What are the different types of publishing?
The entire point of writing a book is to get it read. It doesn’t matter where you’re at in the process of writing your manuscript, you eventually need to figure out how you’re going to sell your book. So, what the different types of publishing?
Well, the great news is you only have two options:
- Sell your book to a publisher
It’s best to decide early. You’ll understand why I say that as you read on.
You’ll probably also come to the conclusion that you really only have one option. What route you take relies on your book topic, writing skills, and industry clout.
This article teaches you what you need to know about the different types of publishing so you know how to move forward.
What are the different types of publishing?
Option 1: Sell your book to a publisher
This is not easy for most people. But if you want to be taken seriously as a professional writer, or build a massive platform in your industry, and have another company take care of your marketing, promotion, and sales, sell your book to a publisher.
Here’s what publishers do for their authors:
- Pay you to write your book
- Edit your manuscript
- Handle the cover design
- Market your book
- Get your book on shelves in major stores
- Sell your book internationally
But, once again, it’s not always easy to sell your book to a publisher. Here is what you need for that…
Secure a Literary Agent
Agents only work with authors they can sell. If you don’t meet the three criteria listed below it’s unlikely you’ll be able to get an agent to meet with you.
Agents look for three criteria for taking on clients. It’s what publishers also look for. These requirements give the agent amunition to sell your book.
Why are they so picky? Agents get paid a 15% commission on your books. They only get paid when you do. So they don’t waste time meeting with potential authors they don’t think they can sell.
On the publisher side, this is also why going through an agent is critical. Publishers won’t take you seriously if you don’t have an agent. If you do, the publisher already knows you’ve been evaluated so they immediately see that your book has potential.
So here are the three criteria both agents and publishers look for:
- Is this book’s topic relevant and needed?
- Can this person write?
- How many subscribers does this person have?
Like any business publishers care about their return on investment. So it’s critical you have subscribers. This demonstrates that people already love you and your ideas. And it reduces the risk that your publisher could lose money on your book. Subscribers means guaranteed book sales.
Number of subscribers is often more important than the relevance of your topic or your writing skills. Many experts hire book collaborators who write with them and help them develop their topic.
So if you really want to go through a publisher but don’t have subscribers make this a focus as you write your manuscript. Write and share content related to your book on social media. Build a platform. It’s also a great way to validate your ideas and test your book content.
Once you have 10,000 subscribers you open a door to at least a conversation with an agent who might be able to sell your book. If you live in the United States the number of subscriber you need increases to around 500,000 subscribers.
Then, for your agent to pitch your nonfiction book, you need to write a book proposal.
Write a book proposal
A book proposal is a document that contains your book pitch, market comparisons and one chapter of your book. It contains the following components:
- Title Page. This sections presents your book’s epic title and subtitle, your author name and your agent’s contact info
- Book Overview. This is where you pitch your book. It is written in a copywriting style of writing. It presents arguments for why your book is needed today
- Audience Overview. The component of your book proposal that shows who is going to buy your book
- Market Analysis. This is where you compare your book to books that have already sold and showcase your unique offering
- Estimated Delivery Time. You’ll inform the publisher of how many words your manuscript will be and when they can expect a finished book from you
- Table of Contents. This is where you showcase what each chapter is about
- Sample Chapter. Most important, you’ll share a sample chapter of your book so the publisher gets the full experience. It also helps them assess your writing style
For fiction writers the path different. You must write your entire book. If it’s good enough an agent might be able to sell it to a publisher.
How does it work if you sell your nonfiction book to a publisher?
The publisher pays you an advance to write your book. In other words, you get paid to write your book! That amount depends on how many of your books they think they can sell to earn their investment back and more. So this goes back to why the three criteria matter.
Is this book’s topic relevant and needed?
Can this person write?
How many subscribers does this person have?
You only make money on your book once you’ve paid back your initial advance in book sales. So selling your book to a publisher doesn’t guarantee you’ll make a lot of money.
I got paid a $15,000 advance to write a book once. But when the book came out my publisher was moving to online courses. So they did little to market the book. I didn’t either because it would have been a massive out of pocket expense. Since the book didn’t sell more than the $15,000 advance, I made $0 more than that. And the publisher may have made their advance back but they didn’t make a penny more.
So, assess yourself now. Do you think you should try and sell your book to a publisher?
If you don’t feel confident you have another option, and it’s easy: self-publish.
Option 2: Self-publish
Technology has made self-publishing simple. Virtually anyone can do it. Here are the steps:
- Write your book
- Get a professional editor to polish it
- Design a cover yourself (recommended only if you have design skills) or hire a designer
- Sell your book through online retailers or to brick and mortar book stores
Anyone self-starter can do this. But it does mean, learning many skills and doing most of the work yourself. Or, you can hire contractors to help you.
Here are the skills you need to self-publish and successfully sell many copies of your book:
- You must be an excellent writer. Your book must be useful and engaging. No one will read a badly written book.
- Understand branding and design basics. Your book cover matters. It’s either a put off or a lead magnet.
- Understand marketing. You’ll need to learn how to market your book. You’ll need to create a platform, push out content, build lead magnets and funnels. Even if you hire someone else it’s important to learn the basics.
- Digital marketing. It’s one thing to know about marketing but do you have the tools to execute? You might need to learn how to build a web site for your book. How to build email funnels.
If one of those elements are out of sync you likely won’t sell many copies. No one wants to read a badly written book. No one will pick up a book with a cover and title that doesn’t connect to them. And how do you get your book seen by the right people?
There’s a lot to know. But don’t let that be a put off. Learn the skills above and you can sell other books or products too.
The fastest and easiest way to sell your book is on Amazon.com. Amazon provides a service where anyone can easily upload, format, and sell their book.
You can also sell your book on your own website, or partner with influencers who will sell your book. If you’re a speaker you can sell your book at live events.
You can sell your book as an ebook or get it printed. You can inexpensively print your books in mass quantities through suppliers in China.
What’s great about self-publishing? The creative freedom. Depending on where you sell, you can also make more money since you don’t have to pay a pubisher a large percentage of your book sales.
So, what’s the best publishing route for your book?
The best way to figure that out is to get flat on your book strategy. Write it down in a document I call your Book Vision Doc. This is where you capture the end goals for your book and how you plan to get it read.
You can do this work now, with this free tool.
For additional support on the entire book writing process, refer to this article: How to Write a Book: 5 Steps