You did it!
You wrote your book, and that is no thing to say lightly. It’s a massive, massive achievement. Everyone says they want to write a book, but you actually did it, so stop, take a minute and congratulate yourself. You created a BOOK!
But now what? Put it in your top drawer and start on the next one? Send it out to agents and check emails daily?
In this post, I thought I’d look at the options of what you can do. You most certainly can put it in your top drawer and forget about it, or you could do the following.
Write a book, why exactly?
Know your why. I hate it when people put that, and here I am telling you to think about it, but this step is important. It will lead on to the next step and make sure you don’t at any point feel despondent. Do you want to win a literary prize with this book? Do you just want to hold a printed version in your hands? Do you want it as a long-term goal, do you want to write a book full time?
So get out a pen and paper, or keyboard, or your phone and jot down a few answers to these questions.
- Why did you write this book?
- Why is it going to help your writing career?
- Why is it important to you?
How can you measure why you wrote this book?
I need to say that there are no correct answers here, but it is better if you answer as specifically and as realistically as you can.
For instance, if your answer to question one in know your why was ‘to be published and everyone reading it.’ It’s a brilliant answer to why write a book, but it’s also not very detailed and because of that, it’s not something you can measure.
Also, try to think of answers more personal rather than going to the default, ‘massive book deal and loads of money’ answer.
And I say this, because in my experience, that can and does happen, but only for a very few. And if you answer closer to what you feel about your book, you might find that money isn’t what propelled you to spend hours toiling away at the keyboard at all.
So, answer these next questions.
- If you want your book to be available to others, what does the published version look like? E-book? Paperback only? Audio only or every format available?
- How will you know when this book has helped your writing career, will it be reviews? Agent interest? Money in the bank?
- When will you know that the importance of the book has been satisfied? Will it be a number of sales? Good feedback from someone in particular? A dream fulfilled?
Answer these and think honestly what you’d be happy with. Also think of it in the long-term. What creative life do you want? And it can just be a one off! It doesn’t have to be the start of some long-term writing career, just be clear on what it is, and what it isn’t.
Once you’ve answered those questions, you now have several options. The last thing you need to do is decide which route is best to meet your why and how.
Submit to A Literary Agent
This is primarily if you want to go down the traditional publishing route. You send off your query letter and usually a sample of your book and then wait to see if the agent likes it and is willing to take you on. However, even if an agent does say yes, it is no guarantee of your book being published. The agent then might help get your book into shape and send it out on submission to publishing houses, who might say yes or might say no.
The world of self publishing has grown so much over the last few years, with so many possibilities and opportunities that it’s difficult to summarise it here in a short paragraph. But basically, you have full control over your book with self publishing. From the front cover, to the marketing plan, to the distribution. You take control of every part and the success it up to you. I know so many authors who are making such a good living and creating a brilliant writing career out of this option, but it is something that you’ll need to research!
Use a company to help self-publish
If self-publishing is too much, and you don’t want to do it all yourself, there are companies who will do it for you. They’ll take care of the editing, finding a brilliant cover, submitting to Amazon etc. But, huge word of warning, there are loads of companies offering this service who are a complete rip off. If you’re going down this path, do your research thoroughly before you agree to costs or copyright shenanigans.
Submit to publishing companies directly
Some amazing publishing houses will accept submissions from authors directly, such as Bookouture and Agora. You’ll need to get your manuscript the best it can possibly be, research the guidelines by each publishing house and write the best query letter you can. This can be a great route if you want to get published, but don’t yet have an agent and the thought of self publishing scares you.
All of these options require a lot of thought and research. It’s wonderful, exciting and limitless to publish a book now in 2022 and I can only see more options becoming available as E-books continue to grow in popularity.
So tell me, what are you going to do next? Your work deserves to been seen, it deserves to be read, you need your art out there so don’t hide it in that drawer!