If you answered ‘yes,’ then you should be able to breeze through the rest of this article easily. If you answered ‘no,’ then brace yourself now. You’ll certainly have some challenges whether you decide to go the traditional or self-publishing route if you don’t start preparing now. The publishing industry is like any other industry for creative talent; and it has its own parameters and unspoken rules that will be imperative to know as long as you want to succeed in distributing your acim.
You will find that after the hours of research-and, yes, be prepared to invest large amounts of time into launching your book just as much as you’ll spend writing the book itself-you should have a surfeit of avenues to pursue. Choosing the right one will guarantee your success and the rewards of your efforts.
Believe it or not, you don’t need to have the manuscript completed to begin looking for agents and publishers to work with, although it would be useful if. There will be more on the topic of agents in just a bit so don’t hold onto that idea too tightly-you might not even need one. Don’t forget the “book” part in the initial steps of publishing because the type, category, and genre will determine which publishing route you take, not to mention that having some completion of the book will make it easier to gain traction with your partners.
Look at your starting point and your end goal. Would critically acclaimed success or the simple gratification of completing your book suffice? Define your objective and consider it throughout every stage of your research. You wouldn’t want to end up headed down an avenue that minimizes your success or positions you with a low-quality publisher.
Keep in mind that even if you have already written the manuscript for your book and you find that it is more of a kaleidoscope than a cut-and-dry picture, you don’t have to conform or sacrifice your creative integrity. Self-publishing, when done correctly and professionally, offers many rewards for those you if you want to maintain a higher degree of control over the outcome of their work.
Books need to be formatted a certain way in order to appeal to publishers. A book that interlaces essays with short stories, for example, could encounter some resistance from publishing companies. They need something that easily fits into a category that buyers would already be familiar with. It’s the general industry standard, that many publishing companies are looking for work that will sell and easily fit into a box all at once. Before you get too far ahead and decide to take (or relinquish) the reigns completely, you should know the basics about book publishing options, which are influenced by the type of book it is.
A manuscript is a lot less essential for non-fiction books. Since these types could range from DIY to catalogues of interviews, it would be a good idea to have its core idea solidified rather than a hard copy manuscript all ready to go. Non-fiction books will also need proposals, which you could easily compare to business plans. Regardless, the publishers and editors you work with will want some say in the scope of the book. Some of the same preliminary guidelines for publishing non-fiction books apply to fiction books, but not all of them.
You’ll want a manuscript for when you send queries to agents, who act kind of like a liaison between the author and the publisher. Self-publishing authors won’t really need agents and would probably benefit from their choice of going solo since it would allow their more creative liberty. Everything course of action that you’ll take in the publishing process should be taken intentionally and mindfully; and whatever amount of energy you put into developing your book sets the tone for how successful its launch will eventually be. Choose carefully from the beginning and you’ll be a happier camper.