wasting time.
Literary agents are a traditional publisher’s must-have so you can get through to the agent’s contacts in the publishing industry. You’ll be almost completely lost without the proper guidance of an agent. When you seek a literary agent, you should ensure they work with your book genre, or you’ll be wasting time.
To find a reputable agent, you must research them before reaching out. You can find one on websites like Query Tracker or through agencies. You also need to be wary of con artists that pretend to be literary agents. Agents will never ask you to pay them to read a manuscript.
When your prospect for an agent, it is standard to send many emails and face many rejections. Some literary agents have a backed-up inbox, and it can take months for them to get to your email. Patience and persistence will eventually lead you to your agent.
Once an agent responds to your query letter, they’ll ask for your manuscript, which you should send through promptly, and if they like it, they’ll let you know. Before signing any contract, you should meet with the agent in person or via video call to gauge their personality and see if they are the right one. You can also ask the agent to share client contacts so you can ask them questions about their experience with them.
Why You Need An Agent
Agents protect you from publishing houses exploiting you. Literary agents are master negotiators and will get you the best publishing deal possible. They do take 15% of the profit, but you will make more money in the end.
Agents understand the market and can guide you through every step, from editing to signing a publishing deal. Agents have their contacts to place your book in front of a publishing audience, which you would have otherwise struggled to get right. They are well worth the profit share.
It will plenty of time and effort to publish your book, no matter which route you take. Preparing your manuscript or final book draft is the key to successful sales and finding a literary agent. Self-publishing is the modern way to go about things and brings you the most profit. Traditional publishing saves you from out-of-pocket costs and complex publishing processes.