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How To Publish A Book In 2021

If you want to get your book published, you have more choices than ever to accomplish your goal, and the path can be confusing if you’re new to the publishing industry. This post lays out the process in the simplest terms possible.

There are three primary paths to getting published:

1. Land a traditional publisher who will offer you a book contract. This is what most writers imagine when they think about getting published. The publisher pays you, the author, for the rights to publish the work.

2. Hire a company to help you publish your book. There are thousands of publishing services out there, some cheap and some expensive. But the main thing they have in common is that they charge the author to publish.

3. Self-publish. This is where you act as the publisher, and hire the help you need to publish and sell your work, generally through Amazon and other major retailers.

Know How You Want To Publish

Again, modern authors have many publishing routes from which to choose. There’s no one “right” way to publish a book.

That said, your path to publishing a book will inevitably affect your approach here. Before you proceed, you need to decide:

  • Do you want to self-publish or traditionally publish?
  • If the latter, do you want to go through a small press or larger publisher?

What is the difference between self-publishing vs traditional publishing?

Self-publishing is a completely independent route with no barriers to entry whereas traditional publishing involves the acts of querying, landing an agent, and getting approved by a publishing house.

How Much Does It Cost To Publish A Book?

The cost to publish a book depends on a) the length of the book and b) the level of quality you want. Most authors spend $2,000-$4,000 to self-publish their books — this includes editing, cover design, formatting, and marketing services.

Editing Costs

There are a few different types of professional editing you can have done — namely developmental editing, copy editing, and proofreading. If your book isn’t quite ready for these steps, you can get an editorial assessment to figure out where you need to improve!

Average editing costs based on a 60,000-word manuscript:

  • Developmental editing — $1,400 (or about $7 per page)
  • Copy editing — $1,000 (or about $5 per page)
  • Proofreading — $700 (or about $3 per page)

Let’s Get Real About How To Publish A Book

Some say writers can make a lot more money by self-publishing. They argue that rather than settling for just a 15% or so royalty of the sales by a traditional publisher, they enjoy all the profits.

The problem with this logic is that it too often underestimates what it costs to self-publish.

The likelihood is that the “profit” per sold book, often at best, equals about the same as a traditional royalty.

The drawback then is that as a self-publisher, you have vastly less experience promoting, advertising, marketing, selling, delivering, and billing than traditional publishers do.

Besides the fact that this is a full-time job that will likely rule out your having the time to write another book, with rare exceptions, traditional publishers sell many more copies than self-publishers do.