Anna Fernández Plazas
Anna Fernández Plazas

How to Publish a Book: Your Guide from Manuscript to Print

  • by Anna Fernández Plazas @anna_fernandez

Learn the steps to publish your book, from manuscript to print. Explore options like self-publishing and traditional publishing to find the best path for your work.

© Domestika
© Domestika

Publishing a book might seem like a daunting task, but with the right steps, you can turn your manuscript into a published work. Whether you choose to self-publish or go the traditional route, understanding the process will make your journey smoother. Let’s dive into the steps and options available for bringing your book to life.

Step 1: Finish and Polish Your Manuscript

Before you can publish, you need a manuscript that’s as polished as possible. This means revising and editing until your book is in its best possible form. For fiction, this generally means completing the entire manuscript. For non-fiction, you might only need a detailed book proposal and a few sample chapters.

© Domestika
© Domestika

Step 2: Choose Your Publishing Path

Traditional Publishing

1. Query Literary Agents: To get your book published traditionally, you'll usually need a literary agent. Research agents who represent your genre and send them a query letter. If an agent is interested, they’ll request your full manuscript.

2. Agent Pitches to Publishers: Once you secure an agent, they will pitch your book to publishing houses. If a publisher likes your book, they’ll offer you a book deal.

3. Sign a Book Deal: Your agent will negotiate the terms of your contract, including the advance (the money you’re paid upfront) and royalties (the percentage you earn on book sales).

4. Editing and Pre-publication: Work with your publisher's editor to make any necessary revisions. The publisher will handle cover design, marketing, and distribution.

5. Book Launch: After all the pre-publication work, your book will finally hit the shelves! You’ll likely do some promotional work, such as book signings and interviews.


1. Prepare Your Manuscript: Make sure your manuscript is well-edited. Consider hiring a professional editor to help.

2. Design Your Book: You’ll need a cover design and formatted interior. There are many freelance designers available for hire, or you can use self-publishing platforms that offer these services.

3. Choose a Self-Publishing Platform: Popular platforms include Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP), IngramSpark, and Smashwords. Each has its own set of tools and distribution channels.

4. Publish and Distribute: Upload your book to your chosen platform, set your price, and choose your distribution channels. Your book will be available as an e-book, and you can also opt for print-on-demand services to produce physical copies.

5. Market Your Book: Promote your book through social media, email newsletters, and author websites. Engage with your readers and seek reviews to build your book’s reputation.

© Domestika
© Domestika

Self-Publishing vs. Traditional Publishing


- Pros: Full creative control, higher royalty rates, quicker publication process.
- Cons: Upfront costs for editing, cover design, and marketing, limited distribution channels, all marketing efforts fall on the author.

Traditional Publishing

- Pros: Professional editing and design, wider distribution, advance payment.
- Cons: Lengthy process, less creative control, lower royalty rates.


Publishing a book is an exciting journey that involves careful planning and decision-making. Whether you choose self-publishing or traditional publishing, the key is to understand the steps involved and to be prepared for the hard work ahead. Embrace the process, stay motivated, and soon enough, you'll see your book in the hands of eager readers.

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