You have written your book. With justification, you are very proud of it. What next? The obvious move is to contact an agent or publisher. However, in the 21st century this route is becoming old-fashioned. Agents and publishers reject far more than they accept. They take a percentage of the royalties. They exert control over content, cover design, marketing, etc. Sometimes, they take a very long time to publish a book. If you are happy with that package, give agents and publishers a go. They could be ideal for you.
If agents and publishers are not for you, you could try self-publishing. Amazon and Smashwords, for example, offer excellent self-publishing platforms that place your books in front of millions of readers. Self-publishing is now an established part of the book industry. The stigma, which existed at the start, has long gone. Indeed, many traditionally published authors are turning to self-publishing because they recognise the advantages it offers. Lesley-Ann Jones is a Sunday Times bestselling author, yet she decided to publish her memoir, Tumbling Dice, independently to great media acclaim. You too could become a bestselling author. More about that next time.
You have written a great novel, a memoir or a work of nonfiction. But what next? What should you do with your manuscript? You could approach a publisher. However, many publishers will only accept manuscripts through an agent. So you could approach an agent. However, agents are mainly interested in authors who have a track record or public profile. It’s a classic Catch 22 situation, an example of how mainstream publishing is a closed shop.
However, these days there are many alternatives. The easiest route to publishing is through independent publishers and self-publishing. Note: never pay a publisher to publish your work. A genuine publisher will never ask for money.
To self-publish, and to reach an international audience, you can use the following platforms: Kindle Direct Publishing, run by Amazon, and Smashwords. Smashwords distribute books to Barnes and Noble, iBooks and Kobo. Through these platforms you can publish in paperback, eBook and after that explore audiobook and translation possibilities. Thousands of readers download my books every month. Through this method they can download your books too.
Next time, I will explore this subject further. Meanwhile, if you have any questions about publishing feel free to contact me through my website.