I came across this article (where escapes me now) so I’m reprinting it here, so I don’t lose it again.
I Have Finished a Book, What is Next?
So, you say you have written a book and it is ready to be published? Your biggest questions are: (1) What do I do next? (2) Where do I go with my manuscript? (3) Who do I contact to get my book reviewed and evaluated for publishing? (4) How will my book get published and by whom? (5) How much is publishing going to cost me? (6) Can I trust everything I read in publishing catalogs or on the Internet? (7) Who will sell my books? (8) Will my books get put into all of the major bookstore chains? And the list goes on and on. Let’s discuss an initial stage of the book publishing process, how to choose the correct method of publishing.
This column will be ongoing throughout the remainder of this year, and will serve as a guidepost for you, the author, to follow, and stay out of publishing trouble. Not everything you need to know will be offered to you at once. However, Let’s begin by laying some clear groundwork for the consideration of getting your work published. So, what ARE your publishing choices?
Step One – Identify and understand the various methods of publishing.
There are several ways you can publish your book and we will mention them briefly without a long description of what they do or Don’t do. The most common ways are:
Traditional royalty publishing – there is usually no cost to you, but there are other important things for you to know like having to find an agent to present your book to a traditional publisher. This could easily cost you time and money with no guarantee that a traditional royalty publisher will publish your book, if accepted, in a timely manner suitable to you. Very few authors get picked up and contracted by a royalty publisher and fewer still get an advancement of money for their book. This is the land of big dreams with about one pot of gold for 50,000 books submitted.
Subsidy self-publishing – this is where you, the author, pay for all of the work to be done on your book, with little or no interaction with those doing the work, and once the book is done you may pay as much as 45% of your first printing run sales to the subsidy publisher. So, you pay for your book to be published and you pay the publisher again when the book is sold. This cost is usually high and communication with the publishing staff is at an all time low. You have little or no say-so even though you are paying the tab. Subsidy presses are also known as vanity presses.
Co-op self-publishing – very similar to subsidy publishing, however, the organization, company or person publishing your book (that is published elsewhere) is actually splitting the costs of publication with you. Various terms are given for royalty splits. We truly Don’t know of very many successful co-op ventures. We would not suggest this method of spending your money for publishing your book.
Print on Demand (POD) self-publishing – this opens new avenues for authors to get published with very little expense. You pay cut-rate costs for production and printing and MAYBE you get some marketing. Remember: You get what you pay for. POD books are digitally printed and stored. This is a plus. No warehousing fees. However, use POD for the following reasons only: if you have a small book of 50 to 150 pages, if you are doing a short run of 300 books or less, if you want to test the waters to see if your book will sell before you go to a much larger off-set printing run, or if you simply cannot afford to publish many books. Most POD publishers are only printers running a publishing mill. Their expertise is in printing, not publishing. That is how they make their legitimate living, printing books for weekend publishers. So Don’t complain if your book doesn’t sell. Remember: You get what you pay for. There is no free lunch and if the offer sounds too good to be true, it probably is too good to be true. Think quality! This is your book, so invest in it wisely. Don’t cut corners to save bucks because it will show somewhere in the final product. Look up on the Internet Quality self-publishers to find a top notch POD book publisher and avoid the scam artists with their hidden hooks. Check out our Black Forest Press POD section at www.blackforestpress.com. Allow R.R. Bowker to advertise your book. Check out their Advertising Sales Solutions section for Print Advertising and On line Advertising.
Lastly, there is One-Stop-Shop self-publishing. This type of publishing offers the whole package – the three P’s of publishing: production, printing and promotion. Most publishing except for traditional royalty publishing, where there is publisher’s money to spend on marketing and sales, does not have the money to adequately market your book. Marketing is critical. Without the proper promotion of your book it will not get any exposure or visibility. Most One-Stop-Shop self-publishers should have a solid marketing and promotional program. If they Don’t, then be smart, Don’t publish with them. The top rated One-Stop-Shop self-publishers do all three of the publishing elements well. See www.blackforestpress.com and view the big red block titled Publishing Warning. Read that section slowly and carefully. If publishers will not answer your questions to your satisfaction, or provide the requested information you ask them… then Don’t publish with them! Don’t make a simple decision a disastrous one.
Step Two – Choose the publisher which best suits your needs and pocketbook.
Your initial step is to find the proper method of publishing your book. Then, without jumping the gun or going for that first offer (which you probably think is a great deal) do some research on the Internet to find out who is who, and what publishers do what and for how much. Don’t expect any deals. Remember: you get what you pay for. We Can’t say that enough.
Don’t expect any publisher to invest in your work if you are not willing to invest in your own work – why should they? You are either confident in the publisher you select or you’re not. If you have any second doubts, then Don’t publish with them. Ask the critical questions which pin publishers down to truthful specific answers.
Get all of your publishing work (production, printing and promotion) done with one publisher. Why? Let’s answer that question with a question. Do you always buy your new car in pieces, i.e., the tires from one place, the transmission from another place and so forth? I Don’t think so. So when you are deciding to spend thousands of dollars to publish, do it right – do it all under one roof! If it sounds too good to be true …it is! And save money for advertising. Advertising with R.R. Bowker will be the professionals choice – maximum bang for the buck!!! R.R. Bowker should be your choice for advertising as well, your book will be placed in book ads and other media where the most significant coverage can be done for it. Black Forest Press (BFP) refers to R.R. Bowker as OUR BANK. View R.R. Bowker’s Publishers Homepages.
Finally, Don’t look for guarantees in sales. Nobody has a crystal ball to confirm the number of sales you will get. When selecting a publisher, Don’t let them tell you how well you will do, because they simply Don’t know. Promises for sales are myths. If you are promised good sales, well, a fool is quickly parted with his money, Those are God’s words not ours. When you become involved in the promotional end with your new publisher, you will need money for advertising. Oh, the publisher Didn’t tell you that? Shame, shame, they should have. You probably will not sell to the height of your self-projected expectations without some real concrete advertising. When you think about advertising, please think R.R. Bowker. Become comfortable with using the name Bowker as one and the same as advertising. R.R. Bowker will provide you with almost all of the essential channels you will need for advertising your book. Allow your own publisher to do their promotional part as well. Why not? You probably already paid for it or are contemplating doing so. Check with your publisher and see how many R.R. Bowker avenues for publicity they are using. SEVERAL should be the answer, along with your publisher telling you what they are.
When you choose advertising, you must consider this company R.R. Bowker. Read very carefully the R.R. Bowker Web site’s various sections and become familiar with what you will need in addition to publishing your book, especially during the marketing and promotional phase of your publishing process.
Our next column will deal specifically with the production phase of publishing your book and what you should expect. It is much more than you may realize. It is not a simple edit, proof and spell check, then off to press. So, be ready to take notes! Meanwhile visit the Black Forest Press Web site at www.blackforestpress.com for more answers and thoroughly peruse the R.R. Bowker Web site at www.bookadvertising.net for all their possibilities of marketing your book.
This column is by:
Dahk Knox, Ph.D., Ed.D.
CEO/Publisher, Black Forest Press
Jan Knox, Ph.D.
Black Forest Press
For personal publishing and advertising advice, Dahk and Jan Knox can be reached at: (dknox or jknox)@blackforestpress.com
(800) 451-9404, Ext. 101 (Dahk) or Ext. 102 (Jan) Their Web site is: www.blackforestpress.com