My book publishing experience

Hello. I got my book published (self-published) last month, and wanted to share my experience with all those people who want to write and get published as authors. This is by no means a guide to writing a book. This is just my experience, which I want to share with you.

If you are a writer and want to get published, the first thing you need is lots of patience and hard work. In the absence of either of these two things will become impossible. I have been blogging and writing (online as well as in print media) for a couple of years, but I always wanted to write a book. My foray in to fiction writing was perhaps by chance. Anyhow for someone who is living the 9 to 5 (read 5 to 9) life writing a book becomes difficult, and for that I had to wake up early morning on weekends. So after I was done with the writing, began the onerous task of getting it published…..read on …After sharing the stories with a few friends, namely Hamid Gondal and Saima Ahsan I changed some of the stories a little bit. The second opinion was very important for me. And I believe it is a very important step, especially since it was my first time. After that came the next step, proofreading!!! One big lesson that I have learned is that no matter how many times you read the script, there will always be mistakes. Again Nasreen Ghori was kind enough to proofread the script, point out the mistakes and suggest changes. Finally I had to hire a professional for the work.The next step was choosing a book cover. Thanks to Bookay I was able to find a very talented young woman working from home, who designed the cover in a week’s time. The manuscript and book cover ready I started approaching publishers. The first bigwig publisher showed interest, a lot of emails were exchanged and I was asked to submit the whole manuscript after they liked few of my stories. Then came the torturous period of waiting for a reply. Four weeks later an email was received, saying the manuscript was good and they had finally sent it to the senior management for final decision. Two more weeks went by and finally I was told, “although the material is good, we are presently not interested in the genre!” Six weeks wasted, and not one to be cowed down, I approached another publisher. Only to be told that since they had suffered huge losses during the pandemic so they weren’t interested for now. The third publisher wasn’t interested either; his reason was that the laws do not support publishers. Now whatever that means, I am not sure. Each refusal made me stronger, and strengthened my resolve. So the important lesson is, DO NOT GIVE UP!By now almost 8 weeks had passed and I wanted the book to be published. So I started exploring self-publishing options. A few self-publishing houses were contacted and the best one was selected. Only one of them was very forthcoming and after three meetings I decided to hire their services. The other two, I would say I did not find very professional. The measure of one’s professionalism is measured by their response. Imagine a publishing house answering your email after one week! The attitude was, “brother I am doing you a huge favour!” The one big lesson I got from all this is “SOLDIER YOU’RE PRETTY MUCH ON YOUR OWN, STAND YOUR GUARD!”The publisher I decided to go with had quite a few models. There is this thing called Print on Demand (POD), then there’s a limited quantity model and then only e-copy etc etc. It is best to explore the available options first and then decide. The decision might be influenced if you are on a budget. The self-publishing house took my manuscript and sent it to their proofreader. Basically what they do is see the material if it is according to the local laws and does not contain anything anti-Pakistan or if it’s of a blasphemous nature. At least that is what I have been able to understand. The next step was choosing the paper, font, size etc. After that I made an advance payment to the publisher and signed of the contract. Please read the contract before signing! Although it contains clauses related to blasphemy etc, and payment, marketing, writer’s responsibility, royalties etc, still it is prudent to read it. After self-publishing the books are writer’s property, so he/she can sell or gift them. However, the publisher does display this on his website along with writer’s bio and other information and if you choose to sell through them, then they take their share for each sale that takes place through their website. Here I would like to say that publishing works on economy of numbers, if you print more it costs less and vice versa. My publisher took around Rs. 135,000 for 500 copies of the book, excluding cover design and proofreading. That took another 22 grand, almost. Each book cost me around Rs 235, for 144 pages in all. I also chose the e-book option so the publisher had it converted to Amazon format and uploaded it on my behalf. Finally the typesetting was done and I was told to do a proofreading of the whole manuscript, in pdf format. Please always read the manuscript very carefully. Even after hiring a professional I was able to find mistakes, (though very small but still a mistake is a mistake) in the published book. Actually in self-publishing the onus is on the writer. Finally came the day when the publisher called me and handed over the book to me. It was a great day and a great achievement for me. Now I am working on my next book and intend to learn from my mistakes. So to sum it up, here’s what I have experienced:• Publishers are not ready to invest in new writers.• Always proofread more than many times.• Please do not lose hope.• Patience and hard work pays.• Believe in yourself.• Don’t be shy to ask for help.• It’s not easy going; success doesn’t come easy.Best wishes!Hello. I got my book published (self-published) last month, and wanted to share my experience with all those people who want to write and get published as authors. This is by no means a guide to writing a book. This is just my experience, which I want to share with you.
