Posts Tagged ‘publishing’
Become an author
Special to The Canadian
Would you like to write a book, and get it published independently? Have you written a manuscript? Get your books self-published with Agora Publishing Consortium.
internet site reference: http://www.agorapublishing.com
internet site reference: http://www.booksagora.com
Writing, they say, is easy. Getting the manuscript published is the hard part. While you may consider your manuscript a gem of a material, getting big name publishing houses interested in your book is not easy at all. Your option? Publish your own book!
by Jenny Fulbright [Excerpted]
Do you have great ideas on how to do things? Maybe you know how to get rid of stage fright and begin earning from public speaking, or you have plenty of tips on how to keep a marriage solid through the years. You may be a novelist, or short story writer, who has written fiction works but is not getting a reaction out of the major publishing houses. You know that you have enough material, resources and knowledge to fill up a book, even a series of books.
However, you need to ask yourself the question: How are you going to publish your book?
Writing, they say, is easy. Getting the manuscript published is the hard part. While you may consider your manuscript a gem of a material, getting big name publishing houses interested in your book is not easy at all. In fact, it is extremely difficult for a new writer to get their book published
The high costs of publishing and the risks involved have forced the publishers to focus on sure-fire blockbusters or books that can easily sell 100,000 copies in hard cover. Hence, they focus mainly on established authors with track records of selling huge volumes of books.
Where does that leave start-up writers? If you persist in attracting book publishers to give your manuscript the light of day, be prepared to see multiple numbers rejection letters. Some persist and do well like Richard Bach who survived more than fifteen rejections before getting “Jonathan Livingston Seagull” published. Many others simply give up.
The Option of Self Publishing
The best alternative for new writers to get a book out there for others to see is through self-publishing. If you are convinced of the quality of your material, and you have already received a collection of rejection letters that could fill a dozen shoeboxes, you can try publishing the book yourself. With self-publishing, you can now publish any works from 50 to 1,000 pages on your own!
There are many self-published books that have become successful, an example of which are “Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations,” a standard reference book, and the writer’s bible, “The Elements of Style”. These books sold well, and publishers bought the rights to publish them in greater quantity.
Self-publishing offers several advantages. Having a book published, even if self-published, can establish your reputation as a writer serious about your work and as an expert in your field. Having a book published raises up your ante: it could bring more paid lectures, consultancy clients, seminar programs, and tenure application
success. If things work well, it can even lead to publishers sitting up and taking notice of your future manuscripts more closely.
It may allow you to earn money wholesale and even more when you sell it direct (mail order, book fairs, etc.). There is also the chance that you may receive more profit per book than if a traditional publisher gave you a flat percentage of the cover price, depending on the cost to produce the book and the number of copies printed.
In addition, self-publishing allows you to retain creative control over your manuscript, cover design, etc. You have the final say about how the end product will be and look like. This shortens the time it takes to go from manuscript form to the finished book. It is possible to have your book in your hands (and in bookstores) in about six or eight weeks, whereas with a traditional publisher it could be a year or more before it is on the shelves.
The drawback, of course, is that you will do everything yourself. Or pay others to do some tasks for you. One thing is clear: self-publishing is hard work. As a self-publisher, you will be all of the following: writer, editor, designer/artist, typesetter/compositor, printer, marketer and drumbeater, distribution expert, and shipper/warehouser. At times, you will even act as your own legal adviser, financial underwriter, financier/accountant, and business manager.
internet site reference: LINK
Become an AUTHOR: Would you like to write a book, and get it published independently? Have you written a manuscript? Get your books self-published with Agora Publishing Consortium.
Trends in Georgia
Temple resident Zan Marie Steadham published her first book, “An Easter Walk,” this fall. The book is a devotional she first created as a pamphlet for her church, the First Baptist Church in Carrollton, in 2007.
“I got a lot of good feedback as in, ‘You need to publish this,’” Steadham said. “That gave me the encouragement to go ahead.”
With the help of her husband and some friends, she edited the work into a book and started to search for a publisher. While trying to find a traditional publisher, she was told time and again that the house didn’t do seasonal items.
