Delia Christ published, among other things, the fantasy novel Tiger Girl under her pseudonym Delia Muñoz. | Image: zVg
Is it your big dream to see your own novel in a bookstore? Molecular biology student Delia Christ has already done this. In her first guest post she described how she manages to combine writing with studies. Now Delia will explain how to sell your book.
Finishing a manuscript is a great feeling. But at the same time, it is the beginning of another, bumpy road if you want to publish your novel. How do you get from a Word document on a laptop to a printed book in a bookstore? There are many ways, of which I will explain three and a half today.
The classic and at the same time the most difficult path is public publishing. Živnostenské nakladatelství is a publishing house that already has its place on the book market and supplies to large booksellers – e.g. Amazon, Thalia and Hugendubel. Trade publishers offer the author professional marketing, a good image and the opportunity to enter the book trade. But beware: Although almost all books in bookstores are from general book publishers, not all books from general book publishers are in bookstores. Likewise, major publishers typically have less say in marketing, covers, and proofreading. And if you don’t already have a good reputation in the book world, it doesn’t necessarily make you a fortune.
An alternative to this is a small publisher. These are publishing houses that usually employ fewer people, are often rather young and are still establishing themselves in the book world. They work with smaller budgets than regular book publishers and don’t necessarily supply to major booksellers. Instead, some of them will be delivered by a bookseller they trust. Small publishers advertise more often on social networks than in magazines and are in closer contact with readers and authors. Therefore, you also have a bigger say when it comes to covers and fixes. However, small publishers usually expect the author to promote the book as well. So a little more initiative is needed.
As an author, you must apply to both general and small publishers. Submit your resume, reading excerpt, and interpretation. If the publisher is interested in cooperation, they will contact you within three months or more. Then the contract is signed and the work begins. Editing and proofreading are carried out in cooperation with the author. The publisher assumes responsibility for cover, typesetting, publication and marketing. Once the manuscript is complete, you have relatively little work to do as an author.
Well, what route do I recommend?
It’s much easier to get into a small publisher. Without contacts, 13,000 Instagram followers, a sophisticated resume, or a lot of luck, it’s not easy to find a business publisher. Most general interest publishers don’t even look for new authors, especially not those who just send an unsolicited email application. You get too many applications every day to even read them. You have more chances with a small publisher.
This is where the “half” comes into play: agency. An agency can help you find good publishers. An application is also required here. The agency can contract either the author directly or only a specific project. After that, the agency takes over the search for a publisher. To have a chance with an agency, you should not contact the publisher yourself, but write to the agency first. Likewise, the book must no longer be found (and read) somewhere on the Internet.
What to do if you don’t want to write an application and want to wait months for answers? Or if you didn’t find a place with the publishers you wished you had? It’s difficult to get a record deal, especially for niche genres. But there is another option: self-publishing.
Self-publishing has become very popular, especially in the age of the Internet. As the name suggests, you self-publish the book. This means that you upload the eBook and/or the print file to an online platform such as Amazon (KDP), Neobooks or Books on Demand (BoD), etc. Depending on the platform, the book will then be available at different sellers in the book market. Most importantly, you will get an ISBN number from the online platform, which any bookstore can use to order the book. In self-publishing, you have to do the cover, editing, proofreading, typesetting, and marketing yourself to publish a book, or you have to seek professional help. So you need some budget and a lot of initiative.
In return, you have more freedom – you can determine the form, content and price of the book yourself and have a better percentage of participation in the sale. You can also publish faster and retain all rights to the text.
Getting into the book trade with a small publisher or self-publishing house is a bit trickier. However, I have already published in both small publishers and SP and have always found my way into stores.
Although my books are not displayed in the window of Hugendubel, they are on the shelves of booksellers in Switzerland, Germany and Austria. You don’t need a budget or an agency, just an ISBN number and a little courage: go to a bookstore and ask, or simply write an email.