I had my second to last WIR workshop on Saturday, The Big Hairy World of Book Publication, and I could not have asked for an audience of more attentive, alert, eyes-on-the-prize fellow writers. Over a hundred of you showed up on a gorgeous Saturday to sit inside a conference room and read my extremely primitive Power Point. So thank you. That’s first.
Second is that I’ll be doing what I’ve done before, and will post chunks of the presentation here for the next few blog posts. If you’re confused or you want clarification, you can email me anytime: firstname.lastname@example.org. Let’s talk. And meanwhile – read on!
I’M READY TO PUBLISH. WHAT ARE MY GOALS FOR MY MANUSCRIPT?
This might seem obvious – I’m at a publication workshop! But in fact there are different goals and it really helps to think through them as carefully as possible.
- To see it in print no matter what – you might want to consider self-publishing
- To see it in print with a traditional press — well, that’s your answer
- To have it for my family or myself –did you know there is excellent, very small-scale book production available at your very own public library? (https://www.cincinnatilibrary.org/main/espressobookmachine.html)
THE TRADITIONAL PRESS
The traditional press is what most people think of when they think of publishing their book. This is considered the gold standard, but I want to emphasize that it’s not the only option. A traditional press is one in which the press edits and puts out your book and pays you either an advance and royalties or just royalties. You will hold the copyright. The work is your property and the press is the facilitator of your property.
We’ve talked before about how a book is not just a story. It’s also a commodity. A publisher needs to sell it and they’ll want to know how it fits into an existing market.
So, if you want to see your book in print in a traditional house, you’ll need to think about what market it’s going to fit into and the changes you might have to make: length, structure, age-range, reading level.
Let’s go through some pros of traditional publishing: The author does not lay out money, can control finished product to some extent, you have access to the infrastructure and resources of publishing house, they pay you money! You pay no money!! They edit and design and market your book.
And the cons: To put it baldly, it’s very hard to get published. You might need an agent. And more on that next time.