How to Turn Your Book Baby Into a Published Grown Up
Babies grow up quickly. All of a sudden they’re walking, talking, exploring – and before you know it, kiddo is already heading out into the world to make mum and dad proud.
Given all the nurture, time, and – let’s face it – blood, sweat and tears, invested in it, it’s no surprise that most authors see their manuscript as their ‘baby’.
Preparing For Adulthood: Looking At Publishing
As with any child, the obvious goal is to form your book into a decent, successful grown-up, one that will make you proud. Prepare it, polish it, and then publish it. Because no matter how much you love your ‘baby’: at some stage you’re looking forward to the day the kid moves out. Be free of having to write and re-write your manuscript; find editors for hire, and go and publish.
Enough already with the stress about having to get over writer’s block another time. No parent or author wants to keep pulling all-nighters forever, nor keep changing nappies (or paragraphs or formatting). As much as you love your baby, the goal is to get it ready to go – not keep it living with you forever.
But Which Book Publishing Route to Take?
You’re already familiar with the options – traditional and self-publishing. And you may have wondered which is right for you and your ‘baby’. And really, there is no one best option. It depends very much on your parenting style.
For The Helicopter Parents: Self-Publishing
If you’re one of those helicopter parents – and you don’t want other people meddling much – self-publishing is a fantastic option. Why?
The process of self-publishing doesn’t usually involve a literary agent, and you will have much more control over what happens to your book. From start to finish. That includes, organising editing, cover design, typesetting, printing and distribution yourself. Of course, there are agencies out there with quality editors for hire that can help you sort it all out quite easily.
Being deeply involved in the process not only means that you will have everything just exactly how you like, but what may make it worth it is the higher profit margin that accompanies self-publishing.
The actual tricky part to self-publishing is that in order to see profits and prestige, you will have to head out and secure the distribution of your book in stores. It’s not impossible, but it’ll have to be a zealous effort on your part. But, looking at the positive, this does mean that you may get your book into places that are much more adequate for your book’s niche and audience. Places that can really appreciate your work.
And, it’s fast. You can do it right now – choose one of the editors for hire that has experience in your niche. Have them help you get the wrinkles ironed out and then publish.
What Are The Risks of Self-Publishing?
In terms of risk, there isn’t much risk apart from trying to achieve a good distribution of your books. Finding quality editors for hire will guarantee a good product. So, head out with that professionally polished manuscript, get it produced well – and market the bejesus out of your book. Don’t be afraid to shout loud and clear about your baby at events, and on social media and your book’s own website.
With professional self-publishing and print-on demand services easily available now, there’s no minimum number of quality books you have to print at once – you can start with 10, or even just 1, if you like.
Traditional Publishing: The No-Rescue Parents
Now, if you’re one of those parents that are now referred to as a ‘no-rescue’ parent (the opposite of helicopter parent) traditional publishing may be for you. No-rescue parents let their children go through experiences and processes that may help them grow and don’t mind at all when the entire village gets involved in raising them.
Traditional publishing doesn’t permit the control self-publishing gives you as the author. Your manuscript heads to the publisher (let’s compare it to, say, boarding school). It’s still your baby, but someone else is now forming it into what they see as good and successful.
Putting it through the traditional publishing process means things take a little longer than when self-publishing – factor in at least a year from manuscript acceptance to publishing.
Then, as if that weren’t enough, your manuscript has to be accepted first: you’ll have to find a literary agent who can take your manuscript to the publishing houses. This can take a lot of time as publishing houses are generally inundated with submissions. There is no guarantee that your child will ever be accepted to a private boarding school, much less your preferred one. And keep in mind that your agent will also request a piece of your book’s royalties pie.
What are the risks of Traditional Publishing?
As a no-rescue parent, you are probably looking to see the process make out of your baby, the best book that it can become – and traditional publishing is a great way to do so. It’s a rigorous process. The risk is that your book could end up being different than you had envisioned, or, even more challenging – that no one accepts it.
Define Your (Book) Parenting Style
So, what route will you take with your manuscript?
Just like in parenting, there is no right or wrong method, just what works best for you and your baby. Either way, you will end up with a published book that you can be proud of. It’s a matter of looking at your finances, time and goals. Firmly define what you really want out of the process and how you can best get there.
And then give your baby a good nudge – let it go out into the world to flourish.
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