If you are a writer and want to get published, the first thing you need is lots of patience and hard work. In the absence of either of these two things will become impossible. I have been blogging and writing (online as well as in print media) for a couple of years, but I always wanted to write a book. My foray in to fiction writing was perhaps by chance. Anyhow for someone who is living the 9 to 5 (read 5 to 9) life writing a book becomes difficult, and for that I had to wake up early morning on weekends. So after I was done with the writing, began the onerous task of getting it published…..read on …
After sharing the stories with a few friends, namely Hamid Gondal and Saima Ahsan I changed some of the stories a little bit. The second opinion was very important for me. And I believe it is a very important step, especially since it was my first time. After that came the next step, proofreading!!! One big lesson that I have learned is that no matter how many times you read the script, there will always be mistakes. Again Nasreen Ghori was kind enough to proofread the script, point out the mistakes and suggest changes. Finally I had to hire a professional for the work.
The next step was choosing a book cover. Thanks to Bookay I was able to find a very talented young woman working from home, who designed the cover in a week’s time. The manuscript and book cover ready I started approaching publishers. The first bigwig publisher showed interest, a lot of emails were exchanged and I was asked to submit the whole manuscript after they liked few of my stories. Then came the torturous period of waiting for a reply. Four weeks later an email was received, saying the manuscript was good and they had finally sent it to the senior management for final decision. Two more weeks went by and finally I was told, “although the material is good, we are presently not interested in the genre!” Six weeks wasted, and not one to be cowed down, I approached another publisher. Only to be told that since they had suffered huge losses during the pandemic so they weren’t interested for now. The third publisher wasn’t interested either; his reason was that the laws do not support publishers. Now whatever that means, I am not sure. Each refusal made me stronger, and strengthened my resolve. So the important lesson is, DO NOT GIVE UP!
By now almost 8 weeks had passed and I wanted the book to be published. So I started exploring self-publishing options. A few self-publishing houses were contacted and the best one was selected. Only one of them was very forthcoming and after three meetings I decided to hire their services. The other two, I would say I did not find very professional. The measure of one’s professionalism is measured by their response. Imagine a publishing house answering your email after one week! The attitude was, “brother I am doing you a huge favour!” The one big lesson I got from all this is “SOLDIER YOU’RE PRETTY MUCH ON YOUR OWN, STAND YOUR GUARD!”
The publisher I decided to go with had quite a few models. There is this thing called Print on Demand (POD), then there’s a limited quantity model and then only e-copy etc etc. It is best to explore the available options first and then decide. The decision might be influenced if you are on a budget. The self-publishing house took my manuscript and sent it to their proofreader. Basically what they do is see the material if it is according to the local laws and does not contain anything anti-Pakistan or if it’s of a blasphemous nature. At least that is what I have been able to understand.
The next step was choosing the paper, font, size etc. After that I made an advance payment to the publisher and signed of the contract. Please read the contract before signing! Although it contains clauses related to blasphemy etc, and payment, marketing, writer’s responsibility, royalties etc, still it is prudent to read it. After self-publishing the books are writer’s property, so he/she can sell or gift them. However, the publisher does display this on his website along with writer’s bio and other information and if you choose to sell through them, then they take their share for each sale that takes place through their website. Here I would like to say that publishing works on economy of numbers, if you print more it costs less and vice versa. My publisher took around Rs. 135,000 for 500 copies of the book, excluding cover design and proofreading. That took another 22 grand, almost. Each book cost me around Rs 235, for 144 pages in all. I also chose the e-book option so the publisher had it converted to Amazon format and uploaded it on my behalf. Finally the typesetting was done and I was told to do a proofreading of the whole manuscript, in pdf format. Please always read the manuscript very carefully. Even after hiring a professional I was able to find mistakes, (though very small but still a mistake is a mistake) in the published book. Actually in self-publishing the onus is on the writer.
Finally came the day when the publisher called me and handed over the book to me. It was a great day and a great achievement for me. Now I am working on my next book and intend to learn from my mistakes. So to sum it up, here’s what I have experienced:
• Publishers are not ready to invest in new writers.
• Always proofread more than many times.
• Please do not lose hope.
• Patience and hard work pays.
• Believe in yourself.
• Don’t be shy to ask for help.
• It’s not easy going; success doesn’t come easy.
Best wishes!

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nmafzal

40 plus….loner……foodie….day dreamer….bibliophile…..gun freak….peace loving….smitten by wanderlust….happy go lucky….tea junkie….coffee lover….once in a while movie goer….laid-back blogger with no interest in politics….Happy reading! :-)

2 thoughts on “My book publishing experience”

  1. Thanks for sharing your very honest experience. I am not a writer, but was wondering how the process of publishing works for a new writer. You had clarified it all incl the cost !. Thanks again & keep writing. MashaAllah you are a born writer. I am a witness, since last 30 years.

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