Get your books Published Content
Get Your Books Published
Publish my book may sound easy at first for laypeople. But in fact, many individual steps must be taken before a book can be bought in a bookstore. First, the author should ask himself how the book should be published. An agency, a publishing house or self-publishing can be considered. I publish in self-publishing because it gives me a lot of creative freedom and it fits very well with my work. I use many different platforms for creation, publication, and marketing. In this series, I would like to introduce you to platforms that help you publish your books in self-publishing.
At one glaze — Publishing-Platforms presented on this Blog
How to Sell Big with:
- Publish Drive
- Findaway Voices
Since self-publishing might not be interesting for everyone, I would like to give you a short introduction to publishing books the classical way with an agency or a publishing house.
Publish my book: Publishing house, agency or self-publishing?
After a book has been written, an author is faced with the important question of how best to publish his or her book. Do I want to have my book published by an agency or publishing house, or do I publish my book in self-publishing?
If you are looking for a publisher, the first thing to do is to present your book to an agency. In general, agencies do not accept manuscripts that have already been rejected by various publishers. However, it is quite possible the other way round: publishers also accept books that have already been rejected by agencies. If I don’t find an agency that is interested in my books, I try the second step of going directly to a publisher.
If I can’t find an agency or a publisher, I can still publish my book in self-publishing.
Of course, it can also be decided from the beginning to publish the books in self-publishing. Many platforms for this will help you. On this blog, I will introduce you to different platforms, tools, and hacks on how you can successfully publish your books by yourself. I’m happy to help new authors to their first published book, but I’m sure, that even professionals don’t know all platforms and their possibilities and can get to know new ideas and platforms here.
Publishing through an agency
When I submit my book to an agency, they first check my book for its market potential. If the agency comes to a positive result, they sign the author. In the next step, the agency will look for a publisher to publish the book. Since agents often have good networks and contacts, the chances of finding the right publisher are good.
Respectable agencies only demand money from the author once the book has been signed with a suitable publisher. Usually, the agents then receive a success fee between 15–20%, which is linked to the income the publisher house pays to the author.
Many agencies are specialized in certain genres and would like to be offered the right manuscripts. Therefore, the author should first think about the genre under which he wants to publish his book. In concrete terms, this means that he or she researches on the Internet and on the agency’s website to see if the genre matches his or her manuscript.
Publish my book through a publisher
If I have already offered my manuscript to several agencies and they have not been interested in it, I can still contact a publisher house directly. Of course, before I contact the publisher house, I check if my manuscript fits into the portfolio of the publisher house since they also specialize in genres and sub-genres. Often thorough research on the publisher’s website or the old-fashioned walk to the bookstore to find out where the publisher specializes.
For a direct application to a publisher house, an author needs a lot of patience. Often it takes months before the author receives an answer to his manuscript. Cancellations often come in a standardized form and without a list of reasons for the rejection. A rejection does not necessarily speak for the quality of the book, but can also be based on internal decisions of the publishing house. For example, a book can be rejected if a publisher does not want to publish the book because it does not fit into the program thematically, the publisher already has another book on the same topic, the budget is too tight and many other reasons. Rejection is, therefore, no reason to be discouraged!
If big publishers have already rejected my book, it can make sense for me to look around for small publishers. These are often even more specialized in sub-genres, themes, regions or target groups. If I find a smaller publisher that fits my book exactly, I often have a better chance of being signed.
Good and bad experiences can be made in both small and large publishing houses. The way authors are dealt with depends on the editor and the corporate culture itself.
Publish my book in self-publishing
Self-publishing allows me to publish my book myself, without a publisher. For this I don’t even have to found a publishing house, I just have to find the right service provider. (On this blog you will find many great platforms that can help you a lot). Many well-known authors have published their books themselves before they were “discovered” by a publisher house. Of course, publisher houses are only interested in self-publishers whose books are doing well.
Therefore, self-publishers must be able to compete with books from publishers in terms of quality. To achieve this, it is especially important to be able to tell at a glance to which genre/sub-genre a book belongs, the title should sound crisp and good and a professionally designed cover is essential. If possible, the manuscript should also be of very good quality, ideally proofread by an editor.
What should not be forgotten is that self-publishers must also market their books themselves. As a rule of thumb, at least as much work is involved in marketing as in writing the manuscript.
Also for the marketing of self-publishing books, you will find more platforms and hacks on this blog, which hopefully will help you to get your books ahead. Who knows, maybe at some point publishers will come to you of their own accord to sign your books.
Printing cost subsidy publishers
Never use printing cost subsidy publishers. These only cost money and bring nothing at all. I recognize such a publisher by the fact that I, as an author, should pay a lot of money to have my manuscript printed. At the same time, the publisher tells me that the manuscript has been critically reviewed, where the publisher accepts all manuscripts and earns money from the authors.
How do I apply to an agency or publishing house?
Assumed you decided to apply to an agency or a publishing house, you need to know which stept syou have to take from now. For an complete application to an agency or a publishing house you need a cover letter, an exposé and a reading sample of your book. Never send unasked the full manuscript right away. Do some research, plan your approarch and convince.
The cover letter
If I am an unknown author with a finished manuscript and I contact an agency or publisher, I should never just send the finished manuscript. A successful first contact includes a cover letter, an exposé, and a reading sample. Similar to an application for a job.
Often the agency’s or publisher’s website will state in what form they would like to receive a book offer. Also, we often find a contact person or a direct addressee for our application. If the publisher receives many requests, often a length of the reading sample and the scope of the exposé is also specified. These specifications should be adhered to at all costs, otherwise, the publisher may put the manuscript away directly without taking another look at it.
