The book publishing industry is fiercely competitive. In 2005, there were over 195,000 new books published. Each one of these books is vying against the others for media attention and marketshare. As self publishing becomes more accessible, I predict the market will be flooded and competition will get worse. That's why it's essential to develop your book strategy now.
As an author, what are your options? You can submit your work to a
traditional publishing company and hope it catches their eye. A friend
of mine (who has written seven books), called me to say that her new
children's book was coming out. When I asked her if she was excited,
she shook her head. "The process has been so long and drawn out, I'm not
Some years back, my friend submitted her work to a big New York publishing company. One year later, she received an acceptance notice. Another year went by and the company selected an illustrator for the book. (My friend was not involved in the process.) Five years after she submitted her work, the book is finally hitting the shelves.
If you intend to send your work to a publishing company, do
your homework. These big behemoths are in the business to make money and
won't be interested in your work unless they see dollar signs. To help
them see green, match your book to your publisher's target market. For
instance, if your book appeals to the mainstream Christian segment of
the market, it might be accepted by a Christian or gospel publishing
If your book is niche-related like mine, Keepers of the Children: Native American Wisdom and Parenting, you're better off self publishing.
If you're considering this route, I recommend this book publishing services company, which provides tools to help you take care of all the important tasks (book layout, cover design, obtaining an ISBN, and marketing.) for next to nothing. This means that you do not have to learn complex software for which you have no expertise. Best of all, you keep the rights to your book and all the profits. This is a self publishing service at its best.
If you are self publishing for the first time, subscribe to our periodic newsletter and we'll send you a free report, Self Publishing Essentials that details the process.
Interested in self-publishing? Click on software to determine which software product is best for formatting your book.
If you are a celebrity, then the traditional publishing world is your
oyster. A big publisher will edit your work, create a book and get you
media attention based on your reputation. Case in point: There were
four writers working on Amber Frey's book, which amazingly, came out
immediately following Scott Peterson's verdict. A sloth becomes a hare
when being quick means cashing in on current events.
For us average folks, catching the eye of a traditional publisher is more difficult. Even if your manuscript is accepted by a big publisher, don't assume they will promote your work. Remember my friend with the children's book? The only promotional help she's received from this behemoth was one hundred complimentary bookmarks and postcards (which she had to mail out herself.) This week, she's leaving on a trip to a regional area to promote her book to bookstores, but she (not the publishing company) is footing the bill.
While I don't want to discourage you from sending your work to the big publishers, I am committed to creating realistic expectations. Stay with me as I explore the self publishing industry and poke and prod the big behemoths. You may also want to read this article on self publishing info.
Be sure to subscribe to my online newsletter for writers and self publishers and you'll receive a free copy of Self Publishing Essentials.
Laura Ramirez is the author of Keepers of the Children: Native American Wisdom and Parenting which shows parents how to raise children to develop their strengths and create uniquely purposeful and fulfilling lives. Keepers of the Children won the Nautilus Award (given by Martha Stewart Omnivision), NCPA's Gold Book Award, Best Non-Fiction How-To and Best First Book.