I've Finished Writing My Book -- Now What?

It's finally happened. You took that wonderful idea of yours and put it down on paper. You've spent hours perfecting your work, making sure that your ideas flow smoothly and that your message is clear. And now, at long last, the manuscript is complete. You would be amazed at the number of people who make it to this point and then have no idea how to proceed. If you are one of those people, have no fear. This article is just for you.

There are MANY different ways to go about publishing your book. They all have pros and cons, so I'll give you the highlights of each which will allow you to make a more informed decision about which way you would like to proceed.

Traditional Publishing
- You send your work to publishing houses in hopes that they will accept it for publication.

Pros: There is no upfront cost to you, and many times, you receive an advance of
money from
the publisher
The publisher takes care of all formatting, editing, cover art, copyright, ISBN,
and distribution.
With this option, everyone considers you a "real writer."

Cons: Publishers are swamped with manuscripts and therefore only accept a small
number of
those they receive.
The wait for a publishing house to "decide" about your manuscript is generally
6 months or more.
Publishers desire authors who already have an established platform (audience,
such as through a blog or speaking engagements).
Unless you are "somebody," traditional publishers will NOT market your book.
That is up to you.
Royalty payments are only 8-12%.
Many publishers only allow you to query one company at a time, so if company
#1 decides after 6 months that they don't want your manuscript, then you have
to go to company #2 and start all over again. This process could take YEARS
and has for many authors.

Subsidy/Vanity Press
- You hire a company to "self-publish" your work.

Pros: The publisher takes care of all formatting, editing, cover art, copyright, ISBN,
and
distribution.
In many cases, the publisher will make available to you a marketing package
(for an additional fee).
The turnaround time for your book to be published is very quick, usually within
a month.
Royalties vary depending on the company, but many of them offer more than
traditional publishers.

Cons: The starting fee for many of these types of presses is $1,000. Packages vary,
but all, I
feel, are still over-priced.
These presses have a very bad reputation because they will publish
ANYTHING whether it's good or not.
Unless you pay for the extra marketing package, marketing is still entirely up to
you.

Amazon's CreateSpace
- You do your own "self-publishing."

Pros: There is no upfront cost except to buy any books you want for yourself at a
nominal fee
(as little as $2.10, depending on book size).
There is a built-in cover creator where you can design your own cover using
their templates.
All books published through CreateSpace are immediately made available on
Amazon.com.
The free distribution channel makes your book available to online bookstores as
well as distributors such as Ingram and Baker & Taylor.
The process is quick and easy, and you get to retain much more on the royalty
money than with traditional publishers or vanity presses. (60% from Amazon,
80% from CreateSpace, and 100% of what you sell directly (minus the price of
the book.)
Free ISBN number.
The turnaround time for your book to be published is a matter of days (literally).
Very easy step-by-step process.

Cons: CreateSpace does offer editing and formatting service, but at a rather high fee.

Even though your book is made available to distributors, it does not include a
"buy back" feature which in turn makes your book less appealing to bookstores.
(If the book doesn't sell, the distributor will buy the book back from the
bookstore. CreateSpace does not make this offer.)
If you desire, you must obtain your own copyright and Library of Congress
number.
The ISBN number actually belongs to CreateSpace.
As with the other forms of publication, marketing is up to you.

Whatever route you decide to go, be sure to do your homework. There are many "presses" out there that are only interested in making money. Find out as much as you can about the publishing house of your choice, and also make sure you get specific details about what your publishing package includes. Once you've decided on a house, don't waste any time. While the house is working on your book, use that time to work on your marketing plan. The best book in the world won't sell if no one knows it's available.

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