Many aspiring authors have tons of questions about the publishing process, and for good reason. As the print industry is sort of flailing thanks to the increasing digital publishing arena, there are concerns with trying to publish a conventional “handheld” book. As a writer or author, you’re going to have to make decision: self publish or seek representation.
Many authors are going this route today for two reasons: it’s generally cheaper and you get a greater cut of the profits from your books, or because your book was rejected by agents or publishers. Sometimes, people just don’t like the terms of their agent or the publisher, and decide to self publish so they can keep greater control over their content. That’s not to say that self publishing is simple. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. If you want to self publish, you have to search for different platforms like Kindle or ePub or elsewhere for you to upload your book to, but you also have to figure out how to format it with a cover image, copyright info, index, etc. This is not for the faint of heart when it comes to technology. There happen to be a number of e-book “brokers” who you can pay to format your book for e-publications, as well, but that can be expensive and have the same implications as having a publishing house own the rights to your materials.
This is, honestly, the most self flagellating and stressful option because you are the whim of others and their opinion of your work. However, if you had a tough skin and stand by what you’ve created, you can have a great situation after bearing a few rejections. If you get accepted by an agent, your agent will then push your book to publishing houses all over the place. Hopefully, your manuscript is good and the publishing house is willing to pay you an advance to cover the manuscript. Then, you get royalties when the book starts to sell, and hopefully it’s good enough to where it sells very well. The downside to this process is that editing tends to change the course of the story (for better, usually) and the overhead cost for publishing houses is insane, so you’re getting a very small cut of sales. As you get to be a well known author, you can renegotiate your terms and hopefully get a better cut with future books, but at first you’re making pennies on the dollar. That’s the cost of representation, but you get more exposure with representation.
As you can see, these options both have their pros and cons, and it can be difficult to choose either one. Whatever you want for your manuscript, whether it’s to have more control over it or to get more people to read it, you have to choose for you. The exciting part is that you’ve finished a book, and now it’s time to see where it goes! Good luck to you.