“If you write without getting published, then there is no use in
writing at all.” Those are words of wisdom from someone who
wants you to seriously consider publishing your book.
But before you really do so, you will do well to consider these
1.Have I actually written a best – seller?
2. Do I believe that people will read my book?
3. Is my theme such a timely one that the public should know?
4. Am I expecting responses from my readers?
5. Will I benefit in one way or the other from the publication
of this book?
6. Will I be contented even if I don’t make money?
If you answer in the affirmative to one or more of the above
questions, then do not hesitate to listen to the above advice to
It will, therefore, be nice for you to know different publishing
channels available, so as to enable you make an informed
Also called commercial publishers, these are the big fish in the
publishing industry. They include Longman, Macmillan, Heinemann,
Random House, Houghton Mifflin, Doubleday Books, Little Brown
and Co., and Brace Jovanovich, among others. They publish
without asking for payment from authors.
My advice to you is that if you are pre – published, if you are
a new writer, do not waste your time submitting your books to
these elephants. Because they will not publish you!
Yes, they have published a few unknowns like Eric Segal (LOVE
STORY) and Kathleen Winsor (FOREVER AMBER) But what about the
countless others who got the polite rejection slip: “We are
sorry your book does not meet our present needs. Good luck”.
I am among that number. I got a rejection slip from one of them,
one year after submission! Can you imagine that? Twelve calendar
months! And in the end, you would have to pray to the god of
good luck, to get a publisher. And after another one year,
another rejection slip. Another prayer. So you would have to
spend a lifetime looking for a publisher, after months or years
of hard work, writing your book.
The point is that they don’t have the time to read your book. Or
they can’t recognize a good book if they see one. Or, they can’t
afford to risk their money publishing a new comer like you,
without hope of getting huge profits. Or, all of the above.
But consider: If you were a great writer, perhaps a Nobel
Laureate who had written a magnum opus. Or, if you were some
celebrated politician with a memoir about your dalliance with
some red – lipped prostitutes.
Or, if as a scientist, you had written a book about how time
travels backwards, titled THE THEORY OF BACKWARD MOVEMENT. And
you even promise to take your readers in a space ship to witness
some epochal events –- pick your choice -– the fall of Carthage,
(history), the splitting of the continents (geography), Noah’s
flood (religion), and the real thing — the Big Bang (Science).
Do you know how the publishers would react?
All of them, the above ones I have mentioned, and others not
named, would rush to dangle certified Bank checks with ten digit
figures before your smiling face! But try sending your
unsolicited manuscript, you unknown writer; and be damned! Let’s
illustrate this point further. Do you know Jerzy Kosinski’s THE
THIRTY – NINE STEPS? Yes, one writer had that best – seller
typed, and submitted, as a manuscript by a new writer, and
waited for an answer. And what reply did he get? All the trade
publishers rejected it. All the agents told him, “no way’”. And
to worst the experiment, Random House which originally published
the book, threw it out as an insignificant book. Yet, this was a
National Book Award Winner.
Even, some other best- sellers were “randomly” rejected. Like
THE JUNGLE by Upton Sinclair. Like Thomas Paine’s COMMON SENSE.
Like MAGNIFICENT OBSESSION by Lloyd C. Douglas. Do you now
understand what I mean when I say you should not go to them? But
you have another chance. Subsidy Publishers
Also known as private or commission publishers, subsidy
publishers are a better choice; if you can pay to get your book
published. And they pay higher commission or royalties, than the
trade publishers. They include Vantage Press, Minerva Press and
Now, paying for book publication has a long history. Many great
writers started that way. Edward Fitzgerald financed the
publication of his monumental work, THE RUBAIYAT OF OMAR
KHAYYAM. Thomas Gray paid to publish his classic, ELEGY. And
what about Edgar Allan Poe? He sponsored the printing of the
book of all times, TAMERLANE AND OTHER POEMS. And Leo Tolstoy
doled out money to pay for the publication of the best novel on
earth, WAR AND PEACE. The list has not ended. What about Thomas
Hardy, Alexander Pope, T.S.Eliot, Alfred Lord Tennyson and many
others? They did likewise. Why not submit your book to one of
these subsidy publishers now?
