Step 1: Prepare book publication
Is my book ready for publication?
"How should I know?" an uncertain debut author might respond. An already very experienced author, on the other hand, would say, "My book is thematically unique and is guaranteed to be a big sales success." When we talk to authors at tredition, we hear both equally often. Anyone who has worked on a book for months or years naturally has a very close bond with their text. It is then difficult to judge one's own work with some distance and self-criticism.
So if you are thinking of publishing a book, you should give it to others to read before publication, from whom you can expect an honest assessment and constructive criticism. Of course, it's also important that you would accept criticism from these people - because, as we all know, that's not so easy. After all, you yourself are the supposed expert in the field. But often this feedback helps for good self-reflection as to whether rework is still needed. Of course, "test readers" who are also involved in the topic of your book are ideal. For example, if you have written a fantasy novel, then it would be best if someone who is enthusiastic about fantasy texts also read this text.
In the case of technical and non-fiction books, it may not be possible to find a 100% suitable expert as a test reader, but it often helps to have someone with an academic background take a look at it, who can then also give an assessment of the topic. In the field of scientific publications, test reading is usually even mandatory. The so-called "peer review" is a quality feature of a scientific book. In this way, you feel your way to the answers as to whether you are ready and whether your book is really ready for publication.
If you are still in the very early stages of writing, you may find our article "How do I find the ultimate book idea" valuable.
You can consider whether so-called author software, i.e. a writing program specifically for book authors, is suitable for you. Many writing programs such as Papyrus or DramaQueen offer a variety of functions for planning your own plot, building the constellation of characters or a comprehensive style analysis of your book. We have also published an article on this topic "How do I find the right writing program? - Authoring software in comparison“.
Finish the book
Many authors underestimate the work that is still necessary on the "home stretch" to book publication. Be it that your test readers still discover inconsistencies or that you yourself discover that the plot, the character constellations, etc. are still in need of revision. Please let your text literally "mature": A few days after writing a long passage sometimes works wonders. Then read the text again and revise it for inconsistencies or spelling and punctuation errors.
Professional editing: A sensible investment
In the end, authors often can't see the forest for the trees. By this we mean that you can go through your book a hundred times and still find mistakes. By this we mean not only spelling mistakes, but also logical errors. Especially in complex plots with several parallel storylines, there is a risk that you will miss something. However, a reader will quickly notice such plot errors and be disappointed. Therefore, it is important to consider whether you should use proofreading or editing services for the final work on your book.
It is usually good for the linguistic and content quality of every book if you once again commission the view of an expert for the written word. If you want to publish your book with a traditional book publisher, the publisher will usually do the proofreading anyway. In self-publishing, on the other hand, it is up to you to decide whether or not to have your book proofread. You can find out more about this below. By the way: At tredition, you can also book a proofreading or editing service if you wish.
At tredition, we don't leave your book's success to chance. You can use various tools to independently perform a quality check, such as a spell check, automated book typesetting, and preview functions.
What do I want to achieve with my book?
Assuming you've written a nutrition guide that you'd like to use to gain notoriety as a fitness coach, you should carefully consider which publishing channel is appropriate for that purpose. Perhaps the reputation of a publishing brand plays an important role for you. In addition, you may need professional support when creating your book with its sophisticated content and graphics.
If, on the other hand, you have written a family chronicle that is primarily of interest to your personal and perhaps local environment, then you probably shouldn't spend a lot of time looking for a publisher, but can self-publish the book. Self-publishing a book - note: this is not self-publishing - is the most challenging and has few advantages.
For both of your book publishing goals, a publisher or self-publishing may be the best way to go.
Where can I publish a book?
There are several ways where an author can publish a book. The classic way to publish with a book publisher is the most difficult. Only 0.02% of all submitted manuscripts are published as a book by publishers. Self-publishing is gaining popularity. Every year, the number of new publications in self-publishing grows by about 25%. Another option is pure self-publishing. Here, authors are responsible not only for content creation, but also for production (printing, e-book) distribution (bookstores, online stores), promotion, and billing. This is the most elaborate way to publish a book.
Which publication channel is the right one?
So there are basically three ways to publish a book:
- You publish in a traditional book publishing house
- You self-publish, which means you get your own ISBN.
- You publish via a self-publishing service provider
Please also note our article "Finding the silver bullet: Self-publishing or publishing house“.
How do you find a publisher?
