One question that I frequently hear from new authors is how do you get published by a mainstream publisher? Sure, anyone can get published these days through various print-on-demand and e-book publishing platforms, where you pay anything from nothing if you format your book properly to about $500 with many companies to set up and publish your book. You just have to write about 50 or more pages on something, put it in a Word document or PDF, and you are ready to go.But the big divide in self-publishing comes between those books that sell well, say 10,000 or more copies – a very tiny percentage – and most of the rest which average around 150 copies. The other big divide is between the traditional or mainstream publishers and the vast majority of self-published books (or maybe more accurately self-printed books, since often the service printing your book becomes the publisher, since you use their ISBN number, rather than your own).For many people the dream is how to bridge that divide? How do you find a mainstream publisher? It isn’t easy – and it’s become more competitive than ever, since agents and publishers are looking for authors with a platform – some way that these authors already stand out, such as by speaking, acquiring a large following in the social media, getting stories about them in the news, or being a regular guest on TV shows. But many new writers don’t have that kind of platform. So what do you do?I’d like to suggest a series of steps to break through.1) Write a good book that’s sufficiently new and different from what’s already on the market. Plus write it well – and if you aren’t a professional or naturally good writer, ask a professional to write and polish a proposal for you with a couple of chapters.2) Build up a platform to show you can play an active and high-profile role in promoting your book. Look for speaking engagements, pitch yourself to the media as an expert on a topic so journalists and TV and radio show producers will ask you for your opinion on that topic – and keep a record of all your speaking engagements, quotes in the news, and TV/radio show appearances.3) Before or while you are pitching your book to mainstream publishers and agents, self-publish your book (assuming it’s a good book as noted in #1), and use that book to build up a good track record for sales, and promote yourself for speaking engagements and to the media.4) Send out a query letter about your book to multiple agents and publishers and only describe it briefly with some information about you and how you can help promote it. Keep your query to about 300-400 words with no attachments. You can send the proposal and some chapters later to those who want to learn more.5) If you don’t immediately get a mainstream publisher or agent, use your self-published book to build your platform, and eventually you may do so well that you may find it more profitable to keep selling your book yourself. Or you may find a publisher interested in taking over your book – and you’ll get an even better deal, since you have shown there is a market for your book and you have built a great platform for yourself.
Now that you have your manuscript you may wonder what’s the best self publishing companies to hire? Or how to self publish your own book without incurring too much cost?If you have never self published before let me suggest that you first try your hand at publishing an eBook on Amazon. From there you can migrate to publishing on the other e-reader platforms, like, Barnes and Noble, IBook, Kobo, and eventually to other -e-reader distributors worldwide.Technically speaking once your book is on Amazon it is available worldwide. But there are many readers with other e-reader devices aside from the Kindle, which is why it’s not a bad idea to distribute to other e-readers.Once you have finished your e-reader distribution, then it’s time to get your book in the print format. We will discuss how to print your own book in another article.Certainly books and publishing has been a hot topic these last ten years. With Kindle publishing and Amazon opening the doors for anyone to self publish a book for little cost if you have the know-how there is no excuse not to do it yourself.There are a few things to keep in mind when you want to self publish.If you know how to do these 6 easy things you should be able to get published worldwide in as little as a week, and there is no need to pay self publishing gurus thousands or even hundreds of dollars. Your book can be distributed all over the world with just a few clicks of the button. And there’s no need to pay anyone for this.Self publishing costs these days have plummeted and you should not be using a self publishing house to help you do these simple tasks, such as:1. How to format your manuscript from a word doc to the Kindle’s.mobi version.And it’s not as hard as you think. Some software requires you to download onto your computer and they may be free like, Calibre, others are for a small cost like Jutoh.But I really like the free cloud based software that Draft2Digital provides. I’ve tried a few paid and free services, including Amazon’s KDP converter, but the Draft2Digital is still my favorite. They are a UK company. If you have issues email them and they will get back to you in the morning if you are in the USA.2. How to set up a website and blog. Because these days you can get one set up for $5 a month or for free, even. No need to pay thousands in developer costs like I did once a upon a time. The technology is simple and free if you know where to look, and how to perform easy drag and drop stuff-similar to copy and pasting on a Word doc.Some software allows you to build landing pages on your WordPress website, but others like Wix gives you the option to create a landing page even without having to purchase any plugins. I actually created a landing page for my 16 Princess books using Wix, and really like the flexibility this technology gives me. For a non techy I found Wix easy to use. Nothing to download or upload to create the pages to the site.3. How to get your eBook (mobi format) uploaded onto Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP)-a matter of filling forms. Not kidding.4. How to set up an Amazon Author page so you can direct your readers to it, so they can just click on your name and get to your bio and other website presence you have from your website, to your blog, to your Facebook fan page and all other social media-all from the Amazon book site.5. How to get your eBook formatted for the other non-Kindle readers-with a click of a button, for free.6. How to get your eBook distributed worldwide on e-reader bookstores, from Australia, to Italy to Japan and beyond. And with Amazon you can even get your books into libraries in the USA.With the way things are set up for self publishing all you need these days is a good editor and a cover design. Everything else should not cost you thousands as it did in the past.But as in everything in life, you must know where to look.