But suppose they don’t appeal to you. You have another choice.
Yes, you may decide to do it yourself. Print and publish your
work. Go round, promote and distribute your book. Become your
own manager, accountant and clerk. And more! Then ask yourself:
How far can I go? Do I have the time? Do I have the experience?
Can I bear the health and physical risks?
Well, it is up to you to decide. And remember what Hippocrates
said: “Ars Longa: Vita brevis -– Arts is long, but life is
If none of the above appeals to you, you are not to tuck away
your precious manuscript in the attic. And go bungee jumping!
Life after all, “is not a roller coaster” someone says. So, why
not try the exciting world of Internet Publishing.
Internet Publishing Did I say exciting? Yes, of course. The
world had been dragging until some whiz kids got their magic
boxes together and said: “Let the computers be connected!” And
there came the Internet. And the dot com bomb. So, at the touch
of the button, you have the world at your feet. Isn’t that
exciting? You, the writer has so much to gain from the Internet.
You can do your research there, read all kinds of books, and do
the ultimate –- publish on the Internet.
I am not going to do a dissertation here because I do not know
so much about the subject (pardon my ignorance.) I even
understand that there is going to be a “new” kind of Internet,
soon (pity me.) The first thing I will tell you though, is that
dragons live there. The second is that many dot com companies
are closing shop. And the third is that there is no hidden
secret to success in the net than hard work, as in real life.
(Is Internet not real?) The fourth is that the Internet is your
shortcut to success. Do you want to find out? Why not visit the
experts as you read on. Two publishing opportunities are open to
you on the Internet. What are they? you may ask. E- BOOK
Just as you have the traditional publishers, so you have the
electronic or e- book publishers. But be careful! Many of them
out there don’t know what they are doing. And remember, you are
going to do business with someone you don’t see. So you will
have to ascertain the credibility of your publisher.
These are the categories of E- book publishers I have observed
from my own personal experience. Which is your preference?
1. Targeted Publishers
These ones publish selected books targeted for special audience.
They publish How-To’s, books on Business planning, web site,
search engines, Net Etiquette, humor and others. If your book is
on these subject matters you are free to submit. 2. Submit,
ready to sell.
These publishers would want you to submit your formatted E- book
ready to sell. But the manuscript would previously have been
submitted for approval. And you would not be asked to make any
financial commitment in this case. If this appeals to you,
submit. 3. General Publishers
Submit your finished manuscript of any genre to these E- book
publishers. Pay for the publication and go to bed. They will
handle everything from formatting to publishing and promotion.
Your book will even be available as an E- book or Rocket E –
book, paperback book and audio book and in several, other forms
(as you may desire.) Interested? Then submit!
Your book can now be published in paper back or hard cover and
be made available to be ordered online anywhere. This technology
is known as print-on-demand (POD). The copies are as good as the
ones from the traditional printing houses. And there are no
For a list of publishers, simply search the following on the Web:
A word of caution as you begin your search. There are ugly
things about the site that the publisher will not tell you. Some
of them are fraudulent, with “killing” contracts crafted in
legalese. I keep an updated list of all the book publishers. So
feel free to ask me about the reliability of the one you intend
to mail your manuscript. And I will tell you all you need to
know. If you however want me to help you with your submission to
a performinfg publisher, let me know.
But if these do not appeal to you, and you have the training and
computer experience, you may play Stephen King—publish yourself!
ARTHUR ZULU is an editor, book reviewer, playwright, and
published author. He also writes short stories, scripts, essays,
and poems, and ghost writes for others. For his works,
professional services, and FREE helps for writers, goto:
[email protected] Web search: Arthur Zulu