There are two ways an author can find a publisher for their book: either by submitting to a publisher directly or through a frahlingur. With a publisher, an author must hope that the manuscript will meet with interest. In the case of a frahlingur, the latter must also consider the planned book title to be promising. In this case, the agency uses its direct contacts with editors and decision-makers about book publications in publishing houses to present a manuscript to suitable publishers. In the positive case, a publishing house pays for the mediation activities of a frahlingur. Authors should never pay a frahlingen themselves or even make an advance payment. This usually indicates dubious business practices.
Many authors still aim to publish their books with traditional publishers, but there is an increasing shift towards self-publishing. Authors hope that a well-known publishing brand will give their own book a boost. However, it is extremely difficult to realize this desire. A tredition survey of fiction publishers found that only one in 5,000 unsolicited manuscripts ends up being published by a publisher.
Source: Own surveys
Publishers simply do not have the time to sift through and read the large number of book projects submitted. Popular licenses from abroad or follow-up books by regular authors find their way into the publishing program more often. So it's extremely difficult to find a publisher.
If you still want to try your luck with a traditional book publisher, it all depends on your application: On the one hand, you should check in advance whether your book fits into the publishing program in terms of genre. On the other hand, most publishers do not want to receive a complete manuscript, but a synopsis with a short project description and a meaningful partial manuscript of about 30 pages (as a pdf).
Tip for the exposé
In addition to your contact details, a synopsis should contain the title or working title of the book, a short summary of the content, comparable to the blurb of the book, as well as a longer, two-page synopsis and an introduction of yourself. You can find out which formal requirements your manuscript should meet for the publisher's application in our article "Submit manuscript" read up.
Self-publishing? A delicate mission
If you decide to self-publish your book on your own, the first thing that means is that you need an ISBN (International Standard Book Number). Without an ISBN, your book cannot be sold in bookstores. You can get an ISBN number from the ISBN Agency for around 90 euros. It is important that you apply for the ISBN before you have your book printed. The ISBN must be printed as a barcode on the outside of the book so that it can be read by scanner cash registers.
Self-publishing a book has the disadvantage that you will have a hard time making your book available in bookstores. An ISBN is the basic requirement, but in order to actually be available in a bookshop, your book must be available from book wholesalers. But wholesalers do not sign supply contracts with self-publishers and small publishers. On the contrary, wholesalers (so-called bar assortments) greatly reduce the number of books they keep in stock, as it is only worthwhile for a few titles that are doing well. Only titles with good sales figures are kept in the assortment or only from well-known authors and publishers are included.
Your only option is to sell the book yourself. A tedious and tough alternative.
Self-publishing service providers: a popular alternative
Finally, you have the option of publishing your book through a self-publishing service provider. In recent years, more and more book authors have chosen this publishing route.
Source: Börsenverein (book publishers), own survey (self-publishing)
The number of new self-publishing titles in the German-speaking market is currently growing at around 25% per year. The number of new titles from publishers is falling by an average of 5% per year. In self-publishing, authors therefore publish in a dynamic, popular environment.
The big advantage is that you don't have to take care of everything yourself, as you do with self-publishing. Rather, the self-publishing service provider takes care of the publication on your behalf and the sale of your book. The services offered by self-publishing service providers differ considerably in some cases. In this regard, only you can set your criteria to decide on a self-publishing service provider. These criteria can help you to evaluate:
- Material: Do you have a sufficient choice of paper types and binding types (softcover, hardcover)?
- Distribution: Where will your book be available? Everywhere in bookstores or only at online retailers.
- Marketing: What tools are offered?
- Support: Do you have a contact person if you have questions?
- Experiences: How do other authors rate the provider? Here you can find e.g. Trustpilot
Phase 2: Publish book
Now it's getting exciting! You've finished your book, you've set yourself clear goals (such as gaining notoriety with the book, sharing your knowledge or realizing your dream of your own book) and you want to get started! We'll explain what's involved in publishing your book with a publisher versus self-publishing, so that you're well informed and can publish your book without any complications.
How does book publishing work?
In book publishing, the contents of a book are offered for sale or, in rare cases, free of charge. For this purpose, an author transfers the exploitation rights to a publisher or uses a self-publishing service provider who carries out the publication for the author. This ensures that a book can be ordered in bookstores or offered for download as an e-book in e-book stores. The transfer of exploitation rights to publishers or self-publishing service providers can be exclusive or non-exclusive. In the case of the latter, an author can then also publish his or her book in other ways.
