Consider the advantages and disadvantages of some main routes to publication before you proceed to allow your work to meet the world. There are the traditional large publishers, independent publishers, or you may choose to self-publishing.
Traditional Large Publisher
* Good distribution networks, which can get your book onto the shelves of bookshops
* Professional editing, production and cover design
* Professional marketing
* Can get your book reviewed in the media
* Can build a larger profile for the successful authors on their books than other forms of publishing
* Their higher profile is more likely to result in sale of overseas, audio and film/TV rights
* They still usually pay an advance to authors. This is an upfront payment which is then offset against future royalties.
* Even with the biggest publishers, marketing spend on debut authors is small and you will require to make a considerable effort yourself to promote your book
* It is still difficult for debut authors to obtain bookshop space or reviews
* Traditional royalty payments for physical books are low, and traditional publishers have been slower to exploit the e-book market
* Most traditional publishers will not consider direct submissions, so you are unlikely to be accepted for publication by them without an agent
* Move faster and are more responsive than traditional publishers. This means that the time from acceptance of your manuscript to publication of your book is shorter than with traditional publishers
* They are more flexible in accommodating highly productive authors who write more than one book a year.
* Effective at harnessing the benefits of social media. This includes Facebook groups, bloggers, Twitter, Instagram, podcasts and YouTube
* Build loyalty among readers to the publisher as well as individual authors
* Most focus primarily on the e-book market, paying high royalties to authors.
* Devote equivalent time and resources to all books they publish
* Not having large resources nor as good media contacts as traditional publishers
* Do not focus on getting books into traditional bookshops
* Quality of editing, production and cover design may be lower
* Independent publishers do not offer an advance against royalties
* No entry barriers
* Costs are low and free support is available from distributors including Amazon
* You have full control over each process this includes cover design, marketing and pricing
* You receive all the royalties other than the production and distribution costs paid to the distributor
* It is easy to track your sales and income
* You incur all editing, production and design costs. These are under your control and can be kept quite low, but they are payable up front
* Your novel will be one of many thousands published and so it is your responsibility to promote it
* Successful self-publishing requires your writing to be approached like a business and you will spend as much time marketing and promoting your book as writing the next one.
These comments are generalisations and the picture is constantly evolving. Lrt's Get Published is an well received book that may help. You, as an author, need to be aware of the commitment that will be required of you through the different methods of publication. Fellow author, Allison Symes, once said:
‘You better like your first novel, because you’ll be promoting it for the rest of your life!’