What is a publisher?

What is a publisher?

Congratulations! You are thinking about starting your book. That is a good thing, and I am sure you will always look back on this day and be proud. Now you’re thinking about a publisher, as well you should. One thing you need to realize right now, is what exactly a publisher is… a person or a company that prepares and issues book, journals, music or other works for sale. In other words, they work for themselves, not
for you. Keep that in mind for now.

PublishedHow to get a book published…

I know you have been asking the question, “Do I publish my book?” The answer is yes, you do. If you are a bit older like I am, you know
what it takes to publish a book, or at least what it took back in the day. Once your book was written, the manuscript had to be mailed off. It took the publisher months to read through it, then they would send it back for revisions and changes. Months of headaches and writers’
cramps all for the hopes that you have a best-seller.

We haven’t even talked about money yet. Regular publishers charge you money to print your book. Let’s say you want your book to hit the shelves at Barnes and Noble, a very reputable book store. Barns and Nobel would need X about of books to put in the shelves, and that cost you, on the average, $13.99 each. Of that $13.99, you will make a whopping $1.99 each as they are sold. So, you just started and you are already in the hole X times $12.00! Keep in mind that you are a new writer, and nobody knows you. If you want people to know you, you have to have publicity (book signings, book fairs, etc.) and that all comes out of your pockets. Here is the worst part of all of this… after spending all of this money, only 2% of all authors in the world are considered successful. Wait! Don’t be discouraged… you have to read this
whole article so you can be happy again!

But my book is – the best book ever!

That was the one thing that I had the hardest time learning… no matter how good your book is, and no matter how many people are encouraging you, your opinion is not what matters. Your publisher is in the business to make money.

carrieDid you know that Stephen King’s first big novel, Carrie, was rejected over 30 times? He finally tossed it into the trash can but his wife dug it back out it out. In 2012, he earned $39 million.

John Grisham’s first big novel, A Time to Kill, was rejected 12 times. Last year he earned $26 million.

The first author to become a billionaire, J.K. Rowling, had Harry Potter rejected by over a dozen British publishers. She didn’t even get it into print until the eight-year-old daughter of one of the publishers begged for it!

My point is this: Your publisher does not care what the content of your book is, they only care about sales. If you want to have an expensive publisher and pay lots of money to market your book, that’s all well and good… just remember it’s a gamble. It’s all about timing, trends and what’s on top this week.

Only through coal are diamonds formed.

OK, now that I have given you all this bad news, let’s talk about some more pleasant things. 2018 is the greatest time in history to write
a book. Forget about all those expensive publishers and all the disappointment and heartbreak that comes with them. You have options today that you never had before. Today, it really doesn’t matter about the 98% writer failure rate, because You have options today that you
never had before.

Writing today is not nearly as stressful as it was in the past. You don’t have to have a big office and a huge manuscript that has to be perfect.
Now we have computers, and we can save out work in the blink of an eye. There is no reason you can’t enjoy yourself and write to your heart content without financial worries. If you need a computer, you can buy an excellent computer for writing for less that $200 (see the product reviews tab at the top of the page). All you need is a quiet place to sit and maybe a window to gaze out of.

Once your book is finished, you can run the grammar and spell check program and in minutes you are ready to publish your work… for free!

CreateSpace – a free publisher.createspace

Before I start this part, I want you to know that I do not get paid to advertise for CreateSpace. The only reason I am telling you about it is because I have published nine books through CreateSpace, and I want you and every writer in the country to have the same sense of accomplishment I do… I am a published writer who has books for sale all over the world. Now, I am not rich… I am probably not what some would call a very successful writer. I have not sold millions of copies, although I hear that I am a pretty big hit around the piers and pubs of Scotland.

CreateSpace works like this: You open a free account and enter in your book title. Then it prompts you to design or upload your cover. There is always lots of help available, and if you have questions to ask the experts, they always answer your messages within 24 hours. When your
manuscript is ready, you can simply upload it online, and your digital proof will be ready momentarily for you to look through.

This whole process is self-paced, and nobody forces you to do anything. Once your book is ready, you decide what to do next!

A light in the darkness.

Now your book is done. CreateSpace is part of Amazon, so your book is ready for world-wide distribution immediately. When someone in England orders your book, they pay for it. At that time, it is printed, packaged and shipped to them, at their cost. You never pay a cent, and you decide how much you want to sell it for. That’s it. You don’t pay a dime.

