Getting Started in Self Publishing

While many would-be authors aspire to publish a book, the reality is, most never do.  There are many reasons this occurs, but one of the most prevalent is that those who might write a book have heard that only very few book proposals are accepted by publishers. With such a huge barrier to entry, some don’t even attempt it as a result.

Fortunately, thanks to advances in technology, particularly in regards to the publishing industry, it has become much easier for an aspiring author to have a published book. The costs associated with printing a small number of books has decreased substantially, thereby allowing more people to become authors, as they no longer have to pay the high minimum costs that once characterized the book printing industry.

Now that authors are able to get published for a lot less money out of pocket, it is imperative that they be made aware of these new parameters, so they can entertain the possibility of finally making their dream a reality. Let’s examine a few paths an author can take, in order to become published.

The first path an author can take to become published in the path that has been in existence for decades. Namely, an author can present their book to a huge publishing house and attempt to get it published. But the problem, of course, is that these huge companies generally do not publish unknown authors. If they do, the author needs a literary agent to even have their proposal considered. Yet, these big publishing houses are well established and thus well respected, which means the author’s book will be perceived to have greater credibility and receive preferential treatment on the bookshelves and in the racks of book stores.

The second suggested path an author can take, is to submit their book proposal to a smaller publisher.  Publishing houses in this category are growing in number daily, and many of them focus on just one or two specific genres. Whether they are unknown or well known, they will generally have wide distribution channels, which means any author taking this route could potentially share shelf space with books from major publishing houses. Authors using this path do not need a literary agent.

The third path, which many find to be the most desirable and beneficial, is self-publishing.  With lower minimums needed now, authors can print their books much more easily and quickly and for much less money in order to get a book published. As a result, it is estimated that 90% of all books being published today are self-published. While an author’s book proposal won’t get rejected using this path, the disadvantages are that there is less perceived credibility and more limited distribution channels.

Regardless of the path, an aspiring author takes to become published, the burden of marketing is still on the author.  Even authors whose books are published by major publishing houses still must work to promote and sell their books. But the increase in publishing options for budding authors is definitely beneficial and helps to level the playing field.

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