There are several options in modern publishing and it’s good for authors to get as much information as possible before choosing a publishing route. All of these options have some things in common.
Firstly there needs to be a completed manuscript. You can’t publish an incomplete work, and no one is likely to advance money to you in the hope that they can sell something you might finish in the future. It does occasionally happen, but you can’t rely on it.
Secondly your manuscript needs to be edited by someone who isn’t you. There are lots of folks out there who can offer a good rate on various levels of text editing, and if you can afford a professional editor that will be a very good move. The writer of a text will typically repeatedly overlook their own mistakes, and even a good writer friend who doesn’t mind looking your text over for the price of a nice dinner will probably be able to spot a bunch of potentially embarrassing errors you missed a hundred times.
It is also a good idea to show your manuscript to some writer friends if they are prepared to give it a look and give you some feedback. This can be a great way to find your plot holes, focus your attention on your demographic and all kinds of other issues that can be overlooked in the creation of a manuscript. Other writers area great resource and if you can manage the humility to accept some constructive criticism, your manuscript will be better for it. If you aren’t already in a writers’ group, it is well worth joining one for precisely this kind of support – but you also have to be prepared to give the same kind of help to others in the group.
In traditional publishing an author with a completed manuscript seeks out and makes contact with an existing established publisher who already publishes books of a similar sort in order to pitch them their book. The benefit of this route is that the publisher will pay for another round of professional editing as well as organising cover art and printing and distribution with no cost to the author. A traditional publisher makes their money from the book sales of the finished product and not from the author.
in this case, a writer’s best move is to research some publishers and see what books they publish. The easiest way to do that is go to the shops where you would hope to find your book for sale and see what is already on the shelf and make a note of which publishers’ logos you can see on the covers. Look particularly for books that you think are similar to the book you are working on. Publishers typically have an idea about the kind of thing they can sell and will likely be more interested in something that looks like what they’re looking for, particularly if those are selling really well at the moment.
Vanity publishers make their money from the author of a manuscript. The publisher charges the author for editing, typesetting, printing and/or distribution services, and require the author to pre-buy a significant number of books (maybe a few hundred) often as a package deal. They typically only do the bare minimum in getting the book ready for print and then leave it up to the author to handle sales and promotion. This is an expensive option that leaves the author with boxes of books to sell to friends and family, and also likely results in getting your book published expediently rather than making sure it is done well.
Self publishing has become much more common in recent years. In this method, an author can upload a manuscript to a print on demand site connected with Amazon or similar. This method has very little monetary cost to the author, but it leaves the onus on the author to do (or pay someone to do) all of the editing, typesetting and cover design to make the final product look professional. This method does not require that the author buy copies of the book to sell (though they can buy them at cost and sell them at less than retail if they want to) This method makes the book available for order online for people to find, but does not actively promote it so the author needs to work at promoting their book if they want people to buy it. Some folks look down on self-published authors because the lack of enforced professional publishing standards (like professional editing) means a lot of poor quality books on the market.
Assisted publishing is a method that Immortalise uses which gains the benefits of self publishing and also vanity publishing without all of the drawbacks. Unlike a vanity publisher, Immortalise utilises the self publishing method, which means that we can make a book available for sale online without requiring the author to buy copies of the book. We offer editing, typesetting and cover design services, and can act as a publishing label to get away from the stigma of self published books, but we do not require you to use all of these services in order to get your book published. If you have a cover design and your test is already well edited, but you need a typesetter, we can just offer that service and skip the others. We can even give a tutorial on how to manage your own book on a self publishing site so that you don’t need to rely on us as a publisher.
Immortalise is not a promoter, so getting your book in front of people will still be your job, but we can make sure you have a professional looking book, and only charge for the services you require. The usual trade-off between the quality of the final product and the cost of improving it still exists, but with assisted publishing the choices are yours.