So Steadham, decided to try it on her own. She went to API Print Productions, formatted the book according to the company’s template and ordered 100 copies.
“(I) sold the first printing out in 35 days, and I’m now on the second printing,” Steadham said. “I’m thrilled, totally thrilled. I’m excited and working on the Christmas devotional book to be a companion volume.”
Self-publishing is becoming more common as Web sites offer easier and less expensive options to budding writers who want to publish their work.
Dorothy Pittman, owner of Horton’s Books and Gifts on Adamson Square in Carrollton, sees probably three authors a week asking for advice on publishing or help in selling their newly self-published books.
“Initially, it was given a real bad rap, but recently I think the industry is looking at it as, sometimes it’s a way for an unknown writer to get known,” Pittman said.
Pittman has several books on the shelves from authors who have self-published their work. Books by Dr. Steve Davis, Robert Martin, Myron House, Elaine Bailey, Dr. Mac Martin, the Carroll County Historical Society have all found a place on her shelves and have been successful in her store. But the books may never have been published by a large publishing house unwilling to put money into projects by unknown authors or books that are localized in their appeal. Books on local history for instance may be very interesting to people in the area, but it won’t have much appeal to readers in other areas, and that can limit the profitability of a book.
Steadham didn’t set out to make a lot of money. She just wanted to get her work out to the public and hoped to break even in the process. That’s the best attitude for the self-publishing author, Pittman said. The typical self-published author isn’t going to get rich. Even books that are published as they’re sold by publishers such as lulu.com or blurb.com, probably aren’t going to turn into bestsellers unless they’re picked up by a major publishing house with big marketing budgets.
“It’s good, again, for authors who always wanted to get published but they’re really not wanting to make a lot of money,” Pittman said. “They just want to get their work out there and so it’s a way for them to do that.”
Carrollton resident Jay Michael Jones has been writing books for 10 years. She was initially writing just for herself, just showing her work to family and friends. Then she joined the Carrollton Creative Writing Club. With their encouragement, and a series of 26 volumes of sci-fi romance, she started hunting for a publisher.
The books were too non-traditional for a traditional publisher, but Jones was confident people would want to read what she had written. She turned to self-publishing at lulu.com. She hopes the books might be picked up by a publishing house, but right now, she’s just happy to have her work published.
“There’s things I want to say,” Jones said. “I’ve just got my own little voice and I wanted to put in my 2 cents worth into the literary world.”
There are some big expenditures when a book is first published. The cover art for Jones’ book “Flight of the Armada” was one of the most expensive and difficult things about getting it published, she said. Selling the books once they’re published takes a lot of marketing, and that also can be expensive. Jones has taken out advertisements in print and online. She has promoted the books through MeccaFest and is planning a book signing next year. So far, she is breaking even.
Artist Margaret Dyer has also turned to self-publishing. She and her sisters wrote and published a humorous cookbook “You Want Me to Bring a Dish?” in 2007 and have been able to sell a couple thousand copies. This year, she decided to publish some of her art with entries from her blog in book form. The book, “Meanderings and Musings, A Year in a Blog 2009,” was finished this fall.
“I seem to have acquired a following and I thought, ‘Well, I’ll put this into a hardcover book,’” Dyer said. “It’s a beautiful book. I’m very proud of it.”
She had a couple of goals when she created the book. It was a sort of memoir for her children and it also gives her art some exposure to a new audience. As a professional artist, she is used to having her work on display and critiqued by the public, but that can be difficult for a new author. Pittman recommends anyone who has aspirations of publishing their work to write, write, write. She recommends joining a writing group because the group will read the work and offer critiques. That can make the author used to hearing the criticism and also give them constructive feedback to improve the project.
And really, the point of writing something is to have it read, Jones said.
“I think anybody who has any kind of artistic talent or artistic kind of venture, to put on display, they’ve got to run that risk,” she said. “This is just another way of stepping up to the plate.”
internet site reference: LINK
Viewpoint: Wholesalers and Distributors
by Marshall Chambers
This article presents perspective on the traditional book trade through the jaded eyes of a frugal author/self-publisher, one who took the time to examine the market and analyze some of the financial realities and risk-reward scenarios. The purpose is not to discourage but to cause insight, and begin introducing concepts to self-publishing-bound writers to consider in developing distribution alternatives.
