If you are a writer, there is only one thing that drives you: writing. If you were unable to ever see your work in print, a true writer would write nonetheless, even if the work was seen by an audience of one. This article will show you how it is completely unnecessary to invest your heart and soul in a work that never sees the light of day. This article will show you the step by step processes to not only get your work into print, but to make a hearty living at it as well. I know. My husband and I have numerous books in print, and we are more than pleased with our sales of our books. By following the steps in this article, you will soon see your work available worldwide and will enjoy the financial impact of publishing on your terms.
One of the greatest balances one must strike when one seeks a career in any artistic endeavor — and writing is an art — is art versus commerce. You can be the best in your artistic field, but if you don’t embrace the commercial aspect of your art at least as well as the art itself, you may find yourself living life as the quintessential starving artist. And who wants to starve? So the first step in the process is to understand that it doesn’t end with the writing. In fact, when you’ve written the final page of your final draft, that becomes the starting gate. When you finish the book, you arrive at square one.

What New Writers may Believe

Many new writers who are embarking on getting their first book published have a fantasy that goes something like this: They believe that all they have to do is send query letters and copies of their manuscripts to literary agents and publishers, and that within a matter of weeks an editor will discover their work and within months they’ll see their book on the shelves of Barnes & Noble. While this can happen, it is so rare that the odds of winning a state lottery are greater. The publishing industry has changed so much in the past ten years that it doesn’t remotely represent the common perception most people and writers have. And believe it or not, this is a good thing, which you’ll soon see in this article.
In the old days, writers submitted to agents, who took the manuscript to a series of editors at the various publishing houses in a bid to get the work into print. A year (most likely two or three years) later, the book would arrive in the bookstores as the typical promotional efforts took place simultaneously with the book’s release. This doesn’t happen like this anymore, and as far as promotional efforts are concerned, there are about a dozen writers that rate appearances on the morning TV shows, and about a hundred at any given time who are booked onto talk radio.
So where does that leave the estimated five- to six-thousand other writers who actually see their books published each year? As you can see, right off the bat the publishing industry is a niche industry. In fact, books are about the last medium that allows, much less encourages niche production. There are no longer niche projects in the Hollywood film industry to speak of, and most formerly niche cable television broadcasters now seek mass market audiences. But there will always be a need for niche-specific books and periodicals. This is your entry key into the field. If you can write for your audience, if you can fill their specific niche, you will succeed. And more to the point, your book will succeed. So let’s begin the steps to your success in the publishing world.
In the publishing world, “Content is King”. What is the content in your book that will make it stand out from other books in the same field? This is the single most important question that you must ask yourself as an author. (And remember, the word ‘author’ is a derivative of the word ‘authority’.) You must be the authority in your field, whether you are a writer of fiction, or non-fiction. Take an unbiased look at the work you propose and look forward, as in: What will people want to read a year or more from now. Don’t base your thinking on what’s happening now in the book world, because what’s current was put into motion three years ago.

Decide Upon your Publishing Route

This is as important as the quality of your book. So right now we’ll assume your book has bestseller written all over it (and inside, too!). The book is good, it’s tightly edited, and now it needs a home.
Earlier I described the differences in the publishing world today and how it receives new writers and authors. The realistic statement would be that it is so much harder to get published in the corporate world of bookselling, and because of the many nuisance lawsuits filed against publishers and authors by writers accusing them of plagiarism, publishers simply will not even consider unsolicited material from new writers for fear of the next lawsuit. In fact, as I am writing this the most successful author of all time, JK Rowling of Harry Potter fame, is embroiled in these kinds of accusations levied at her and her publisher. So to say that breaking through the standard publishing barriers these days is difficult at best would be an understatement.
So how do these publishers keep new material funneling through their houses in a timely and relevant way? They work with agents who have an established relationship with them, and they make deals with small press publishers once sales track records have been established for a particular title. And nowadays many projects are devised in house and assigned to writers and editors that they trust. So where does this leave you? After all, you just want to get your work out there and maybe make a few bucks while you’re at it. So what’s next?
Well, there are choices. You can take the typical route and approach agents and publishers. Be prepared to spend an amazing amount on postage and materials, and while miracles do happen occasionally, just realize going in that you are playing lottery odds. Also, assuming you do make it through (and there’s nothing saying that you can’t) you’ll be considered extremely fortunate if your advance exceeds $25,000. In most cases a new author can figure an advance of between $10,000 —$15,000.
So what’s the alternative? Here it is: Publish it yourself. “Eek!” you scream. “I don’t want to be involved with all that! I’m a WRITER! And besides, isn’t that just what they call vanity publishing?”
The answer to your last cry is NO. Self publishing is not vanity publishing. In fact, what is self publishing, anyway? Publishing in any form is nothing more than taking a particular work and reproducing it so more than one can read it.
In fact, if you decide on the self publishing route, in my estimation you’re not “self publishing” at all. In fact, you are establishing yourself as a small press publisher. There are literally thousands of small press publishers worldwide. Why shouldn’t you be a small press publisher and as your first title decide to publish your book? Makes sense! In fact, my husband Lee and I have co-written many books in our particular field and we sell thousands of books each year. Our small press publishing house is called GLC Press. It is our company, and we decide what we publish, when we publish, and how we publish.
We do not go hat in hand to anyone; our publishing schedule is based on the needs and desires of our readership. We write what we want and we can have a book in print and in our distribution channel ready for our readers within weeks if we so desire. You can too! And here’s how…

Small Press Publishing

First we thought of the name of our small press company. Once we did that we took care of the small but necessary business matters. They’re easy enough to do, and someone at your local county or city business license office can help you with that.
The next thing you’ll want to decide on is your distribution method. We’ll assume that you want your title listed on Amazon.com (the world’s largest seller of books. If you’re not on Amazon, you don’t exist).
You’ll also want to be carried in the brick and mortar stores, too. Your basic Barnes & Noble, Borders, WHSmith, and independent booksellers all have production standards that you must adhere to or your book will not be sold there, no matter how good it is.
Standards include cover size and thickness, cover and book design, bar code, ISBN- and EAN13-numbers, warehousing, etc., must be taken into consideration is you want to run with the big dogs. And you can run with them, but you have to play by their rules.
So what do you do to comply with all of this? This sounds like a full-time job, and all you want to do is write for a living.

Our Success

You must hire a competent and talented book design and production firm to create your book. They are the talented artisans who take your Microsoft Word manuscript and turn it into a book that you (and more importantly, your readers) can hold in your hand. But there’s more: Whatever company you use must be schooled in the fine art of distribution. They must be able to get your title online immediately at all — and I do mean ALL — of the major online distributors. You must be on Amazon, etc., and they must be able to produce on demand rather than forcing you to purchase boxes upon boxes of product that may go unsold.
We use House of Penguin. Their service is impeccable, they know what they are doing, and they even collect and distribute book royalties to us. They produce books for hundreds of publishers around the world, including the major houses. So if you are serious about starting a successful small press to release your work into the world, and want to enjoy the financial rewards of your work, I suggest you take the route that has worked so well for us. For more information about HOP, go to www.houseofpenguin.com . And if I can help you further, you are always welcome to e-mail me as well.
Now let’s see your book out there!

Author's Bio: 

Beth and Lee McCain host a popular nationally syndicated weekly radio show Radio LOA on Experience Radio and publish the national LOA magazine, The Indicator. You are invited to visit Beth and Lee McCain Law of Attraction Web Site for more Law of Attraction and positive thought and free study materials as well as many products to help guide you on your path.