Ernest Hemingway, the famous American writer, once said, "All you have to do is write one true sentence.” Only one sentence is enough to become a writer. However, is it really that simple? Is this the beginning of a long journey which will end up with a bestseller like Hemingway’s? As it turns out, the writing process is not as difficult as getting your work published. To be a successful writer, you should first reach your audience and convey the message of your words. However, it is impossible to do without first holding a copy of your work of art in hand.
Iglika Dionisieva shares her experience in publishing. She lives in the village of Chelopech and has six published books already. She has worked with various publishing houses in Bulgaria. Her books - four of poetry, one narrative, and one of fairy tales have given her a broader experience and the opportunity to compare publishing requirements, working processes, and approaches of the different publishing houses in Bulgaria.
Publishing is one of the last stages and challenges a writer faces. It takes a lot of time and effort, which usually makes the writer give up the idea of putting out anything at all. Thus, a lot of books never see the light of day.
However, there is a chance to publish a book in Bulgaria, despite all the difficulties, disappointments, and obstacles throughout the long way to the desired outcome.
Roughly speaking, there are two alternatives when it comes to publishing a book.
A “book” is a broad concept, so its publishing process differs according to the genre, as Dionisieva said. There are two ways the authors can do it. It is either on their own as a budding author or by signing a contract with a publishing house. Both ways bring you to the same result. However, while the former requires more time and effort to reach a publishing house, the latter ensures future collaboration with that particular publishing house.
An additional method of a successful book release is participation in a writing competition. There are such contests in Bulgaria, from which you can win a free book publication. Unfortunately, this is not so common and usually does not give you enough freedom. For instance, there may be a page limit.
I have written a book, what should I do now?
It depends on the requirements of the different publishing houses in Bulgaria. Most of the time, an author just sends their manuscript and waits for the approval of the publishing house. Other times, a definite number of pages or a resume is more than enough.
When sending parts of a book, a writer should pick their best pages. This way, the piece makes a greater impression and convinces the publishing house that it deserves to be released. When forwarding a resume, the author summarizes the whole book in a few pages.
According to Dionisieva, “Lexicon,” a publishing house for Bulgarian literature, and “Janet-45,” a publishing house for fiction, require the whole manuscript. While “Ciela,” a private publishing house mainly directed towards law, commercial, and business, asks for a couple of pages, and “Era,” a publishing house for translated literature, demands a synopsis of the book.
The manuscript is approved, what is next?
“The author starts working with an editor,” Dionisieva said. Once the publishing house accepts the manuscript, it prepares an offer and contacts the author. Then, a contract is signed and the author starts working with an editor, whose job is to turn rough ideas into a bestseller. It is important that there are no factual and stylistic mistakes. This process is long and requires a lot of compromises from both sides. The writer should be patient and listen to the editor’s advice in order to keep the process going.
Once the manuscript is edited, a designer shapes the format, style, and outlook of the book. There may be images accompanying the text. But even without them, a graphic designer is still needed. Their job is to choose the appropriate size of the pages, the text, and the book’s cover.
A reviewer also needs to write a review. Right before publishing, the book undergoes final editing in order to avoid any kind of mistakes.
Is the publishing process time-consuming?
“Good things take time,” said John Wooden, an American basketball player and coach. The whole publishing process usually takes anywhere from several months up to a year. It strongly depends on the number of pages, the editing process, the design, and the overall work.
What can go wrong during the pre-publishing process?
Firstly, there is always the risk that the publishing house disapproves of the manuscript. Then, the whole process is frozen even before it starts developing. Secondly, “the editor and the author may not reach a compromise,” Dionisieva said. There is always this chance that the author wants his book to be exactly as it is written, while the editor disagrees. Thirdly, the writer should pay for the release. If they do not do it on time, the publishing house may give up the project. Finally, the environment plays a significant role. “As we saw, COVID-19 messed our lives a lot and it is harder for writers to release their pieces,” Dionisieva said. Because of the pandemic, many editions were postponed or even canceled.
Is it expensive to publish a book?
“It depends on the genre, the content, the used paper, the number of copies,” Dionisieva said. If there are pictures, the price is higher. The format and the type of paper are also taken into consideration when calculating how much it will cost. There is also the possibility of a lower price when the author finds a sponsor or signs a contract with the publishing house.
Publishing a book is not an easy task but is a valuable one. It requires the time, effort, and attention of a number of people but the end result pays off. When an author is determined to publish a book, they should first be patient. However, even more important is that the writer is a reader as well.
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