For first-time author/self-publishers, developing a business relationship directly with a major distributor is virtually impossible. Without proven writing success or celebrity status, distributors can’t afford to be interested; they work for major publishers that commit their reputations and costly, well-designed promotional plans to impact the book trade. Any effort a distributor puts forth with its sales force and catalogs must be supported by significant publisher commitments to promotion. On top of that, self-publishers can rarely afford the basic economics of such a relationship anyway; for example, if you think a 15% of cover price a fair profit, and 65% an average commission for a distributor, then your books would have to be printed and delivered to the distributor for 20% of the cover price. And remember, you’ll be financing the consignment business; that means thousands of books printed if you want to be in the bookstores and provide a working inventory for your distributor and your promotions.
In a similar vein, the major wholesalers, Ingram Book Group and Baker & Taylor, don’t usually develop direct business relationships with small self-publishers; for example, recently Ingram had a policy of considering relationships with publishers that had ten or more titles to offer. But it’s worthwhile for self-publishers to be familiar with the basics of these relationships by reviewing information on their websites, http://www.ingram bookgroup.com/ and http://www.btol.com/.
As a side note, it is true that most Internet Publishers, or “Vanity Presses,” have developed business relationships with these major wholesalers and their digital printing subsidiaries. Teaming up with an Internet Publisher can allow the quasi-self-publishing author access to the wholesaler/major-bookstore market through print-on-demand technology; but this is a topic for another article.
In general wholesalers are nonexclusive order processors for the book trade, libraries and bookstores. Many small and regional wholesale companies will work directly with small publishers and self-publishers at a cost of around 50%-55% of cover. Even Amazon.com could be considered a wholesaler; through its Advantage Program it charges author/self-publishers 55% of the cover price for posting a book presentation and facilitating sales on its website, and the self-publisher pays for packaging and shipping books to Amazon. The only good news, aside from the huge plus associated with market exposure through Amazon, is the absence of a large inventory requirement and consignment risks; for the most part books are delivered as they are sold, the publisher filling orders from Amazon based on actual sales.
Risks and Rewards
It’s important for self-publishers to understand the risks and rewards of relationships with distributors and wholesalers. When I took a close look at the market in preparation for publishing Creative Self-Publishing in the World Marketplace, I was convinced the financial risks were too great and the potential profits too lean.
To effectively enter distributor/wholesaler relationships, you need the capital to support the traditional operations of the book trade. This means you pay up front for printing runs of your book to satisfy your promotional requirements, a distributor’s inventory requirement and bookstore stocking levels. That translates into thousands of books out there. Can you afford such a first print run—perhaps $10,000-$20,000?
What would happen if your book suddenly took off, and bookstores all over the world started to up stocking levels? You could be talking $50,000-$100,000 for a second print run. You should be prepared for that possibility; so where would you get the capital? Banks won’t make loans with bookstore orders as security because bookstores don’t pay for the books until they are sold.
Now, ask yourself if you can afford to finance the return of a capital investment over the time inherent in dealing with the layers of the consignment business. If you borrow funds, don’t forget to add in the credit costs. Are you prepared to absorb the cost of credit or loss of investment opportunity for 120 plus days (from the time of sales at the bookstores, not from the delivery of the books to distributors or wholesalers), given the accepted scenario of payments from credit-stretching bookstores to wholesalers, then to your distributor, and finally to you?
What about the cost of returns? In the August 2001 Publishers Marketing Association Newsletter, some self-publishers reported experiencing book returns of up to 30%. Each bookstore seemed to have had its own determination of sales levels that triggered returns. Also, be aware that general industry experience shows that 10%-30% of returns will be damaged. I’ve read that returns can be as low as 15%, but can you even afford that?
What about the industry trend: bookstores, wholesalers, and distributors abruptly winding up business or going bankrupt? Can you accept the risk of write-offs from those potential bad debts, or the time and opportunity costs of changing partners in midstream?
