Publishing a book is only a beginning to the next book which you will write. However, the one part of publishing process that writers tend to gloss over is choosing a publisher. The fact is, there are a lot of choices out there and you can go beyond simply getting an agent and thinking about where, who and what your publisher might do for you. There is also self-publishing, and the choices out there are as endless as they are with the traditional side.
Whom are you publishing your book with, even if it’s a self-publishing company? Even if it’s through a traditional avenue, do you understand what they are telling you and, more importantly, what you are getting into?
Not only do you need to lay the ground work for your writing, you need a blog and social media accounts to begin your journey. After this you have to get — or hopefully increase — traffic (yes, embrace Internet language!) or readers to your blog.
And you’ll do this all the while you’re hunting for a publisher.
Have you done your research? Below are a list of ideas and questions you need to ask yourself before you sign any sort of agreement with a company:
1) What rights as an author do you have? If you are self-publishing, the answer should be: all of them, you are the publisher, and therefore you have all the rights to your book. Some self-publishing companies have contracts that you will have to look over carefully.
If you are traditionally publishing, the answer is that generally most of the rights are with the publisher.
2) Who provides the most format options? Digital print, e-book? Paperback? Hardcover? Which company does all of them and which do you have to do on your own.
3) Do you know the difference between a vanity press and a self-publishing company? If you publish with AuthorHouse or another one like it, you as the soon to be publisher need to know it’s different than publishing with a company like Lighting Source or CreateSpace.
4) What are the challenges that each type of publisher can face? (a self-publishing company might not get you exposure, but the same holds true for a traditionally publishing company)
5) Reviews and other promotional events: Know who does this and who pays for it. If you can’t afford an event, you probably should rethinking your marketing efforts.
6) How much time does the company give you to see success before certain rights are returned to you?
If you are traditionally published the answer is generally no, you won’t get rights to certain things back, whereas self-publishing a book means more of a grey area- in some cases, moving from CreateSpace to another self-publishing company might be problematic.
There is more to this list and these are the main things you have to know before you sign an agreement. This is even more important when you have your business of writing and money on the line.