1. Self-publishing for Creative Writing
Self-publishing is where the author bypasses all the intermediaries, deals directly with the editor, cover artist, book designer and printer, and then handles the marketing and distribution.
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If you self-publish you take a greater risk, but you also get to press sooner, keep control of your book, and make more money. You are required to invest time and money, but the rewards are greater.
Should you choose the self-publishing route, you need to make decisions about:
- The size of your book (physical size and number of pages)
- The cover design – use a good artist.
- Layout and typesetting – use a professional typesetter.
- Additional pages – e.g. Dedication, Foreword, Introduction, Prologue (if appropriate), Acknowledgements, Advertisements, Copyright notice, Autobiographical sketch, and Disclaimer (example below).
- Obtaining ISBN and barcode information
- Printing – select a good professional printer and request quotes on an initial print run. Obviously the more books you print, the less expensive it will be.
- There are many excellent printers in South Africa. My personal recommendation is Pinetown Printers in Durban.
- Marketing of the finished product – where, when and how.
2. Print-on-Demand Publishing
In South Africa
I recommend LITHOTECH in South Africa for short print runs. Contact them at: Tel. +27 (021) 951 1400
F: +27 (021) 951 1404
Internationally with Amazon.com via Createspace
Get your book published in the USA for international distribution without incurring enormous printing and distribution costs. You pay for initial layout and design. They make your books available on Amazon.com and other online booksellers, print and distribute them as and when ordered – without further cost to you – and handle the sales. You keep worldwide rights and watch your postbox for royalty cheques. It is also in your interests to do some marketing and point people to the sites where they may order your books. The more people know about your books, the faster they will sell.
Check out these “print on demand” companies.
3. Formal Publisher
Finding a Publisher is not easy. Publishing is a business and the expected financial return is the bottom line for Publishers. Publishers carry all costs and authors usually receive royalties of around 10% of net receipts (i.e. what the publisher receives for books sold.)
It is estimated that publishers receive about two million book-length manuscripts every year, so unsolicited manuscripts have little or no chance of being well received. It is, therefore, important to do extensive research in order to find a publisher who is interested in your type of manuscript.
It is highly recommended that aspiring writers purchase the “Writers’ & Artists” Yearbook” for information on publishers and their submission requirements.
4. Literary Agents
Literary Agents are specialists who work for both the writer and the publisher. They assist writers to find interested publishers. They also protect publishers from being overwhelmed by unsuitable manuscripts, which is why many overseas publishers only accept work submitted by Literary Agents.
There are two types of Literary Agents. Some simply evaluate your book and return unsuitable work. Others offer editorial services and assist to bring books with potential to their final stage. You may expect to pay around 15% of your royalties for their services, plus administration costs.
Do you need a Literary Agent?
- Do you have a thorough understanding of the publishing market and its dynamics?
- Do you know who are the best publishers for your books and why?
- Are you financially numerate and confident of being able to negotiate the best commercial deal available in current market conditions? Agents collect monies due, take their commission and pay the balance to you.
- Are you confident of being able to understand fully and negotiate a publishing or other media contract? e.g. retention for author’s benefit of motion picture rights.
- Do you enjoy the process of selling yourself and your work?
- Do you want to spend your creative time on these activities?
Literary Agents are not easy to find, as they will only work with authors of books they consider to be saleable before they invest their time and money in a project.
Where do you start looking for a Literary Agent? The Writers’ & Artists’ Yearbook is a good place to start. You may also join the South African Writers’ Circle for up-to-date information on local markets and agents. Address: Suite 522, Private Bag X4, Kloof, 3640.
Well-known South African Francis Bond Literary Agency
Should you choose to use a Literary Agent, send a synopsis, your manuscript and a brief history of your background and achievements in writing. The Agent will evaluate your book and either accept it for submission to a publisher, suggest re-writes, or reject it. If accepted, it is usual to sign an agent/writer contract.
Importance of Contracts
Whatever your choice of publishing route, make sure you have a valid, legal, written contract covering all details, financial and otherwise.
The best Literary Agent of all is the Holy Spirit!
“Commit to the Lord whatever you do,
and all your plans will succeed.”
– Proverbs 16:3