Becoming a writer: here’s how to get your book published

Typewriter, paper and notebook for writers

On 23. April will be the UNESCO World Book Day 2019. On this day, reading enthusiasts and the publishing industry around the globe celebrate reading, the medium of books, and the rights of authors. Numerous bookstores, libraries, publishers and schools throughout Germany organize various readings and festivities to mark the occasion.

In addition to enjoying the works of other authors, many people also enjoy writing and quite a few dream of becoming a writer themselves and seeing their own book displayed in a bookstore. In 2016 and 2017, around 72 new novels were published in Germany.000 new publications – the market is therefore large. However, book publishing is not a no-brainer and the path to book publishing involves some decisions that should be well considered. In this article, we explain what options are available for publishing your own book and what you need to bear in mind when doing so.

Publishing a book with the help of a publishing house

The safest and most promising way to publish a book is to work with a publisher. The publisher accompanies the entire publishing process and ensures that the manuscript becomes a finished book in the bookstore. The employees of the publishing house will take care of it Editing of the manuscript, i.e., they check the content and language of the text and edit it accordingly after consulting with the author. Also about the Design of the book cover and of the interior part the author does not have to take care of alone. Once the book is ready for publication, the publisher initiates production and the necessary promotional activities and ships the books to bookstores and online stores.

In addition to the printed form, the book can also be published as a E-book be published. So buyers can read it on their smartphone, laptop or e-book reader.

But how do you find a publisher who will publish the book you’ve written yourself?

Finding a publisher for publication

Rejection after rejection – finding a publisher who will publish the self-written book can be quite a challenge, because publishers receive numerous manuscripts from authors every day. Therefore, in most cases, it is helpful not to contact publishers directly, but to first contact a Agency in connection. If the submitted text pleases the frahlingen working there and they think it is marketable, they sign the author and look for a publisher to publish the book. If no agency is interested in the manuscript, the next step is to contact the publishers directly. In this case, however, it should be checked beforehand whether the author’s own book fits in with the concept of the respective publisher.

How exactly to contact an agency or publisher and what documents to send in can usually be found on the websites of publishers and agencies. Often not directly the complete manuscript, but first of all a cover letter, a synopsis and a reading sample be submitted. The cover letter then offers to provide the complete manuscript as well.

The synopsis briefly summarizes the book, the characters in it, and the place and time of the events. As a rule, it is not longer than two standard pages. In most cases, the reading sample comprises about 15 to 30 standard pages. For this purpose, the beginning of the book is usually suitable for better understanding. If the submitted documents are convincing, the agency or publisher asks for the complete manuscript and then decides for or against publication.

In addition to working with a publisher, there is also the alternative of publishing the book on one’s own – so-called self-publishing.

Self publishing: book publication without a publisher

If you want to try your luck without the support of a publisher or have been rejected by all the publishers and agencies contacted, you can also publish your book yourself. In this case, the author is responsible for everything that the publisher would take care of himself. He must first consider for which target group his book is intended and whether there are already similar books that could be competition. In addition, he should work out what the unique selling point of his book is. For proofreading the manuscript, it is advantageous to have a professional Editor to engage. The book cover should also make a valuable impression and, if necessary, be designed by a professional. It is also important to make sure that the author has the Rights to all images used or graphics.

Subsequently, the production of the book must be taken care of. In addition, bookstores or other stores must be found to sell the book. In the age of the Internet, there are also other ways to distribute one’s own book. For example, Amazon or other online stores offer a way to publish books independently of a publisher. In addition, self-publishing also offers the option of publishing a book as an e-book.

Also the Marketing of the book is the responsibility of the author in self-publishing. Good options for this include readings, attending book fairs, or advertising on social media platforms.

Online only: Publishing books as pure e-books

In addition to the publishing options already mentioned, authors can also have their books published exclusively online as e-books and thus serve a large market. Various distributors distribute the e-books to stores such as Amazon or Tolino, which sell them at an agreed price of usually a few euros. Alternatively, the author himself can take over the distribution to online retailers. In the case of pure publication as an e-book and distribution via third-party platforms, there are various fee models, a detailed research at the platforms, the distributors or relevant advice sites is essential here. The costs for the publication also vary depending on the provider, but as a rule the publication is free of charge. The sales platforms then earn through participation in each book sold.

Costs are, of course, also an important factor in the publication of a printed book, influencing the decision for one of the listed options.

What does a book publication cost?

How deep you have to dig into your pocket for a book publication depends very much on the way the author publishes his book. Publication via a major publisher is in most cases free of charge. After publication, the author gives a previously agreed percentage of the proceeds to the publisher. In the case of so-called Printing cost subsidy publishers authors must also pay a fee for the printing of their manuscript. The exact price depends on various factors, for example, the number of pages.

For self-publishers, book publishing can be quite costly, as they have to Costs for services such as editing and printing carry your own. For a proofreader, the cost is usually about six to seven euros per standard page to be corrected. So for a book with 300 standard pages, that would be at least 1.800 euros. Alternatively, there is the possibility of hiring a volunteer editor. In most cases, however, the result is less professional.

Authors also often spend a lot of money on printing. The price depends heavily on the format and type of binding. For a book with 300 pages, a print run of only 200 copies already costs around 1.000 euros.

As well as the cost factor, authors are naturally interested in how much they can earn from publishing a book.

How much income can you expect to earn??

Certainly, the income of published books is difficult to generalize, and first-time authors should not expect to receive a fee like Stephen King’s. As a rule, authors who publish their first book can expect to incur, about ten percent of the net retail price for every sold copy of the bound book. For paperbacks, the fee is staggered and ranges from five percent at up to 20.000 books sold up to eight percent from 100.000 copies sold.

Conclusion: Many paths lead to your own book

For authors looking for a safe and free way to publish a book, working with a publisher is a good option. But if you prefer to keep full control over your book and not give a percentage of the proceeds to a publisher, you can think about publishing your book yourself. Self-publishing is also a great option for authors who can’t find a publisher to publish with. However, it must be remembered that self-publishing can involve high costs, especially if important steps such as editing and cover design are not taken care of by the author himself.

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