You’ve written your manuscript. You’ve had it edited and proofread, and made all the necessary changes. You’ve thought about the way you’d like your book to look. Now what?
You can decide to self-publish, which means setting up a publishing company, doing book layout and design, typesetting, finding a printer or print-on-demand company, putting together a marketing plan, and selling the book yourself. Two great books about self-publishing are The Self-Publishing Manual: How to Write, Print & Sell Your Own Book by Dan Poynter and The Guide to Self-Publishing by Tom and Marilyn Ross.
Many authors are opting to have their books produced by virtual publishers, which means paying an up-front fee, submitting your manuscript electronically, and then having your books printed as they are sold, and receiving royalties. This option may appear less expensive than conventional publishing, but there are many virtual publishers out there – do your research and ask for samples of books they have produced.
You can submit a proposal to a publisher yourself, or find an agent to represent you to appropriate publishers. There are hundreds of publishers, large and small, in the United States and around the world, so do your research well to determine which publishers are appropriate for your type of book. Writer’s Market is a wealth of knowledge, and a great starting place. If your book is accepted by a publisher, you will sign a contract that outlines the sale of your ideas to that publisher in return for royalties. The publisher then has editorial control over the book, decides how the book will look, the price it will sell for, and even the cover design. Publishers are interested in selling books, period. Smaller independent publishers, like Publishing Prep School, can provide authors with more personalized service and flexibility.