Publishing My Book, Which Route Should I Take?
There are basically three ways to have your book published: Traditional publishing, subsidy publishing, and self-publishing. This article touch's on all three options.
First Things First - Be Prepared
No matter which route you go, make sure you read all of the details closely and understand how things work (royalty rate, ownership, etc.) If your project requires additional handling (editing, format adjusting, e-book formatting, etc.), are there additional charges for these extras or are they included? Is there any marketing included (distribution) and, if so, how much? Perhaps most importantly, what is expected of you as the author? One of the biggest mistakes we see is that many aspiring authors rush into the publishing process without taking the time to read what they are agreeing to. It is almost guaranteed that that no matter which route you take those you are working with will only do what the written agreement states. So do not expect more, and by all means, know what you are signing.
Editing is of primary importance so, please, do not skimp on the editing, no matter how you publish. You also need to double check things throughout the process to make sure the end product will be what you want. Then once your book is completed, if you hope to sell it, you will need to do a good amount of marketing, even if you publish traditionally.
A word of advice: no matter which option you select, leave yourself plenty of margin in your desired time-frame (remember that God doesn't rush and your book will be out exactly when He wants it to be). Be prepared for other small issues, as well, such as editing, work schedules, personalities, and the like, but none the less stressful if you are unprepared. Taking these steps will make your experience more enjoyable and allow you to be the Christian example you want to be throughout the process.
Traditional Publishing - Timeframe 1-3 years
What better compliment than having something you've worked so hard on-your passion-selected by a major publisher? They are the experts, and offer the whole package. From cover design, to editing, all the way through to some of the marketing. They will want you to be involved too: Book signings, promotions, and speaking engagements will be your life for a while if your book is to succeed, and this will continue if it does. Really, you should do anything you can to help your book sell. The more you are willing to do, the more appealing you will be to the publisher. After all, if your book does not do well, the chances of getting another contract are slim to none.
The downside is that it is not easy to get your work picked up by a traditional publisher ---especially a good one. One thing is certain: you are going to need a great agent first.
Another thing to mention is that the days of the big advances are gone unless you are a big name in the public eye or have a history of successful books. With a traditional publisher, you are also signing away your ownership rights and agreeing to a royalty. Even with a traditional publisher, a best-seller, or even high sales, is not guaranteed.
However, if you have the stamina and the determination, we encourage you to follow your dream and follow these steps (The Track to Traditional Publishing). While things are certainly changing in the publishing realm, traditional publishing can still be a writer's best chance for success in the market since they have the best access to distribution.
Self-Publishing Using a Subsidy Publisher - Timeframe roughly 90 to 150 days.
Subsidy publishing is where you hire a trusted Christian publisher to publish your book when you want to publish. This is the easiest route to get your book on the market and a route that many FaithWriters members have taken. The publisher takes your manuscript all the way to the end product. Some even include marketing with their service, but often for an added fee. The larger and more respected subsidy publishers may also have ways to get you exposure that you would not have if you went the full self-publishing route. This is not to say you will not be involved in the process, because you will.
If you are considering publishing in this manner, as many of our members have, there are many companies to select from. However, in an effort to provide you with the safest and best priced option, FaithWriters has negotiated an arrangement with one of the largest and more respected Christian Publishers, Xulon Press. Platinum members receive a 10% discount on the current best (regular or sale) price Xulon is offering online for their various packages. Gold members receive a 5% discount. FaithWriters also offers additional marketing on our site to all members who publish through Xulon, as well as occasional increased discounts and benefits.
Even more important than the discount is the added protection you will experience as a FaithWriters member. Not only does Xulon want you to be happy with the end result, they want FaithWriters to be happy too. This fact gives you the added assurance that Xulon is a Christian subsidy publisher you can choose with confidence. They even offer an interest free payment plan option as they work on your book.
When you publish with Xulon you retain 100 percent ownership of your book. This is important for a few reasons, not the least of which is if your book does hit a certain threshold of success, a traditional publisher could become interested. If you own 100% of the rights you can move your book to the interested
traditional publisher without hassle. Today this is one of the strategies some authors have utilized to get the attention of traditional publishers. Self-publish and prove it will sell. If it does, decide if a tradtional publishers wider distribution channels will benefit you and seek one by showing your success. Or you might decide to stay with the much higher compensation rate per book self publishing offers. Read articles HERE and HERE.
Success is possible when publishing with Xulon, or in any manner. The key to success with any route is the combination of a great book and an all-out marketing effort. You must have both to succeed. See a couple of successful books HERE and HERE that were published through Xulon.
To learn more about Xulon and what they have to offer go HERE and request a Free Publishing Guide and then view the site. If you speak with one of their representatives make sure to mention that you are a FaithWriters Gold or Platinum member so you receive all the discounts and benefits our members are entitled too.
Breaking News! FaithWriters will be offering upgraded members three comprehensive Xulon publishing packages as prizes in 2014. The winners will receive Xulon's Best Seller package. Learn more HERE . Visit Xulon and get your Free Publishing Guide, then view their whole site and what their packages offer.
· Write the manuscript.
Full Self-Publishing - Timeframe - up to you
· Have the manuscript professionally edited by a reputable book editor. Remember, don't skimp on the editing.
· Choose a self-publishing option like Lulu or CreateSpace.
· Apply for an ISBN
· Have the manuscript's interior pages designed and laid out.
· Hire a graphic designer to create your book's front and back covers.
· Prepare your book in an e-book format, as well as print. E-books are already outselling print copies, and it is easy to foresee the e-book trend far outselling print books in the future.
· Plan and implement a comprehensive marketing, public relations, and advertising campaign.
· Build a Web site to promote your book.
· Begin pre-selling your book (pre-selling includes sending out press materials, promoting the book to distributors, lining up booksellers to sell the book, taking out ads, and so on).
· Have your book listed with online retailers (especially Amazon-this is a must).
· Publish the book and set up shipping for consumers, booksellers, retailers, and distributors
· Promote and market your book as you take orders.
Selling Your Book
We, at FaithWriters, have noticed that most Christian writers who self-publish seem to think that because God inspired their book, it will fly off the shelf without marketing. This is huge misconception. Even the gospel message of grace needs to be promoted so people know about it. You must promote your book no matter how you publish. Place your book in FaithWriters bookstore where it will be included in multiple ads in our site wide campaign. FaithWriters receives roughly 400,000 page views per month. Make every effort to take full advantage of retail venues, and also properly and professionally describe your book with a tasty excerpt. Too often we see books posted with little or no description.
Reviews of your book are enormously important so do not be shy. Request reviews from as many family and friends as you can find. Place your book in the FaithWriters Free Reads for Reviews program for an extended period and be patient. Make friends online at FaithWriters now and when the time comes ask them to review your book. Ask other authors on FaithWriters to review your book in exchange for a review of theirs. Request reviews from Amazon reviewers and other sources.
If you self-published and saved some money, plan on spending it on marketing and selling if you hope to get it noticed.
Success on Amazon. Your book MUST be in e-book format and it MUST be on Amazon. Several of the self-published million-book selling authors on Amazon priced their first (limited size) book in a series
at the low price of (.99) or even free to build a following. Even offering your book free for a limited time has proven to increase overall sales in the long-run.
The truth is most readers do not care who the publisher is. They just want a great book and a way to find it, (marketing). Take advantage of blogs, Facebook, and every marketing opportunity you can find.