The cover letter should state that I would like to offer my manuscript to the publisher and whether a contact has already been made before. It should not be explained how great others have already found the manuscript, this seems unprofessional and an expert will not be influenced by the opinion of others anyway.
An exposé should be appealing and entertaining and should awaken the reader’s desire for more. For many authors, writing an exposé is incredibly difficult: the entire story must be shortened to a few sentences. But it is worth it all.
A good exposé should contain the following building blocks:
- Author’s name and address
- The number of pages and characters (including spaces) of the entire manuscript
- The information on the genre of the book
- Precise data on the course/time of action (e.g. which epoch)
- If the book is part of a series or a single title
- A short portrait of the main characters (no more than 2–3 sentences per character)
- A short summary of the story (5–10 sentences)
- A longer summary of the story (about 2–3 pages)
The entire exposé is on average three to five pages long. The short summary should be written like the blurb in a book. The long summary should also contain a conclusion and give a rough overview of the writing style.
The reading sample
To show an agency or a publishing house how the book was written, a reading sample is needed. This should be between 15 and 30 pages long. Many authors choose a reading sample from the first chapter, as this is a good introduction to the topic. However, this is not necessary.
After an initial letter has been sent to an agency or publisher and has been convincing, the manuscript can be asked for in a second step.
The manuscript, as well as the reading sample, must be properly formatted. This means more precisely:
- The entire text is formatted in standard pages (30 lines with 60 characters each)
- The beginning of a chapter is marked by a number, letter or heading
- Each scene begins with a blank line
- Dialogs are marked with quotation marks and stand out from the rest of the text
- The literal speech of a figure begins with a new paragraph. If another figure speaks, his speech also begins with a paragraph
- The footer of the entire manuscript includes the working title of the book, the author’s name and a telephone number or e‑mail address of the author
The manuscript should, of course, be nearly error-free, completely finished and revised several times. Only rarely does a publisher or agency provide information about what they think is missing or should be different. Assume that error-free manuscripts are expected to be ready for publication.
The last editing before publication is by default done by the publisher when it is decided to publish the book. Self-publishers must, of course, pay or take over the editing out of their own pocket.
E‑mail or paper?
Most agencies prefer to receive offers by e‑mail. However, publisher houses often prefer a printed version of the offer delivered as a letter.
Often you will find a note on the websites of the agencies and publishers. You should always study the agency’s or publisher’s website carefully in advance and send the documents as indicated.
What do I have to consider if I want to publish my book in self-publishing?
If you want to publish your book in self-publishing, in addition to the manuscript, you have to consider and take into account other criteria such as book formats, cover, ISBN, bleed, marketplace, and marketing.
Which book format is selected to publish my book
First of all, it should be considered whether the book should be published only as an e‑book, as a print book or as an audiobook.
Ebooks offer many advantages, as they are quick and easy to publish, can be sent around, can be read on a large number of devices and can be revised quickly if changes are required.
Printed books are classic books, printed on paper. Even today, many people prefer to read on paper rather than on a screen. Print books are a bit more complicated and can hardly be published without the right self-publishing service provider. In this case, you have to pay attention to the trim of the pages and the cover, as well as to an ISBN.
Audiobooks are a very special topic. Audiobooks must be spoken cleanly, without stuttering and with a clear voice. You can do this by yourself if you feel confident enough to do so. Otherwise, a speaker can be bought in addition or the whole process can be outsourced. Of course, I will also present the appropriate platform for this.
All three book formats (whether ebook, print or audiobook) need a cover. The cover should be professionally designed. It is the first thing that catches the eye. The cover should fit the target group and the theme of the book. The golden cut and line management should be observed. If you want to outsource the cover, you should find a professional designer. Many freelancer platforms offer the right services. The prices depend on the freelancer and can range from 2–1000$, depending on the quality and the designer.
Only print books need an own ISBN. The ISBN is the number with which a book is listed in the book directory. With this book directory, a book can be ordered from a bookseller from anywhere in the world. For print books it is even mandatory to have an ISBN, otherwise, the book cannot be sold.
Now there are two options. There are ISBNs that I can buy on the internet and thus secure my place in the book directory. I can then assign this ISBN to my book.
A second option is to buy an ISBN from my print service provider. They usually charge a service fee for this, but then they also make sure that my book is properly entered in the book directory and that my book is offered for sale worldwide. This service provider can be the same one I use to print my book or another one.
The bleed is also only relevant for print books. Before a book is sent to print, it must be ensured that both the cover and the manuscript have sufficient margin for the paper to be trimmed.
Under this point, I would like to mention that of course the format (size), paper, cover hardness and coating of the book are individual cost factors that should also be taken into account.
Marketplace and marketing
Depending on whether an e‑book, a print book or an audiobook has been published, there are different market places where I can sell my book and publish it if necessary. Probably the biggest and best-known marketplace worldwide for self-publishing books is Amazon. Self-publishing via Amazon is very simple and user-friendly for all three formats, so publishing via Amazon is really easy. Amazon is a bit trickier with marketing because a lot of people publish books here, so make sure to get to know to the Amazon Marketing Services (AMS).
Apart from Amazon, there are also numerous other platforms through which books can be published and distributed. Among the most famous are Draft2Digital, IngramSpark , Smashwords and Publish Drive.
Some other platforms are only meant for the marketing of books. These include author and reader networks, book circles and genre niche sites.
Let’s discover together how we can best get your book published. In this series, you will find many platforms and hacks that will help you publish and market your book in self-publishing.
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