One of my last posts was all about self-publishing via digital books. This one will talk about what publishers are STILL good for. And that’s a lot. Here’s where publishers experience really shines:

  1. Book promotion, specifically for authors with a platform, who have a unique product offering, or who are ready to work hard to promote their book.
  2. Building a beautiful, professionally produced product. This will have cohesion between the packaging, the content, the book’s web presence, catalog page, etc.
  3. Already built sales channels. They know the rules to follow to get your book in the hands of buyers at major chains and distributors. Rules include a release date a minimum of 9 months out. They know the best places to advertise the book based on the content, and how much to spend.
  4. Access to professionals who know how to build great books – editors, proofreaders, cover designers, and copywriters.
  5. A proven system for success. A pipeline and checklists to make sure the book hits all the steps before it goes to market.

What do you do if you can’t sign with a publisher? Perhaps you don’t yet have a platform. Publishing is a business, and like any other business, if there’s no clear benefit to the book project, publishing companies can’t commit to the time and effort to produce the book. It costs a minimum of $4000 to get a book to market (with a very low print run). Do too many projects that don’t cover costs, and you’re out of business.

If you’re an author and you are convinced that you need a publisher, begin to think about all the ways you can build a platform. A platform is nothing more than an audience. Start a blog to talk about your book – even post free chapters. Do speaking engagements. Try the digital route (low cost to entry, fairly easy to do) and see what happens. It’s likely that if you have solid digital book sales, you can make a case with publishing companies for a print edition.

Above all, don’t give up on your dreams! Now is the time, like never before, to write a book. If it’s your dream to be an author, go for it!