Manual Write It Right: The Guide to Self-Publishing Your Best Book

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10 Mistakes I Made Publishing My eBook, and How You Can Do it Better

Once they own the book, they ONLY care about selling copies. Make no mistake about this: once you take a deal from a publisher, they own the book and all the content in it, so they get to decide everything that goes in the book. They get final say over every word, the book cover, the author bio, everything.

I can tell you from my experience, as a group, publishers tend to make terrible aesthetic decisions. Most of the people working at publishing companies are doing that because they were not good enough to make a living as a writer.

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Publishers do no marketing. This might be OK for a novelist with a big existing audience, but if you are someone like the authors my company works with, and you want your book to promote you or your business, a traditional publisher greatly restricts your options.

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They now are going to force you to put all your promotion efforts on selling copies, which does not always help you reach as many people as possible. Also, they give you ZERO price control so your ability to make marketing deals with any number of people is none. You have to find an agent to represent you to a traditional publisher, you have to do a book proposal that will appeal to a publisher, and then you have to shop the book deal. This is not an accurate calculus.

Traditional book publishers do not get most of their books into bookstores on any large scale. Furthermore, the ones they do get in tend to get pulled out quickly—unless they sell a lot of copies. And your book will not be on display until it has already proven it will sell a lot of copies. In the self-publishing model, the author retains ownership of their book and manages and controls the whole process. Self-publishing has many different forms, but at its core the author does the publishing work or manages freelancers or publishing services companies who do the work for a fee.

There is no acceptance needed, no advance, and the author retains all rights. Full ownership of rights and royalties 2. Completely customizable in all aspects 3. Fast to market 4. Total marketing control 5. Total creative control 6. Total freedom. It is a lot of work to do it right 2. Time consuming to learn and manage the process yourself 4. If you can do a professional job with your book, then self-publishing is almost always the best bet for most authors.

If you cannot do a professional job, then you may either not want to self-publish, or you may not want to publish a book at all. The saying is right: everyone judges a book by its cover. But not just the cover. The title, the book description, the author photo, the blurbs, even the author bio, all tell a story about how credible and authoritative that book and author are. A professional book makes you look professional. It used to be that traditional publishers were the only ones who had the expertise and access to the talented people necessary to make books that looked professional.

That was true 30 years ago, but not anymore. In fact, almost all of the best talent out there is freelance and can be hired for reasonable rates. Just in my company alone, we use writers, editors, proofreaders, copywriters, and book cover designers who all either used to work for traditional publishers and left to freelance, or we use the same freelancers that the traditional publishers use. Some people think there is still a stigma to self-publishing.

The data appears to say otherwise. Hugh Howey self-published his novel Wool , which has sold millions of copies and is being made into a movie directed by Ridley Scott did a study on , titles and showed that the self-published books on Amazon had, on average, a higher star ranking than traditionally published books.

This book clearly details every step. It just takes time. The way around that is to hire great people, or even better, hire a publishing services firm to manage the whole process for you.

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That takes money. In the hybrid model, the ownership of rights varies depending on the publishing company the author works with, but the basic idea is that they try to look like a traditional publishing company, but pay little to no advance, yet still take most of the royalties, still control a lot of the process, and still do some part of the publishing work.

In the hybrid model, the publisher will tell you that they combine the advantages of a traditional publisher, with the flexibility and upside of self-publishing. What these companies do is they pay little to no advance, still take a lot of the royalties, still control a lot of the process, and still do some part of the publishing work.


The other problem is that in hybrid publishing, oftentimes the publishing company will try to retain copyright or other rights. One of the main attributes of old traditional publishing companies is that they ALWAYS reserve copyright to the author, and almost always leave all other rights to author movies, TV, etc.

They only care about the rights involved around profiting from the printed word and related rights. Self-Publishing vs Traditional in [Which is Better? Scribe Guide to Publishing Imprints. Book Publishing. Learn how to choose the best publishing option for your book. Watch The Video. This chapter is long and comprehensive, and answers questions like these: How does the book publishing business work? What are the most important things to know? What is the difference and why does it matter? Should I self-publish or traditionally publish my book? How do I get a traditional publishing deal?

How do I evaluate traditional publishers? What is professional vs. Traditional, Self, and Hybrid Publishing The first thing you have to understand is that there are two major publishing models: traditional and self. Traditional Publishing Summary In traditional publishing, an author must find a book agent to represent them to publishing companies. Ownership and Rights A publishing company always owns the print license which includes digital , while the author always owns the copyright.

Typical Royalty Rate 15 percent hardcover, 7. Advance Against Royalties The amount varies greatly depending on the author. Publishing Services And Design They do usually everything for publishing and design, though the quality varies greatly. Distribution They do everything. Marketing Usually, the publisher offers very little marketing. Why is this? Prestige and Perception Usually the highest of the three models, but fading in prestige, and not relevant to readers.

Time To Publish months. Advantages 1. Highest chance of bookstore placement Drawbacks 1.

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Limited financial upside Traditional Publishing Problem 1: Can you even get a traditional publishing deal? To get a publishing deal from a traditional publisher, you must go through these steps: Find a book agent willing to represent you and your book idea to a publisher this is very hard, most agents get thousands of inbound requests a week. Shop the book proposal around to publishers through the agent. Have a publisher make you an offer based on your proposal and pitch. I highly recommend it. Previously my editing was just a spell check. And that was more than some of my mainstream publishers did.

My wife asked me if I was kidding on this. But I told her to read my second book and she stopped questioning it. In other words, it was awful. With my latest book, I went all out. I hired two copy editors to go through the basics on spelling and grammar. Nils has previously edited bestsellers from Tucker Max, Kamal Ravikant, Ryan Holiday, and a dozen writers, as well as written screenplays, books, etc. Nils and I went back and forth on more than 15 different rewrites for my book. The difference between the original version and the final version is like the difference between chicken shit and chicken salad.

And yes, publishers have editors. Some very good ones. But I specifically wanted to choose my own editor and use an editor that has worked on books that have sold millions of copies.