A complete and practical guide for beginners

Surely on more than one occasion you have wondered how to publish a book, what the process is.

Do you want your work to see the light of day? For any aspiring writer it is essential to know the procedure and steps for publication.

In this manual on how to publish a book in Spain without perishing in the attempt, I will try to give you some guidance so that you can make your dream come true, trying not to fall into the mistakes that beginners often succumb to.

I have been the first to make those beginner’s mistakes, so I hope that my experience in this publishing world can help you to avoid making the same mistakes as I did. 😎

The vast majority of people trying to make a name for themselves in the literary world go through this common scenario: they have an idea but don’t know how to take it from the computer screen to a final printed or digital version. 😛 book printing

The publishing sector is complex, and there are no courses that clearly show you the path to follow.

There are, however, a number of key procedures that should not be overlooked.

Publishing a book: steps to follow. A guide based on my own experience.
There are now many more platforms, websites and opportunities to write, share and publish a story than there were ten years ago, and the possibilities continue to increase all the time.

Because of this, the ability to interact with the public through various media and exchange opinions has played an important role in this new literary era.

This has its advantages, obviously, because there are many options to publish your work, but it also becomes a chaotic jungle. 😛

So there is no single path or rules to follow to achieve this, simply because every writer, every book and every career is different.

However, every new writer asks for the secret, apparently very well kept, to achieve the materialisation of his or her story: how to publish a book?

The answer, the first step, is clear: plan well and do your research.

The Internet may overwhelm you, but it is a necessary evil.
I would love to finish writing a book and forget about it. Let someone else do the work for me in terms of finding a publisher and all the marketing and publicity.

But I’m just a mediocre writer and I have to work at it. I don’t have an assistant at my service yet (and I don’t think I ever will). Maybe one day I will publish in a super publishing house (less wolves, little red riding hood) and they will take care of everything related to the promotion of the work, but I’m afraid that right now the reality of the sector is different… 😎

Unfortunately, reality is that hard and the work of a new writer has only just begun once your manuscript is finished. In the journey of how to publish a book you will also have to take care of making it known.

Plan a marketing strategy
Even if you haven’t written your novel with the idea that it will be a bestseller, you need to plan a marketing strategy to get yourself and your work out there before it is published.

Many writers don’t like this, I’m the first, I wish one only had to worry about writing, but unfortunately in the age we live in, full of books and authors, there is no choice but to learn some marketing to try to get noticed 😉 😉 .

And this basically leads us to the Internet and digital media as tools and platforms to showcase ourselves.

It is vital that you have a blog to make yourself known as a writer to your audience.

Having a personal brand and a blog is very important; long gone is the traditional CV: you can be sure that one of the first things a publisher will do when they receive your manuscript will be to look online to see if you have a blog and how you interact on your social networks.

You can start using your blog and social media profiles to share little previews of what you are writing with your followers. Generate buzz. 😀

How to publish a book: the importance of the title
Some writers don’t give the title the importance it deserves.

The title not only has to be striking and original, summarising the content of the book well, but also having a good title will help us to find your work more easily on the Internet.

To do this you have to be original, avoiding using a title that other works already have.

In this world full of volumes, being original and unique is what will make you stand out.

Thinking of a good title is basic in the way of how to publish a book. 😈

Speaking of book titles, I advise you to visit this article in La información about very curious book titles in Spanish. Some of them are:

  • La princesa durmiente va a la escuela, author: Gonzalo Torrente Ballester.
  • Cómo cagar en el monte (How to shit in the bush), by Kathleen Meyer

-Why do men have nipples? Authors: Mark Leyner and Billy Goldberg

-Practical handbook for the lazy student, by Julio Pesquera.

  • Amigurumis: 20 robots to crochet, by Nelly Pailloux
  • How to keep a house like a pig: The Perfect Bachelor’s Guide to Housekeeping, by P. J. O’Rourke
  • Three Men in a Boat, Not to Mention the Dog, by Jerome K. Jerome (I have read this short novel and liked it very much).
  • The Loneliness of Prime Numbers, by Paolo Giordano

Beware of the unscrupulous.
With your work finished, I’m sure you’ll be eager to see it published as soon as possible and get it out to the public.

