Writing a great book does not automatically mean it will sell. There’s a need to get your work into the hands of people who need to read it, and getting your book published is not so easy as you might think. Small publishers are closing up shops all over the world and big publishing houses only accept manuscripts from established authors or through agents. Aspiring writers who seek to break into the business will have a lot of trouble trying to navigate this minefield on their own.
Luckily for new authors, there are still ways for them to publish their books without having an agent or already having celebrity status in the literary world. Here’s how aspiring new authors can get their work published.
Small Publishing Houses
Smaller publishing houses give new authors a chance at getting their works published. These smaller publishing houses will accept submissions from unknown authors with little to no fanfare attached; they even encourage it because it means more work for them and means better chances of a decent book debuting.
This works best if you have a full manuscript ready to go and all you need is someone to publish it for you. Some of these smaller publishing houses in the UK will ask you to pay upfront, but most will simply take their cut from the royalties after the work is published.
The majority of UK book publishers also give new authors a shot at getting published. However, they will only accept manuscripts from authors who know what they are doing so if you’re just starting as an aspiring author, it may be best to take your manuscript elsewhere first before trying them after building up a fan base or two.
Self-publishing can give you great success if done properly. If you are committed to putting the time and effort into your work, then self-publishing is a great choice for new authors. You have full control over how it’s edited, how it looks like, and even how big or small each chapter will be. It’s very unlikely that the publisher will change anything in there once they’ve gotten their hands on it. This gives complete creative freedom to make sure nothing gets tampered with, except of course for grammatical errors, plot holes, etc.
Another plus about publishing yourself is that you keep 100% of the royalties from book sales. No need to split the profits with anyone else. With an established publisher, you will get a measly 10-15% of the royalties. This is unless you have an agent but there’s no guarantee they can get you a better deal than self-publishing.
If you self-publish your work, make sure to price it competitively and market it effectively. Look for book fairs and workshops that could help promote your book and find effective ways to advertise through social media or other channels. Some companies specialize in marketing and promoting books. Their website offers how-to’s on publishing and promotional tips to help authors become successful with their works.
Literary agents are another option for new authors looking for a break into the business. A lot of writers mistakenly use literary agencies as vanity presses so they can get their hands on the ISBN for their book.
There are agencies out there that are more than ready to take on new clients, but you have to be wary of the return policies they have in place. Some agencies will ask for a fee upfront while others will work off royalties, so before signing anything make sure you read everything carefully.
Some agencies deal with self-published authors specifically who already have an established audience or fan base which can help agents push your new works better and faster.
Agencies like these may give the author less creative control compared to directly publishing through a small publishing house since most deals include giving up some of your royalties in favor of having them handle all marketing efforts; however, this does not mean they won’t edit your manuscript and make sure your book is as good as it can be.
Shop Around For A Good Publishing Deal
The most important thing for new authors to remember when shopping their works around with publishing houses or literary agents is that they are the ones in charge; not you. This means that once you sign with anyone, you’re at their mercy with how they do things like edit your work, promote your book, etc.
You still have creative rights but all of these other factors are completely out of your control no matter how badly you whine about them; if both parties cannot agree on something (like giving up some of your royalties) then both parties part ways until negotiations can be made again with a better understanding of their respective boundaries.
With e-books becoming a popular way to read books these days, publishers have been working with authors to make their works available as digital copies compatible with devices like the Kindle. The market for e-books is already saturated by several authors looking for a chance to break into the business and establish themselves as an author so if you choose this medium, be ready to do your homework on how to publish them properly.
This means making sure your work will run correctly across all devices and that there are no glaring errors in the text which could lead to negative reviews from readers.
Marketing And Promoting
Last but not least, marketing and promoting are essential for any writer trying to get their name out there especially if they don’t have a huge publishing house behind their back. This can be a big challenge to new authors based on several factors like limited funds, lack of connections, etc.
All you have to remember is that the more exposure your work gets, the better chance you’ll get at selling copies and getting people who would’ve never heard of you before reading your book. The best way to do this is by joining writing groups, networking with other people in the industry, participating in social media, etc.
You also need to put up a professional website that acts as your online portfolio so people can get an idea of what you’re all about. If you truly believe that your book is worth publishing then you’ll find yourself working hard to promote it whether you plan to publish traditionally or self-publish. If your book doesn’t get any attention then you’ll need to do another round of edits before sending it out there again so people can take notice.
The key to these steps is that they require a lot of work on the author’s part. There is no magical silver bullet that will instantly bring success, but the best way to ensure your book becomes a best-seller is to have a high-quality product and image, promote almost constantly without becoming annoying, and always be open for constructive criticism so you can learn from your mistakes and rectify them in future works. However, if none of this seems too appealing then maybe consider going with an established publishing house or literary agent after all.