Understanding the following points will help equip you to make good decisions and achieve as much success as possible when you publish your book. Several of these points (marked with an asterisk *) are pertinent for writers who choose the traditional publishing route, as well as for self-publishers. Contact us if you have any questions.
1. Write Your Book*
A nonfiction book must provide its audience with information that the audience wants or needs. Do whatever research is necessary to fill in the gaps in your content. A novel needs a good plot, sympathetic, strong characters, compelling dialogue, a varied and gripping pace and a balance of action, dialogue and narrative. Of course, the balance of these elements will not be the same in every book.
2. Give It a Great Title*
When you give your book a title, it should make anyone who sees your book interested in knowing more. For nonfiction, an important guideline to follow is choose a title that tells the reader immediately what the book is about. The subtitle should let the prospective reader know the second most important aspect of your book.
3. Have It Critiqued*
After you write your book, let people read it who can give you constructive feedback. As a writer, you need to hear what people like and what they don't like, and what the writing strengths and weaknesses in your book are. Then, you can improve your manuscript so readers will read, enjoy and recommend it. Join a critique group or ask a professional to critique your book.
4. Hire an Editor*
Traditional publishers run every book they publish by their copy editors before it goes to press. Even the most accomplished writer is sent an edited version of his or her manuscript before the book is printed. This is because, as the saying goes, every writer needs an editor, and every good writer needs a great editor. In truth, of course, every writer needs a great editor, but let the saying stand. If you are not taking the traditional publishing route, hire your own copy editor. He or she will correct errors of grammar, punctuation, spelling, and style that you might have missed when you revised your manuscript for the hundredth time. (Usually, by time you have reread it that many times, any errors that remain look correct.) Many subsidy publishers have professional editors available.
5. Choose Your Images*
You may wish to include images, such as photos or illustrations, in your book. If you don't have your own high quality images, hire an illustrator or photographer to provide them, or find images that you can purchase or use from appropriate Web sites. Your book designer will be able to advise you on the technical aspects of printing graphics in your book. If you are submitting a children's picture book to a traditional publisher, and you are not an author-illustrator, you should not ask an artist to illustrate your story. The publisher will prefer to hire the illustrator of his or her choice.
6. Hire an Interior Designer & Cover Designer
An experienced book designer should do the interior design and typesetting of your manuscript. (Click here to read more about interior book design and typesetting.) A professional cover designer or graphic designer should design your cover. Let your designer know if you have any color preferences and whether you would like to use a photograph or illustration. (Click here to read more about book cover design.) Your back cover designer will be able to provide you with a bar code and BISAC code if necessary.
7. Obtain an ISBN and Library of Congress Control Number
If you set up your own publishing company in the USA, register for a block of ISBNs with Bowker and apply for a Library of Congress Control number. Canadian publishers obtain ISBNs from the Canadian ISBN Agency. If you live in another country, contact the ISBN offices in your country. If your book is traditionally published, it will have the ISBN provided by your publisher.
8. Acquire Reviews
A good review of your book can be quoted on the back cover. If you have several, quote them on the first page inside the book, and post them on your Web site. Traditional publishers send advance reader copies (ARCs) to their reviewers on their own lists. If you are self-publishing, send ARCs three to four months before the expected date of your book release. A few reviewers provide post-publication reviews. Click here for information about reviewers of independently published books.
9. Print Your Book
Decide how small or large a print-run of your book you want: 20, 100, 500, 1000, or 10,000 books. Offset printers are used for 500 or 1000 copies and up. Digital printers usually print 20 to 1500 books. If you want your books to be printed only when ordered, choose a POD (print on demand) company.
Printing costs go down per book when you print a large quantity at once, but the total cost of printing is higher if you print a large quantity. The quantity you choose should be based on your market and your budget. If you have written a book that will only appeal to family and close friends, you might print fewer than 50 books or use a POD company so you do have to contend with storing a large stock. POD is the most expensive printing option per book.
If you expect a large number of sales, set up your own publishing company and research which printer will be best for your book. Click here for a short list of printers. Contact us for assistance.
10. Market and Promote Your Book* 11. Arrange for Fulfillment of Orders
If your book is published traditionally, your publisher will market it but will expect you, the author, to engage in promotion, as well. Develop a marketing plan for your book if you are self-publishing. You may be able to sell copies to independent bookstores, on Amazon.com or Booksamillion.com or through your Web site. Stores that have an interest in the subject of your book may also be interested in stocking copies; for example, if your book is about antiques, an antique store might display some for its customers, and if it's about dogs, a pet store might take some. Click here for more information about book promotion and marketing.
When your book is printed and you start to receive orders, you must be ready to fulfill those orders. You might store all the copies of your book in your home or office and ship them yourself, or you might hire a fulfillment company to receive the orders, package the books and ship them. Fulfillment companies generally charge a considerable amount for their services. You have to decide whether using their services and saving your time for other endeavors is worthwhile for you.
If you have any questions, contact us.