There are two ways to publish a book-traditional publishing and self-publishing. In traditional publishing, a publishing outfit acquires the right to publish a manuscript from the author and pays royalty of 10-20% of the profit from the book sales. The author has little or no say on the outcome of the manuscript. The publisher takes full responsibility for the publishing of the book including promotion and marketing of the book which is a great advantage to the author. But getting a publishing deal is a long shot especially for a newbie author.
In self-publishing, the author is the publisher and makes all the decision concerning the book. He can do this in any of these ways:
1. He does everything by himself. This is especially good for imaginative and creative DIYers (a Do It Yourself person) with a fast learning curve because there is so much to learn. So the author goes from being a writer to a graphic artist (creates cover) text designer (typesets and designs the main part of the book), acquires ISBN, promotes the book, creates ebook formats for online distribution amongst others. These tasks often prove daunting to authors.
2. Get a commercial printer to handle the publishing process i.e. cover design, text layout and design but under his supervision. This has been the modus operandi of Nigerian authors from time immemorial when rejected by traditional publishers. Though effective it can produce a poor job as most printers often use a one size fits all approach to printing jobs. So creativity is lacking and you may find your book looking like that of the last customer they had.
3. Outsource the publishing process to Self-publishing service providers. This is a good option but a lot of these providers ask for a large sum of money upfront before working on any manuscript. This is what deters aspiring authors from patronizing them and publishing their books.
There is need for intending authors to know which of these methods will work for them.
Aspiring authors often give lack of money as the reason for not publishing their books. I strongly disagree! There is a saying that when there is a will, there is a way. The way is by learning what needs to be done and how to do it. For an author with little or no budget, you will need to learn to do the tasks yourself (talk to me if you need help with this).
There is free information on the internet, people do not access it but browse every day. I wonder what they browse for. I created the cover for my book: Self-publish and Profit when I didn’t like the one created by my graphic artist. You will agree with me, it is a good one. I also learnt how to format manuscripts for ebooks because of the high cost of doing it and I teach participants of The Self-publishing Advantage Consultation (TSAC) how so they won’t ever pay for that service.
Bottom line is, if you don’t have the money, learn how to get it done and do it WELL!