Image: RAG New York
Modern technology has created plenty of options for new authors seeking to publish a book. These options range from submitting books to traditional publishing houses to self-publishing, where the author handles publishing their work. Each option presents a set of advantages and disadvantages.
Traditional publishing requires the author to complete a manuscript and send a query letter to literary agencies pitching their story. If the agent is interested in seeing the complete manuscript, the author mails it to them. At that point, the agent is free to accept or reject the manuscript.
If the manuscript is accepted, the agency solicits editors at publishing house to try and get it published. Eventually if the submission is accepted, the publishers take care of printing and selling of the book. This includes everything from marketing to distribution of the book.
There are good reasons for using traditional publishing. It saves time and money for the author because they do not have to worry about taking care of the costs associated with publishing and marketing their book. They can mostly focus on writing because the publishing house handles those duties.
Traditional publishing also has plenty of drawbacks. Authors can get a manuscript or query letter lost in the slush pile. It is hard to stand out amid thousands of manuscripts even if an author has a well-crafted story. Authors who opt for the traditional publishing route also have limited control over the final product. An editor can change drastically change a book if they believe it will boost potential sales.
Self-publishing requires the author to also take on the role of publisher. An author who chooses to publish on their own must take care of everything related to the publishing process. This includes editing the final manuscript, providing funds for publishing, handling marketing, distributing the book and filling orders for copies.
It is a good option for authors who want control over their product. Authors decide everything from the book's contents to how it is marketed. These books also take less time to publish than books released by traditional publishing houses. There are tons of self-publishing options available from print on demand services to e-books submitted to online sellers.