How do I get the book out there for people to read?

by Jackie Hardemon

Question: I want to write a small book. Who do I contact to publish it, and proofread, and edit it?

Answer: If you want to go the traditional route, which means selling or licensing the book to one of the big five publishing houses, or even a smaller house, the basic process is described in this article...

Bear in mind, publishers only accept a small number of the manuscripts they receive each year, so it can be a lengthy process to find the right publisher and pass their rigorous screening process. If your book is not superb to start with, your chances are even less.

On the other hand, if you want to self-publish, you have a few options these days:

1. Fully-assisted self-publishing. This is where you buy a publishing package which includes a basket of services including editing, design, and promotion. A popular choice is print-on-demand, which means you don't have to pay for a print run of more copies than you actually need. Some companies that offer these packages are Author House, Outskirts Press, and WordBow.

2. Partially-assisted self-publishing. With this option, you hire professionals to do each aspect of publishing separately. You hire your own book designer and editor. You might pay one company to print a paperback version of the book and
another company to produce an ebook. You might check out companies such as Lulu, Lightening Source, Smashwords, or Amazon Kindle Direct.

3. Vanity Press. This is essentially a scam where you pay a publisher to print a huge number of books with no editorial or design help. The books then occupy a place in your garage for the rest of your life. I won't name any companies here, because I don't recommend this route.

4. Starting your own publishing company. This is the most legitimate route, but it also requires sound business skills and an entrepreneurial mindset. Again, you can hire editors and book designers, and contract printing services. The books will have your own imprint, which makes it a little easier to get them reviewed, placed in stores, etc.

The advantage of self-publishing is that you cannot be turned down. However, there are also many disadvantages, including the fact that you have to bear all the costs. Few self-published books actually make money or become known.

As with any business, the key to success is making sales, which in publishing also requires distribution and promotion. If you have expertise in these areas, self-publishing might work for you. Lack of these skills is why self-publishing is unprofitable for almost everyone.

See this article for more thoughts on the subject...

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