Advice from Your Future Self on the Publishing Process
You did it! You’re a published author. It was a long road, full of twists and turns and the unexpected, but you came out the other side and can now find your book among the other titles you’ve admired for years. There are things you probably wish you’d known at the beginning of this process that you know now. Some advice from your future, published self to your past, unpublished self might include the following:
- Your book will not be what you envisioned; it will be better.
- The publishing process will take longer than you think.
- There are more moving parts to the process than you imagine.
It will be better
Most authors have a very clear idea of what they want their book to be before it goes into production. However, they may not be taking some important factors into consideration, such as standards within their genres or what bookstore buyers look for when they make purchasing decisions. It’s important to remain open to suggestions from professionals within the industry and realize that the advice of those working on your book is backed by years of experience. When your book does well—it does well for your designers, editors, proofreaders, and everybody else who helped along the way. Be open to the growth and change of your project through the publishing process.
It will take longer
After you’ve finished your manuscript and it has made it to publisher, you may think all it needs is a little polishing and a well-designed cover to be ready for the world. But most often, that is not the case. For example, most of our titles go through at least three rounds of editing and are pitched to retailers about 6 months before their publication dates. So even though our model is often much faster than the traditional publishing option, releasing a high-quality book into the market can’t be done in a matter of weeks.
Remember, once you publish a book, it becomes a part of your brand going forward. Unless its release is tied to a major event or news cycle, why rush something that is a representation of you?
It is more involved
Once you hand your book off to a publisher, you may think you’re almost there. You are in a lot of ways, but also, in a lot of ways, the work has just begun. And there are things you will have to do and decisions you will need to make that you hadn’t even considered. For instance, does your manuscript include song lyrics or a lengthy quote from a New York Times article? If it does, your book may need permissions before it can go to print.
Similarly, authors need to start thinking about building their author brands as early as possible in the process. With thousands of books released each day, it takes a great deal of effort and strategy to help it stand out in the crowd.
While your book’s publication may be more involved and involve more patience than you initially expected, you can look forward to seeing how all of this effort enhances your book—and your brand.