Have you decided to quit your job to concentrate on writing? If so, you may want to handle everything yourself. Alternatively, you might like to assemble a team to help you do the bits you can’t or don’t want to do, which will let you concentrate on the thing you love most. Here are my suggestions. You won’t need everyone, so take your pick.
One of the first things you should do is to register yourself as self-employed with the Inland Revenue. I would recommend using an accountant; the money spent is well worth the time and hassle it would take to do it yourself. He or she may advise you to form a limited company. Tax is payable twice a year if you are self-employed, or corporation tax is due once a year. Don’t forget to put 20% of your earnings or advances aside for tax. Accountants often find their clients through word of mouth, so ask your friends for recommendations. Some accountants specialise in this field – you’ll be able to find one on Google.
If your genre is very niche, like romance or sci-Fi, you may be better off self-publishing. If your book is fiction, and you want to publish traditionally, you will definitely need an agent. Why? First, publishers rarely accept manuscripts from anyone other than agents. Secondly, agents can negotiate a good deal for you as they have your interests at heart (they work on commission). Don’t forget that publishing is a business and that publishers have to make money.
Do your research when looking for an agent; find out what they like and how they work. You could find out which agents well-known authors whose work is similar to yours use, or use the writers and artists yearbook. Once you’ve decided, follow the submission guidelines on their website to the letter. It’s important to provide the best work you possibly can, not a draft on which you’d like tips how to improve. For this you will need an …
You may think that your work is pretty good, and it’s been proofread by a friend. This isn’t good enough. Typos, bad grammar and bad punctuation are very annoying, can put people off and ruin your credibility. You can find an editor on the Society of Editors and Proofreaders website.
You will need a professional graphic designer to design your book cover and text pages in Adobe InDesign. Make sure you use one who specialises in publishing; other graphic designers don’t know the market or publishing conventions. A professional-looking cover is essential and money well spent. After all who doesn’t judge a book by its cover?
Ask your designer to write a print specification for the printer. He or she will be able to find you a reputable book printer that can handle digital (which will be best for short runs) or litho printing, and will liaise with the printer throughout the production process. Your printer will be able to convert the PDFs of your finished book to an ebook.
If you think all the hard work has been done once your book has been published … think again! There is too much to cover in this blog, but I suggest you invest in book PR expert Chantal Cooke’s Authority Guide to Marketing Your Business Book. Your book may well not be a business book, but the helpful tips inside will help authors of all genres.
Good luck with your venture!