Saturday, October 21, 2017

To Self Publish or Not to Self Publish . . . that is the question

Self-publishing is the publication of any book or eBook by the author of that work without the involvement of a third-party publisher. The author is responsible for, and in control of, the design, formatting, pricing, distribution, and marketing. As a self-publisher, an author may choose to take on all the aforementioned tasks, or outsource all or some of the process to companies which offer these services.

Self Publishing is nothing new.  The concept of self-publishing has actually been around for hundreds of years.  But recent technological advancements have had an incredible impact on publishing, and self-publishing in particular.  In 2008, for the first time in history, more books were self-published than those published traditionally. In 2009, 76% of all books released were self-published, while publishing houses actually reduced the number of books they produced

Some authors choose to publish because they can gain more control over their published work.  Others self-publish because they feel there is a greater financial opportunity when cutting out the middleman.  Still, others self-publish because their work was rejected by traditional publishers (the late, great Dr. Seuss was rejected twenty-four times before finding a publisher willing to publish his work).  Regardless the reason, it appears self-publishing is gaining momentum and garnering some amount of respect in the publishing world. A growing number of well known and highly respected authors are even beginning to jump on the self-publishing bandwagon. 

This blog has been created to explore the options of traditional publishing vs. self-publishing.  We'll share the good, the bad and the ugly where both sides are concerned.  - If you have a story you'd like to share about your publishing experience, we'd love to hear from you.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

How to Land a Traditional Publisher for Your Book

by Nihar Suthar

I often receive questions from friends, family, and fans about how I approach the book publishing process. Honestly, I can admit that there is no clear-cut method on how to traditionally publish your work; every author has his or her own "secret sauce." Today, I would like to share the recipe for my secret sauce with you. It has worked 100% of the time in helping me get my books traditionally published. I want to pass this success onwards. This article provides specific tried-and-tested tips on how to land a traditional publishing deal.

Before going any further, however, I think it is important to point out that there are two main strategies around how authors can traditionally publish books. The first strategy, which is the most selective and hardest to execute, is working with an agent. Agents receive 10,000 to 15,000 manuscript submissions every year--and on average, they only choose to represent four or five new authors from all those submissions. This translates into an acceptance rate of approximately .04%, which is 135x lower than the acceptance rate for Harvard University. An agent is quite valuable, though, because he or she will leverage existing connections to pitch your manuscript to some of the largest and most prestigious publishing houses in the world. 

The second strategy for publishing a book is to cut out the agent altogether. Contrary to what most authors believe, agents are not required in the process. There may even be some value in avoiding them, as they usually expect at least 15% royalties from all book sales. This strategy is the road that I have taken with all my books to date. 

So, what is my secret recipe on traditionally publishing a book without an agent? Simple. Instead of having an agent represent you and reach out to publishing houses on your behalf, you reach out yourself (once you have a completed manuscript). It is true that some of the larger publishing houses will only accept manuscript submissions from agents. But, many of the smaller to mid-size publishing houses will in fact accept queries directly from authors. 

My advice to uncover these publishers is to do a search on Amazon by the same genre of book as you have written. Go through at least the first 20 pages of results, and make a list of which publishing house each book is published by. For example, if you are aiming to publish a nonfiction cookbook, search for cookbooks on Amazon and make a list of which publishers have published each cookbook. Doing this will allow you to target only the most relevant publishers for your future book. 

Once you have compiled a list of 30 to 40 publishers, research each one and look on their websites to see if the publishing house editors accept unsolicited manuscripts directly from authors. If so, then send a pitch email (I will write an upcoming blog post on the perfect pitch email) with the first three chapters of your manuscript attached. It is extremely important that your manuscript is edited and in final-draft form. The publishing house editors will decide whether they want to read your entire manuscript based on just those three chapters. If they are interested, they will reach out to you within a month (or a little longer) asking you for your entire manuscript. Finally, if they like your entire manuscript, they will offer you a publishing deal! 

Negotiating the publishing deal is another tricky part of the process, on which I will also write a future blog post. For now, if you are looking to break into the world of traditional book publishing, start by finishing your manuscript and compiling a list of publishing houses that have published books in a similar genre to the one you hope to release. I can promise you that with some perseverance, this strategy is guaranteed to land you a traditional book publishing deal. If you have any comments or questions on my process, feel free to post them below! 

Nihar Suthar is an award-winning writer covering inspirational stories around the world. He stumbled upon writing completely by accident after moving to New York City for the very first time. While in the Big Apple, Nihar noticed there were thousands of people missing out on the greatness of everyday life due to the very fast paced lifestyles they lived. He had a big idea to inspire people around the globe by writing a book. He Debuted his first international book, Win No Matter What, with Balboa Press in May 2013. Since then, Nihar’s work has taken him to both distant parts of the globe and down strange alleyways. He currently calls Boston home, and is constantly on the prowl for fresh, inspiring stories to document.