How To Publish A Book?

To BE or Not to BE A Self-Published Author

By Anne Duguid

Just under a week ago, Bob Medak wrote an interesting article for Writers on the Move discussing when is the best time to build an author platform. But the last line stopped me in amazement.

"Authors," he wrote, " should have their book published the way they wrote it."

To my surprise, no one even queried the statement, far less took him to task. But as a judge for the recent Global e-Book awards and member of an enthusiastic Kindle publishing group, I have to disagree or at least urge caution on any author thinking of going it alone.

So many potentially good books cannot achieve the success their authors deserve because:

•    poor editing leaves muddled sentences, glaring grammatical mistakes and confused plot lines
•    poor formatting renders books irritatingly untidy and difficult to read
•    poor spelling and proofreading stop the reader from concentrating on the story or information provided
•    the cover does not have sales appeal

A reader who is disappointed in the presentation of a book will not buy from the same author again in a hurry.

Advantages of Self-Publishing

•    Publish the book the way you, the author, wrote it--but please employ an editor and proofreader.
•    Have the last word in the design of your own cover--but consult a good graphic designer or at least visit a site like The Book Designer. The designers' comments here on the great range of book covers submitted for awards are helpful and informative and teach what makes a cover attractive to buyers.
•    Check and recheck your formatting till it is absolutely perfect.
•    You have complete control over your own work.
•    You can publish as fast or as slowly as you like. You make your own deadlines.
•    You have the joy of learning all the ins and outs of the business.

Advantages of Traditional Publishing

•     The editors, proofreader and cover designer will be provided. They are professionals and will advise on what sells.
•      The formatting will be handled by someone who knows the job and the pitfalls.
•     A good publisher, editor, cover designer will listen.
•     You will have more time for writing.
There is of course the downside.
•    The length of time between contract signing and publication date.
•    Less income as you have effectively outsourced the work of publication.
•     You may not have the book published the way you wrote it but then and again it might just be a smidgeon better. 

Anne Duguid is a senior content editor with and   her New Year's Resolution is to blog with helpful writing,editing and publishing tips at Slow and Steady Writers ( far more regularly than she managed in 2011.

More Writing Articles

Writing for Money – Breaking Into the Freelance Writing Business
How to Write Tight – Self Editing to Make Your Manuscript Ready for Publication



Marge said...

Great points, Karen. Most other articles tell people to publish their books and don't mention editing. Not editing could give you a bad start as a writer.

Karen Cioffi said...

Marge, It's so true. Having your work edited before publishing is essential.