It’s burning in your hands, I know, but impatience is the worst mistake you can make.

You have to be aware that if you want to publish your book in a traditional publishing house it will take time. At least a year.

But you will suffer many temptations. No matter how hard you look on the Internet, you will find many people and publishers who promise to publish the fruit of your work quickly.

Beware of scammers, it’s full of them.

If you find a publisher who is interested in your work, look for references first and foremost. You can do this in many ways: in forums, by contacting authors who have published with them, and so on. Every precaution is too little.

A good literary agent or publisher will never make you pay to publish your book (unless it is self-published). Don’t let them take you for a ride. If they ask you for money, run away fast 🙂 🙂

To learn more about this process of how to publish a book in Spain without being cheated, I advise you to read this good article by Ana Katzen to avoid falling into the hands of scam publishers.

First of all, register your literary work.
The first thing you need to do once you have finished and revised your manuscript is to register it with a copyright office.

This is a fundamental procedure to prevent your manuscript from being plagiarised and to get as much protection as possible.

You will surely have heard on more than one occasion of disputes over the authorship of a book. As I said before, there are serious publishers, but there are also some that have this mania for appropriating someone else’s work. 😆

To prevent this from happening, to cover your back, the best thing to do is to register it.

It’s a simple procedure. Basically you have to fill in a form and send it together with a copy of your manuscript to one of the copyright registration offices.

Here they will save your manuscript and put a date on it. This way, if you ever have a plagiarism problem, it will serve as proof in your favour. One more step before you focus on how to publish a book with a publisher. 😛

Don’t risk sending your manuscript out there before you have completed this procedure. It doesn’t cost much and you’ll save yourself a lot of trouble.

In this interesting article by Rómulo Parra you can take a look at the most famous literary plagiarisms.

Here you have all the information to contact the intellectual property registry. 😎

What would a bookshelf be without books?

How to publish a book with a publisher
I am looking for a publisher to publish my book. Which publisher can I send my book to? These are the classic questions an author often asks himself.

Traditional publishing is when a publisher offers the author a contract and takes care of printing, publishing, promoting and selling the book through bookshops or from the company’s website. 😮

The publisher buys the publishing rights to the manuscript and the writer receives a financial benefit from the sales through royalties, or copyright payments.

One of the advantages of publishing with a publisher is that they, if they want to and if they have money available, can take care of the publicity and promotion of the book, an aspect that costs a lot of writers a lot.

Once you have registered your work and therefore enjoy legal protection against plagiarism, you have several ways to reach a publisher:

The “octopus” procedure.
This consists of sending a letter and the manuscript of your work to publishers you think might be interested.

There are even people who are sometimes fond of this and send it left, right and centre.

But I’m sorry to say that this approach has a very low success rate. Publishers receive thousands of manuscripts, and it is very difficult for them to read them all.

It is much better to send them a letter of introduction and a synopsis of your work, which can often be done through digital channels. Then, if they are interested, they will ask you to send them the manuscript. 😥

The plug: another procedure in this path of how to publish a book.
That is, if you have a friend of a friend who is friends with a publisher.

Sometimes it works, but if you are a solitary being and have few contacts you have a bit of a hard time.

How to publish a book through a literary agent.
Nowadays, few publishers accept writers without agents to represent them.

A good agent can give your project a better chance of success as they have more knowledge of the literary business and the publishing world.

Literary agents are responsible for negotiating the contract in exchange for a commission (usually between 5 and 7%). They do not usually accept payment if you buy them a beer. 👿

Having a good literary agent paves the way for you and can make those steps to publishing a book easier, but the problem you are likely to encounter is the following: many literary agents only accept writers who have already published something.

This leads to the paradox of the fish that bites its own tail: you are a newbie, so you are looking for a literary agent, and that literary agent only represents experienced writers…

But don’t worry, there are some who might at least be interested in reading your work. Don’t lose hope.

The table, the writer’s utensils

The second problem you will encounter is knowing how to distinguish the professional from the pirate.

Yes, just like in publishing, there are plenty of undesirables who want to take advantage of your ingenuity.

I recommend you look for a community of writers, interact with them and ask them for advice on literary agents. If the writer inspires confidence in you, ask them for their literary agent. 😮

There is a very good and serious website where you can see a list of literary agents you might be interested in.

