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How To Get Your Book Published In The Digital Age

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How To Get Your Book Published In The Digital Age

3 Paths To Becoming A Published Author
Reid  Tracy
Reid Tracy More by this author
Nov 19, 2015 at 09:00 AM

3 Very Different Paths To Becoming A Published Author 

Now is the best time in history to be an author. You have more publishing choices and possibilities than ever before, but this can also make things confusing. 

These are the three main publishing paths available to authors today:

  • DIY
  • Supported self-publishing
  • Traditional publishing


The pros and cons of each path are outlined below to help you decide which option best suits your goals, skill set, budget and time.

1. Do-It-Yourself Publishing

DIY self-publishing utilizes online tools or apps which you use to upload your manuscript, create a book and get it into distribution. This approach involves the least amount of work and financial investment, but is often limited in formatting, distribution and professional services (editing, design and marketing).

Due to the advent of Print On Demand technology, books can now be printed one at a time as an order comes in. This means an author has virtually no costs other than the initial set up. Prior to the advent of Print On Demand, one of the biggest hurdles to a new author was the cost of an initial print run. Not knowing if you would ever be able to sell through your inventory and recoup your costs most likely stopped many an aspiring author in their tracks. Nowadays that risk is all but eliminated.

DIY Publishing also includes eBook Publishing. Since there is no physical product, eBooks can be created from virtually any content and can be updated and edited easily. This field is constantly changing. As I write this, E-book publishing platforms include Smashwords, Blurb, Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing, Lulu, Llumina Press,and CreateSpace. However, I recommend subscribing to writers blogs and other resources, to keep current with this evolving market.

Ebooks can be published in several different formats. With the eReader market finally starting to stabilize and consolidate, the front runners are looking like EPUB and MOBI. EPUB files will work for iBooks, Nook and Kobo amongst others, MOBI files will cover you for any of the Kindle readers.

2. Supported Self-Publishing

A supported self-publisher typically offers packages that bundle a full suite of professional services for publishing, promoting and selling your book. Balboa Press, is the self-publishing division of Hay House.  The advantages include having several service options under one roof, knowing the financial cost up front, maintaining total editorial control and the speed of bringing a book to market. The drawbacks may include possibly paying for included services that you don’t want or need. This option is attractive to those authors who prefer to the advice of a dedicated Account Manager who will guide them through the process. Several of our Hay House authors started off self-publishing with Balboa Press or other companies.

Did you know that Louise Hay decided to self-publish her book You Can Heal Your Life? When she talked to some of the “big publishers,” they wanted to change her words so the book would be more marketable. Louise decided to self-publish because she didn’t want anyone to change her words and the feeling of the book. She wrote from her heart and knew in her heart that this book would help those in need. Louise wasn’t interested in gaining the largest audience. Her only passion and drive was to help as many individuals as possible to heal their lives by showing them how to change their thoughts.

There are many more Hay House authors who originally self-published their manuscripts for the same reasons, including Bruce Lipton and his book The Biology of Belief and Donna Gates and her book The Body Ecology Diet.

To learn more about supported self-publishing and claim your free publishing guide, visit Balboa Press.


3. Traditional Publishing

This is the route most associated with the term publishing. Most publishers require you to find a literary agent to represent you and your manuscript; Hay House is one of those and does not accept unsolicited manuscripts. The agent will pitch your book to traditional publishers and potentially sell the rights if a publisher is interested. The benefits of this path include a monetary advance, the publisher’s editorial expertise and a sales force to help promote your book. The drawbacks are the low odds of being picked up, some loss of control over the finished product and slower speed to market.  

Finding a Literary Agent

a.    Go to your local bookstore or library and browse the books in the section closest to your genre.
b.    Look in the acknowledgments section at the front or the back of the book. Most authors will thank their agent here.
c.    Avoid the big names in the publishing business and try to identify an agent just starting out. The newcomers to the scene will be more willing to take on a new author.
d.    Look up the agent's listing in the Literary Marketplace or Agent Query to find out whether they are accepting unsolicited queries and their preferences for manuscript submission and follow them. 

Thanks to transformations happening within the publishing industry, you now have the opportunity to be successful and connect with readers through the publishing path of your choice. 

Please note however, each path has different financial potential.This chart from December 2013, illustrates the income disparity between them.

Published in Digital Book World, December 2013 

When weighing up your options, keep in mind your objectives for your book(s). During my 26 years with Hay House, I have learned that people want to write and publish a book for a variety of reasons. For some the desire is to spread an important message far and wide.  These writers want to reach the greatest number of people, by becoming a household name with a huge following. For others, the need to get their story out is more personal, they want to publish their book to have their story saved for posterity, or for future generations of their family for example, For others still, the objective is not a huge audience or best-seller status at all, the writing process is the reward, it is a therapeutic journey of healing through sharing. 

My advice to you: Write from your heart. When you write to make a difference in one person’s life, you’ll make a difference in many lives.

If you want to explore your Writing Life further, consider attending one of our Writer's Workshop weekends. The inspiration will come not only from our speakers, but also from your fellow audience members, aspiring writers like yourself. Although Hay House does not accept manuscripts directly, this is the one exception to the rule. Every workshop participant is eligible to submit one proposal and 3 people from each weekend will receive either a Hay House contract, or a valuable Balboa Press Package. We only offer these workshops 2 or 3 times each year, so sign up early.



About Author
Reid  Tracy
Reid Tracy is the president and CEO of Hay House, Inc., the largest and most influential self-empowerment publishing company in the world, where he has worked for the past 30 years. Publishing hundreds of prominent authors over the years, Reid has Continue reading