Your manuscript is nearly complete. Close friends have been allowed to read it and given rave reviews. What do you do next?
The traditional option is to begin sending the manuscript to one publisher after another, keeping a file of rejection letters. In recent years, an alternative has arisen. That is to publish your book yourself. The advantages are many: your book will be in print much sooner than through a publishing house; you have complete control over the process; you make much more money per book sold than the small percentage publishers pay in royalties. The downside is that you have to come up with the upfront costs, and you have to promote the book. Another hitch is that you may not know much about book publishing.
But, there is help out there, and Toronto has recently acquired a powerful tool to help the self-publisher get started. AgoraPugblishing.com has sponsored a Meetup chapter here in Canada’s largest city aimed squarely at aspiring authors who have a manuscript nearing completion, and wondering what to do next. By getting together with other authors - by Skype video chat or in person at a café, bistro or library - you will give each other mutual support while picking each other’s brains for information about all aspects of the self-publishing process. As the fledgling group grows, there will be experts on website design, marketing, layout and design, illustrations and editing, all willing to share their knowledge.
Even with a very small group, Toronto writers have the advantage that they can review each other’s manuscripts and offer unbiased opinions and suggestions. All for free. To join the Toronto self-publishers’ Meetup group, go to http://www.agorapublishing.com. Get to know your fellow writers and develop mutual support group.
Should the group not provide all the information that you need, AgoraPublishing.com, a not-for-profit publisher of books about human rights and social justice, among others, is there to help walk you through the process. They will help you with orientation and pre-marketing, including ISBN registration, manuscript review and editing, production (typesetting and layout) and marketing through publicist services, book distribution negotiations and media negotiations. AgoraPublishing.com will finally help you with developing an ecommerce website through which to sell your book, along with many tips for managing orders and sales.
One way or another, AgoraPublishing.com and its Meetup group will get your book in print and in front of the public before you can say “12 point font”.