There are so many steps in the publishing process. Each one I walk through with you will help you learn or decide something…but until you reach the end you will not have the information to complete your plan. At this point you will be thinking about your book publishing budget or lack of one. You will be beginning to understand the truth about your very close relationship with your baby and how it is both a blessing and a stumbling block toward its growth. That big sigh of relief upon completing your book has been replaced with…what? Dread? Excitement? Confusion? Determination?
Let me just make you a list. The processes a book needs to pass through before it can be published. Give you a little glimpse into your baby’s future.
- It has to be written.
- It needs to be beta read. (by friends, family, groups)
- It needs to be edited again by you.
- It needs to be formally edited.
- Front, back and cover matter needs to be written. (Dedication, Acknowledgements, Author Bio, Back cover blurb for the paperback and subsequent book description.
- It needs to be formatted for the paperback edition. (Known as book designing)
- It needs to be formatted for the ebook edition.
- A publishing file for each needs to be prepared. This is also know as ebook conversion for the ebook version.
- Book cover designs
- Publishing files of the covers need to be created.
- You need to start, if you haven’t been doing this already, thinking how you will publicize your book.
- You need an author’s Facebook page or possibly a website.
This is not an exhaustive list, but it will begin to help you understand the complexities of publishing.
Each part of this process can mean money spent or processes learned, depending on your situation. Everything except the professional editing you can learn to do yourself to some degree or other depending on your skills and talent. The reality is that you need to figure out what you can and want to do yourself and which ones you will be hiring/bartering out to others.
Let me clear up a few more bits of terminology.
Self publishing: This term is bandied about in all types of contexts. Put simply, self publishing is handling all the steps necessary to publication of a book. So in effect you are the book’s manager. You can contract needed services, do processes yourself or contract or hire someone to manage the process for you. However you get to the end, a self publisher will end up setting up accounts with online book retailers and uploading content to those accounts. They will provide these retailers with information on how to make payment of royalties for sales, in other words, bank account details. You will receive royalty report directly and manage all communications from retailers, fans, etc. After publication you will manage (contract services or self promote) promotion of your book. You will also manage any tax obligations.
The pros and cons: You have complete control. You have complete responsibility. There is a rather large learning curve. You need to vet service providers. You retain all royalties from sales minus retail commission. You need to invest time you could be spending writing. You need to reply to fan comments and email.
Publishing or Author Service Company: This is a business that provides services an author needs to publish a book. Whether you are self publishing and looking for specific services or looking for someone to do it all, you will be engaging with one of these more than likely. (At the least an editing service as it is not recommended you edit your own work completely.)
There are people available to do any single service you may need or those offering packages including several or all of the services needed. My biggest piece of advice here is to be provided in writing exactly what the service(s) being sold includes. Reading post after post from authors saying, “I thought…”, or “They said…”, should clearly tell you that this is the biggest hurdle you will face-vetting a service provider. Due diligence and reading the fine PRINT, not phone conversations, is the only way to accomplish this when securing services yourself.
Again, depending on the money, time, skills and learning you want to invest, there are innumerable paths and combinations to your end goal. So let’s walk a few…
Scenario: You have a lot of skilled and talented friends and are no novice yourself with technology or perhaps administration. So you garner support and either pay, barter or secure without cost some of the services needed to publish. You get the edit, and an illustration for the book covers. You research. You discover that Createspace has interior book templates and cover templates for the paperback editions. You obtain them and because of your personal knowledge of using word or InDesign, you are able to create the properly formatted interior file for your book’s paperback edition. Then you tackle the book cover with equal success. At this point, your technical skill is exhausted so you engage someone to properly format and convert to obtain the ebook files. You set up accounts with the three or four or five major online book retailers. You then research again to learn their programs and rules. Or, perhaps you decide to throw your eggs all in one basket and up for one exclusive outlet.
Next you set up all the other promotional accounts: Facebook, author central, Goodreads, website, … Knowing you must maintain them and post content. You have everything sorted, post your book files, send off tweets, posts, blogs, and your life as a self published author begins.
Scenario: You want control of your sales reports, managing your book prices and the like, but have no desire to really be involved in the process of getting there. You could learn some of the skills for some of the steps but you really want to start on that next book in the series that is nagging at you or that next book idea that has captured your fancy. You decided long ago you don’t want to do the Big Publisher Dance of learning how to submit manuscripts, find an agent. Do you have money to pay for services knowing it can be thousands? Can you find a small independent publisher interested? You decide to invest in your book. It won’t be the last and you want to get on with it. You decide to hire someone to manage it all for you. You contract a book publishing manager. This might be a small publisher or an independent book manager. You discuss services needed, decide on a budget and after contract, they go to work and you get back to writing, stopping occasionally to view and possibly approve something or other from your publishing manager. When the process is complete, your book manager assists you in opening various accounts so your book can be self published by them. Then you change the passwords and your book is for sale. You, in the meantime are well on your way to a second book.
Or: you decide to buy a publishing package from an author services company. What does that include and where will it leave you? Will you get files you can upload for sale and are confident you can navigate that process of opening accounts with retailers? Have you fully understood what is included and what services you will need to secure and purchase on your own? Will that package make you an ongoing client and not a self published author, paying a portion of your royalties to them in addition to paying for services? Remaining under contract for how long? Being sent reports and royalties how often?
Scenario: You have no such thing as a book publishing budget. You could run the gauntlet through the Big Publisher submissions. You could enter various book writing contests to secure the win of a publishing contract. You can seek out a small publisher that, while not paying any advance, do pay higher royalties than the major publishers. The contracts may be longer than the pay for services options. They won’t be getting paid up front. They only get paid through sales. They do exist. Research to find them.
As you may have gathered, this blog isn’t designed to directly teach you to self publish or to suggest or endorsing any particular service providers. Except WoolysWagon, which is inherent in this being WoolysWagon ePublishing’s blog. It is to inform you on the process in general. It is also designed to clarify the responsibilities of an author and the publishing process as a whole.
Next: I need help with my baby! Where and how do I find it?