How long does it take to publish a book?
It depends on which book publishing route an author takes. Self-publishing is the fastest, as an author decides when to publish and a book is available in bookstores within a few days. With a publisher, the decision alone as to whether a title should even be published can drag on for several months. After a positive decision, it may well be several years before a title is included in the programme. In self-publishing, i.e. publishing without a publisher or self-publishing service provider, an author also holds the reins himself. However, he or she must set up the distribution channels to bookstores and online shops as well as printers themselves. Selecting these partners also takes time. The easier and safer way is definitely self-publishing via a good service provider.
What is the process of publishing a book?
- Write your book quietly and take your time.
- Check your book for spelling errors and logic.
- Get your book edited or at least proofread.
- You decide on the path of book publication, i.e. self-publishing or classic book publishing. A self-publishing publication, which is associated with many risks and effort, is not advisable.
- Depending on the publishing channel, you now create the cover and design the interior. In self-publishing, you do this yourself. In the classic publishing house, the publisher takes over the activities.
- Start marketing. Even if you have published with a traditional publisher, you should not leave success to chance and also activate your network yourself so that your book gets attention.
Procedure of the book publication in the publishing house
If you apply to a traditional book publisher, it can take many months before you receive a response. If this is positive to your delight, you will be offered an author's contract in the medium term. This contract regulates which rights are connected with the publication of the book, how much you receive as an author's fee and which obligations you enter into. It is then important that you thoroughly discuss all open questions with the book publisher as to how they will publish your book. This includes questions about the contract before you sign it. If you are asked to pay high four- to five-figure sums as advance payments, your alarm bells should ring. You may then be dealing with a printing allowance publisher. Haven't heard the term before? In this article, we'll explain what lies behind an Printing Grant Publishing hides.
A lengthy process
After taking a long time to find a publisher, you should be aware that the process of getting a book published can be very lengthy. It is not uncommon for it to take another year or two before your book is actually published, even after receiving positive feedback from a publisher. This is mainly due to the fact that book publishers classically work with half-yearly programmes, i.e. they launch a new publishing programme once in spring and once in autumn.
When the time comes, an editor will start by reading and revising your book thoroughly. You must expect that whole passages will be deleted or rewritten, or that you yourself will have to revise many passages of the book. So your book may be changed a lot, and there is nothing you can do to prevent this.
After the text has been revised, it will be passed on to the production and typesetting department, where the text will be professionally typeset with everything that goes with it: page numbers, paragraphs, headings, etc. After that, you may be asked to make further cuts or changes, and at the same time a proofreader will meticulously check the spelling and grammar of your text.
At the same time, the editor, marketing department and illustrators work on the selection of a book title, a cover or the complete design of the book jacket. Then your book can go to press and be published. This all sounds attractive, but it takes a long time as described, and you have to be willing to not want to stick to your exact content to do it. If you don't want that, the self-publishing route is probably better for you.
Book publication with a self-publishing service provider
If you're publishing your book through a self-publishing service provider, the process is a little different. The good news is: Self-publishing usually makes the book publishing process much faster than traditional publishing. You don't have to submit a synopsis, apply, or wait months for a response. But that doesn't mean that self-publishing is a no-brainer or that you shouldn't pay just as much attention to the professionalism of your book.
Simple book creation without waiting time
Self-publishing service providers usually offer authors the option of submitting a book directly online. In the case of tredition, this is very simple. You are guided step by step through the publication process. You decide for yourself which tools you want to use. These include our cover designer, automatic book typesetting, imprint generator and metadata optimizer. Depending on your book genre, the entire process is already preconfigured. We suggest the appropriate book types (softcover, hardcover, e-book, large print) for your book project. There are always several. So you don't just publish your book as a softcover, for example, but simultaneously or staggered in several book types. This gives the reader more choice. You will also receive recommendations for suitable paper types, binding types, sales prices, and much more. If you want, you only have to click on "Next" and do not have to set anything yourself.
Generally in self-publishing you have full freedom to decide on far more details than with a book publisher, such as the design of the cover, the structure of the content, the blurb or the selling price.
At tredition, you can book an editing or proofreading service, have your cover designed by a graphic artist, or order a test print if you wish.
