Monday, May 10, 2010

Monday Writers Craft Online: Recognising Proper Publishers

When you're looking for someone to publish your book, be aware of your options.

What I call serious publishers work with authors to sell books.  Your effort is to write the book and to help with promotion; they do everything else.

Serious publishers edit your manuscript, design the front cover, pay someone to print it, promote your book, hire distributors to send it to bookshops, collect money, and share the profits with you.  If your book doesn't sell, they lose the money they've invested, and you lose the time you've put into your book. 

You can also self-publish.  This means you have to do deal with everything yourself, and pay for everything yourself.  If you do well, you keep all the money.  If you bomb, you lose your investment - both the time you spent on writing the book and the money you spent on getting it out there.

One big problem of self publishing is getting your book into the shops; the big chains often don't deal with individual authors.  You can sell online, but with all of those millions of web pages out there, and all those other people trying to sell their work, making a splash is tough.

Another problem is that the book market is only so big.  As a self publisher you will be competing against all the publishing houses, all crammed with people who know the business inside out and who have connections and budgets you'll never have.  It's not impossible to do well when you self-publish, but recognise it will take work and luck.

Because the book business is competitive and quite complex, there are also the so-called vanity publishers.  These people say they are proper publishers but they want you to pay for printing, cover design, distribution, promotion etc.  And then if the book sells, they want you to share your profits with them.

I can't figure out what the vanity publishers do for authors - to me they are nothing but very, very expensive printers.  They get people to pay them lots of money by telling them the book in question is so wonderful that it's bound to sell really, really well.

This begs the question: if the book is guaranteed to sell really, really well, then why won't they invest in it???

It is my opinion that if you can't get a regular publisher to take you on, and you are desperate to publish, then do it yourself.  You may want to check an older post at this point, What you need to know about writing E-books by Kristen J. Tsetsi


Pam said...

Hmmm... I agree with you about the vanity publishers. Too much money and mostly a waste. Are you back from your vacation?
Stop by to see our green cat!

Cory said...

Thanks for stopping by and wishing my momma a Happy Birthday and Momma's Day!

~CovertOperations78~ said...

Nobody in Malaysia can expect to make a living out of writing books! If you can sell 5,000 copies, you are on the bestseller's list!

By the way, you back already? Need to email you later.

Take care!

Dora said...

Thanks for sharing with us such useful info. :)

Unknown said...