By Barbara A. Fanson, author, graphic designer
Most people can name the two most common methods for publishing a book: traditional publishing and self-publishing. But, I have published over 30 books in five different ways.
If you’ve written a story that would be interesting to others, you could research publishing companies that are seeking book submissions in the same genre or writing style. You wouldn’t send a children’s book to a company that only publishes science-fiction books. You follow their instructions about whether you can submit by email or mail and whether to submit a sample chapter or two. And wait. It can take up to six months for the publishers to read your book and respond.
You could publish the book yourself and pay all the expenses up front. Hire an editor, illustrator, layout artist, and a printer that specializes in printing and binding books. Self-publishing has become more popular in recent years because you can print one copy or 2000 copies yourself.
A traditional publisher would print a minimum of 5,000 copies because the printing price decreases with quantity. They already have connections to get your book into bookstores, libraries, and schools across Canada, the U.S. and the rest of the world. They already have a website for promoting and handling online sales.
If you self-publish the book yourself, how will you get it into bookstores? Phone, visit, or email each one? How will you get your book into libraries and schools? It can be done, but it requires a lot more research and work on your end.
Often, the writer gets ten percent of sales, so if your book sells for $14.95, you get $1.49 for each sale.
If you self-publish a book, you get 100% of any profit the book might make. After you subtract printing, editing, and illustration costs, then you have to subtract promotional costs: mileage to bookstores or speaking events, postage, and setting up a website. Who is doing the promotion? Who is writing and sending out press releases about your new book and speaking events? Who is preparing the artwork for social media posts for Facebook, Twitter, or other social networks? Suddenly, you’re learning everything you can about the size of the artwork and what makes an appealing Facebook post that people will notice. Are you paying for ads in print publications or online social media sites?
If you choose to self-publish your book, you have to do a lot of research and legwork yourself, which a traditional publisher has already figured out and has the staff to perform.
But, there are other ways to get your book into other people’s hands. Have you considered teaming up with a company to distribute your books? If you’ve written a book that might interest a fitness centre or a print shop, why not team up to produce a book. Almost any business can benefit from an eBook or printed book. Approach a college, university, or training centre if you’re an expert on a particular topic. Either you can write a book for them to publish or you sell books in their bookstore.
Everyone has a story, but how will you tell it? Barbara Fanson is one of the several authors at the Local Authors Fair on Saturday, October 28 from 12 noon to 3 p.m. at the Welland Library, 50 The Boardwalk in downtown Welland. Ask any of the authors questions about writing or publishing a book. Check out their website: http://wellandlibrary.ca/2017/10/local-author-day-oct-28-12pm-330pm/