So you’ve written a book. How many articles have you seen that begin that way? Well, here’s another one. I am going to give you some very specific tips on stepping boldly into the world of publishing. Actually, I’m going to give you some tips on what to do and not to do when loooking for a publisher.
DO: Submit the cleanest manuscript you possibly can. This means sending it through a series of edits with your critique partner and beta readers.
DON’T: You should never expect a publisher to do all the editing. Their job is to help you put the final touches on your manuscript. While an editor expects to do some editing on a work, it is not in the business of revising small and excessively repetative basic mistakes that EVERY author should be aware of.
DO: Make sure you do your research on the publisher you are submitting to. Talk to their other authors. You will always hear good and bad. Be prepared to hear negative comments from some of them. Not all professional relationships work out. But when you hear negative, don’t assume it is all bad. Double check and if it is a major issue, ask the publisher directly and give them an opportunity to defend negative claims.
DON’T: Never sign a contract with a publisher you have not fully researched and NEVER sign a contract you have not read. If you are not confident that you understand each item fully, get legal help or ask the publisher to clarify.
DO: The time to begin building name recognition and visibility is when you finish that book, at the very latest. Let the world know you have written a book. If you make yourself visible during the process, you are in essence building a relationship with your readers/viewers and they become invested in your potential succes.
DON’T: Waiting until you have a contract to begin your marketing campaign is a huge mistake. In this age of the Internet, there are millions of people writing and publishing books. It is YOUR job to present your product (and for new authors that is YOURSELF) and to let potential readers know why your book is worht their investment of time and money.
DO: There are so many options available to authors for publication. You should research each and every one of them to discover what is right for you.
DON’T: It is extremely unprofessional to go into a contract with a publisher or anyone when you are not 100% certain of your committment. When working with a publisher, you should be willing to do whatever you would do if you were doing it for yourself.
The publishing industry changes on a daily basis and there will always be some new thing to come along that looks shiny and bright. But keep in mind shiny doesn’t always last. Things tarnish and turn grey with time. What you think is a great thing today may evolve into something unrecognizable the next.
And for those of you who decide to self publish. I wish you the very best of luck and success. Your journey will be exciting and filled with so much; joy and heartache. Please remember that you are publishing for the readers, not for yourself. You wrote the book for you, but publishing means you want others to enjoy it. With this in mind, make certain you put out the very best product you can, from front cover to back. Your readers deserve the best you have to offer.
Good advice. Having a lawyer review a contract is smart. Most people never read them. I didn’t read the pages I signed when purchasing a house or car. Blind trust. Most of us are that way I think.