I have been told that as an author I should never have to pay to get my book published- is this true?

Many people who believe that they are better “authors” than you will mock you for your willingness to invest in your own book. They will say things like “the money should flow to the author, not from the author” or that “a real author never has to pay to publish his/her work.”  We believe that no one should ever have to pay for health insurance or for food when they are hungry, but unfortunately this is not the way the real world works. There are only a handful (4 or 5) of major publishers left in the United States, and if you are extremely lucky and well-known, they might publish your book with no cost to you. These publishers are not in the business of taking risks however, and if they are not confident that your book will be profitable, they will not consider publishing you. This timidness has been compounded lately by the fact that several of them have taken huge risks- and lost- on some high profile authors who it seemed were sure to sell books (Hillary Clinton, Andrew Cuomo).

Thus, if you want to see your book get published, you will need to participate in the investment required. There is nothing wrong with this, despite what some self-proclaimed “authors” may say. Whether you use a vanity press, a self-publisher or some hybrid thereof like Page Publishing, , there is nothing wrong with paying professionals to do those things you likely can’t  handle on your own (designing your book cover, typesetting your book, editing it, distributing it, etc.). In fact, it is common sense if you really think about it- if you believe your work is quality and has potential, then why would you not be willing to invest in it yourself? Most successful business people had an idea which they thought had merit, and they invested in their idea to become successful. Thus if you believe in yourself, believe in your book, and want to get it published, don’t hesitate to have a little “skin in the game” and put your money to use to see your dream realized in the form of the the publication of your book. This is as awesome privilege that not many people get to experience. Once you have done all of the hard work in writing your book, take that last and final step and see to it that it gets published- even if you have to spend a few dollars to do so. Don’t just sit around waiting for some savior to come and do all of the work for you for free, because it will not likely happen. Make every page count during your journey through the publishing process!

 

Is it true that I must have an agent in order to get my book published?

Many people are under the impression that they must first have a literary agent in order to publish their book. Fortunately, such is not the case in the current publishing environment. In the “old” days where only a handful of New York literary giants controlled the publishing world, it was near-impossible to get the proverbial “foot in the door”  without the assistance of a well-connected agent.Sending your manuscript to one of those publishers would inevitably lead to your manuscript being shredded and a short “no thank you ” letter being sent to you.

This is not to say that you should not get a well-connected agent if one will agree to represent you, but the odds of that are extremely slim. The 15% cut of all of your future earnings that an agent usually requires may be worth it if it means that you can get into a major publishing house. Thankfully though, if you are not so lucky as to find an agent (or do not want to give away 15% of your earnings) you have other options. Like most authors today, you hold your fate in your own hands. You have the ability to submit your manuscript to a smaller publishing firm like Page Publishing in New York City that is more open-minded than the big publishers. By doing so, and investing in your own book, you will not only get to keep the vast majority of your book’s revenue, but you will have near-total creative control over all aspects of your books production- every single page will be under your control during the publishing process..