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Choosing Your Publishing Path

What to do when all the publishing suggestions contradict themselves

March 13, 2019

Renee Frey, COO Authors 4 Authors Publishing

Confession time: I’m a Scribomaster (yes, that’s a thing) on Scribophile, which is a fantastic site where you can workshop your writing (and help other people too!). There are discussion forums, which are a great distraction from writing and editing (I promise, I don’t have firsthand experience with this...be quiet Rebecca and BC!). One of the FASTEST ways to start a flame war? Ask what is the best way to publish your book.

I hope you brought a fire extinguisher.

In defense of my colleagues on Scrib, as we call it, this is a really difficult question to ask...and even harder to answer!

Why?

Because publishing your work is one of the most personal decisions you can make (despite what the bra advertisements on Pinterest imply). Think about it: for most authors, we’ve poured hours of inspiration, work, and mental effort into a manuscript. It’s not just a text document; it’s a part of your life!

So what should I do?

To start off, do research. Lots and lots of research. Verify, check reputation and sources, and (#shamelessselfpromotion) read this blog series about publishing. Start getting a feel for what feels “right” for you. And remember, it may seem the best option for you, but not for your best friend—and that’s okay.

To get you started, lets go over the basic options you’ll see for publication. Over the next several weeks, we’ll go over these options in-depth. We’ll also go over what to avoid and, hopefully, get you started down your publishing path.

Traditional Publishing

This is what most people think of when you bring up publishing a book. In a nutshell, you submit your manuscript to an agent, that agent (hopefully) sells your book, a publisher sends you an advance, and then the publisher prepares and publishes your book.

Self-Publishing

This is a (relatively) new form of publishing. With print-on-demand and e-books, it’s become very easy to format, cover, and publish your manuscript on your own. Amazon’s KDP, Draft2Digital, and Smashwords are popular venues for self-publishing. There are also lots of vendors, including editors, proofreaders, and cover artists you can pay to help you prepare and publish your book.

Small Press/Indie Publishing

Although self-publishing is sometimes called indie publishing, indie in this case means “independent”—and applies to small presses or companies that exist outside of the “Big 5” traditional publishing companies. These presses often are more flexible than the larger publishing but don’t always have as much reach as the larger publishers.

I can’t wait to learn more! But, what should I avoid?

I’m glad you asked!

Avoid “vanity presses”—or any company calling themselves a publisher who asks for YOU to pay money. It’s one thing to hire a cover artist or editor, or even a formatter. It’s another to sign a contract where you get only a portion of the royalty fees, but still front the publishing costs.

Always check any agents, and make sure they’re in good standing.

We’ll go over this in more detail soon (with some great resources!).

Next week we’ll be interviewing Authors 4 Authors author Eva Seyler about her debut novel, The War in Our Hearts! In two weeks, we'll resume our publishing series where we talk about how to get your manuscript ready for publishing.

Learn more!

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