Guest Author - Kathryn K Free
You have often heard how difficult it often is to get published. I believe this assertion is true. Whether you are publishing a novel or a simple how to book, it is difficult to know what to do. With publishing the first step forward is the initial decision to self-publish or use a publishing agent. Writers beware! Both paths have their own difficulties and rewards. So, exactly how do you identify which course is right for you?
Who Controls What?
When you self-publish you virtually control every facet of the project. The material is written as you intended it to be written and the entire manuscript formatted as you envisioned it would be. In a nutshell, it means you are a graphic designer, editor, author, publisher, promoter and reader all rolled into one! That is a heavy burden to carry for many, expecially if your project is larger than ten pages!
Now the flip side is that when you relinquish control to a commercial publisher you may soon find yourself rewriting your content to better fit their vision as the publisher. And the designs for the cover and marketing campaigns are entirely up to the publisher.
Who Owns Your Words?
Many writers believe they own their own words, and always will. Not true. Just ask Paul McCartney (member of the band The Beatles) who cannot sing several of the original songs he wrote because someone else 'owns' them. He actually has to pay certain royalties to the owner to sing his own songs! When you hire a commercial publisher you are selling your rights to your words. In return, they agree to pay you royalties, which actually means you no longer own your content. You cannot do anything with those words without permission of the publisher. Self-publishing ensures you are the exclusive owner of your book.
Who Pays You?
This seems a straightforward question, although it is not. Commercial publishers pay royalties, as stated above. Many times royalties are a percentage of the book charged price. This does not appear like a lot of money, although there are many overhead costs we, as the author, do not see. There are the graphic artists, marketing directors, distribution chains, editor, proofreaders, and the listing goes on. If this is your first time being published there are usually fees paid to the publisher that are rebated back to you should your book sell the limit set by the publisher. On the bright side, with a commercial publisher, there is virtually no money out of your pocket for all the preparatory work they do.
When you self-publish the scenario is precisely the opposite. You pay up-front for the publishing, editing, graphics, distribution and the listing goes on. This can be very costly for many. The good news, however, is that you keep 100% of profits generated. The bad news is that you must remember to subtract your expenses to see the actual profit. Doing it all yourself can be a danting task.
How To Begin?
The first step, I believe, is listing your strengths. Know what you truly are good at. Your asking yourself, why is this important? Well, whether you choose to move toward a commercial publisher or self-publishing, you want to identify your skills. Then for skills you are not particulary good at, you will need to enlist the help.
Once you identify your stengths and weaknesses, you need to know your market. You should write to the market need and not your own personal interests.
Your next step will be your preparation to tackle marketing. Ask a lot of questions. What is your target age group? What is your target region? What is your traget medium? Where should I advertise? How should I advertise?
Finally, you need to rid yourself of some common misconceptions about self-publishing. A few short years ago self-publishing was thought to be for those who could not get published any other way. Today, this is not the case. eBooks have made the self-publishing a feasible choice.
In review, here is a simple checklist to follow:
1) Decide whether to self-publish or hire a publishing agent
2) Write down your strengths and weaknesses, then delegate
3) Know your target audience
4) Understand your audience and their marketing preferences
5) Refresh any misconceptions with truth
6) Dive in and get started!
One Last Thought
eBooks and eBook Readers have given the self-publishing field a new voice, a loud voice. It is accessible and can be very lucrative. You will need a place to store your novel or articles. I recommend a journaling software. Journaling software is more than just a word processor. It has expanded searching and sorting capabilities. Continue to check back with bellaonline as I will be publishing some links and stories in relation to publishing your work!