Routes to Getting Your Fiction Book Published
by Ron Kurtus (updated 6 June 2022)
There are several ways or routes to get your fiction book published. Getting your book published means that your manuscript is printed or put in an e-book format and then distributed and sold to the public.
The routes to getting published include going through a publishing house that invests their money to print and distribute your book, paying a self-publishing service to publish your book, or starting your own publishing business.
You can weigh the pros and cons of each and select your choice of a route to follow.
Questions you may have include:
- What does a publishing house require?
- What does a publishing service do?
- What is involved in starting a publishing business?
This lesson will answer those questions.
Going through a publisher
The traditional route of getting a book published is by going through a major publisher. You or your literary agent submits a proposal to the publisher, who decides whether the concept is worth the investment required to publish the book. Sometimes they will give a cash advance to ensure the author will sign with them.
Getting an advance
You may have read in the papers about authors receiving six-figure advances from a publishing house to write a book. Such cases are rare and primarily go to authors with a track record of having bestsellers. Occasionally a newcomer will receive an advance, if the book seems to have great potential of becoming a bestseller.
The downside of going through a major publishing house is that the subject matter must be something that they feel has great potential for a mass market. If your subject is more specialized, the chance of becoming published through them is extremely low. Another problem of going through a publisher is that if the book doesn't sell in a very short time, they will drop it and move on to another project.
Using small publishers
Small publishers often have more flexibility and are willing to try out a new author, especially if the topic is in their area of interest or specialty. On the down side, small publishers often do not have a strong marketing machine as do the major publishers.
Using a self-publishing service
You can pay a publishing service to print and even help market your book. This route is for authors who do not want to get involved in the business aspects of publishing.
A vanity press is a publisher who is not speculating on a book and instead charges the writer a fee for printing the book and making it available. Typically, the vanity publishers do not distribute or promote the book. That is up to the author.
In general, the vanity press is for writers who want to have a book published. Just for the sake of their own ego or vanity.
Many print-on-demand companies offer a publishing and marketing service for a fee. They obtain the ISBN and barcode for the author. They also provide editors, as well as marketing advice to help get the book sold.
Starting your own publishing business
If you want your book published and have an entrepreneurial spirit, you can start your own self-publishing or independent publishing business. This means you have greater control of the whole process. Typically, you start this publishing business because you have future books in mind that you want published.
You establish a publishing business
What this means is that you are creating your own small publishing company and handling or jobbing out the various tasks involved in putting a book together. Instead of the publishing house speculating and investing their money on your book, you do the investing of money and time.
Greater profit per sale
One big advantage in self-publishing is that you get a greater profit per book than the royalties you would get from a publisher.
Running your own publishing business involves a lot of work. You need to take care of finances, get an editor and designer, find a printer, and take care of marketing and distribution.
One route to getting published is by going through a publishing house that will print and distribute your book. If that is not possible, you could pay a vanity press to simply publish your book or pay a publishing service to handle editing and marketing. The third route is by self-publishing the material and taking care of all the details. Your profits per book are greater in self-publishing than the royalties you would get from a publisher. However, there is also a lot of work involved.
Sometimes you must do it yourself to get it right
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Routes to Getting Your Book Published