• Ryanne Harper

So, How Exactly Do You Publish a Book?


Becoming a published author is a dream for a many people. Thanks to self-publishing, it's a dream that is much more attainable than it used to be.


As some of you know, I was smack dab in the middle of teaching a writing workshop when the COVID-19 situation happened. My last class was scheduled for March 21st and I'd planned on covering the differences between traditional publishing, self-publishing, and assisted self-publishing, which is what we do. We work with authors to make their manuscripts the best they can be and send them packin', let loose to navigate the confusing world of publishing. I'm just kidding. We don't do that. Jessica and I walk the author through the process of publishing through Amazon. Is it a process that can be navigated alone? Absolutely. Can it be daunting to do so? You bet. That's why we're here.


You've written a book and it's been edited. Now what?

Now for the fun stuff.

  • Formatting your book for publication - for ebook and paperback because it's different

  • Cover design - for ebook and paperback because, again, it's different

  • Checking for blank pages because Amazon claims to, but doesn't do a great job at actually finding them

  • Getting proof copies and pre-order links

  • Doing a final proof

  • Making changes - this step is usually done several times

  • And, finally, publishing


The only difference between self-publishing and assisted self-publishing is, it'll be me sitting behind the computer screen pulling my hair out because page 10 is blank for no apparent reason instead of you. We do all the tedious work so you can focus on marketing yourself, setting up a release party, and fretting about your upcoming publication. If you aren't into that, we'll also do those things for you. We're here to help.


With traditional publishing, you need to first find an agent. This in itself can be a process. Researching agents and drafting query letters can be daunting, but it's the only way to go if you want to be traditionally published.


The process goes a little something like this:

  • Research

  • Query letters

  • Rejection letters - probably

  • More query letters

  • Acceptance letter - maybe. If this isn't happening, you have two choices: Start the list over again or self-publish

  • Send your manuscript to the agent

  • Wait

  • Rejection or acceptance from the agent

  • Wait

It's a lot of waiting this a chance of no reward. There's no guarantee that you'll ever be published.


There's no right or wrong way to publish; they're just different. I've read terrible self-published and traditionally published books. I'm still not over Milkman and it won the Man Booker Award. I've read some truly wonderful self-published books that nobody wanted. My Name is Trouble, for example. Outstanding book that no one picked up, so they did it themselves. Conveniently, there's a link to the Trouble review in the Milkman blog I linked above. Read this, then read both of those.


So, that's just a basic rundown of how the publishing process works. Once things get closer to normal, I'll reschedule my class but, for now, stay home, stay healthy, and stay the heck away from me.

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