Take These Steps to Find a Publisher

Updated: Jan 22

You have completed your research, if one ever completes research; you have a thesis and you have formulated an approach. Perhaps you have even written the first chapter or two and the writing plan is clearly in your mind. In short, you know what you want to say and you have started. How do you get the book published?

Agent or Self Publish?

The first question today is whether you will self-publish or find an agent who will take care of the bulk of the publishing and marketing work. You still have to promote your book, this is unreplaceable even when you hire a marketing team. Information on self-publishing is available everywhere on the internet. There are two main players: Amazon KDP and Ingram Spark. The genre of your work will help you narrow down agents who are willing to take a look. Take your submissions as that, someone taking a look. This makes it even more important that your first chapter is the best one in the book. It is not how authors want to approach this subject, but think "hook, line and sinker." Why would someone spent their time reading this?


The audience can be thought of in two ways. There is the direct audience the author writes to, sometimes themselves. And there is the audience that comes from elsewhere if your work raises an interest. Readers who never read a genre say that until the right book comes along. The target audience also depends on the goal of the writer. Is the writer sharing knowledge or looking for sell thousands of books. Marketing will be key for the latter, whilst the author writing to share knowledge need not chase readers. They will come !

Cost of publishing: Up Front Fee or Shared Revenue with Publisher

With an agent, the writer gets paid. Do watch those revenue sharing agreements. Everyone has heard of musicians signing three record deals to a label and giving up rights to the catalogue as well in the process. Separate the ownership of a work from the right to explore or publish said work in various formats including audio, digital and moving pictures. Paying the upfront fee implies retaining full rights, but with a shared revenue structure, the writer can still retain 100% of the rights to their work. There are various revenue sharing models with 50/50 anchoring a lot of deals, with bigger publishers getting a higher share in return for the upfront fee and smaller publishers closer to the centre with no upfront fee. In some cases, the writer is the person who pays the publisher !

Marketing of Book

Most writers would rather focus on exactly that: writing. The book industry does not work that way. Publishing can feel not like the end of a process, but the beginning of it. Have some ideas about how this will be achieved even for a modest launch. Every book needs this initial promotion after which it can grow organically, or not. Putting the book up on a bookseller's website is not sufficient. The book does not exist until the marketing stage !

Sales Channels

Where do we start? The elephant in the room is the obvious book retailer. One cannot avoid listing on that channel. Promoting the book on their platform is not so straightforward. The advertising programme appears open to all but there are a lot of bureaucratic steps to overcome before accessing the advertising console. With access, comes a cost monthly to run modest ads on the platform. Testimonials, or marketers, hold one view that the platform reaches the audience. The net cost is the one thing only each author or publisher can discover from spending some time on the platform !

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