Remember that a good literary agent will never charge you in advance, they will only charge you a percentage of the contract they get you with the publishing house. 😐

Both to check the contract you can sign with the agent and with the publisher, I recommend that you not only read the small print, but also try to get a lawyer who specialises in contracts to take a look at it (maybe you can get someone to do this for a few beers).

Your literary agent will send the manuscript to several trusted publishers, who will read and assess the project. If they approve it, then they will make an offer to your agent.

I leave you with this article by Alberto Piernas about great writers who were rejected by publishers over and over again…

Requirements for publishing a book on the Internet
Many writers, especially new writers, start publishing independently, and the best way to do it is on the Internet.

How to publish books on the Internet?
The Internet is a good option for anyone who does not have the patience to wait for responses from traditional publishers or because they prefer a faster way of publishing. 😳

How to publish a book on the Internet is not complicated, just write the draft in Word, convert it to PDF or any of the many formats that exist today to layout a book, find a good website to publish it and that’s it.

In fact, it can even be free to publish on the Internet, given the formats and platforms that exist, as I mentioned on another occasion.

As you will see, there are several digital platforms and options for publishing a book on the Internet, although without a doubt the best known of them all is Amazon. To learn more about how to publish a book in Spanish on this digital platform, I refer you to this other article.

But not everything is so simple, there are several steps that must be completed for this:

How much does it cost to publish a book? You will have to invest some money.
You have to be aware that most of the work falls on the writer and he/she will have to invest some money.

On the other hand, the advantages of publishing books on the Internet are having full control of your work, keeping the publishing rights and receiving most of the financial benefits.

Quite a lot of competition.
One difficulty you will encounter is that, due to the ease of publishing on the Internet, there are a lot of authors, so you will have to design some kind of strategy like the one we talked about above to try to get your head in front of so many books. 😆

Many electronic formats.
Choosing an e-book opens up several possibilities: there are multiple electronic devices, instant downloading, translation into different languages…

Take care of the details. Get it right.
If you are looking for how to publish a book on the Internet, you have to take into account that you can’t just do it any old way: your work must be correctly edited and laid out in the specific format requested by the chosen platform.

This may entail some costs, as well as hiring a professional to design your cover.

The cover is fundamental.
Remember that having a good cover is very important in this adventure of how to publish a book.

Don’t skimp on it, as it’s the first thing that strikes the reader’s eye.

You can find very good designers on the Internet. I personally like the work of Sol Taylor, whose site I invite you to visit.

I also thought it would be interesting to share with you this interview with the following designer who talks about his work:

Clean your work of mistakes.
Find a good spell and style checker.

Don’t be embarrassed about it, as all great writers use this type of service. There will always be things you miss and a good professional will know how to polish your draft.

In this association of proofreaders you are sure to find one that fits your needs. 😯

Different possible forms of digital publication
There are several ways of publication to take into account, the main ones are:

Print on demand.
This consists of uploading your book to a platform, and every time a person decides to buy it, it is printed on paper and sent to the specified address.

There are some sites where this process varies slightly, and it is the author who requests the number of copies to be printed by making a legal deposit, the requested copies are then in the catalogue and it is shown on the page how many are available.

In both cases the profits from sales are shared between the author and the website. 🙁

Digital publishing.
Digital printing is the most popular, and there are more and more sites offering their services to publish books on the Internet for a low cost and with a large audience of buyers.

There are sites that also take care of marketing and promoting your literary work through their social networks.

As for the profits, these are also divided, although in this case the author receives a higher percentage than in on-demand publishing.

If you are going to self-publish a book on paper, don’t forget to get the ISBN. It is like the identity card of your work, a number that allows you to identify it, which is necessary for its marketing and distribution. Without the ISBN your book cannot go on sale. 😎
Basically, these are the basic steps to keep in mind about how to publish a book.

Remember that it is a long-distance race, and you will have to arm yourself with patience and know how to resist the refusals of many publishers, but with perseverance I wish with all my heart that you get to publish that story you long for so much. 💡

I hope this article can help you, do not hesitate to contact me if you think I can help you in any way.

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