How to Get a Book Published
Getting a book published can be a formidable task unless you have at least a fundamental understanding of the book publishing industry. Traditionally a budding author would approach a main publishing house (publishers with large networking and distribution outlets) and submit their work / manuscript (usually with double spaces so that editors can make notes or write-in corrections between lines.) Unfortunately today's authors can sometimes make costly mistakes here, by not only submitting manuscripts without double spacing and no inclusion of a synopsis, but even without any telephone or address details - believe you me, we've received them!
Provide Author Information
Another important criterion to remember is that publishers like to have relevant information about the author: has the author published any previous works; what is the author's background regarding experience and education; what makes the author think that the particular genre presented in his or her manuscript would appeal to the general public or a specific audience perhaps, etc? The best way to deal with these important criteria is to approach this like a resume that you would prepare when looking for a job. Introduce yourself and submit as much information as possible regarding your background and experience in the relevant fields of authorship, without going overboard of course, and present this initial information before the synopsis and main draught of your manuscript.
Pitfalls To Avoid
Another important awareness that prospective or budding new authors need to become aware of is that there are many publishing pitfalls such as:
- Publishing houses that get you to enter competitions, only to plagiarise your work and have another author rewrite it using your plot and / or its various themes. This can all be done in a very underhanded way and becomes virtually impossible to prove - unless you have mountains of money and the patience of a saint! I need to add here that there are many bona fide publishing houses of course that would never stoop to such a low-life act. One of the best ways to protect yourself is to make an exact duplicate (not photocopy) of your manuscript and send it back to your own address via registered post, which is never to be opened unless to prove to your solicitor or future judge that you are the copyright originator. By the way, always put the copyright symbol (Copyright © Budding Author, Aug 2014) at the beginning and end of your works / manuscript with your name and approximate date - and, if you are sending an *unsolicited manuscript (without a literary agent) then it may be wise to send only the first chapter of your manuscript with a synopsis.
- 'Vanity publishers' who will try to make you believe that your future book will do wonderfully well (hence the word 'vanity'), charge you a wad load of money and then proceed to dump thousands of books on your doorstep without any recourse or marketing plan. Now, I do need to clarify some realities here: There are two main divides of publishers; the main publishing houses with large networking and distribution outlets; and the other smaller publishers who unfortunately do not have such large networking and distribution facilities. This doesn't mean of course that all smaller publishers are vanity publishers; the same as all large publishing houses are not all plagiarising low-life scumbags - though beware, quite a few are! Many small publishers will specialise in publishing a particular genre of books such as: educational books; varying types of novels; scientific publications; self-improvement books; spiritual publications; cookery and recipe books, etc. Other mainstream publishers like us (Starburst Publishing Pty Ltd) will publish all genres of books.
- Publishers who make out that your book project will have limited or no success or that it may take bucket-loads of money to succeed, and then proceed to offer you a small sum to buy your copyright ownership outright. Never sell your copyright ownership! If a publisher offers you money for the copyright, chances are your book project has potential! By the way, be careful of signing any book contracts that have sliding scale royalty clauses. You could end up getting as little as three percent royalties or less, even though the contract reads ten percent! A contract that gives you a straight ten percent royalty (as the accepted norm) on the recommended retail price is the one to go for. Make sure you have your solicitor peruse it first before signing.
- Please also read the following 'pitfall to avoid' as a separate article called: 'THE REALITIES AND PITFALLS OF PRINT-ON-DEMAND (POD) PUBLISHING'.
Further Stumbling Blocks
When you have taken into account the above publishing pitfalls and you are ready to approach a particular publisher large or small, then you also need to consider additional stumbling blocks. The main ones being:
- When approaching a main publishing house that accepts *unsolicited manuscripts, it can take years to have a publication go to print - providing it gets accepted in the first place. The truth is more than 90% end up on the 'slush pile' - do a careful search on Google yourself - just enter 'How many manuscripts to publish one book?' Out of the remaining 10% or less only a small proportion will strike varying degrees of success!
