Publishing your book

Swapna Mirashi

I have been often asked for guidance on how to get your book published. If you have a piece of literature that you’re proud of and think that others would enjoy reading it as much as you, your family and friends do. Or you are proud of what your loved one has created and want to pack it into a lasting memory for your near and dear ones. Then this article is for you.

There are two ways you could go about it get your book published;

  • 1. Approach a publisher

Although a lengthy process and frustrating for many, this is a surest way to get your book to the bookstores, without much effort once you’ve the manuscript ready.

An established publisher has the expertise, the experience, the resources and network to get your book published and distributed through right channels.

But publishers  get overwhelming number of submissions for the small fraction they pick up for publication.


The process is long –  it may take between 8 weeks to 6 months for the editors to get back to you on whether they are interested in publishing your work or not. If they do say yes (which is rare in first attempt – even J K Rowling’s Harry Potter was initially rejected by 7 publishers) the actual process of publication can go on for up to  a year and a half.


  • 2. Publish it yourself

When you commit to publish it yourself, you are in total control of your work, but that also means that you are responsible for getting all the work done to publish the book. And to get a good quality publication out, that may mean a lot of work.


Here are a few decisions you’ll need to make, a few questions you’ll need to answer at the start;

  1. Do you want to publish for sale or just as a keepsake for you, your family and friends?
  2. Would you like it in print or on kindle or both?
  3. How much time/ money can you dedicate to the project?
  4. Do you have any publishing background or know of someone who has?


Your answer to the  last question will help you build a sounding board through the publishing process.


Key steps in book publication process


Step 1 Legal (optional if you are publishing for private circulation)

ISBN – It is a unique number assigned to your book, the one you’ll find on the back of the book or on the publishing details page (generally page no. 2/4). It allows publishers, book suppliers and libraries worldwide to easily locate and order items.


Legal deposit – National Library collects and preserves works published in Singapore. It also helps in cataloguing of the published materials.

It’s a good idea to do the legal deposit (with or without ISBN) as it goes into the records and will help you reach out to NLB Libraries (through a distributor)


All you need to know regarding the above in Singapore can be found here;


Step 2 Editing & Illustrating

If you think pictures or illustrations will complement your work but you do not have the time, interest or talent to do it yourself, you could hire illustrators for your project. Illustrators have specific style of their art. Take time to go through their portfolio to see which style will complement your writing the best.

Editors help refine your work and good editors will often give great insights to move your work a few notches above in quality. Then there are also proof readers who will help you ensure that there are no typos and the content is nearly fool proof.


You’ll find useful Resources

Book Council Singapore –




Step 3 Layout & Graphic Design

A good printing agency may help you do this in-house.  

Book Council maintains a database of designers too;


Step 4 Printing


  • Ebook
  • Print on Demand (ideal for small runs of prints upto 200 copies, comes with distribution support)
  • Traditional commercial printing (ideal for large print runs above 500 copies)


For eBook or Print on Demand

Amazon is the simplest and most popular printing and publishing service for 2 main reasons;

    1. You can print from home for the world
    2. They have recently started a combined ebook for kindle and a print on demand service. Which means with one upload, you can print eBook to Kindle and publish to their KDP platform




Step 5 Distributing

The above printers are actually publsihing agencies that will help in distribution as well. If you decide to go traditional publishing route, you’ll need to find a distributor (each country, even region has a different distributor)


Step 6 Post Publishing

Once you have a published book in your hand or on your kindle, you may want to consider doing what authors do;

  1. Seek reviews from publications
  2. Author Visits through bookstores, events and schools (if your book is age appropriate for school-age children).
  3. Keep honing your writing skills by becoming a member of SCBWI, AWIC, for poetry SingMoPoWri ( and by Attending festivals like Singapore Writers’ Festival ( ,Asian Festival for Children’s Content (, All In! Young Writers Festival (