Where To Start
Many people have ambitions to write a book and dream of having their book published. Whether it is a sweeping fantasy epic or research into their family history, there is a desire to see their work on the printed page. However, it is not always easy to know what the best option is when it comes to getting your work published, and this is why it is important to know how to publish a book and to ensure it is handled by a reputable independent book publisher.
The process can take years, and eventually you get to the point where you feel it is ready for publishing. The next part is a bit trickier-how to publish a book requires you to ask a few questions about what your aim is for the book, what your audience is and the most effective ways of reaching that audience.
By finding the right answers to these questions, it becomes easier to narrow it down and find the ideal publisher who will be able to give you the tools you need in order to get your book looking professional and out there.
What Do Publishers Do?
Publishers are responsible for getting your book from the words that you have typed onto your laptop, into a bound book, and onto the shelves of the bookshops ready to be bought by your readers. The role of the publisher should cover all these elements, from that initial reaction to your manuscript throughout the production and design process to the marketing and sales of your book. The book publishing process is complex and requires a great deal of skill to transform a book from its initial conception to flying off the shelves, so make sure you choose the right one.
Publishing is a skilled professional role, usually requiring a degree, an internship, and perseverance, and publishers will have spent many years working up through their industry to reach their current role. It can be a hard industry to break into, so any publisher that you meet will be dedicated and passionate about what they do.
Submitting a Manuscript to ShieldCrest
When you submit a book for the first time to ShieldCrest make sure you do your homework. By all means, talk to us to ensure you understand the process and get advice as to what you might need to do to ensure it is successful. For new authors, we provide a great deal of guidance regarding the merits and pitfalls in getting a book published in ‘What You Should Know About Self-Publishing‘. We strongly recommend you take a look at it as it will help you with your pitch. Your pitch is your moment to sell your book.
You only get one chance to send your book to a publishing house, so make sure it is the very best it can be. Time spent editing is never wasted, but make sure you ask someone else to read it as well. Feedback from trusted friends can be invaluable. Once you are confident that you can’t make it any better, then send it in. Spend time writing your covering letter, as this is the first thing that will be read by the publishing house and can set the tone for their whole experience of reading your book.
Decide Why You Want to Publish a Book
Before you set out on the route of publishing a book, it is important to understand why you want to be published. Are you looking for a new career? Do you have a burning story that you want to share with others? Do you just love writing? You need to be honest with yourself. Once you are clear with yourself about your motivation for wanting to become published, then you can explore the best options for your book.
Large Mainstream Publishers
Larger publishers will typically be the big names that you know. One problem with up-and-coming authors trying to approach them is that they simply won’t accept work that doesn’t come from a recognised agent. Sadly, agents only earn if the book is taken up and the mainstream publishers tend to go for already established authors or celebrity memoirs. The net result is that the first time author will stand little chance of ever being published through the large traditional publishing houses.
You may then think that the solution is to get an agent. As explained above, the process of approaching an agent is similar to approaching a publisher. They will sometimes want proof that your work has an audience appeal, and this can be hard to prove if you haven’t previously been published.
Sadly, they come in all shapes and sizes, and it can be fraught with issues if you choose the wrong one. So how do you know? We recommend you read ‘What You Should Know About Self-Publishing’ but also make sure that you see what others have to say about them. If they don’t have a customer review section – Beware!.
Book Publishing Process
Book publishing is a complex process that requires professionals working together to transform an amazing idea into a viable book ready to be sold. When asked what publishers do, we employ a whole collection of people who use their different skills and talents to produce your story into a ready-for-sale book. From designers who ensure that the cover reflects the story, and formatting the book interior to give a professional appearance, to print specialists utilising the latest print technology and correct paper for that book genre. Finally, the vital marketing ingredient to ensure your book is known about and targeted at the right market. All these people work together to give your book the best chance of success.
Copyright is often mentioned as part of the publishing process, but copyright exists automatically from the moment you begin your first draft, right through to your published book. We can discuss this in more detail with you if you have any queries regarding this.
What Do You Want?
When it comes to publishing your work, it is important to consider who your audience is. This doesn’t mean chasing trends – often the most popular titles tend to be ones that go against the current trend, and you inevitably get people chasing that initial success. Ideally, you want to get your work done and then consider on the basis of what you have created.
It is easy to say, “I want to appeal to everyone”. While there are plenty of titles out there that have a broad appeal, often you can narrow it down. For example; fans of the fantasy genre or people with an interest in boxing.
Sometimes, you may want to produce something that is for a specific purpose, such as your school or university, which may have an anthology of students’ work. Therefore, it would be more appropriate to have a smaller print run that would reflect the people who are likely to buy it.
This is why at Shieldcrest we offer two distinct packages – there is the larger-scale distribution package and the smaller runs that are better suited to local or more niche interests. We also offer proofreading and editing, something we strongly recommend in order to get your work at its highest possible quality before it is widely distributed. Spell-checking can help to an extent, but a human editor will be better at spotting how to make a phrase tighter, pointing out unnecessary exposition or excessive description. A good editor can make a first time author look more experienced.
Are Authors in High Demand?
People love to read, and book sales continue to grow, despite the other multitudes of forms of entertainment that are available to us. People will always love a good story, and they will need authors to write these stories for them. If you have a story to tell or a message to share, there are people out there waiting to read it, waiting to laugh, or cry, to feel heard, or accepted. Books have survived the rise of television, radio, the internet, and mobile phones. In fact, most movies or TV series originate from a book, so good authors are paramount. We are hard-wired to share stories, from when we first sat around campfires. If you have a story to tell, people are waiting.