How Do You Get Your Stories Published Into Physical Books?

Hello, my name is Brandon Matthews aka Liquid-Sun.

The main reason why I’m making this thread because I saw that some of the stories posted on the website get published into physical books sold on the website or sold in stories. I just want to know what are the requirements for it, since I think it would be cool to see your book in physical form and sharing them with my friends. Thank you! :smiley:

You need to send your stories to publishers ? And wait until one of your stories get accepted

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You could publish it yourself on Amazon in ebook or paperback if you don’t want to wait. ¯\_(ﭢ)_/¯

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It depends which avenue you want to go. If you want to go a traditional publishing route, you need to advertise your story to agents/publishers, who will do the publishing work for you. These books are generally expected to sell better, but the process is more competitive. If you want to go a self-publishing route, you could publish your own work on places like Amazon. You will have to do most of the work yourself or pay someone to help you though (ie. Formatting text, cover design).

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Traditional publishers tend to have better distribution to libraries, international publishers, etc. The first step is to have a finished manuscript. When you think it’s finished, whip it and think it’s finished about 3-4 more times, then send it off to an agent with a query letter (and sometimes a synopsis). They will assess how good your writing is and how much they think it’ll sell on market. If you do well and sign a contract, they’ll send it to editors, who will either accept or reject.

You chances of passing are .001% to get past the first gate and .0001% to get past the second gate.

Self publishing has less prestige and you’re 100% on your own for promoting, cover design, typography, editing, etc. The cost up front is easily around 1,000 dollars US to produce a decent looking book, which is why the majority of self-pubbed books are digital.

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Hi there. I moved your thread to the Industry Insider club as it’s best suited there. Thank you for understanding.

Alicia -

Wattpad Ambassador/Mod

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Most of what you need to know has been said I think.

What you see for “sale” on Wattpad itself are books that have been chosen for one of its Paid programs. Wattpad also has a relatively new traditional publishing arm.

To publish off of Wattpad, you can aim for traditional publishing or you can self publish. You mentioned physical books sold in stores: That is ALMOST exclusively traditional publishing. There are ways for self publishers to get their books into bookstores, but it’s fairly rare and fairly difficult.

Some of the people here have used a company like Lulu to print physical copies of their books for themselves and their families. They have been super happy – and doing that doesn’t count as “publishing” the book, if you want to aim for traditional publishing later. (If you self publish, that particular book isn’t likely to be picked up by trad pub in the future unless you sell an outrageous number of books.)

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As for your question…

It really depends on many different factors.

  • Wattpad Books.

I think what you’re talking about the most are the books that’s on Wattpad already (originally published here), then get traditionally published elsewhere. This can happen, but there’s a lot more to it than simply posting your story.

Wattpad has two opportunities for specific writers if they wish to make their book into a physical, published version. The first is through the Wattpad Stars program. In order to become a Star, you have to be invited by Wattpad. There’s no application to it, and you can’t ask Wattpad if you could become one. But the program itself is where these specific writers get opportunities to talk with HQ, be a part of the community more, and talk to others (professional or a normal audience) about their books. In return, Wattpad will become your “agent.” Meaning that they will try to help you get published through publishing houses. So this is something that happened for people like Anna Todd, Pandean, Isabelle Ronin, and more.

The second is through the Paid Stories program. Now, I’m not entirely too sure if the program is already connected to you trying to get a publishing deal, but I do know that there are stories within the program that are eventually becoming published through Wattpad Books. The Paid program, though, does have an application process, so you are able to try and get on the list. But do know that it’s like a job application: you may be rejected. But there’s always the option of reapplying again. :wink:

However! …just because you are a part of these programs does not mean that you will instantly get a deal. There’s many writers within these programs that aren’t getting publishing deals. So, don’t expect to get one so easily just because you a part of a great program.

  • The traditional route.

Otherwise, the only other way to get published (and get your book in a physical store) is through the normal, traditional route: going through an agent.

