I’ve had a long love affair with book publishing. At this point I can’t quite put my finger on when it began, but growing up in a printer’s family probably didn’t hurt.
When I first moved back to New York City after my youthful travels, I started planning a series of cookbooks based on public domain works that I was going to sell through classified ads. Don’t ask me where I got this idea, but looking back, it’s probably better that I never got very far with it.
But eventually life and opportunities lined up with what my work made possible, and I published my first book in 1986. By that time it was more feasible to start publishing, since I was working for a book publisher, and had spent years in New York’s graphic design industry.
So, yes, I knew how to make a book, what goes into it, who you need to help.
I’ve told the story elsewhere about publishing that book and what came of it, so I’ll try not to repeat myself.
But one of the other results came a couple of years later when Jill and I started our own publishing company, based on our experience with that book.
Making the Leap from Author to Publisher
There’s an astonishingly huge difference between publishing your own book, and taking on other authors and trying to make a profitable business out of publishing their books.
As the indie publishing field matures, we’re starting to see more authors attempt this leap. Others are forming publishing cooperatives, and still others are acting on plans to create small presses.
These are all positive and expected evolutionary changes, as simple organisms develop into more complex ones, creating new opportunities for all concerned.
But even in the era of the 72-hour ebook (“Write it on Day 1! Prep it on Day 2! Publish it on Day 3!”) there’s a whole lot involved in making this transition from author to publisher.
So if you’re one of those authors who has caught the “publishing bug,” if you think you can take your success to the next level, here’s some guidance from someone who’s been up on the shore.
My Top 7 Tips for Going from Author to Publisher
- Get help—Although many authors do just fine as self-publishers by doing virtually everything themselves, it’s rarely a good idea to run a publishing company without help. What kind? Start with an author’s assistant or virtual assistant (VA). Pretty soon you will have many administrative chores that take up valuable time, and which could just as easily be done by your assistant. And you’ll be glad every time you launch a book that you’ve got help with the crushing weight of tasks that pile up around your launch. You can also have your assistant filter your email inbox, do basic research, and a myriad of other things that will help you in your publishing venture. Take this seriously.