You've finally finished your novel. You've gone over it again and again, tightening up scenes, having a couple of your closest friends read it to make sure it comes across the way you intended. Now the choice of how to get this miracle of yours into the hands of a reader is in your view, and you're not sure which door to choose.
A little over a couple of decades ago, there weren't many choices to go with. Standard publishing was basically the only option. You would either get an agent to read your manuscript and (if he/she took you on as a client) submit to the various publishing companies. If you decided not to go the route of the agent, you could try submitting your
script to the companies yourself, but you'd have an even less chance of receiving a response. A good agent is worth their weight in second market silver or better. One of the major drawbacks about traditional publishing is that when you get a contract finally settled, you lose your rights to your books, characters, etc., to the publishing company for a minimum of ten years. Since they are taking the risk on your book and paying you ahead of any potential sales, they want to take advantage of the unicorns that pop out once in a while to make them a mint.
Since the advent of the Internet, many connections that were off limits to the populace are now commonplace. Because the grind of technology keeps going, we find more and more automated functions of our day-to-day activities. Everything is gearing towards having the customer do the functions themselves that were once handled by multitudes of employees. Consider the grocery stores now. You're shopping for your food, ringing it up in the self-checkout, and bagging it yourself. With all the cameras in the store, needing additional eyes on the customers in case of theft isn't warranted any longer. It's all coming down to D.I.Y. (Do It Yourself) methods.
A new form of this DIY is self-publishing. No longer do you need big publishers to take on the risk of books selling or not. You become the publisher. But think this step through - you're also the publicist, and any other hat that you don't hire out. When I wrote my first book, I knew I would need an editor, so I hired one who helped me throughout the entire writing process - this is not common. Usually, you'll submit your entire draft and wait for a number of weeks until the editor is finished, and get back your work with a bunch of edits. You correct these, maybe run it by the editor again for satisfaction, and we're good to go.
Do you draw? Do you know how to line up the words in the book so they look nice? Yeah, that's where the cover editor comes in. Sometimes you can get lucky and the cover editor is also the line editor for doing the interior printing of the book like mine does. She not only did the graph
ics on the exterior, she set up the chapters, made sure everything was lined up on the correct sides of the book pages, made sure all the text was justified left and right - all the pretty little touches to make the book look like it came from a regular publishing house. In fact, looking at my book, it'd be hard to tell if it were self-published or if it came from traditional publishing based on the look. Invest properly in a good cover artist/editor, and don't be afraid to fire one and get a second one.
Somewhere in between is the vanity publisher. This is kind of a hybrid situation. They will come at you as a "traditional" publisher, but they won't take your idea/concept for hostage if you sign the contract. You will still have all of your rights to your work. However, once they start publishing, you must get a certain amount of copies through their services to fulfill the contract before you can seek alternatives, if at all. These publishers will always think very highly of your work and stroke your ego, which is why it's called a vanity publisher. They will provide editors and designers with their package deals, and even have a publicist to promote your book prior to release. Be careful with this method - I tried just the publicity portion of this with my book and there was absolutely no increase in sales. If you want to know which company, just DM me.
If you have more questions on this subject, leave them below and I'll answer...