This is the harder option because there’s a lot to know about the industry, and it changes constantly. If you want to be published by a major publisher, you have to…

  • Query a literary agent.
  • If accepted, then you have to wait for your agent to get you an editor who will accept your manuscript.
  • After revising a bunch of times with a professional, you then go on submission where you’re looking for a publisher.

It sounds easy, but it’s rather difficult, time consuming, and stressful. Because for one, it can take years to go from the querying stage to seeing the published version. Secondly, you will get rejected dozens of times… which is one of the reasons why it takes a long time. It isn’t always your book, it’s just the market or something else entirely. And finally, you may have to go through multiple agents and or multiple editors before you get a publisher.

Like I said, there’s a lot to know. I recommend watching the AuthorTube channels Alexa Donne and Meg LaTorre. Alexa is a traditionally published author of nearly three novels (Brightly Burning, her debut novel; the Stars We Steal, coming in 2020; and the Ivies, coming in 2021). She talks a lot about improving your writing along with the industry about the things she has experienced and what she knows from whom she personally knows.

Meg, on the other hand, is a former literary agent and she’s self-publishing her debut novel in 2020. Her channel, like Alexa’s, is about improving your writing along with the industry.

  • Self-publishing.

The final way to get your book physically(ish) published is through self-publishing. There’s multiple self-publishing platforms (Lulu, CreateSpace, Ingram Spark, etc.) and you can easily self-publish your novel through there. The only thing you have to know is that you’re your own publisher… which in turn means that it costs money. If you want a really good book out, you have to hire a professional editor (or more), get covers, and the whole nine yards.

Being self-published doesn’t mean it’s all online. While your story isn’t physically in stores, you can order it online as a physical copy. This is what many people do if they don’t have enough money for the retail price, if they can’t find the book in store, or if they don’t have a bookstore in their town (which is the case for me). Ingram Spark, though, has a great distribution access where you can get your book through major bookseller stores (like Barnes and Noble) online, through libraries, and more, but it does cost money to use… whereas CreateSpace, a free platform, is only for Amazon only.

If you want to learn more about the self-publishing industry and process, I recommend watching Jenna Moreci’s channel on YouTube. She’s a self-published author of two novels—Eve: the Awakening, her debut novel, and the Savior’s Champion. Her channel, like Meg’s and Alexa’s, is also on improving your writing, but also on the self-publishing industry. :wink:

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Sounds like a good idea! Thanks!

Thank you!

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Ah, I see
Thank you for the info. :slight_smile:

So places like Lulu is where I gets my books printed?
Sound neat!

Thank you for the information!
I think I may have to go with the self-publishing route. The traditional publishing sounds
good but there are a lot of barriers that prevents me for putting my stories out there.
Getting prints of my work and giving them to my friends and family is good enough for me. :slight_smile:

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Querying, generally, takes a year or two, depending on how persistent you are and how marketable the book is. But from successful agent to publisher is usually about 1-2 years.

The mode age most people make it is in their 40’s.

Your rejection rate is usually expected to be double if you have diversity in your manuscript. Making the average around 50 rejections from agents to about 100. This is lower for YA, marginally, but I’d still expect a bit of resistance. The more “niche” your book and “new” the harder it will be to market in agent’s eyes, even if the “difficult” thing is because it has gay and PoC characters (for example).

It’s a good idea to watch people with diversity on Booktube to get the idea of the market, etc for published authors.

BTW, the majority of money you gain from traditional publishers is actually international, not domestic. Germany, for example is a huge market.

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IF you have a manuscript that’s well-written enough to be picked up at all. Most people don’t.

But 99% of the time, it’s your book. And be happy about that – because improving your writing and your story is in YOUR control. The other stuff isn’t.

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Very true. I’m usually pretty good at picking out the manuscripts that have the potential there. But then I also do a yearly check (at least) for what is visibly on market, which means a trip to the bookstore. Not so much what is being produced specifically, but how are the books being shelved? What do the covers look like?

Are there any major trends?

I also keep general tabs on the industry, as well, such as diversity representation, what agents are asking for in general, read up on Publisher’s Weekly as well.

