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How I Selected a Publishing Company

Updated: Mar 7, 2023

Team, this could be one of the hardest things I ever had to do. First, I thought trying to write a book would be hard but that was easy when you learn all of the steps that comes after it. I wrote my stories as therapy for myself and to truly tell the stories of those we lost – The Heroes who sacrificed their lives for our Freedom. Once I finished writing I truly thought I was done but boy, was I wrong.


This is the first journal entry on my path from Soldier to Author and I would like to talk about how I selected a publisher. Once I finished my DRAFT manuscript, I had to figure out how it gets published. I had no idea how this works and what to do. Thankfully Sergeant Major Google was around to help me. Some quick searches revealed that I was way over my head so I began reaching out to friends and colleagues who published articles and books prior to me.


I also knew that my book would be vastly different from my colleagues and mentors. They were writing about leadership, philosophy, tactics, etc. and I was basically telling funny stories of how I probably should have been kicked out of the military. However, I knew the stories of my Soldiers needed to be told also. My research and conversations showed that there is basically three routes one takes: Traditional, Self, and Hybrid. Traditional, I quickly found out, is really hard to accomplish and you can spend months and years working on a deal. You need a publicist, a name for yourself, and patience. Self means just that, you do everything. In a Hybrid model, you need money because you are paying for everything up front, time to research publishing companies, and query letters to help get in the door.


The KEY to all three, however, is that you need a GREAT manuscript. A story that needs and should be told. I chose Hybrid because it combined traditional services with self-publishing tasks. After a few weeks of working on my query letters, editing around 20-25 pages of the manuscript (the best pages you want to suck them into signing you), and researching publishing websites to find the right mix, I began submitting sample manuscripts out. I focused on those that had experience with Military, showcased vastly different book covers (I wanted original designs and some websites showed a lack of originality), and I also looked for what I thought was a professional looking website. For me, I didn’t focus on cost of a hybrid deal, which typically runs between $3,000 and $5,000 dollars to get your book published. I was prepared to sacrifice that money to ensure the story was told correctly and professionally.


I sent samples out to 7 publishing companies and within 2 weeks I had 5 offers; all of them offering a Hybrid model. After another two weeks, the other 2 companies offered a Hybrid deal. This confirmed that I had a good book and I started to second guess myself on whether I should push for a traditional deal or not. I ended up choosing Koehler Books publishing company and their hybrid model offer for all the reasons listed above. I felt comfortable with them and they gave me honest and genuine feedback on my sample pages and immediately wanted to see the entire manuscript.

I will continue to highlight the journey and recommendations as I work toward publishing our book by 11 November 2023. Until then, thank you for reading and if you have any questions please let me know. I would be happy to answer them. --DP

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