Your book will be available on the book market within a few days, as we cooperate with all major book wholesalers. In concrete terms, this means that readers can order your book from a small bookshop as well as from chain stores and all major bookshops on the internet. Unlike traditional book publishers, self-publishing service providers like tredition work according to the print-on-demand principle. This means that as soon as a customer orders your book in the bookshop or online, it is printed and delivered to the bookshop or customer. This guarantees that you, as a book author, do not have to pay for a print run in advance that may not be sold at all in the end.
What does a book publication cost?
The costs of publishing or editing a book vary greatly at first glance. Even with self-publishing service providers, the offers are very different - from free to a few thousand euros. However, the total costs, including editing, cover design, book typesetting, distribution, production are almost the same regardless of the type of book publication. They are only distributed differently among the participants, i.e. publication in the classic publishing house, self-publishing or self-publishing.
So the cost of publishing a book varies. It depends on the way you publish your book. Most self-publishing providers offer your publication free of charge. The services included vary and each author must decide which service components are important for the book project. However, it should be noted that authors must bear the costs for editing, proofreading and cover design (if you do not use the free cover designer from tredition) themselves. If the book is published by a publisher, the publisher bears these costs.
How much does a book earn?
A book author's earnings from a book vary greatly. It depends on how many copies are sold and at what retail price. In a traditional book publishing house, author fees range from 4 to 12% of the book price after taxes. This depends on the author's notoriety, the genre, and the retail price. In self-publishing, these fees are higher, but it must be taken into account that an author must also pay for editing, cover design, and book typesetting costs themselves beforehand. A classic publishing run starts at about 2,500 copies. With a selling price of 15,00 € before taxes an author earns thus between 1,400 and 5,200 €. So you should be realistic if you are planning to become a self-employed author. You need enough financial leeway to start and, above all, the time to write a growing number of book titles.
With a publisher, according to popular opinion, there are no costs. Authors even receive an advance which the publisher "advances". There are opinions that demonize all publishing services where authors are expected to contribute to the cost of publishing a book. This opinion is too much divided into black and white. Academic or art publishers publish books that have a small readership. Without the participation of an author or sponsors, these projects cannot cover their costs. The term "printing cost subsidy publisher" should therefore be used reflectively in relation to the publishing environment. For the publication of a scientific work, a few thousand euros is not frivolous. For the publication of a book of poetry it certainly is!
Author fees are difficult to compare. For this we have a comprehensive Author's Fee Guide written.
Your rights and duties as a book author
If you write and publish a book, you're a book author. Congratulations! You can be proud of that. From a purely fiscal point of view, you are a freelancer and have to claim your income from book sales for tax purposes. What you have to consider in detail, you can find here: "Tax knowledge for authors". As an author, you are automatically also the creator of your book, and with that comes the corresponding rights. You can find everything you need to know here: "Copyright for authors“.
Phase 3: Your book is published - and now?
This phase is at least as exciting for you as the book publishing process itself. Because now your book is really available on the market and you might also get first feedback from readers about your book! Importantly: After publication, the work is not yet done, which means don't sit back, but keep a close eye on the response your book gets, how sales develop, what reviews your book receives, and how your genre and subject area develop in the book market. All of this can be helpful, for example, to respond to reader comments, to enter into a lively exchange with your readers, to engage in conversation and to further promote your book.
Marketing your book: the nuts and bolts
If you publish your book with a traditional book publisher, it will be featured in the appropriate publisher's preview and ideally also by the book publisher's sales force in bookstores. Still, you can't assume that your book will immediately be seen in the windows of numerous bookstores. Furthermore, book marketing is from the last century. Book buyers make their decision to buy a book based on very different factors than the presence in the bookstore or recommendation of a bookseller.
Source: selfpublishingadvice.orgIn self-publishing, you can control the really important factors that are used to make purchasing decisions. To stand out from the crowd, it is therefore advisable to use many measures. There are about 2.5 million available book titles in the German-speaking book market. Every year, about 350 million of these books are sold. This means that each deliverable book sells on average only 140 times a year! A book, no matter how good, does not sell by itself, but must be marketed well.
|Average sales per available book|
|Books sold per year||350.000.000|
|Copies sold per available book||140|
Source: Own surveyIf your published book doesn't sell as well as you hoped after a few months, there can be many reasons for this. Maybe your blurb and cover aren't targeting the right audience? Or maybe you've set a selling price that doesn't match the going rate in your genre?