So, there you have it. If you have any questions and all, leave me a comment below. I care about you and your writing.

Now, go and write…


24 thoughts on “What is a publisher?

  1. Hi Clay,
    You make excellent points about publishing, but I think you should say more about the role of agents in traditional publishing. Agents, as you know, act as screeners for the industry. A lot of companies won’t touch you if you don’t have an agent.

    But to have any chance of an agent reading more of your work, you need a really good sample chapter. Although some agents will allow you to submit the first three chapters.

    This is were things get tricky because you really have to know what niche the agent works with. An agent representing Chick Lit is not likely to be interested in a war novel.

    You also have to do your research and understand the mindset of the agent. Maybe he or she is just tired of politics. You perhaps learned this by reading an interview. Your latest political novel probably isn’t going to go over well.

    1. Very True, Thabo… Thank you for your insight.  Yes, it looks like I may have to write an article on agents.  Usually, my website followers aren’t inclined to use agents, but I do want all the facts in.


  2. I have been looking for a platform to self-publish an e-book on Amazon. Free is definitely what I am looking for as far as cost! In your experience, do people who sell a lot of books through Amazon’s Createspace/Kindle platform get contacted by publishers to put it in physical form?

    I plan on compiling a group of articles for a non-fiction book that basically talk about the topic.

    1. Hello, Ernest… CreateSpace does sell books in physical form; Hardcover, paper back and Kindle.  I have never heard of a publisher seeking out someone from CreatSpace, but I really think they will be all you need.  If you have any more questions, please ask!  


  3. This was a really interesting read, thanks for creating it! I love writing in my spare time, but it’s always seemed so daunting to go and get anything properly published. But it’s definitely something I will look to do in the future so thank you for pointing out some great resources to help make that happen!

    So is Createspace owned by Amazon or do they just work alongside each other? That sounds great. Thanks!

    1. Hi Danny… Yes, CreateSpace is owned by amazon.  I wish you nothing but success on your writing endeavors!  Thanks for checking out my article.


  4. Thank you so much. My best friend is a novel writer; more of a sci-fi horror one. She finishes her novel and tries to figure out how to publish and promote it. This seems like a great way. 

    Just a couple of questions if you don’t mind.

      If you publish it on CreateSpace, is it ok to publish it on your own, too? I’m pretty sure she’d prefer to be on some bookstores, too.

      What if it is a non-English novel? Can you still use the service?

    Thanks in advance!

    1. Hello Jenny… yes, you can publish almost anything with CreateSpace, and in any language.  As soon as your book is published, it will show up at book stores everywhere.  I was amazed to see my book on the Walmart website, and well as Books-a-Million and Barns and Nobel.  If you friend wants books on the shelf, then she will have to publish elsewhere. 

      Thanks for your visit… I wish you the best!


  5. Thank you Joe. That is absolutely amazing. I have been thinking about writing an ebook lately on my favorite topic, gardening.  The only reason I decided on the ebook style was because of the sheer cost of trying to publish it in the conventional book style. You have opened my eyes to further possibilities and now I dare to dream that my book might actually get published in print form. I’ll definitely be looking into ‘Create Space’. Thank you for your very informative article. Jim

    1. Jim, I wish you all the best in your new book (series?)  Gardening is such an awesome niche, and there are so many avenues to go down.  Thanks for checking out my page, and have a great day!


  6. Hi Clay!

    I have written and published 15 books; some of which I published using Createspace. I wasn’t very informed about the difficulty of the process prior to the internet and Createspace though, which makes it very easy to take the easy access for granted. Now, with companies like Amazon offering technology solutions to circumvent the traditional publishing system, authors truly can be the “captains of their own ships” in ways they couldn’t in previous times. This was a great article to get a brief history on the evolution of the publishing industry. Thanks for that!

    1. Sure thing, Tiffany.  I just think it is great that there are avenues out there for everyone to succeed.  I wish you the best in your writing, and thanks for stopping by.


  7. Thank you for the information. My father is very fond of writing and many a times I tell him to just publish his work so anyone who is interested can read it but he always takes his step back whenever I say this. I think CreateSpace gives a very good platform for people like him, I think it will make it very easy to take the first step in this direction.

