A Guide Through the Jungle of Publishing Options
What is self-publishing? How do you get your story published by a publishing house? Written by Sofie R. E.
What is the difference between self-publishing and going through a publishing house? More importantly, how do you do it?
The list of publishing options is long, but do not fear! Here I'll give you an overview of your options for taking the next step...
There are some big differences between self-publishing and publishing. Let us have a closer look at them:
We all know what a publisher is. It is a company composed of editors and marketing experts who publish books. There are major publishers of several hundred books a year (like Penguin Random House, Pan Macmillan, & Oxford University Press) or smaller publishers who publish 4 - 5 titles a year (some examples would be Ampersand Books or Black Hill Press in the U.S.). Some publishers publish mostly fantasy, others only publish textbooks. Common to them all is their love for books.
But how do I get in touch with a publisher?
Almost all publishers receive unsolicited manuscripts. Often you can find a page on their website (sometimes it is also just mentioned in the contact section), with information on how to send manuscripts. Some will prefer to have it printed, others by email. If you have any questions, you can always ask the publisher.
When is my manuscript ready to be sent off?
The best advice is to finish it as much as possible (a quick proofreading by your mom or a friend is always a good idea:-) Think about it like this, when you send in a manuscript, it's like when actors go to an audition. The publisher judges quality of the material submitted - not by its potential. It's make or break time when it comes to publishers - and your only chance is the manuscript, so do not waste it. While it's still painful if you get a "no" this time around, you can always go on to the next publisher.
Which publisher should I choose?
The jungle of publishers is big. The first question you face is whether to send to a large or a smaller publisher. Here are advantages of both:
+ The chance of acceptance is bigger
+ More influence on the book
Will not be so widespread
Smaller budget (graphic and marketing)
The chance of acceptance is smaller
+ Big company with experience
+ Will be widespread in many bookstores
+ Bigger budget
It should be mentioned that the above things are only generalizations to create an overview.
Once you've decided what kind of publisher you want, make your final choosing with this criteria in mind:
- They publish the same kind of books as yours (your writing style are maybe similar to books they have published before)
- The publishing House gives you a good impression
- Response time, print/mail, and other technical formalities
There are also special publishers like DreamLitt where the readers accept or reject manuscripts submitted.
What happens once you have sent your story to the publishers?
Expect rejection :-( Publishers receive piles of unsolicited manuscripts. The door is only very slightly ajar. But if you do not try, you will not be published - and the more rejections you get, the closer you are! There are many factors besides if your novel is good. The editor must also think about whether the book will sell.
How do you get an answer?
The response time is often written on the publisher's website. It can vary anywhere from 3 weeks to 6 months. When you get the answer, your manuscript is either accepted or refused. There are several forms of rejection:
Standard refusal is a copy-paste text, telling you that unfortunately they receive many manuscripts and unfortunately cannot publish your story.
If your text has made an impression on the editor, you may be lucky to get a personal rejection, where the editor writes a bit about your writing style and what they think.
Send your next manuscript denials
Maybe your novel made an impression, but the editor estimates that it cannot sell well enough. So the publisher asks you to send your next manuscript. They are interested in you as a writer, but not the given manuscript.
Send manuscript again denials
If you are very lucky, the publisher asks you to send your manuscript for reconsideration when you have changed some things in your text.
Self-Publishing can be done in several ways. Common to all of them is that you are the boss. It's up to you to keep track of the various elements.
These are elements you should be aware of when you consider self-publishing:
- Text - quality – proofreading
- Setup and graphic
- Get the book out in stores, on libraries and to reviewers
- Details as duty submission etc.
Many of these things you can get professional help for.
Keep in mind that when you publish it's the start your own publishing house – your own business. And it requires a lot of work!
Get the book published
You can get your book printed by contacting a print shop or a private press. Otherwise you can use platforms like Books On Demand, who lets you order from home. On BOD website there is also a price calculator where you can see how much you will earn per book. When you self-publish, it is important to be in control of your finances. You cannot decide if your book is sold in bookstores or available in libraries. This is very difficult as a self-publisher, as bookshops have a reputation for not accepting books from small publishers and self-publishers.
Alternatively you can also use SAXO Publish as a publishing platform. Then your book will automatically be published on the website saxo.com.
Both freelance editors and graphic designers as well as companies like SAXO Publish and BOD offers services you can buy like proofreading, a book cover, or going through the script with an editor. This can be expensive, but a good investment when you need to create the best book possible. Otherwise, it may be a good idea to get help from friends and family.
If all the above sounds like a mouthful, you can also use online publishing platforms such as Movellas!
If you have any questions please ask them, I will try to answer!
Thank you to moveillian Sofie R. E. for writing this useful blog post :-)