1. Write your manuscript. Just let it flow without worrying at that point about how smooth or error-free it is. It may take three years, or you may write it in three weeks. That doesn't really matter, just get it done. There are millions of half-written manuscripts out there that never, ever see the light of day.
2. Get your manuscript edited. Maybe you trust your parent, your spouse, or a friend to proofread it and make any improvements necessary. Or you may contact someone like me, perhaps with a little more experience. Whatever you do, don't allow anyone to change your project into something completely different. And don't allow them to take out the most honest and real parts. Those are the very best in the entire manuscript.
3. Fill out the online form for Outskirts Press or a publisher of your choice. Then they'll probably ask you to send it to them as an email attached file. Let me know if you don't know what they're talking about. If you wrote the manuscript longhand, you'll need someone to type it on a computer file.
4. When the publisher approves it, decide which of their publishing packages you want. A staff member there will be happy to discuss that with you, or you could email me. Then the publisher may ask you to write a little bio about yourself and a bit of sales copy for the back cover of the book. They'll probably show you a few possible designs for the front of the book, etc.
5. Eventually they will send you galleys of the manuscript right before it goes to press. This is the last time you can read through it and catch any last minute problems or errors. Once you approve the galleys, it goes to print.
6. Viola! Weeks later, you'll get the terrific message. Your work of art is published! You will get a certain number of free copies, and will be able to buy future copies at a great special discount. You can spread the word among your vast network of family and friends that your book is available for sale. Then, at gunpoint, you will force every one of them to buy at least one copy or else! (just kidding). Congratulate yourself as someone who stuck to the job until you finished it and made it available to the world.
This is a personal message between you and me. You're part of a select group of people on this planet. You are a writer. You don't need to have perfect spelling, punctuation, or grammar. You may never have people flocking after you for your autograph on the flyleaf, but who cares? All you need to be a writer is a desire to write and the determination to be real. I'll describe the "real" aspect in just a minute.
The truth is, you have written something you really wanted to write. It may be a children's story, a devotional book, a novel, a how-to manuscript, or maybe a memoir or autobiography. Why did you do it? You were excited that other people would know the insides of your brain and enjoy your thoughts. Maybe you wrote a memoir to immortalize yourself---to be remembered by your children and grandchildren. Perhaps you have something to say that will be instructive or inspirational to others in some way. Whatever your motivation, I congratulate you for acting on it.
The finest writing of all is not necessarily written by intellectuals or college graduates, by poets, by those acclaimed by the critics, or even those who have the advertising power to sell tons of copies. I've read some pretty dull stuff written by people like this. The greatest writing in the world is the most honest, the most clear and simple, the most real and true-to-life. Write down those thoughts---those experiences--- that spelled the scariest, the happiest, the angriest, the toughest, and most powerful times of your life. Don't sugar-coat the words or try to sound cool or eloquent. Whether you're writing your life story or writing about fictional characters in a short story or novel, just pull up the deepest matters of your heart and your emotions. That is the most remarkable writing in the world---the pure, honest stuff from deep inside.
I can't promise that you'll then find a top agent or send your book to Random House and be given the red carpet treatment as their next best selling author. That sort of thing happens to maybe one percent of all writers, and most new books by such publishers are from those they've already published successfully. However, even if you don't hit the "big time," you can still publish your book and bring reading enjoyment and, perhaps, benefit to hundreds of people.
There are a number of publishers like Outskirts Press, the one I feature on this website. I happen to think that Outskirts is one of the better choices. In any case, for a reasonable fee, these publishers will print your book with an attractive cover, fine quality paper, your illustrations, and your full manuscript. There are few thrills that rival the one you feel when that first published copy of your book arrives in the mail and you hold in your hands---a part of yourself that you've perhaps labored over for months or years.
Your publisher then submits your book to Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble, and other retailers. They begin to coach you regarding how to publicize your book. Remember, people cannot buy your remarkable book unless they know about it. Depending on the package you choose, the publisher can also help promote your book through other avenues. However, whether it sells 10 copies or 10,000, there will be a brilliant, honest piece of you out there where anyone can pick it up and read. And if humans still populate the planet three hundred years from now, long after we've passed on, there will still be a record of your heart and your life where people can find it.
Bottom line, I want you to know that, no matter what people might say or not say about your writing, if you write honestly from your heart and soul, then you are a fine writer, and no one can ever take that away from you. I wish you the very best in your writing ventures and am available to assist you in any way possible.
God bless you,
There is definitely an ideal situation for using print-on-demand. If you’re short on time or don’t possess the know-how to do all those details involved in producing your own bona fide book, then you may want to consider Print-on-demand. If you don’t want thousands of books molding in your garage you may want to go POD. If you want ideas for things like book cover design that you can just pick and have implemented immediately then choose POD. If you want a higher profit per book than commercial publishers offer, then POD might be right for you. If you like the idea of having marketing methods available right now for the choosing and you’re willing to pay for them, then go POD. If you know there's a ready-made market of interested buyers you can tap for book sales, then go POD. If you want your book automatically listed on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other online retailers, go POD. If you want your book distributed by one or two of the larger book distributors, then go POD.