Dr. Spock, I need answers!

You have written your book. Yay! Your baby is here and you want to show the world! You want the best for your labor of love (yes, pun I do) but you are so proud and excited you hardly have time to think. You bundle your precious cargo up and head out. Where do you go? Family and friends certainly. But is it too early to be out and about? Has little baby had time to get ready for the outing? What should you be concerned about? Are you really ready? Dr. Spockkkkk!!!!!

Your book needs special consideration too. It needs to be primped and patted and readied for its first outing. In particular this is so very important for the new author. Your book is essentially your debutante ball. Your introduction into the author and reader world. People will make impressions about you based on your first baby that will affect their decisions in the future. You need to learn the route and all the possible roads to presenting your baby to the public.

It is a long list and requires some dedicated investigation. But this is your baby you are talking about. It may have been 9 months in the making but once out in the world it will have a life of its own. You need to prepare it for that.

Where do you start? Many answers can be found for that question but perhaps your first step should not actually be a step. You need to sit still and learn about the world you are about to enter. There a books written that can be read, websites to peruse and groups to join that can help you understand the publishing process.

Every author has different needs when it comes time to get their book published. Every author has a different ability to come up with cash to do that. You can say every author can do it themselves but that is not reality. It takes a certain skill set or contacts/friends who will donate their services to get it done properly with nominal cost. If the author has a huge budget it can all be paid services and then they can self publish. However, unless they take the time to learn the various steps and requirements and research service providers carefully they can end up paying much more than necessary, and sometimes with poor quality results. Or they can research and find someone to manage that selection of service providers. Not every author wants to select them or is capable of learning what they need to know to self publish a quality book. Some prefer to keep writing and have no desire to deal with anything past that point.

  • Take some time to sort out the terminology. There are some groups on LI (LinkedIn) that run or have run through them all at one time or other. New authors will find the time they spend seeking these posts out beneficial.
  • Figure out your needs. Then you have options.
  • You can figure out and list the services you need and secure them yourself informedly. If it is just not your forte, you can hire┬ásomeone to walk you through things or manage the process for you.
  • How will you or will you pay for services? Barter with skills you may have. Negotiate and then pay for services. Hire a Publishing Service Company to do it for you. There are those that offer specific services like editing or book design or file conversions. Some offer complete packages. (Beware, many do not include editing in packages.) Know what you are and are not getting from any given provider. (What kind of editing? Which files? Print, ebook only?) Seek out a publisher and get a contract to publish your book. There are small legitimate ones as well as major ones. (Still, know what you are getting!) If you are capable, secure the software needed and do the parts of the publishing process you are able to do yourself and just hire the services you can’t or shouldn’t do yourself (Doing the final edit on your own book can be full of hazards.)

Most companies that operate in the publishing arena are not inherently evil. They usually specify their terms and offerings. They provide contracts for you to read. They often have sales staff that will do what they need to secure a sale. Unfortunately that can sometimes mean providing vague answers to the potential client. It is YOUR duty to get clear answers IN WRITING. Any company that balks, the smart author walks. If you can’t understand a contract, hire someone to do that for you and lay out the main facts and hidden exclusions. That doesn’t necessarily mean paying for a lawyer. It may look complicated, but the legalese just makes it hard to read, not impossible.

Research. Research. Research. Yes, you have spent a lot of time and effort to get to this point. Writing, rewriting. You are anxious to see your baby in print and to have people read it. But this is not the time to stop your efforts or rush the process in your zeal to get to the end. This is just a different job to do. Equally as important as writing your book. Not only is your first baby’s future at stake, but every one after will depend on what you do at this stage.

Now, put your baby down and start planning their future.

Next: (much sooner than this post, I promise)
Baby Steps-What Do I Need To Know To Plan My Baby’s Future?

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