How to publish your book: a step by step guide/ONE

8:27:00 AM

how much does it really cost to publish your book
Some of us are too broke to publish our book. Or we think it's fools errand to spend hard earned cash without knowing the return. Fair enough. But if there's one investment piece you should go for,  it's your own work.
It's hard, I get it. It doesn't feel real until you hold your book or somebody tells you how much they enjoyed reading it. When it's still a dream, you have to skip a few steps. Your book exist, and somebody loves reading it. Now work your way back. What did you do before that? Your book is your business, what was your plan? To determine where you want to spend your money on -editing, design, publicity, you have to start at the finished product.
But let's get back to the beginning first:

 How much will it cost not to publish it?  You managed to write a book (congrats, you are amazing!). It is one of the best things you will ever do, but man, talk about delayed gratification.
In my twenties me and my friend both aspired to become writers.  Chasing the shadow of her successful father, she wanted to BE a writer. I tried to write, failing miserably (although my first story was about the chauffeur of an hearse, a year before Six feet under came out, just saying).
I found a list online with quotes by famous writers, every one of expressing the torture of trying to write something even remotely sensible. When I showed my friend the list she got angry with me. Upset that I was trying to discourage her.
For me the list was proof that I was on the right path. It wasn't only me, everybody doing it thought this writing thing was excruciating.
She now works teaching immigrants her native language, a tough but extremely rewarding job. I managed to write books and got my publishing deal. Our choices came down to this: I didn't care about being anything, I just couldn't stop myself. And I can't imagine how awful my life would have been without trying. Not doing it would have cost me everything.

Now, let's get down to money.

How much do you spend on yourself? Did you go all out on Black Friday? Do you have the latest gadget? Or is it shoes baby? A expensive gym membership? Did you take a trip this year? Bought a new car? Or do you buy smoothies, or coffee every day? Seeing your book being published is better than all these things, with the exception of travel. For the rest; there's no comparison.

Maybe it's not about money? Writing is exhilarating because you have control over your own constructed universe, but you also carry all the responsibility when you invite others in. It comes down to you. It can be a burden, terrifying stuff. If you don't spend money publishing your book, and things don't go well, you can always blame the budget, pretend it doesn't matter, it was just for fun, something you had to try. Nonsense, you care, go for it. If you spend money on it and it doesn't go well, that money will still be well spent. Then you'll write another book, stage two of your business plan, helped by all the experience you acquired. (If you really don't care so much, let me stop you know, please don't write. Find something that you really love instead.)

Did you get rejected by an agent or publisher and think that means your book is not worth it? You just want to get it out there, and be done with it.
I still can't believe how lucky I was to find a publisher for my debut. I got picked out of the slush pile, by Marc, he was poet, who needed a steady job. He was open to new voices and very creative himself. By accident I found the right person. When you start to send your book out, you will need luck getting it in front of the right person. Remember that readers are different, while publishers and agents look for something commercial, readers look for themselves in a story, or for escape, another world, inspiration, a thrill, even something to get angry over, or something silly to indulge.

Next, start making decisions and a budget. Self publishing is not the last resort, it hasn't been in a long time. It is the first option now. If you enjoy making decisions, it is a liberating experience. You get to decide when the book is ready, how long it will be, how the cover will look, when it will come out. Every damn decision is yours. If that is too overwhelming there are hybrid deals with publishing houses that will help you ( more on that later). For me that's why I choose to publish my third book myself. As much fun as going through the whole process for my debut with that fancy literary publishing house was, with my second book the experience turned sour. My editor had quit, there was infighting, the new one I got stuck with didn't get my book, the cover design was  stuffy, it didn't fit the book at all, the publicity department was in shambles and I could go on. One big mess. That weighted down on my work.
I don't want to go through it again. Maybe I am one of those annoying people who thinks she can do things better herself, I could be wrong, but I glad to explore it and find out. Like me, I am sure you have lots of work experience that you can apply to this. I did marketing,  worked as a photographer, and maybe like me you consume insane amounts of pop culture, all tools that you can use for your own work. Most important of all, who knows your work better than you? It doesn't mean necessarily that you have to do everything yourself, but you get to choose the people that get you.

If all else fails... If you are dead broke, and can't find funding or a aunt with some extra cash, just go for it, just push and deliver your baby. You can learn everything you need, if you commit-and I will write more about it later, how to design your cover yourself, how to make some noise for your book, and how to get that first glowing review.
It is not easy, but it will cost you a lot more not to do it. Trust.

Simona Moroni, author of Hollywood Daze, coming out soon.

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