From My Perspective – So You’re Ready To Publish A Book . . . What Next?
Good morning, lovelies.
This train of thought wasn’t on my list of things to do today, but after a lengthy conversation with someone today, I think I need to say my piece.
I noticed something tonight – well, this morning, since it’s almost 3:45 a.m. here. I’m from the East Coast, if anyone’s wondering.
Anyway, I’ve come to the realization that a lot of new writers, (those in the younger generation ranging in the teens to young adult, per say,) have a few pre-conceived notions about self-publishing. In their minds, they think their success is going to happen overnight. They assume their books are going to miraculously edit/polish themselves and that they’ll be catapulted onto the New York Times’ best seller’s list within the blink of an eye.
This, unfortunately, is not how the self-publishing world works. Nor is this how the traditional route does things, either. Those of us that have been writing for some time and have published our own books, be it through the traditional or self-publishing route, know that getting our books to that point takes time. We’ve poured our time, sweat, tears, and God knows what else, into making that journey, so we know how long it takes in getting publishing. For some, it may happen quickly. For others, it takes far longer. Never-the-less, we’ve taken the time, effort, and the hard work to get us to where we are today.
But this begs the question, why do the younger generation of this day and age assume that it’s easy to get their works out?
I’ve encountered a few recently where they’ve thought that just because they’ve written their book, that it’s all easy-peasy from there. They don’t seem to realize that they, too, will need to keep working at what they’ve written before it’s ready to be released to the literary world.
New writers need to take into account that once they’ve put their thoughts to paper, their next step is to get their work edited. Editing isn’t easy and it’s not that cheap, either. Granted, you’ll be able to find quite a few places, both online and in the real world, that will help you get your book edited and polished for a reasonable rate.
There’s also the option of acquiring beta readers to help you edit your manuscript if you don’t have the money for paying someone to edit your manuscript. This is a great option that any writer, both new and established, can take. Beta readers will read your book, critique it, suggest things that need to be changed/edited, and help you polish your manuscript along the way. They’re the ones who will help you make your book shine to the best of its ability.
Take advantage of this option, but also remember to acknowledge those who are beta reading for you. Thank them every chance you have and appreciate the work they do for you. In a sense, they’re your bread and butter when it comes time for editing and polishing a manuscript. Showing them just how much you appreciate them goes a long way and you just may net yourself a beta reader or two or three if you ever need one in the future.
Then there’s also the issue of acquiring an ISBN. ISBN, what’s that, you ask? An ISBN is the International Standard Book Number, a unique 10 to 13 digit number that’s assigned to your book in order to identify it within the literary world. This holds all the pertinent information to your book, (title, genre, publisher, description, and all those other goodies that make your book unique,) and is acquired via Bowker.
For those who self-publish, there’s also the option of acquiring a free ISBN for use if you distribute your book via Smashwords when getting ready to create that ebook. But you must keep in mind that Smashwords will be listed as your book’s publisher and not you. It’s only fair, though, since they’ve given you the ISBN at no charge in order for you to get your book out there quicker.
They also offer vanity ISBN’s, for a fee, if you wish to have your book listed under your own publishing label. That’s a whole new other ballgame right there, though, since you’ll need to register your own publishing company name at your city’s town clerk and what not. Not to mention that if you plan on selling your books through your own website, you’ll also need to the proper city licenses/permits in order to do so. I mention this because this was what I had to do in order to make my publishing company legitimate. I don’t like going half-assed on any projects or businesses I undertake, but that’s just me.
Also keep in mind that print books need an ISBN, too. If you plan on creating one, be it via Createspace, Lulu, Lightning Source, and another print-on-demand service, you’ll certainly need one. These services offer you the option of obtaining a vanity ISBN, too, at a very reasonable rate. Aside from Lightning Source, of course. You’ll need to obtain one previously before being able to use their service.
Anywho, I’m moving on.
New writers, and I do mean those newly starting out, that don’t quite know/are aware of what publishing truly entails. They may not know that they’ll need this unique identifier for their book. I know the person I spoke to earlier about this very thing surely didn’t because he just assumed all he needed to do was write his book, get it edited/formatted, and BAM! he’s ready for publishing. I think I gave him an eye-opener when I told him all the above.
He was further thrown for a loop when I mentioned that getting a book ready for release takes time. He assumed that editing a book takes a day or two. I clearly pointed out it doesn’t. I also stated that it’s going to take more than one pass before the book’s polished and ready to be released to the masses. He asked whether it’ll take a week or two. I said it might take more. It all depends. This, unfortunately, wasn’t to the author’s liking.
In his mind, his book is golden. In his heart, he believes it’s ready to go, but I kindly explained that while it’s a solid story, it’s far from ready. How long it’ll take in getting it there, I honestly don’t know, but the author has promise and if he applies himself, I think he’ll honestly go far. He just has to put in the time, effort, and hard work in order to get his book out there.
I know a lot of new writers assume the publishing business is easy. It’s not. Most especially the self-publishing side. We end up putting ourselves out there and market our own books ourselves much more than those going traditional. Ask any Indie and they’ll tell you the same thing I am. We painstakingly take the time to write, edit, get a couple people to beta read, revise, edit again, have another go at a beta read, revise, edit, and repeat the process countless times before we’re ready to truly let our babies out into the world.
This is the same process that those going the traditional route go through, except they don’t have to market their books themselves. The publisher/their publicist’s take care of this for them, but that doesn’t mean they don’t put themselves out there, either. They do. Just their method is a little different from those taking the Indie route. Never-the-less, every one of us has put in the time, effort, and hard work to get us where we are today.
If you’re new at writing/just starting out, take the time to research your options. Don’t assume that someone else is going to do the work for you and don’t assume that everything is done for free. It’s not. We all pay for the services we seek somewhere along the line, be it now or later. Granted, there are those of us who are willing to lend you a helping at no cost at all, but that’s because we choose to do so. Not everyone will, so keep this in mind for the future.
Take the time to edit and polish your book thoroughly. If you’re planning to go the self-publishing route, make sure to have someone create a splendid cover for you and that it pertains to the genre/market audience you seek to entice with what you’ve written. If you know how to create/design covers yourself, that’s less of cost to you in the long run. Just be sure to purchase the images you use. Don’t steal them. That’s a no-no, both in the Indie and traditional world, as is the pirating of someone’s book. Don’t forget to acquire that lovely ISBN, too, so that you can distribute it to other venues whenever possible.
In the long run, the time, effort, and hard work you put in to things will be worth it. You’ll be able to look back and say, ‘You know, I’m honestly glad I did take that needed time to do what I needed to do the right way.’ Once you start seeing the fruits of your labor, I think you’ll agree.
But most of all, give it all you’ve got when getting ready to put your book out there. Your readers/audience will thank you. The better your work is, the more it’ll engage those you’re trying to reach. Strive for what you want and you’ll definitely make it happen. You just have to want it enough in order to achieve it.