Thursday, January 19, 2012

Author Paul Byers on Getting from point A to point B

Getting from point A to point B
by author Paul Byers

On most DVDs nowadays there are “extra features” with deleted scenes and documentaries on how the movie was made. This article is the “extra features” section in the back of a book describing a little of what goes on behind the scenes. This will give you a quick glimpse into what it takes for a book to go from the “I’ve got a great story idea” stage to the “click here to purchase” button on the internet. So grab a bag of popcorn (yes, you can have extra butter) and that overpriced soda and have a seat.

For the sake of argument we’ll assume that you have written a book and that it has gone through all the proper writing steps (another article by itself) and that it is done. You've written the great American novel. You’ve edited it, polished it, tweaked it, rewritten it and now it's ready to go. Now What? What’s the next step?

You now come to a fork in the road. Do you turn left or right? Submit it to a publisher or publish it yourself? I have traveled down both roads and will give you a quick snap shot look at what each thoroughfare looks like.

Turning right, you decide to have it published by a traditional publishing house. You go online, look up the submission guidelines then send your baby out into the world. At this point there is not much else you can do but wait for an acceptance or rejection letter.

The momentous day finally arrives with the news, they want your book! YAHOOOOOOOOO! After being accepted, the creative aspect of writing takes a backseat as the business side climbs into the driver’s seat. The publisher sends you a contract and after it’s signed, you go to work. Your editor will go over your work and send you suggestion/corrections for you to make. Unless it is something extremely important, the author has the final say and can reject the editor’s advice. This exchange will happen two or three times, depending.

If you have cover art you submit it, if not, most publishers have either in-house illustrators or know people who can design your cover for you. Once everything is agreed upon by both parties, the book goes to press. BAM! You are now a published author. Congratulation!

INTERMISSION: This section of your bonus features is now over. Before you press PLAY > for the second part, go to the bathroom, refill your pop and buy some Mike and Ikes.


The second road a book can travel down is self-publishing. In this day and age, it is a very viable option for anyone looking to get their work out there, especially with the explosion of the e-book market. If the publishing house road is a drag strip, straight and smooth, then the self-publishing road is the Baja 1000, full of twist and turns and huge potholes.

First, you have to decide if the book is going to be available in print, e-version or both. If e-version only, then things are a little bit easier with no ISBN needed (for some publishers). For print you need to buy an ISBN number which is the UPC symbol and how sales are tracked for books. There are a variety of companies that sell these and prices range from free to well over $100. You must also find a company who will print your book, looking not only for the best price but one that has the best distribution network. $$

Now, you look at the cover. You must either do the cover yourself if you have the talent or find an artist who is good enough and who you can afford. $$$

Now that you have taken care of the outside, you have to look on the inside. Designing the interior of your book is not done by some lady holding a small dog under her arm like a football using the words “marvelous darling” or “that was so last week.” The interior design is just what it says; the way the book is laid out from the title page to the dedication page to the chapter lay out. But more importantly, the formatting of the book.

Formatting? Yup, the book has to be converted from WORD or whatever writing program you are using to what the publisher is using. You need a format for a print copy and a separate one for e-versions. If you are tech savvy, you can do a lot of this yourself, if not, again, you have to find someone who can do it for you and at a price you can afford. $$$$

Once you have your ISBN, decided on the print publisher, got your cover, laid out the interior, gotten the right formats, you are finally ready to publish. But where? How? Who? You’ve driven your book down the publishing highway but now you have to decide where to park it. You have to find the right media garage to park your book in. You have to seek out all the electronic readers, (remember, people read books on their phones now) as well as those who sell the printed word. Piece of cake. Once all your ducks are lined up, you are ready to go!

So there you have it, a sneak peek at what a writer goes through to get their book published. Looking in the rearview mirror, we’ve seen the road to publishing a book can travel down two paths. If you go through a publisher, there is little cost involved to you and they do all the work. While they do all the work, they are also the ones taking all the risk if your book doesn’t sell and so they are the ones who get the biggest piece of the pie.

For the self-publish highway, you are responsible for all the work, all the money, all the risk so you get the entire pie. There are pros and cons to each path but both lead to the published town known as the Emerald City where we all hope that our books will be driving down the Yellow Brick road someday.

Thanks for stopping by and I hope this article gave you some insight as to the steps it takes to publish a book. Writing the book is the easy part, getting it from Point A to point B is the real journey.

You can check out Paul’s books on his website at

About the author:

Paul Byers grew up in Oregon on the shores of the mighty and mysterious Columbia River, and spent endless hours daydreaming on the beach in front of his house, making up stories about the ships from exotic ports all over the world that steamed up the river – what secret cargo might they be carrying; did they harbor spies who were on dark and exciting missions?

Later in adult life, he moved to another mysterious and provocative city – Las Vegas, just outside the famous Nellis Air Force base. After work he would sit on his porch and watch the fighters take off and land, igniting his imagination with visions of secret missions and rich speculation about what could possibly be hidden at Area 51.

After moving back to his native Pacific Northwest, Paul worked for the Navy and took every opportunity he could to speak with veterans from WWII to the Gulf War, listening to them swap stories and relate the experiences of a lifetime.

So it is this combination of a passionate love of history, a vivid “what if” imagination, and a philosophy of life that boils down to the belief that – there are few things in life that a bigger hammer won’t fix – that led Paul to become a writer of exciting, fact-based action-thrillers. His greatest joy is leaving his readers wondering where the facts end and the fiction begins.

Paul is the author of three books: Arctic Fire, Catalyst - A World War II Thriller, & Act of God.

Note: All opinions provided on this blog are my own. If a product was given to me for review, the source of that product is noted in the post. Bookstore links are generally affiliate links and I do earn a small amount for each purchase. Other affiliate links will be noted in the post.


  1. Visiting back from Stumble Tuesday! :) Very interesting article! I'm thinking about writing a book so this will be good to look back on!

    1. I'm so glad this article was interesting and useful to you :-)

      Good luck with the book!

  2. What an interesting article! Thanks for sharing it. I'm no where near ready to commit to a book but it is on my bucket list.

    I've stumbled this post from STT

    1. I think writing books is on a lot of people's "someday" list. I think it takes a lot of time and commitment to really do well.

  3. Great article on writing books!

    I stumbled your post from Stumble Tuesday. Here is my post on How to get the Best Avon Price!


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