You are finally done with that manuscript. After months of slaving away at your laptop, your childhood dream of being an author is an almost reality. Or maybe you have this awesome book idea you believe will be a New York Times Bestseller, might even be shortlisted for the Booker Prize.
Whichever boat it is you are rowing, you have probably wondered how to go about publishing. You could go the traditional route or opt for self-publishing. Not sure what the difference is or which is right for you? Simply read on!
Traditional book publishing is when a publisher offers the author a contract and in turn prints, publishes and sells your book through booksellers and other retailers. The publisher buys the right to publish your book and in turn pays you royalties from the sales.
You complete your manuscript and then write a proposal and submit to a publishing houses. You can do this yourself or through a literary agent. Publishing houses receive a lot of manuscripts on a regular basis and tend to be more commercial than you would think. Editors carefully go through the manuscripts or book pitches and decide whether it’s right for the house. In other words if it’s capable of doing really well in the market.
The House takes up the financial costs for design, printing as many copies as they expect to sell and marketing. Traditional publishing is more or less a business contract so it’s essential that you carefully read through the terms to avoid giving consent to what wold be to your detriment.
Away from the cons, traditional publishing has its perks. For one it removes the financial burden from you. There is a lot of prestige that comes from your work being selected by a publishing house. Being published by big firms such as PENGUIN RANDOM house , HarperCollins, CassavaRepublic, Masobe Books is a huge deal for any writer. Your Publisher also undertakes a lot of other professional work such as editing, printing, distribution, book tours and arranging other book events for exposure purpose.
On the other hand, there is self-publishing. You can decide to bypass the traditional gatekeepers and publish on your own. Many self-publishing platforms exist and you get higher royalty rates. Most self-published books are om digital formats unlike traditional publishing that offers your work being in print.
This is not a bad thing itself since currently self-published books account for 30 to 40 percent of eBook sales. This shows just how popular this path has become. There is more creative control with self-publishing and it is easier to make changes if something is not working well.
The biggest con is the responsibility of marketing resting solely on you. However if you can come up with a working strategy then this should not be an issue. You could also outsource content marketing and editing online on platforms such as Tell! Africa.
Which is better?
Both paths have their pros and cons. So the better question would be what works for you. Traditional publishing covers a lot of work and cost on your behalf, however it’s a longer and more complicated process. If you are not someone that can handle the totality of the publishing process I suggest traditional publishing. You do have to be patient and scrutinize your contract agreements. For higher earnings then self-publishing should be your go-to.
Also platforms such as Tell! Books makes self-publishing extremely easy so no, you do not have to break the bank in order to put your book out there.
I hope this article has given you more insight on publishing and goodluck getting your story out there!