So you have completed a manuscript, now what?

Entering the self-publishing versus traditional Publishing debate rather late but nonetheless, here I am. What would you rather do, would you self-publish or would you rather wait for traditional? Can you publish poems? Short stories? Novels and so on. Who will read my book? And many more questions.


Let's begin by addressing the big elephant in the room-

So you have completed a manuscript, now what?
Take a deep breath and spend a moment in reflection. Congratulations, you have done what majority of writers don't do- write. Kudos to you on completing one step in this whole journey that is going to consume the next six to seven months (sometimes more) of your life.
The next best guess is that you want to get it published, you want to see it in the hands of readers and you want to get praised for your effort. You know it is easy, obviously, look at Chetan Bhagat, he sells so crappy books. Stop thinking about this. In the next few paragraph, I am going to enlist the many pitfalls of publishing/ marketing and you will realize, getting a book published is not an easy piece of cake. You will have immense respect for Chetan Bhagat.

If that has discouraged you- here is the good news. There is a reader for every book, you just have to find one. You are just four degrees separated from everyone else in the world, finding your readers is not impossible... only difficult.

Pre-publishing stage
Edit Your First-Draft
Once you have completed your manuscript, time to edit it again. There are good, bad and horrible editors out there, each with their varied interest and skills. However horrible an editor may be, you still need one because you are not the best judge of your book. The editor will look for continuity errors, don't fret the best among us have made continuity errors, and you have too.

But shouldn't I be hunting for a publisher?
A publisher always has an in-house editor who can edit your book for you, however, the first draft of your book is not in a good shape to show it to the world. That's why you need an editor who can help you edit the book and filter out the obvious mistakes. Identify the grammar errors and dot your I's and dash your T's.

Start working on a Synopsis and a Summary of your story
A Synopsis is like the mickey mouse who stands at the gate of Disney Land welcoming the people inside. Your book may contain a lot of plots, sub-plots, twists and turn but all that needs to be trimmed down to give the publisher/ reader and an agent a good view of the whole plot. There are different views on how long should be a synopsis. Hence, I use two words-Synopsis and Summary, both are needed for your book. Think of summary as a jacket blurb, it is the one-pager (3000 words or less) summary of the entire book.

The Synopsis will be long, on an average one-page for every twenty-five pages in your manuscript.
A synopsis also shows your writing skills so do word it properly. Get it edited and reviewed by your editor.

Now you have a working manuscript, it is time to look for the publishers. 
There are three types of publishing options out there-

1. Traditional Publishing
The most common form of publishing is with the traditional publishing houses. These publishing houses offer publishing and distribution services for the book. In an emerging market like India, distribution is a nightmare, if you want your book to reach the crossword store next door- you have to opt for traditional publishing houses. To be fair, the other two options also deal with traditional distributors but the distribution in India is so fragmented that only select few publishers reach the tier-2 store. To get the attention of a publishing house is, however, tedious process. You can always send them the manuscript, the email address is right there on their website. Each publishing house has their own submission process but if they don't, Ideally you send them your bio, three chapters, and summary of your book. Generally, publishing houses take three to six months to reply. You can also opt for services like a bloody good book which provide crowdsourced reviews and draw the attention of publishing houses. In India, sadly, we do not have a big market for book agencies who will represent you. Not all publishers do print traditional books have good distribution model. However, make sure you clearly understand what the publisher is going to do about the book before signing the contract.

My book, Ragnarok, was published via a traditional publisher.
The upcoming graphic novel, Agatya, is also published by Fablery via traditional method.

2. Self-publishing
While traditional publishing has its perks, it is a nightmare to get into. Moreover, the traditional publishers do not accept submissions for short story anthology or poems. They will not accept upfront any manuscript which does not suit their marketing plans, they don't accept science fiction as there is less market for that and so on. If you come in this category of, a. you are impatient and b. you are not accepted in the traditional form of publishing- you can choose to opt for self-publishing. When it comes to self-publishing people quickly jump the bandwagon of Kindle. However, let me clarify, self-publishing need not just mean e-book but a print version as well.

There are few options you can explore when going for self-publishing. Personally, I host it on
- Amazon Create Space (for amazon.co.uk and amazon.com)
- Kindle and Smashwords for e-book format
- Pothi.com (for printing and distributing to Amazon.in and Flipkart)

Why? Because the more devices you can reach, the better. For my upcoming book, I have planned for release on Google play store and Apple store. Will let you know how it goes.

Recently, I was told about this services http://cinnamonteal.in for the upcoming book, I am going to avail their services. I released the mythological short story book, The One who stood against Shiva and other stories, via self-publishing.

3. Vanity Publishing
This is a sensitive topic for the majority of authors and there are a lot of scams going on for the same. To know about the scams, hop on the self-publishing queen Rasana's blog. Vanity publishers are not bad, they are heavily misunderstood. Publishing is a thankless job. The distributors don't pay on time, the book seller brow beat the little guy, the authors are not grateful and so on. Vanity publishers charge you an upfront fee for printing x amount of copies of the book. They also offer editing and distribution services for a price. The price may wary for different people. I often recommend this to people who do not want to run around themself for self-publishing. However, be very careful as there are many publishers who deal with vanity but advertise themself as traditional publishers. Many big publishing houses also offer vanity publishing services via their sister companies

Which publishing should I opt to? Always- and always go for traditional. If that doesn't work out, try learning about self-publishing. Remember, its your book, its your call. The rights ALWAYS remain with you.

This is just ten percent of what will take for you to bring the book out. But this lesson is enough for today. Have any questions? Comments? Feedback?
Shoot in the comments section below.

2 comments

  1. Thanks for sharing about So you have completed a manuscript, for Self Publishers in India

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks for sharing such a wonderful article. I found Notion Press doing excellent job in publishing your book.

    ReplyDelete

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