Of all the messages I receive, one of the most common is, please help me publish my book.
I’m a blogger, not a publisher, so I don’t offer any form of publishing service.
But every message reminds me of the potential dangers for new authors. Hunting the Internet to ask strangers to please publish my book for me is not a good idea at all.
Firstly, no one is going to do it for free, and it will certainly not be cheap. Secondly, are you willing to trust a stranger with your account details?
The dangers of asking a stranger to publish your book
Yes, you need a few basic skills to publish a book or ebook. However, it’s not difficult at all if you take the time to learn.
But thinking that it will be quicker and easier to ask a stranger to do it for you is fraught with danger.
If you want someone to publish your book on Amazon, you will probably need to give them your Amazon login details.
You will give that person full access to your account and credit card details. It would be easy for them to make purchases from Amazon using your account.
If you already have a KDP publishing account, it contains your bank account and tax details. If you ask someone to create the account for you, you will have to supply this information.
One other danger is that they could change your login password, lock you out, and then keep using your Amazon account for themselves.
Pardon me for being direct, but it is really not a smart idea.
Yes, you want to publish your book. But if you don’t know how to do it, don’t fall into the trap of asking someone you don’t know.
There are much better and safer options available now to publish a book.
The best options to publish your book
You have a manuscript, and you are trying to get it published.
But there are better choices than randomly approaching people or publishers you don’t know.
Before you start, you need to decide on the best publishing solution for you.
Do you want to try to have your book traditionally published by a major publisher?
Perhaps you could consider a small press publisher.
The most popular choice nowadays is self-publishing.
If you have a manuscript ready, think about your options before you rush to find a stranger to help you publish.
It’s by far the most arduous route to take.
You need to contact literary agents as a first step.
Then cross your fingers and hope that one might be interested in your book.
A rare few authors get lucky.
But for most, it’s a long and frustrating wait for a response. And then, if you get one, it’s very often negative.
However, it is the one publishing option that can give your book a good chance of success.
If you would like to take this route, Jane Friedman has a great article on how to find a literary agent.
Small Press publishers
There are thousands of small press publishers. Most of them specialize in specific genres.
For a new author, it’s a good route to take if you are unsure how to publish.
You’ll need to do your research and try to find publishers that specialize in your book’s genre.
One benefit is that you can contact them directly, so you don’t need to use the services of a literary agent.
Reputable small press publishers will never ask an author for money.
If a publisher asks you for money, it is almost certainly a vanity publisher. Unless you have thousands of dollars to burn, you should avoid them at all costs.
There are a lot of free self-publishing services that can help you easily publish your book or ebook.
To self-publish an ebook, all you need is a Word file in docx format and a cover file in jpeg or png. For a print book, your interior file and book cover file need to be in pdf format.
It’s easy to create all of these files if you have basic computer skills.
If you are not sure about how to do something, all of these self-publishing services have extensive help articles and guides.
But if you still think it is beyond your skills, there are better options than asking strangers to help you.
New authors have many service providers to choose from now.
These include book cover designers, ebook formatters, proofreaders, editors, book promotion, and publishing assistance.
But you need to do your research and make sure that any service provider you consider is reputable and trustworthy.
The best resource to do this is to consult the ALLi self-publishing services page. It contains an extensive list of service providers with a vetted rating for each one.
If a service is rated excellent or recommended, you can be reasonably sure that it is a reliable provider.
If you are not confident in your computer skills, there is also the option of assisted self-publishing.
In this case, a publisher formats and prepares your book files ready for publishing. They will usually publish your book with Amazon and other online book retailers.
But I would avoid it if possible because it can be challenging to find a reputable and economical service provider.
However, if it’s the route you decide to take, stick with well-known and trustworthy publishers such as Blurb, Lulu, BookBaby, or Draft2Digital.
For new authors, it can be challenging to find the best publishing solution.
It takes time to learn new skills and research your publishing options.
But of all the options, sharing your email address, username, and password with a total stranger is definitely not one of them.
It’s an almost guaranteed way to run into serious problems.
Yes, you want to publish your book as quickly and easily as possible. But there are much better and safer options available to you.
Whichever route you take, check the book publisher and ensure that you are dealing with honest, reputable, and reliable publishing service providers.
Related reading: You Need A Book Editor But You Know You Can’t Afford One