    Thank you for providing this info. I think it will be very helpful for my dad, I am very eager to tell him about this.

    1. Hari, I hope he takes advantage of this opportunity and publishes his book.  Thanks for checking out my website…


  8. Clay,

    I believe that publishing a book gets easier and easier as time passes. I have heard of hundreds of people who are publishing their books through kindle with great success.

    I did not really know about CreateSpace but I will definitely check it out. If I understood correctly, is it print on demand by Amazon?

    1. That is correct, Xaric.  With zero money down, selling your book world-wide is now a reality.  Thanks for stopping by, and have a great evening.


  9. I knew it was hard work being a writer, but I didn’t really know much about publishing the book until now. It must be difficult to be a writer because you put months or years of effort into writing something that you really like and then you have to put yourself out there to be accepted or rejected, and just the thought of it make me want to cry!

    People don’t often think of writers when they think of brave careers but you have to be to do it. I think publishing time is the most tense time because all that time culminates in this. The reproduction and distribution of your work. To write and publish a book is no small task, but judging by the vast array of books in the world there are a lot of people willing to take on the challenge. Perhaps one day it will be my turn!

    1. Renton, You are so right!  I keep looking at the door waiting for that Hollywood producer to show up and ask if he can make one of my books into a movie.  I know this probably isn’t what anybody wants to here, but my only goal was for my boys to see my book on the shelf and say “Hey, if Daddy can write a book, so can I.”  So, since I have already achieved my goal, the rest is just frosting.  Thanks for the visit, and have a great day!


  10. Hello,

    I have wasted time writing, I have been publishing for two years now and I have started to make constant revenue just a few months ago. However, I believe that the most important about publishing (to actually make money) is  from your publisher, they really  don’t care what the content of your book is, they only care about sales…Yea, it’s better to meet with their criterias. though sometimes, it can be expensive but i believe that’s the best for now.

    thanks also for providing ‘CreateSpace’

    it’s really an educative post!.

    thanks very much

    1. Hi Bibian… It’s nice to here about a publishing victory once in a while.  I have heard so many stories of people who shelled out twenty thousand dollars just to make three.  I am glad that yours is a success story!  Thank you for visiting…


  11. Hi Clay, thank you for sharing this article. 

    It’s only recently that I’ve began looking into publishing my own books, and I can’t imagine how difficult it would have been a few years back. 

    It sounds like publishers really didn’t care about you and your stories, it was just for them to make money. 

    I’m glad I’m writing in a time where there are so much more options available to publish a book. 

    I’ve looked into Kindle publishing, but wasn’t aware of CreateSpace, so this has been eye-opening. And seeing your personal experience of publishing 9 books makes me more excited about discovering CreateSpace. 

    I noticed that you also mentioned running a grammar and spell check program. My spelling isn’t the best, so do you know any useful tools I could use to check my grammar and spelling before I upload my book?

    Also, once I publish my book on CreateSpace, do I need to have it approved before it becomes available to the public, or is it all automatic?

    Thank you again, and I look forward to your reply. 

    1. Hello, Stephanie… I have a wonderful, free program that many of us use.  It’s called Grammarly, and can be downloaded right here: Grammarly.com .  When you work with CreateSpace, you are the writer, editor and proof reader. 

      What I did was uploaded my book, then printed a proof copy (CreateSpace will do it for like five bucks) then I will have someone proof read it for me, writing the corrections in the book for me to fix later.  Then, I make the corrections, upload the corrected manuscript and send it to the wonderful world of Amazon. 

      Just make sure you do a good job, or your first Amazon review will be like mine: “Great book but I found some editing errors.”  Ouch.  I am more careful now.  I wish you the best on your book, and thank you for stopping by!


  12. Great to know about publishers. I have heard about a platform online, but never knew which was. I am not a writer but I have been thinking to write something, I am not very sure. After reading your post it maybe possible… can I contact you for help? I liked your article, it has very useful information for us. Right now, the Internet has a lot of options, also for writers. The best part is that CreateSpace print your book, I love the traditional books in paper. Thank you for sharing this.

    1. Hi Maria… I am always here for you!  Platforms like CreateSpace make it possible for everyone to fulfill their dream, no matter how much money you have.  Thanks for visiting!


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