You’ve done it! You’ve finally finished your book. Congratulations! But now that you’re done, what’s next? You have some important decisions to make.
The first question to ask yourself: Do I want to self-publish, hybrid publish, or opt for traditional publishing?
Perhaps you made that decision at the beginning of your writing project and already know the answer, but if you need help, we are here to advise you, because it can be a grueling decision. We’ve worked with writers pursuing a variety of options, with varying goals, and we welcome the opportunity to help you find the right path.
When considering which publishing option to choose, here are some things to keep in mind:
Time – How quickly do you want to publish your book? Self-publishing is by far the fastest option, but there can be some disadvantages. We’ll help you avoid the pitfalls.
Control – Do you want control over the content of the book? The cover? We’ll let you guess which option gives the author greater control. However, self-publishing also means that you must hire an editor, a designer, a method of distribution, etc.
Should you have an agent? If your goal is to place your book with one of the Big Five publishers (Hachette, Penguin Random House, HarperCollins, Macmillan, and Simon & Schuster), then you’ll need an agent. The first step is the query letter. See the Query Letters and Book Proposals page for more information.
If you’re considering smaller independent presses, you may not need an agent. Many publishers today accept manuscripts directly from authors. There are great things happening in the indie press world, and you may find a smaller publisher suits your needs best. But there’s much to learn about how to submit, where to submit, and what to avoid.
Financial goals—These days, traditional publishers’ advances are shrinking, and yet royalty rates often have remained the same. You have more control over royalty percentages with a self-published or hybrid published book, but the trade-off is that you are also paying to have your book published and you won’t be receiving an advance.
Bookstore placement – Do you have your heart set on seeing your book on bookstore shelves? Know that it is much more difficult to find your book in a bookstore if it is self- or hybrid-published.
Marketing and promotion – No matter which publishing option you choose, know that you are expected to assist in the marketing of your book, again more so with a self-published book. But even with a traditionally published book, without your vigorous work, sales will be slim.
There’s more to each of these elements, and even more factors to consider, but these will get you started, especially if you have a conversation with us. Join us for our series Now That You’re Done, What’s Next? Coming soon in 2021. Visit our Workshops page to learn more.