Whether you self-publish or go with traditional publishing, there are three distinct, sometimes overlapping processes in getting your book out there:
The internet has made getting your writing out there as easy as typing up your thoughts, posting them on a blog or social media, then telling your friends about it or letting the social media platforms tell others about it. The same process used to publish on a blog or social media applies to book publishing. Below is a very high-level graphic showing the processes involved in birthing a book and the timing of various events. Each of the steps listed represents a lot of details that can be handled in a variety of ways.
Writing Process: Idea -> Outline/Structure ->Write Draft -> Rewrite -> Edit -> Final Copy
Publishing Process: Cover Design -> Edit -> Front/Back Matter -> Interior Design -> Final -> Print -> Distribution
Marketing Process: Research Audience/Market -> Build Audience -> Develop Marketing Relationships -> Promos and Pre Sales using Book Cover -> Launch Party & Media Blitz
Some things to note:
- Any or all of these steps can be hired out or outsourced if you do not want to do them or are not skilled at them (even writing the book, believe it or not).
- If you are using a traditional publisher, you are basically outsourcing the whole publishing process and distribution in exchange for anywhere from 85-94% of the net sales of the book, meaning the publisher takes the 85% and you may only get 15% or less.
- If you use a vanity publisher, you are paying them to do a lot of the work for you up front, then taking your chances on making enough to cover your costs and make a profit.
- If you use a hybrid publisher, you are sharing the costs of publishing and possibly marketing in exchange for a large percentage of the profits.
- If you self-publish, you can do a lot of the work on your own, but it takes time and some money. There are two areas you should expect to hire out: editing and cover design. You may also need to hire someone to convert your book into the various publishing formats, although you can do that on your own if you are willing to learn how.
Regardless of whether you self-publish or go with a traditional publisher, you will need to make some kind of effort at marketing. As a general rule, publishers will want to know about the size of your audience. Audience can be measured in several ways:
- Website traffic statistics
- Number of people on your mailing list
- Followers/friends on social media
- Sales of existing books
Notice also that marketing starts very early in the process—way before the book is even written. Having an audience early can be a big advantage. You can share your work as you write and ask them for opinions or critiques. As they develop an interest in what you are doing, they are likely to become some of your first customers and biggest fans. They can also be asked to write reviews when the book is out to build your visibility.
Have questions? Ask them in the comments section and I’ll do my best to answer them.
You can find more of Stephanie’s work at www.TheSpecialNeedsHomemaker.com.