When I sat down to write my upcoming book, Empowering the Educator Within: A Guide to Enabling Yourself and Those You Serve, finding a publishing company or literary agent to represent me was the goal. Therefore, I went through the process of figuring out how to write a query and a proposal, and exploring which publishing houses and literary agencies would be the best fit. As I was doing my research, it dawned on me that perhaps this wasn’t the way to go, and that I should consider self-publishing for several reasons:
As I was looking at the requirements for submissions, I learned that several publishing houses and literary agencies required that I edit the manuscript before submission. Naively, I thought they would be responsible for the editing; this meant that from the get-go, I was going to have to hire an editor.
In addition to having my manuscript pre-edited, many publishing houses also required proof of my social media presence and evidence of public speaking engagements, signaling that even if I went with a publishing company or literary agency, many aspects of book promotion would ultimately be up to me anyway.
3. Wait Times:
As I was doing my research, I learned that the proper etiquette for submitting a manuscript to publishing houses and/or literary agents was to send one query at a time, wait 2 to 3 months for a reply, and then apply to another company or agent. If you were to abide by this style of etiquette, this would mean you could pitch 4 to 6 times a year at best.
4. Small Profit and Loss of Control:
The final straw was not only that would I lose control of my own book because the publishing company would have the final say in everything, but also that unless I had a best seller, by the time the publishing house took their cut, I wouldn’t be left with much of a profit in the end anyway.
Given that I would have pay to get my manuscript edited and that I would be responsible for my own book promotion anyways, it only made sense to ditch that route and self-publish. As I began this journey I realized there were several options I could go with:
In the end, I made the decision to go with West Coast Editorial Associates, a company that offers a wide range of in-house services. My reasons for doing so were as follows:
When I was looking at freelancer sites like Reedsy, Fiverr, and Upwork, the choices were overwhelming, and pulling a team together to help with each aspect of the publishing process seemed a little risky. What if I found a good copy editor but the proofreader and graphic designer fell short? Considering the amount of money I would be paying for each service, it wasn’t worth taking a chance on re-hiring and re-doing the work if some areas fell short.
2. Vanity Press:
I must admit that despite the many negative reviews, I did consider this option as it seemed an excellent idea to submit my work to a single company and have their help with every step of the process, including the book’s promotion. In the end, I opted out as I realized that if I went with a vanity press, I would be giving up the rights to my book and losing the opportunity to ever have it published elsewhere. Additionally, once they took their cut of the profits, I wouldn’t be left with much.
In choosing to go with a company that is not a vanity press but still has a team that can assist in all areas of the publishing process, the rights to the book ultimately belong to me and I have the final say in every stage of the process. And while it’s true that choosing this path poses a bigger risk as I don’t have a renowned publishing company to stand behind the book, ultimately, no matter which road I went down, the promotion and successful outcome of the book was going to be up to me.
Have you recently embarked on the process of publishing a book? Any take-aways you would like to share?
Empowering the Educator Within: A Guide to Enabling Yourself and Those You Serve is set to come out in August 2021, so stay tuned!
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