THE PUBLISHING MINEFIELD
(and how to know where the mines are)
So, you’ve written your book. Great! You have had it professionally proofread and have got a nifty cover design. Excellent! What now?
‘Well the next logical step is publishing,’ I hear you say.
‘Oh brilliant! Off you go then?’
I’m going to level with you all here. The world of publishing is scary. Unfortunately, it’s full of unsavoury characters and can sometimes end up costing you a lot of money for little to no return. But fear not. Seventh Realm is run for authors by authors. We have experienced many things new authors often get caught by so here are some pro tips. What to look for and some F.A.Q.
Q: Do I self publish or go traditional?
A: That’s entirely up to you. It’s no secret that it is a lot harder to get your book out through a traditional publisher than if you were to do it yourself. The reason being, that a traditional publisher must be one million percent sure that your book will sell. They have a lot of advertising and production costs to cover, so they want something with real ‘oomph!’ Self-publishing, of course, avoids all this and you can produce a book for pretty low prices these days. However unless you have a solid fanbase and big budget for professional advertising, don’t expect much returns in the early days, if at all.
Q: Should I get an agent?
A: This is, of course, another personal preference. An agent will cut out a lot of legwork for you but you must be prepared for them to take a cut of profits should your book be accepted by a publisher. Most agents will take between 15% to 25% of sales.
Q: A publisher has offered to publish my book. All I have to do is pay X000. That’s good, right?
A: NO! This is such a common problem. A book should cost nothing when a traditional and legit publisher takes it. They take a % of the sales of your book to cover the costs (another reason why they want your book to sell). If someone offers to publish your book for a large fee, you have been approached by a vanity publisher. Of course, if you have this money to spare feel free to accept their offer. However, there is never any guarantee that you will see a penny return. Avoid!
Q: I’ve read my book through and can’t see any mistakes. Do I really need a proof-reader?
A: YES! Even if you know your writing is good and you have good grammar skills, it is always worth a fresh pair of eyes to look over your manuscript once the final draft is complete. Even if you have installed programs such as Grammarly, a proof-reader is worth their weight in gold. Do your research and hire a professional.
Q: My book is ready to go and I have decided to self publish. Now what?
A: Choose a platform. The two giants of the self-publishing world are Lulu and Amazon KDP (formerly Createspace). Both have pros, though we at Seventh Realm use Amazon KDP. They have easy to use templates for layout guides, as well as direct links with Amazon meaning your book can be listed within hours after submission.
Q: What about book stores? I want my book to be in Waterstones?
A: Who doesn’t? The good news is it can! But you must have a valid ISBN. Most websites (including Amazon and Lulu) will offer one up for you. OR – you could buy a block for yourself. Nielsen (U.K and R.O.I only), are a legitimate and extremely helpful company. You can buy single I.S.B.N’S or a block of up to a thousand. Be warned there is a price to pay – the less you buy the more expensive the price. We find that buying them in blocks of ten (£164) is the most cost-effective way. This may seem pricey but once purchased, they are yours for life and solely registered to you. Once registered, Nielsen will also trickle all information down to suppliers and bookstores, meaning anyone can go into a library or book store and as long as they have the correct ISBN will be able to order it if not already in stock.
Q: There are so many publishers and agents? How do I know who is legit?
A: Invest in the Writers and Artists Yearbook. This bible of information is a great reference book for writers and artists of any levels. It usually retails at about £20 to £25 and is worth every penny. Make sure you get a new one each year to stay up to date with which companies are still trading and accepting manuscripts. There are also chapters on copyright, different genres and advice from many successful authors.
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