If you’ve come this far—spending time and money on professional editing services, you have likely decided not to go the traditionally publishing route. However, nothing stops you from changing your mind and deciding you want to see what an agent or acquisitions editor might say about your booked blog manuscript. In fact, I usually advise people who have a small but nagging desire to have a publisher back their project at least to give it a try. At this point, go ahead and write that query letter and proposal, have these professionally edited by a book proposal editor, and send them off. See what happens.
You will want to send the query off to an agent first if you plan on approaching mid-sized to large publishing houses. Small publishing houses take unagented work in most cases; some mid-sized houses do as well. However, an agent can prove helpful in all cases. I see mine as my business partner; she looks out for my best interests when it comes to my contract.
The advantage of traditional publishing remains the same as always:
- a bit of clout or credibility (someone has put their money behind you)
- some money up front for your work (not a lot in most cases, but something)
- help funding the design of your book and the printing
- help funding the editing (although you’ve already done that)
- a little bit of help with promotion
- some distribution into stores
- a business partner
The disadvantage, of course, is that you earn a lower—much lower—percentage on each book sale. You also lose control over your book; the publisher, editorial staff and design team will make the decisions about your book. And you will likely not be able to publish anything else on a topic similar to your book until your publisher has decided not to take on that project as well. (This is called “first right of refusal” and is a clause in most contracts.)
If you don’t want to do all the things that go with self-publishing, though—like hiring a designer (or an editor, if you didn’t already do that), figuring out how to get your book printed, purchasing an ISBN, getting your book converted into an ebook format, handling distribution, etc., traditional publishing may be the best route for you. If this stuff doesn’t bother you, or it actually turns you on, maybe you want to go the indie publishing route.
I make no claims to be THE expert on self-publishing. My expertise lies in helping you get your book written. That said, I have self-published a few short books, one of which was a blogged book. It’s not too difficult, but it does take time, effort and attention to detail. You have to be a good manager. The advantages of being a self-publisher are:
- You have total control over the process and your work.
- You get to choose your cover and interior design.
- You get to choose your book title.
- You earn more per book.
- You can choose more creative ways to promote you book, like giving away books for free.
- You have the freedom to write and publish what you want when you want.
- You can bring a book to market quickly.
If you choose this route, you can produce a print-on-demand (POD) book, a fairly inexpensive option that allows you to print just one book at a time in many cases or none at all. Many authors today are using Amazon’s CreateSpace to do this; I have used them, but I was not that happy with the quality of their books as compared to a digital printer I used previously. You can also use Lightning Source, a well-respected and well-established POD printer that has been around a long time. However, their services do cost more.
You might also choose to print your booked book using offset printing. Doing so is considered “true self-publishing,” but it requires printing large quantities of books. Personally, I find this a high-risk option, and I don’t want to have those books stored in my home somewhere.
Of course, the cheapest option is to get on board with the biggest publishing trend and produce an ebook. By far, this is the most inexpensive self-publishing option, since you really only need a cover design. You can have an interior book design, but it isn’t necessary. You may need someone to help you convert you booked blog manuscript to the right format for uploading, and there are great services available for distributing ebooks, like Amazon’s Kindle or Kindle Select, Smashwords.com and Bookbaby.com.
I can’t stress enough, however, that whatever indie route you take you make sure you get a professionally designed cover. Covers sell books. Although you can get an ebook cover art for as little as $50 (Smashwords.com has a list of people who do ebook conversions and covers.), you might want to research some other options. For instance, Digital Book Launch offers a $200 book cover option, and the company is know for its marketing know how, which is the touch a cover needs to catch the attention of potential readers and then get them to take your book to the register. (And, yes, I am an affiliate for this program because I think it’s an awesome and affordable service for authors.)
Many subsidy or author services companies offer cover and interior design services as well. Beware that these may not be as high quality or unique as what you will get with a book designer who owns his or her own company. (The same holds true for their editorial services; they tend to be rather “light.”) These companies, like BookLocker, iUniverse, Xlibris, PublishAmerica, and Lulu, call themselves publishers, but they are what used to be called vanity presses.
Which brings me to another important point: If you don’t want to go the traditional publishing route, or can’t find an agent or publisher to take on your project, and you don’t want to be an indie publisher, which basically means you become a publisher, a subsidy or author services company might be your saving grace. The offer all the services you need to get your book into print (and sometimes also into ebook format) usually at an affordable price. Just know that the editing and design may not be the best or most unique. And their name will be on the side of your book, but that does not mean they are your publisher; it just means you bought their services. They say they pay you royalties. That’s kind of pushing it in my mind.
Creative Publishing Choices
Now, last, but not least, there are a few more options. Fast Pencil offers some of the same services you can get at a subsidy publishing company, but you can now use your own ISBN. Plus, you can load up your own cover design, and their system has several built-in interior design options, which makes it fairly affordable. They also have an inexpensive ebook conversion program. Additionally, they have a blog-to-book program that will take your blog and convert it into a book, but you will then have to do the editing and design within their technology. (Disclaimer: I am an affiliate for FastPencil; I have been working with them on and off and was waiting for them to develop the option to use your own ISBN. I will be publishing something with them soon now that they have it.)
If you want to build your fan base or author’s platform—gain traffic and unique readers—while trying to get the backing of a traditional publisher, check out PubSlush.com. Unlike popular sites like kickstarter.com, where you submit a project and ask people to preorder your book so you get funded, at PubSlush you post your book project and start asking people to preorder your book, but when you reach 1,000 supporters, guess what? PubSlush publishes your book for you. In other words, when they see that your book has enough reader interest, they put all those preorder to work in the form of editing, design and promotion—all the things a traditional publisher would do for you. So, you get one more round of polishing on your manuscript, professional design, promotional help—and you don’t have to be an indie publisher if you don’t want to be. Pretty nice. You already have a following of readers, so send them on over to PubSlush.
I have probably not covered all the different publishing options available. And new options show up all the time. These will at least get you thinking about how you want to publish your booked blog.
And that ends March and it’s focus on booking a blog. Guess what? In those 30 days, I blogged a short book.
On to April: Blog a Book in 30 Days
My birthday is on April 5th. Want to give me a birthday present?
Nominate this blog for the TOP TEN BLOGS FOR BLOGGERS CONTEST 2012.
Doing so is easy.
Just click here, and then leave a comment with
the URL to this blog (http://www.howtoblogabook.com) and
a reason or two why you think How to Blog a Book should win the contest.
Nominations end April 9th.
Thanks so much for your support.