You’ve written a book. Now what?

Book publishing has been a trending topic for decades, always evolving. The brief overview of publishing options below may help bring clarity to the process. Long-winded, yes, but important information for your author’s toolbox.

First, congratulations on penning a book. It took a monumental effort, but your manuscript is finally written and edited. Yay! Now it’s time to get it into print (hard cover, soft cover, and/or e-book).

That may seem easier said than done, but hang in there! Read through the following pearls of wisdom, and let me know if you have questions.

Book Publishing

You can go one of two main routes:

Traditional book publishing route

  1. Query a literary agent
  2. Sign with a top tier brick and mortar publisher (fingers crossed)

Self-publishing route 

  1. DIY
    • E-books
    • Print on demand
  2. Hybrid
    • E-books
    • Print on demand
  3. Offset printing

These book publishing options are discussed below.

Traditional Book Publishing Route

If you want your book published through a traditional publisher, you’ll need to pitch your book to a literary agent. It takes time, research, and lots of effort to determine which agents represent your genre. Then you’ll make dozens and dozens of queries until someone shows interest.

Your literary agent will attempt to get your book in front of top-tier, second-tier, or possibly third-tier publishers. Honestly, the higher-tiered publishers are the most reputable, offer higher advances on sales, and help market your book on their powerful social media platforms. Imprints and second-tier publishers are also preferable.

Third-tier and lower publishers may not require a literary agent. This is NOT recommended. Many small publishers accept unagented manuscripts and even editing services, which fall outside of traditional publishing best practices.

In this case, why not just self-publish or do hybrid publishing?

You’ll see more details below, and there are many views and opinions regarding publishers who don’t require literary agents. I suggest you research the heck out of it and choose wisely.

If you need help writing a query letter, I can help.


Traditional or Self-Publishing?

Publishing House Imprints

Publishers Weekly

Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of American “Thumbs Down” Publishers List

While you’re at it, check out Jane Friedman’s blog on traditional publishing. She makes some good points, many leading to our next topic — self-publishing.

Self-Publishing Route

Formatting a book can be a technological challenge, especially if you want a book that hits all the professional hallmarks — good layout, spacing, pagination, and in the case of e-books, links. Some authors are able to format their own books (DIY), while others hire a book formatter to “get it right.”

Hiring a book formatter who provides cover design, ISBN, barcode, and uploading to bookseller sites is often referred to as “hybrid publishing.” Book formatters may agree to white label the project (making you the publisher and/or your own imprint), or may attach their own company name to the project. It’s up to authors to research and negotiate these options. I’m glad to discuss the details with my author clients.

E-Books: Considering the popularity of Nook, Kindle, and other reading devices, electronic books are on the radar of authors and readers alike. E-books are digital versions of print text which must be properly formatted through MOBI for Amazon Kindle, and through EPUB for everything else.

Print on demand: In the past, authors had little hope of getting published unless a traditional publisher signed them, but today we have other publishing options that include print on demand. Resources like Smashwords and IngramSpark allow authors to self-publish without worrying about their backlists, inventory, packaging and postage.

Boutique publisher recommendation: If you need a suggestion for a boutique book formatter and publisher, I recommend I do a lot of writing and editing for this company and have referred several of my book editing and ghostwriting clients for the following:

  • Book cover design
  • Book formatting for Nook, Kindle, iPad, Smashwords
  • Createspace and Amazon page
  • Website or landing page with social media and “buy now” links.
  • Business cards, posters, bookmarks, marketing swag
“Melanie’s book editing skills are phenomenal. My clients love her!” ~ Holly Chervnsik, Houston, TX, owner of SuburbanBuzz Marketing and SuburbanBuzz Publishing


Self-Published Books

Alternative Publishing Sources

Self-Publishing Shout Out

Once again, I point you to Jane Friedman before we move on to our next topic. She’s a great resource for self-publishing tips.

book publishing

Gorham Printing

Offset Printing

Offset printing is another publishing option.  Offset printers are not the publishers—you are.

There are times when it makes perfect sense to use an offset printing service, which involves lithography and a commercial printing process (the same process used by major brick-and-mortar publishers). For runs of  1,000 or more books, offset printing is generally more economical. Authors who have a lot of pre-sales, web sales, and book tours can benefit from offset printing. The quality is often superior to other forms of publishing, especially for books that include color images, photos, and drawings.

Offset printer recommendation: I recommend Gorham Printing for self-publishing authors. The family-owned company has been serving authors since 1976 and is large enough to handle quantities up to 2000, but small enough that you won’t get lost in the process. Read the testimonials here.

“Editors we recommend: Melanie Saxton is a professional, widely published writer and editor specializing in book editing and ghost-writing assignments.” ~ Gorham Printing, Centralia, WA

Questions on Book Publishing? Let’s Talk About it!

Often I tell author clients, “If you think writing your book was difficult, brace yourself for the publishing journey.” However, it can be a smoother experience if you learn as much as possible before your book launches.

I enjoy working with authors of most genres and helping them through the complexities of publishing.

Contact me today, and let’s get started!