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How do I Become a Book Publisher?

By Jeremy Laukkonen
Updated May 17, 2024
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If you want to become a book publisher, you may want to either start your own business or go to work for an existing company. The steps required to achieve these goals are different, though you will need many of the same skills. A book publisher typically must have excellent written language skills and a wealth of literary knowledge in addition to marketing acumen and managerial aptitude. Starting your own publishing business typically involves finding and compensating authors, setting up printing agreements, and creating a marketing team to put your products into bookstores. In order to become a book publisher with an existing company, you will typically need to start out in a related field and work your way up.

Authors, editors, and people that have a skill for locating quality writing may choose to start their own publishing companies. Small press publishers often focus on one niche in order to learn the market and build an audience. If you feel that you have good business skills, you may want to take this path to become a book publisher. You will first need a business license, after which you can begin accumulating the other resources that your new business requires.

As a startup book publishing company, you will need to find a press to actually print and bind your books. This may be a local business or a business that allows easy access through the Internet. One option is to go through a distribution company that offers printing services as well, which can cut down on overhead. You also need to decide whether you will pay up front for an entire run of books, or endure the somewhat higher costs of print on demand (POD) services.

After you have located your printing service, you will need to find books to publish. You may hire an editorial staff to interface with writers and agents or perform these functions yourself. Then you will be responsible for polishing the manuscripts you locate, compensating the authors, and producing cover art. After the books have gone to press, you may want to employ the services of a marketing staff to get your products into bookstores or create agreements with online booksellers.

In order to become a book publisher with an established company, you will typically need to attain at least a four year degree. Some schools also offer shorter certificate programs in book publishing, which may help with getting work. After you have your degree, you may find work as an editorial assistant or perform some other low level functions at a publishing company. If you are highly skilled and perform well in your job, you may eventually become a book publisher and oversee all of the various functions of finding, polishing, printing, and selling products.

WiseGEEK is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

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