All we wanted to do was create a long list of the things that writers should consider before publishing a book, things they needed to know if they were going to self-publish or if they were courting a traditional or hybrid publisher. We firmly believe in transparency, not tricks or upselling or slight-of-hand or editing services from dubious sources. We figured that sharing knowledge about the book trade—both the bad and good—would spawn healthier collaboration between writers and the team of editors, designers and distributors who ultimately give a book life. There should be a feeling of trust and shared ownership when the printer’s ink finally dries on the pages.
We figured a list of dos and don’ts would be especially eye-opening for debut authors. We’ve learned a lot about this business and figured we would offer our collective mistakes and wisdom as a compass to guide aspiring authors through the tricky, sometimes treacherous seas of book publishing and decipher the industry’s mumbo-jumbo jargon. We often ask those considering self-publishing a book, “Really, are you sure you want to tackle this?”
If you do it right, publishing can be rewarding and maybe even fun. To avoid the dark side, you need to know yourself and your limitations and interests. Not everyone has the skill or temperament to fix a leaky sink. Sometimes it’s wisest to hire a plumber.
Our company has published hundreds of books since 2010 and has, through trial and error, by mistake and by luck, experienced the perils and rewards of publishing. We’ve helped scores of authors, some with traditional publishing contracts, some with hybrid deals and others who we assist with self-publishing. In fact, we embrace all three forms of book publishing. Each has its place in the world; each has its benefits, and each has pitfalls.
There is no right solution to publishing, but there are best solutions.
—Joe Coccaro and John Köehler