Skip to main content

Choose Your Publishing Avenue Wisely


I recently met with a potential book client. She asked me about query letters and what she needs to do to get published by a traditional publisher, such as Random House or Simon and Schuster, etc. I answered her honestly. Traditional publishers are difficult to reach. They are picky and get slammed with book proposals. They can't read all of them. Here are some tips for publishing.

1. Traditional Publishers -- They want best-selling authors, celebrities, great stories for fiction and a high market potential for nonfiction. They don't want memoirs, unknown authors and women's literature. These don't sell. Traditional publishers want books they know will sell because of how the book industry works. In retail, companies buy from manufacturers at wholesale and sell. They can't return the items to the manufacturer unless there are defects. In book industry, bookstores are allowed to buy at wholesale and send back whatever doesn't sell back to the publisher. So, let's say Barnes and Noble buys 25 copies of your book, but only two sell, the remaining 23 copies are sent back to the publisher. B&N gets its money back. The cost of those 23 copies comes out the royalty payments of authors. That is why traditional publishers want to make sure they have books that will sell. They don't want those returns. However, there are advantages to using a traditional publisher. You can get your books into bookstores more easily. Marketing is still on you, the author, though.

2. Print on Demand -- I used print on demand for my first two novels. These are not the same as independent or self-publishing. These aren't vanity presses either. These are companies that are run like traditional publishers, but they don't print large quantities of your book. They print when they get orders. Therefore, you don't have to worry about returns. They offer royalty payments in the same financial structure as traditional publishers. The author doesn't have control over the cover or other versions of the work. Downside to using print on demand is the lack of returns, which mean bookstores are not likely to buy your book. The other downside is that you have to pay a fee to have electronic or audio versions created. To create the print version, you don't have to pay a fee. The companies pay you. This is a good option for first-time authors without the required minimum word counts with stories that would appeal to wide audiences. Print on Demand companies provide you with editors for your work, so you don't have to pay extra for them.

3. Vanity Presses -- These are glorified marketing companies. The author has to spend thousands of dollars. They get no control over how their book looks, how it is edited and how it is marketed. They also don't have the option of electronic or audio versions. If you want those, you have to pay another thousand. These are not good options for first-time authors. They have trouble entering bookstores too. You don't get value for what you pay.

4. Independent Publishing or Self-Publishing -- When you self-publish, you control everything. You can hire the book cover designer, such as D'sa Designs that did the cover for The Dressing Table, a cookbook. You can hire the editors. You can format it. Self-publishing also allows you the option of writing topics traditional publishers don't want or you can create something to pass down to your family. You also are able to get more royalties than if you went with print on demand or traditional because the percentages are higher when you self-publish. Don't think you get to keep all of the price of the book. You don't. Amazon and IngramSpark or other independent company will take some of it. But, you do get more than you would through a traditional publisher. If you use IngramSpark, you have the advantage of being put into its catalog. Ingram is the largest wholesaler of books to bookstores and libraries. So, you get the best of both worlds: bookstores and online sales. When you self-publish, you also can create electronic versions at the same time and audio versions if you wish.

Regardless of how you publish your book, authors are expected to market the books themselves. Publishers do not help unless you are paying the vanity presses.


Popular posts from this blog

Leave Your Comfort Zone, Find Another Approach to Writing

This pandemic has changed how we do things. We can't shop or get our hair cut the same way we used to do. We have to be constantly on guard. It makes all of us uneasy. We don't feel like we are in control. However, the situation reminds us that success comes when we break from our comfort zone. Motivational speakers will tell you to do just that. Breaking from our comfort zone also is important to writing. If you are too comfortable or you have too much of a routine, your writing will get stale or you might not reach for that opportunity that could open doors for you. Here are ways to improve your writing and marketing . Go Online – The pandemic has moved almost everything online. Meetings, work and shopping are now happening from the comforts of our home. If you are afraid to market your book via online channels, you are missing a major opportunity to reach more people who might want to buy your book. Digital marketing has increased over the last f

Things to Do While Stuck at Home

During this time, Americans are stuck at home. Even though many states are allowing stores and other businesses to open, people are not flocking to the gathering places. They are still afraid to catch a virus or disease. Many people are bored and trying to come up with things to do . Here are some tips for you. Home Projects Now is the perfect time to tackle those home projects. You could do spring cleaning and declutter your home. If your project involves more than cleaning, you also could order from Home Depot online or another retailer and get materials for your projects delivered to your door. If you want to put up new shelving in your closet, you could get the materials and begin hammering away. Just avoid making disasters in your home. Discover New Things So many videos are available online that you could learn almost anything while you are at home. You could learn a new language or a new skill. I want a patio for my back yard. I am not handy. Neither

Daylight Savings Time Hinders Writing

In northern states, changing the clocks ahead allows for more light in the evenings, which makes people more productive in spring and summer. People in the north like to go out in the sunshine after spending winters locked indoors. Southern states don't have much of a winter. Although it might be cold, it doesn't snow and is not dark on a daily basis. They have sunshine all the time. I have lived in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland, Arizona and Florida. In Maryland, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, I felt the benefits of Daylight Savings Time although it still hindered my inspiration and writing. More on that later. Arizona doesn't change the clocks. It was great not having to worry about changing clocks, but I noticed no difference in the light without Daylight Savings Time. I don't agree that Florida should change clocks. The state has so much sunshine that it could be similar to Arizona and feel the same whether clocks are changed or not. Becomes False Benefi