Three ways to publish a completed manuscript.
1. Traditional publishing
Go through the publisher website for the manuscript submission rules and details about the genres they are looking for. If the publisher accepts unsolicited manuscripts, you can submit it as per their submission rules.
If they accept only solicited submissions, then you would need to find a literary agent who would be interested in representing your manuscript.
Go through the literary agency’s website to understand their submission process and their genres of interest, to help identify a literary agent to send your manuscript to. The literary agent will revert if interested in your manuscript. This can be a time-consuming process and there are no guarantees that your manuscript will satisfy the literary agent’s or the publisher’s selection criteria.
Generally the first three chapters and a synopsis along with cover letter need to be submitted and only on further request the rest of the chapters. The selection criteria might span multiple factors that are used to gauge the market potential of a manuscript, with each factor carrying a different weightage – genre and sub-genre, market trend, book length, series vs standalone, marketability, writing style, plot, uniqueness of voice, author profile, author’s existing brand, social media standing and more. The manuscript will be evaluated if it makes past the slush pile. Can take anywhere from some weeks to several months. If the manuscript is accepted and you sign a publishing contract, it might take another few months or more for the book to be published.
The publisher owns the risk of running the manuscript through the publishing life cycle to produce the completed book and make it available for purchase online and in brick&mortar stores via distribution channels. The royalty to the author might range from around 4% to 15% of the net sale price of the book. The rest of it goes towards distribution channel discount, paying the publishing team consisting of editor, proofreaders, typesetter, book designer, cover designer, illustrator if applicable, marketing, promotion of book, printing cost and publisher profit.
2. Assisted self-publishing
Here you submit your raw manuscript to a vanity publisher and pay the publisher to take it through the entire gamut of the publishing life cycle. You own the risk of investment.
3. Independent Self-publishing
You wear a publisher’s hat to independently publish your book and it is a full-fledged entrepreneurial venture. Important to retain objectivity and subjecting your manuscript to keen scrutiny prior to deciding to move forward with publishing or to hold off.
You can evaluate your manuscript for readability and do your market research and develop a checklist to help assess the market potential of your manuscript. This activity can be outsourced. Deciding to go ahead with publishing will involve hiring services of copy editor, development editor, proof reader, book designers, others, to transform the manuscript to a publish-ready book. Then printing services followed by negotiating, interacting, signing-up with distribution channels to make your book available online and in physical book stores. Hiring services for book promotion, marketing, branding.
You own the risk of investment in time, effort, cost and would need to balance creativity with business acumen and entrepreneurial spirit.
For more details on the independent self-publishing experience, checkout the below post – https://arsarasite.wordpress.com/2018/02/07/power-to-publish-at-your-finger-tips