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    Publishing a Book: 10 Questions to Ask Yourself

    Are you looking for a printer or publisher for your book? Choosing the right one is one of the most important decisions an author needs to make on the way to publication.

    Courtesy of Michal Coghlan under Creative Commons

    Here are ten questions to consider in choosing your book’s path into print:

    Who is your audience? How many readers?

    A book privately published for a small number of family and friends, a book you intend to make available online for a limited audience, and a commercial venture might best be printed by different printers.

    What type of book do you want?

    Will your book be text only or include illustrations, black and white or color, hard cover, soft cover or e-book? Not all printers handle all of these features.

    What size book do you want?

    Check the sizes the printer you are considering offers before you get too far into the decision-making process.

    What are your book’s features?

    Will your book include black and white photos, color photos, black and white illustrations, color illustrations, a table of contents, endnotes, an appendix, a bibliography, an index, or other special features including tables and graphics? Make sure the printer is set up to handle them.

    Do you already have a printer or publisher in mind?

    If so, use the questions in this list to make sure the company you plan to work with can produce the book you envision..

    Do you want to order books from a printer?

    A digital printer can handle a one-time order in any quantity with an option to reorder, but only one who offers print-on-demand can make books available for online ordering and fulfillment. If you are ordering more than 500 copies, an offset printer may be the best option in terms of cost.

    Are you seeking a traditional publisher?

    If so, understand that in exchange for the advance the publisher pays they will acquire the rights to the books content, design, pricing and marketing. It may take more than a year for the book to be published. Have you read the fine print of the contract the publisher is offering?

    What will you need to acquire a publisher?

    To find a publisher a manuscript must be the best it can be and must fit the submission requirements of the agent or publisher to whom you are sending it. It needs professional editing. Will you need help targeting and approaching a literary agent who handles books like yours? Having a professional looking submission package is essential for your book to even be considered.

    Do you intend to self-publish your book?

    Do you know the difference between subsidy publishing offered by companies like Author Solutions and Outskirts Press as opposed to true self-publishing? If not how will you learn? Understanding the difference can reduce your cost of producing the book, protect your rights and allow you to take a more realistic approach to marketing your book if it is a commercial project.

    What will you need to self-publish?

    Professional self-publishing is usually not an exclusively DIY enterprise. You may need professional editing, interior book design, cover design, printer account set-up and management, e-book conversion and marketing consulting. It is important to identify the services you will need and choose the providers early in the process.

    Planning your book’s path into print requires a thoughtful approach. Making good decisions will make the process a smooth one.

    The above questions are available in a downloadable PDF form available on the Stories To Tell website.

    Click here to access it on our Publishing page.

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