- If you've had enough of waiting or being dumped on the 'slush pile' and / or you've decided to self-publish with a smaller publisher then you need to make sure you have a good marketing strategy. Talk this over with your prospective publisher and make sure he or she doesn't pull the wool over your eyes telling you what a wonderful manuscript you have - you may actually have one of course. The truth is, the general public is a very fickle creature and won't easily accept any new book unless it has received some rave or at least compelling reviews.
Develop A Marketing Strategy
You may actually have a wonderful book that has the potential to be a best-seller; however, most people will never get to hear about it because there is little or no marketing behind it! When it comes to marketing, look at things like: Setting up a small advertising website and employ a good SEO company (Search Engine Optimisation) to do an evaluation; and, if possible, link this to a well-known or popular online book store or stores; send out 50 or more books with press releases to various media outlets and ask if they would like to do a review of your book; go to as many bookstores as physically possible and give them each a few copies of your book and stay in touch to find out how they're selling.
I was watching an interview with one very successful American novelist John Grisham, who became so frustrated with lack of sales he actually went as far as standing on street corners to sell his then unknown first novel - he has since sold close to 300 million copies!
I've given talks from time to time to various writer groups and have drawn a parallel with the publishing release of a new book to the birth of a baby; it takes an enormous effort to achieve the birth of a child (and book), but it takes even more effort to successfully raise this baby (successful launch of a book) and have it accepted by the (world) community!
* Unsolicited manuscripts have become the norm in the modern publishing world, whereas years ago you couldn't get a manuscript through the door edgeways without a literary agent. Most modern-day publishers are now looking for that 'One Gem' in the many hundreds of manuscripts received.
-Peter W Whitewood
STARBURST PUBLISHING PTY LTD
At Starburst Publishing we are well placed to help any prospective client. We can assist with self-publishing projects, even where clients have limited finance. We can also take on the complete publishing project where we provide full artwork, designs, layout, and editing facilities. Additionally, via our complementary businesses, we can provide a range of printing, web development and marketing services (see Bibliosity). We also specialise in high-volume printing with an emphasis on quality control. Starburst Publishing can therefore provide a full range of publishing services from editing and (pre-press) design features, setup, ISBN registration, through to the printed product, be it books, company manuals, catalogues, and of course Marketing. We also specialise in helping authors to set up, develop, publish and market eBooks in both PDF and EPUB versions.
For anyone interested in getting their works / manuscript published with Starburst Publishing Pty Ltd in book form, here are a number of important considerations:
- Either Starburst Publishing will finance the publishing of a particular (unsolicited) works / manuscript (which we do accept), or the author / originator will need to provide his or her own finances.
- If Starburst Publishing decides to finance and publish a particular submitted (unsolicited) works / manuscript (we would inform you within a three month period if you are successful or not), it can take a considerable amount of time before it becomes published in printed form - usually two years and sometimes as long as five years. This is simply due to a pre-planning need of publishing objectives and having to raise the necessary capital for each book project. Naturally, like any other mainstream publisher we also have a 'Slush Pile' and even though we accept unsolicited manuscripts, and besides informing you, we do not return manuscripts via post (unless the author decides to pick it up) - the reason is simply that it becomes too expensive an exercise.
- If our prospective client decides to self-publish we would advise to only print a limited version of a particular book project, for example 100 to 150 books, in order to test out the market place and see how the buyer / consumer react. Limited print runs of standard type books (as in black & white printing with colour covers) are usually printed in digital form, as opposed to offset printing. This reduces the cost dramatically, simply because offset printing has very high set-up costs. We would also advocate the setting up of an eBook version (in either pdf or epub formats or both) of the same book project, which, coupled with a good marketing plan (via Bibliosity) can further enhance any book project. Please take a look at our specials.
- Other costs that need to be taken into consideration are setting up of a particular book with format, artwork, designs, layout and editing facilities. Please take a look at our specials. For an obligation free quote or further details please contact us on 08 8340 8834