Basically, you have 4 options: Traditional publishing houses, Print-on-demand publishing houses, Self-publishing avenues and Pathfinder Paperbacks.
In today's world of electronic publishing, it's hard to know which way to turn and who to trust your work with. Should you go the e-book route, the self-publishing, the POD route or stick with the traditional publishing houses?
Basically, until manufacturers come up with standard software/hardware, the market for larger e-novels will not grow. That said, it will happen and all authors should be aware that, eventually, they will need their word produced electronically as well on paper. Business manuals and how-to books, though, are selling very well as e-books and and there are many Electronic Publishing houses out there.
The usual route for the wannabe author is the Traditional Publishing House and never daunted by the 'only 2% of manuscripts get accepted', we still make it our first port of call in a bid for author recognition. The big publishing houses have to make a profit and that is the very reason why they are so wary to take on new authors. For them to get a book to the printable stage and print the huge volume of books that make it financially viable means they will also put their money on surefire winners.
An increasingly popular route for authors to take is the halfway house of print-on-demand publishing. These publishing houses can either be subsidised by the author or not. Some work on submissions policies and can charge anything up to £1K and others will take what you upload to their website and create a book for $99. As in all things in life, you get what you pay for.
We have a list of POD Publishing Houses - but be sure to check any company out thoroughly. See whether they retain your rights; how much they charge, if anything, for add-on packages, corrections to your pdf or galley proofs.
Author's co-operatives can be a good idea, where authors band together to bring down the printing prices of their books and the people who would avail themselves of these services are those going down the lonely route of self-publishing.
Self-publishing will mean that you are in charge of the whole process of getting your book from the word processor/computer to the bookshelf. A daunting task but it can be done and you reap the rewards of keeping all of your profit and all of your rights. Your printing costs, however, may be expensive as print houses will digitally print small numbers, but at a cost, whereas if you can afford a larger print run of, say, over a thousand, you will then be able to avail yourself of the savings that litho printing brings.
To summarise then, you can either take your business manual or how-to book and get it made into an e-book; you can go the traditional route and submit your manuscript to the major publishing houses; use the growing band of print-on-demand publishing houses who will publish your book and have it available to fulfill one-off orders as and when they arrive, or you can self-publish and keep all your rights and profits.
Is there another way? A way whereby you can cut down costs on printing and still keep your rights and as much profit as possible? You bet there is. Hang on, I can hear you say, what about the quality - I want all of that and I want the professionally bound book too. Well, you can all of that. Pathfinder Paperbacks is a brand new venture built around a brand new concept. The author gets a professional book at a reasonable price, keeps all of their rights and is able to get batches of 50 books printed at a time, thus cutting down on storage space, tied up capital and to boot, makes environmental sense. For more details go to the Pathfinder website.