Traditionally, few writers were able to see their books in print because a small percentage of books written, maybe five percent or less, were ever published.
Today, however, thanks to the increase in the number of small publishing houses and to the availability of resources for Independent Publishers, many, many more books are being published.
Consequently, your chances of becoming a published author, your chances of becoming a multi-published and a regularly published author are better than ever.
As you may know, I've had books published in hardcover, paperback and e-book formats by traditional publishers. In fact, my very first book MONTANA MATCH was published exactly 10 years ago this month by Avalon Books, New York in hardcover.
However, in the last couple of years I have begun to publish my back list of books Independently, and I've been pleased with the results.
In this series on "Getting Published" I'd like to help you become a published author too whether you're writing your first book, second or your twentieth. So let's begin.
1. Write your book. The very first thing a writer must do in order to be published is to write a book. Easier said than done, right? Believe it or not (and I'm sure you believe it if you've already written a book), writing a good book is much more difficult than publishing it these days.
If you're still in the pre-published stage, here are some tips to help you insure your book is at it's best.
A. Let it set. Once you've finished your first draft, let the manuscript set for at least a month (two months is better) and work on your next project.
B. Critique. After a month or two, go to your manuscript and read it as though someone else had written it. Be critical and site the good and the bad. Be ready to cut, add, rewrite, recheck facts, look for inconsistencies, etc.
C. Let it set again. Once you've finished the second draft, let it set again as you did with the first draft.
D. Share it. Repeat as above with succeeding drafts. When you're satisfied your book is at its best, you may want to share it with a critique group, friends whose opinions you value or a professional editor you trust.
2. Your book is ready. Okay, your book is looking great, and you're ready to share it with the world. Next, it's up to you to decide whether you want to publish the book traditionally or independently.
A. Traditional Publishing. If you've set your sites on having a major publisher distribute your book, you will have to get an agent first. Major publishers generally look only at projects submitted through agents.
If you choose to submit your manuscript to a smaller publishing house, you may be able to submit directly without using an agent. Once you submit your manuscript be prepared to wait three to six months or more. Publishers usually have a backlog of submissions. Oh, and be sure to follow the publisher's guidelines when submitting. If they want a query first, don't send a completed manuscript.
B. Independent Publishing. If you'd rather have full control over your book's content and distribution, then Independent Publishing may be right for you. In the past writers who published their books themselves undertook a very difficult, expensive venture. They had to find a printer they could work with and afford, order a set number of books to be printed and pay for them up front. Then came the daunting task of finding bookstores willing to try to sell their books. Obviously, unless these writers were willing to front a great deal of money their distribution was very limited.
Today, because of Internet companies, Independent Publishers have access to worldwide distribution of hardcover, paperback and e-books at little or no cost to them at all!
Next week we'll discuss publishers who offer free services to authors for e-book, paperback and even hardcover publications.