I receive many queries about publishing. Here’s some useful information.
So you are not a natural. You aren’t the best speller and your grammar is horrible. It’s difficult to write your thoughts – let alone the first sentence. Your old friend, “writer’s block,” breathes down your neck each time you sit down to release your inner wisdom. Your shortcomings make you insecure about picking up a pen. No worries, there’s still hope. Writing is adaptable and easy to learn. Although journaling is a great place to start, I recommend you join a writer’s circle or pick up a course at your local community college. By doing so, you hone in on your hidden talent and receive great feedback in the process. The more you write, the more comfortable you become in writing. The more comfortable you are with writing, the less you get writer’s block (though he still makes an appearance from time to time).
Copyright Your Work!
Before you publish your work, be sure to register it with the U.S. Copyright Office. You can register your literary work online or mail in a paper copy. It won’t make sense if you skip this step because it’s extremely easy to do.
Find A Literary Agent/Publisher
There are lots of scam artists in the publishing industry. Many expect payment in exchange for book publishing. This should never be the case, unless of course you are publishing your own material. A real publisher would never ask you to pay upfront fees because it’s their job to do that on your behalf. Granted, publishers take a huge percentage of your profit, leaving you with 2% – 7% of the royalty check; but that’s because they had to put up a lot of money for editing, printing, and marketing.
You should also be leery of publishers that guarantee to publish your work. Although not all of them are scam artists, many new authors mistakenly believe that these publishing houses will market their book. If you are okay with marketing your material, then it may be a good idea to go with trustworthy companies such as Lulu.com. You can also market your material in eBook format for Amazon.com and other online bookstores. However, make sure you do your research and read all of the fine print before uploading your copy written material.
Remember, scam artists are not clever, they are predators. They prey on the naivety of their victims, so it’s important to do research. The Internet makes research easy and it also saves time, money, and embarrassment.
Type the name of the company in your favorite search engine. Most times, a company with an unsatisfactory rating will have many complaints from consumers. Some of these complaints even label the company’s product or services as “SCAM”. Most major companies are registered with the Better Business Bureau so it’s easy to check their rating.
Most scam artists create simple websites that contain misspelled words, or guarantee a product or service that is too good to be true. In addition, most scammers don’t post telephone numbers or addresses on their site. Not all companies with non-existent phone numbers are scams, so you will have to do additional research.
If you wish to keep 100% of your profit, you can choose to self-publish. There’s a lot of information in Dan Poynter’s Self Publishing Manual that you may find helpful. In the manual he gives you templates on how to submit Requests for Proposals to printing houses, how to market your material, and more. I highly recommend.
In addition, know that most places will not work with you unless you are backed by a publishing company. Therefore, you may want to think about owning your own. Come up with a name, register it with the IRS to obtain your Employer Identification Number (EIN). Use that information to log on the back end of sites, such as Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, and more.
If your literary work is in the form of a novel, you will also need to obtain a unique International Standard Book Number (ISBN). You can obtain that information from isbn.org. You will need information about your title in order to register, so be sure you have all of your information handy.
Most of your work will stem from marketing. It will be important to create websites, social media accounts, press releases, and any other material that may help your work get noticed.