How to Get a Book Published

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Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

Are you an aspiring author seeking to get your book published? The journey from idea to publication can be both exciting and overwhelming, but don’t worry. Whether you’re considering traditional publishing, self-publishing, or hybrid publishing, we’ve got you covered.

Understanding the publishing industry

Historically — as in, up until about 15 years ago — publishing involved authors submitting their manuscripts to literary agents who would then pitch a book to traditional publishing houses. If accepted, the publisher handled the editing, cover design, distribution, and marketing of the book.

In the past two decades, the publishing industry has undergone significant changes. The rise of self-publishing and the advent of print on demand have democratized the industry. This means any author can now skip past gatekeepers, bring a book to the marketplace, and take control of their publishing career.

The three types of publishing

There are three general avenues you have to consider for your own writing career: traditional publishing, self-publishing, and hybrid publishing.

  1. Traditional publishing. Traditional publishing involves submitting your manuscript to literary agents or directly to publishing houses. If your manuscript is accepted, the publisher will handle the editing, design, distribution, and marketing of your book.

    While the traditional publishing route offers the benefit of industry expertise and wide distribution channels, it is highly competitive, time-consuming, and impossible to guarantee even the best book will secure a publishing deal.

    With traditional publishing, authors can expect to collect royalties between 10-15 percent per sale.

  2. Self-publishing. Self-publishing empowers authors to take full control of the publishing process. With self-publishing, authors oversee all aspects of book production, from editing and cover design to distribution and marketing.

    Self-publishing offers creative freedom, faster time to market, and higher royalty rates, but it requires authors to take on all the responsibilities of a publisher, including upfront fees. When authors publish through BookBaby, they earn 50 percent royalties on print book sales, 75 percent on audiobooks, and 85 percent of eBook sales on Bookshop.

  3. Hybrid publishing. Hybrid publishing can mean different things, but basically combines elements of traditional and self-publishing. Some authors who have published through traditional means may also choose to self-publish other titles, or may structure a contract that allows them control over certain platforms, like negotiating film or audiobook rights. In some cases, authors might work with hybrid publishers who provide publishing services for a fee while still offering traditional distribution and marketing channels.

    It’s very important to thoroughly vet any company that proposes this last structure, because there are many scammers in the publishing industry looking to take advantage of authors with big aspirations and limited knowledge of the industry.

Manuscript preparation

Before submitting your manuscript, it’s essential to ensure it is polished and ready for publication. Consider the following steps.

Editing and proofreading

Engage a professional editor or seek beta readers to provide feedback and improve the overall quality of your manuscript. Editing involves refining the structure, grammar, and style of your writing, while proofreading focuses on eliminating spelling errors and inconsistencies.

Query letter submission

For traditional publishing, craft a query letter to capture the attention of literary agents or publishers. The query letter should succinctly describe your book, highlight its unique selling points, and entice the reader to request your manuscript.

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Advantages of self-publishing your book

While traditional publishing has its merits, it is out of reach for many authors. Self-publishing offers distinct advantages that have made it a popular choice among authors.

  1. Creative control. As a self-published author, you have full creative control over your book’s content, cover design, and marketing strategies. You can shape your book according to your vision and make changes as needed.
  2. Faster time to market. Self-publishing allows for a quicker publishing timeline. You can bring your book to market within weeks or months, compared to the longer process of traditional publishing, which involves querying agents and waiting for publishing deals.
  3. Higher royalties. With self-publishing, authors retain a higher percentage of royalties from book sales.
  4. Direct reader engagement. Self-publishing platforms provide better opportunities for direct reader engagement. Authors can build their brands, interact with readers, and act on feedback to foster an invested community.

BookBaby is ready when you are

BookBaby offers all the expert authors services you need to succeed in the publishing industry. Our Complete Self-Publishing Packages include design, eBook distribution, print-on-demand, and more. We also offer robust marketing services to help you get the word out about your new book.

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