Last week we talked about what it takes to create a plot and write your story. This week I’d like to share what I’ve learned about the next big step on the way to being published. We are lucky with the newest technology making it possible for you to decide whether to pursue the traditional publishing route, or take control of your destiny and publish the book yourself. Both routes involve the spending of money, so for the sake of argument, we won’t discuss that part.

Traditional publishing involves query letters and the search for a literary agent who likes your book well enough to approach established publishing houses on your behalf. When that is accomplished, it would be a good idea to engage an experienced lawyer who will mediate your discussions with the publisher about your rights. These topics will most likely include everything from what they intend to name your book (it may change from the name you chose), how the cover and the book will be designed, whether you retain foreign publishing rights, film rights (that could happen!), and many other details for which you will want legal guidance.

On the other hand, there is the option to indie publish. It’s good to know the standards for, and the acceptance of, self-published books is steadily rising. Indie publishing got off to a shaky start in part because new ideas are hardly ever accepted in the beginning. A second problem happened because many new authors skipped the important editing portion of the process and posted first-draft level stories. Things are slowly changing, though, and indie publishing is gaining status in the world of books due to the better-written stories now being offered. So, if you do plan to publish your book yourself, make it the best possible version you can. And get professional help. It’s important!

If you like being in control, it might be a good idea to look into publishing the book yourself. There are people available on LinkedIn and online for every aspect of indie publishing, from branding your image to marketing before and after your book is launched. Even if you go with a traditional publisher, you will still be responsible for marketing your product. I, and others, have said before, “Writing is the easy part!”

Here is a brief run-down of the steps I have encountered on the way to becoming published: After your story is written, the real work begins when you present your book for professional editing. This step could happen several times as your story is refined with re-writes. When that stage is complete, Beta readers will offer their comments and suggestions. This will probably involve another round of re-writes. Everyone will have an opinion! By this time, you will probably have decided which route you want to travel as far as publishing. Either way, the journey is a long one. But if you enjoy the trip, it will be worth it.

Next week I’d like to share with you some interesting people and books that inspired me. I’d love to hear what inspires you!

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Magical adventure author Joan K. Lacy combines research and imagination to create the Alex Cort Adventures series, a series of metaphysical, fantasy adventure books, including A Shadow Away, All Under Heaven, and more forthcoming stories. You can also find her on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Goodreads, and Google+.

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