Usually what you see in stores is at the end of a trend most of the time, so I tend to write to the holes in the market, which is risky, but if you do it right (or write) there is a chance of being a leader on a trend too. Having a good intuition for what the market is headed versus what you do and can write is also good. Trying to hit trends, though, is usually a poor idea from looking at the bookstore shelves, thus Publisher’s Weekly helps a bit.

I’m sad, though, my prediction that more diverse books distributed throughout the bookstore by now didn’t come true. There were some missteps in the campaigning that limited that, which is sad. I’m still hopeful that maybe the next ten years will still make it happen. Because I know people like me needed it when I was trying to read adult books as a kid.

Generally, agents like someone who is aware of what the market is doing and how their book fits in.

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Fantastic post!

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One thing that did improve in the last 10 years is that covers aren’t so sexist anymore. :smiley: I check all sections of the bookstore, and there were a lot less plastic women, or women in the snow with skimpy clothes who are supposed to be chasing bad guys—in 3 inch heels. (3 inch heels in the snow with a skimpy dress… with ice on the ground, ummm… no.) Also the PoCs, are more shown and some of the older authors like Octavia Butler finally got representation and some of her covers even got a revamp boost.

YA section has however, taken the majority of the shelves and the leakage I wanted to see isn’t there.

Romance is still overwhelmingly white and straight, Historical is tend times worse. And a fair amount of “classics” dominate the other shelves this year.

But industry insiders are trying to push for representation, but despite 10 years of trying, it’s not being reflected in the shelving except in the YA section. Publishers and editors are still overwhelmingly white, though PoC and other minority groups are mainly getting into the agent side. Most ask for diversity is in three sections, YA, Romance and SFF. But people are backing off in adult fantasy and Science Fiction a bit, despite staple names like NK Jemisin and Ken Liu. (among others) Romance is trying a hand at it, though it’s not reflecting on the shelves. Anne McCaffrey and some of the 90’s authors have almost fallen off the shelves in order to house the YA section, which incidentally moved next to the SFF, which I’ve never seen before this year. They always, always have had it near the kids section. Western books are no longer shelved at all.

SFF, unlike previous years is almost split 50/50 between Science Fiction and fantasy, though there were years they were forced to house them separately. I usually also use my phone to look up who is being published, and new authors I don’t recognize. I also take pictures too… A lot less new books showed up in the SFF section this year.

100% of the classics are white and mostly European. TT It’s not like Penguin slacked and didn’t do any international classics this year either, it’s just that bookstore keeps doing this, despite the diversity in the area and the people I see in the actual bookstore.

So it’s a difference between what they say and what happens. My small bookstore (which I also check out) tends to be more diverse and selective of the covers as well, scoring for several years straight no issues with the covers they tend to select for the books.

Despite this shift in YA, the overall numbers have not shifted, and in some cases gotten worse, where people switched from writing about white kids and PoCs to animals, just to avoid controversy, which is a backslide.

That’s what the current output of the market looks like, despite what is being touted and said. Major bookstores, though, they select their books are really telling about what the industry really thinks of itself. Also, unfortunately, your diversity does matter in this climate.

I’ve been tracking it this way since I was 13, though couldn’t get my hands on Publisher’s Weekly at the time. (sealed away) Did Writer’s Digest instead.

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I’d be interested to know sources of stats. Not arguing here, but I do see some trends counter to this in bookstores I visit. I just have no idea whether they are representative. For example, I noticed a recent, big expansion in the shelf space given to African mythology-based books in both YA and Adult, and those books have (reasonably enough) diverse characters. Similarly, though to a lesser extent, Chinese mythology-based.

Agree about the older authors :cry:, and with the YA section moving beside SFF, and also YA splitting into “YA Fantasy & SF” and “Contemporary YA” or even “YA Romance”. I guess these are acknowledgements of the fact that YA is a bit of a dumbbell right now, with a lot of YA Fantasy at one end, and a lot of Contemporary YA Romance at the other, and not so much in the middle. That’s either sad or an opportunity to throw some good stuff into the middle (a bit worrying for me, because I admit it - I’m currently writing mostly YA Fantasy. Late to the wave?)