I’ve written a book! What should I do now?
We’re glad you asked. The world of publishing can be overwhelming for new authors but if you’ve written a book then stop for a minute and congratulate yourself. It’s a big deal! Now a whole new chapter of your author life is about to start. We hope to give you an idea of what might happen next and which options you have for your manuscript. Let’s assume that you are happy with your final book – edited, proofread, edited again, asked people to read it and give feedback (not just your best friend!) – and you’re sure you have the best version of what you can do, what do you do next?
Option One: Approach Literary Agents and Publishers directly
Literary Agents are often described as the gatekeepers to the publishing world. They champion your book and take your word document (or similar), turn it into a real life book you can hold and then sell it to publishers. Okay, they sound great, but where are they? How to I find them?
This book is a great place to start. It has amazing articles about the world of writing as well as hints, tips and everything in between. Nestled amongst it’s pages are names and email addresses of literary agents and publishers, as well as information about what they are looking for.
Now you need to be submission ready. READ THE INFORMATION on the agent websites. They do not all want the same thing! Most agents will ask for a sample of your writing, a synopsis of your book and a cover letter (normally in the email itself), so make sure you have sent them what they actually want to see.
Then wait. It can be months of waiting, so try not to get totally obsessed with checking your email every five minutes. You’re going to need a thick skin for this approach; it is usual to meet lots of rejection along the way. Some agents won’t even email back to say no, you just have to assume. Be kind to yourself whilst you wait – and start writing something new.
PROS: Your agent will guide you through all the ‘getting published’ part, they will champion you and support you on your author journey.
CONS: It can be a long and hard journey to actually find an agent to represent you and they will, naturally, take a percentage of your earnings.
*Please be cautious of anyone offering hybrid publishing options or agents asking for money – Agents do not charge the author! There are lots of scammers out there and too many stories of debut authors spending large sums of money and not actually having a book at the end of it*
Option Two: Self-publish your book (with help)
Self-publishing is an exciting and relatively new option for authors. It can still cause the occasional raised eyebrow. ‘Oh, you’ve SELF published have you. Is that because your book wasn’t good enough to get published for real?’ Come to think of it, you’re going to need a tough skin for self-publishing too!
Some authors choose to self-publish straight away. They cut out the middle wo/man and keep all the profits for themselves. With so many options for self-publishing available now, and so many more authors finding success in this field, it can be a tempting option. Some authors choose to self publish straight away and others try the agent game first. There is no shame in self-publishing, so don’t let anyone make you think you’re not good enough to have a go.
Ok, I’m interested. But HOW do I self publish?
Companies like Fi and Books and Matador offer lots of information if you want to pay someone to help you self-publish. For a fee they will edit, format, introduce you to illustrators and generally be on hand to help you turn your manuscript into a book. After that you can order your book and start selling!
PROS: Someone will help you publish your book but it is still your own book and you can market it and sell it in the way you want. No agent fees. You can approach bookshops and ask them to stock your book.
CONS: It cost money. It can cost quite a bit of money! And there is always that worry that you might have 1000 copies of your book sitting at home not selling.
Option 3: Self-publish your book (by yourself)
If you want to have a go yourself, or are on a limited budget starting out, then a company like Kindle Direct Publishing might be the right option for you. Using a (fairly) simple step by step approach you can upload your manuscript to their website, design a cover and have your book in your hands a week or so later.
You can also do that without spending any money at all (like we did with our copy of ‘There’s a Poem in my Dungarees!’). This requires a lot of time, energy, effort and vision in your book and generally takes a bit longer than the ‘5 minutes’ they suggest on their website. The main advantage is that people can quickly start buying your book via Amazon and you won’t have spent any money. Amazon, however, will take a hefty chunk of your profits. For a book with a sale price of £6.99 you will only actually make £2.49 per book once Amazon takes their share. Sounds a bit stingy doesn’t it? Now you see why it was free to get started!
You can, however, order ‘author copies’ of your book at printing cost from Amazon and sell them yourself. For a £6.99 book which cost £1.70 to print you will see a return of £5.29, which feels a lot better!
PROS: Relatively easy, quick and FREE to bring your book to life. People can easily buy it from Amazon. Author copies can be purchased at printing cost and ordered in bulk if you’re visiting schools or selling at a market.
CONS: You need to have the vision and creative eye to bring your book to life. Amazon will take a hefty cut of your profits. Some bookshops will not be interested in stocking a book which has ‘printed by Amazon’ on the back page.
How can Magic Daisy Publishing help me?
Hopefully this page has given you some idea of your options when it comes to getting published.
Magic Daisy offers writing critiques as well as support if you choose to go down the self-publishing route. Please get in touch if you have any questions, we’d love to hear from you!