To Market, To Market
You have your novel finished. Now what?
You have lots of options -- ebooks publishers, small press publishers, traditional publishers, or some form of self-publishing.
I'll talk about each form of publishing with some pros and cons to consider.
Traditional publishers are the usual publishers you find in bookstores. In US publishing, many are based in New York City. Some of these publishers of genre/popular fiction include Tor, Pocket, St. Martin, Leisure, and Kensington.
The major advantage to these publishers is distribution. Their books are usually carried by all the major bookchains and distributors so anyone can walk into the neighborhood bookstore and buy or order your book.
The better the distribution, the more books sold.
They will also give you an advance on your earnings and cover all the costs of creating the book itself including editing, the cover, and the printing.
Authors published this way are on the top of the author pecking order.
The major disadvantage is competition. You will have an uphill battle to gain a coveted slot in a publishing schedule and your competition will include many published authors.
In some markets, you'll need to get an agent even before you begin the fight for that slot, and this is an equally difficult and slow process.
Another disadvantage is lack of control. You will have almost no say in your book's title and cover. More often than not, you will also be required to change some of the book's content.
Pigeonholing is another problem. You must write to fit the current trends in popularity. It's a rare book that can be totally different.
Small press is really a small version of the traditional publisher, but rather than being owned by a conglomerate, it is owned by individuals. Many are niche publishers specializing in a particular market like regional mystery or paranormal romance.
Some have the advantage of good distribution through book chains and distributors so they can be found in bookstores, but others do not. It will be much harder to find your book in a bookstore, but it should be available for ordering.
All the expenses of editing, cover art, and printing are covered by the small press, and some offer advances on earning which are usually much smaller than the traditional publisher.
The amount of author impute in the publishing process ranges from none to a great deal according to the individual press.
The disadvantages include poorer distribution, the vagaries of the how each runs its business, and the inherent risk of working with a small company where an owner's illness can stop the presses.
SUBSIDY OR SELF-PUBLISHING IN PAPER
This category runs the gamut of subsidy/vanity publishing to self-publishing. Many of the subsidy and vanity publishers have the system for publishing the book set up so all you have to do is plug in the various components of the book. You will design the cover or pay to have someone design the cover, you will write the book blurb, and you will edit or pay someone to edit your book. They will take all this and print the book for you.
With self-publishing, you must also find a printer to print your book for you.
The major advantage to this method is you have most of the control for every element of your book.
A major disadvantage is that you have control over every element of your book. If you don't know what you are doing, you will have spent a lot of money to make a fool of yourself.
Distribution is the biggest disadvantage of self-publishing. It is almost impossible to get your book onto the shelves of bookstores and in the catalogs of distributors. Even those subsidy presses who claim they can get your books on those shelves rarely do.
You will have to literally hand sell each book. To do this, you must have the soul and charm of a successful used car salesman and lots of time.
A self-published book, unless it achieves best-selling status, is also more harm than good to a writer's reputation and future. Unfortunately, most in the publishing world have a great deal of disdain for the self-published so moving into another form of publishing later is much harder to do.
Tomorrow, we'll talk about electronic publishing.
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