The bare economics of employing a distributor or wholesalers are usually forbidding for the little guy. Without considering the costs of book creation and formatting, consignment credit, inventory maintenance, insurance, packaging materials, shipping, returns, damaged books, bad debts, and capital and time to create and execute an effective promotional plan, consider just for perspective: Today digital printing of a quality, four-colour trade paperback can be as low as about $4 each, assuming a 300-page book, a run of 1,000 (about $6 each for a run of 200), average setup costs, and shipping 1,000 miles. At a cover price of $18.95, and discounting 65% to a major distributor or 55% to a wholesaler, is what’s left sufficient to cover the other real and potential costs and provide a reasonable profit?
On the other hand, distributors and wholesalers provide valuable services by presenting your book in a catalog, managing and storing inventory, taking and processing orders, handling and shipping orders, processing payments and returns from a variety of points-of-sale, and presenting monthly bookkeeping records (they usually don’t pay you for 90 days). Through name recognition, they bring credibility and efficiency to the ordering and handling process for booksellers and libraries.
But viable alternatives now exist to traditional distributors and wholesalers. Dan Poynter’s New Book Model tells us that today’s digital technology, business communication services, and the Internet make it possible for a savvy self-publisher operating on a shoestring to contract his or her printing runs, utilize a creditable, cost-effective fulfillment services provider, and promote to specific segments of a well-defined marketplace.
If you are interested in a relationship with a major distributor, consider sending a review-book, together with a completed application for consideration, to the Publishers Marketing Association’s (PMA), Trade Distribution Acceptance Program. If you are a PMA member, the cost was recently $50. Go to PMA’s website, http://www.pma-online.org/, for information about the program and an application.
About the writer:
Marshall Chamberlain is the author of Creative Self-Publishing in the World Marketplace (Grace Books 2004) and the unfolding ANCESTOR SERIES of Sci-Tech-Mystery-Thrillers. Media background information, downloads of pre-edit book chapters, and progress on the SERIES are available on his website: http://www.gracepublishing.org/. The Vendor of Record for Grace Books is BookMasters, Inc., http://www.atlasbooks.com/marktplc/01123.htm, 800-247-6553. Contact Marshall at author@grace publishing.org.
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‘Some of the most successful writers in Canada, and everywhere in the world are self-published.’— Julie Watson, author
The association says it needs a venue to showcase the booming self-publishing industry.
“I would say it’s tripled, quadrupled,” said author Julie Watson, who organized the event.
“It used to be that self-publishing was a very expensive venture. It’s not anymore.”
Rebecca Black tried for years to find a publisher but instead of giving up, like many people she decided to take a different route — doing it all on her own. Publishing 250 copies of a book costs Black about $1,500.
“It’s a great way of getting your work out there, sharing what you’ve written with the world, and experiencing that rush of getting your first book in print, without having to worry about waiting to be noticed by a big publisher,” she said.
Island writers are following a much larger trend when it comes to self-publishing. New technology has made self-publishing easier than ever, with software that allows you to lay out books, and companies that print a much better product. These changes have prompted writers around the world to go it alone, and some are having great success in bypassing a publisher.
“Some of the most successful writers in Canada, and everywhere in the world are self-published. They just don’t broadcast the fact that they’re self-published,” said Watson.
Watson noted Jean Paré, author of the popular Company’s Coming cookbooks, started as a self-publisher, selling out of the back of her car.
Laurie Brinklow of Charlottetown’s Acorn Press said while it is getting easier to self-publish, it is getting harder to find a publisher willing to take on new authors, partly due to funding restrictions. Brinklow said the Canada Council for the Arts, which funds publishers like Acorn Press, is looking for very specific content.
“They’re a jury process, so they look at my books carefully every year and say, ‘Well, this contributes to Canadian culture, and this doesn’t.’ And if it isn’t then the money isn’t there,” she said.
That can leave authors like Black, who writes romance novels, on her own.
As in any business, marketing is key to success. Finding a space on bookstore shelves is not a challenge in Charlottetown — two large stores dedicate space to local offerings — but selling means doing more than just making the book available. Watson hopes the book fair will give help give local, self-published authors a higher profile.