Deciding which publishing path to take is a key step for authors. Should you self publish, should you approach a major publishing house, or should you go with a mid-sized publisher?

Author Now is an imprint of Ark House Press, a leading Christian publishing house. However, at the same time, Author Now supports authors on an independent basis. You are free to submit your manuscript to Ark House, or simply use our services at Author Now to help you with your self publishing needs.

In any case, the information below is to help you understand the publishing landscape a little more so you can determine the best fit for your book.

Large publishing houses

The biggest advantage of submitting your manuscript to the larger publishing houses is that they have a higher level of support with both store sales representatives and high-level publicists. Some publishers also pay an advance.

That all sounds great, however you will more than likely need a literary agent before you approach them. The agent will want to know if your book is good, and after this, they will want to know how big your following is. Specifically, do you have 10,000 to 100,000 Facebook followers that you can immediately promote your book to, a big following on LinkedIn or Instagram? Do you speak at conferences or churches and thus have the ability to sell a lot of books at these venues?

You will want to have an author website in place so your profile, potential blogs and any news clips are in one place. A website with your name as the domain name also improves your SEO, meaning agents and publishers will be able to find more about you when they Google you.

Generally speaking, large publishers are not prepared to carry the production costs for your book – unless they are very certain they are going to get a return. In addition, if you’re not one of the top books in the publisher’s catalog, you’re still unlikely to get much marketing support or sales, so you will need to budget in the cost of a publicist.

Finally, large publishing houses take a long time to both assess a new manuscript, and then a long time to release a book, so if you’ve completed your book and you’re keen to get moving, you will need a lot of patience.

Mid-sized publishers

This is where companies like Ark House sit. The mid-sized publishers generally have a solid name in the industry, a good, professional staff, and a strong backlist of titles. They are easier to liaise with when it comes to submitting a manuscript, and many do not require you to work through a literary agent.

Your may also find a mid-sized publisher to be a little friendlier to liaise with up front than with the large publishing houses. These publishers also have a faster turnaround time than larger houses and good global distribution.

If you’re a new author, the downside can be that retail store representation will be a challenge and Amazon will likely be your main place for product sales, even though you will be on a vast array of sites, including Book Depository and Barnes & Noble.

Finally, they are likely to have some publicity, but you will still need to count on helping to cover the cost of a publicist (whether it is one of the publisher’s publicists or a freelancer) for the lion’s share of publicity.

Hybrid/vanity publishers

For authors who want to self publish, but use the services of a company to do so, you may consider a vanity publisher. Most will manage the process for you, but you will pay. Generally speaking, they are not known for producing the sorts of cover designs and layouts of the large and mid-sized publishers, but they will at least guide you though the process.

The major downside for you as an author is that, while your book will be produced for you without you having to carry the load, the brand they print on your book is not one that will carry any credibility in the industry, and as such does not help you likewise garner credibility if you’re serious in building a reputation as an author.

Self-publishing

You can manage the entire process yourself, hiring professionals along the way. Author Now is set up to help support authors choosing the self publishing process by providing professional services that they can pick and choose from. We can just do a cover design, or an edit, or an e-book typeset. We are here to help authors in whatever it is thy need to see their book come to completion.