Ebooks and Print Publishing: How to Choose What is Right for Your Book
With all the publishing options available, writers need to fully understand their goals and needs before deciding on a publish venue and a specific publisher to entrust their literary baby. The Print on demand advancements that have been made in the printing process and desktop publishing have made easier than ever before for authors to be published. However, this new opportunity as also created new predators. Although there are very ethical publishers out there, there are an equal share of those who don't know the definition of the word.
Currently there are two format options: ebook and print books. Ebooks are easier and cheaper to publish. Once a book has been typeset and the cover created, it is converted into a PDF file, which can be sold and download an infinite number of times without additional cost. However, ebooks have been slow to find wide acceptance.
Print books are further broken down into Vanity, traditional, small press and subsidy. Vanity publishing is still the ego stroking of the author. The entire process is paid for by the author; in addition, the author is expected to purchase a set number of books and resell them in order to make a profit. Traditional houses are those publishers that control the whole process. They invest more up front in the books so they are more supportive with the marketing and promotion. The author is still expected to do her or his share; however, they are supported by the publisher’s professional staff. The only difference between the small press and traditional are the size of the company budget. Small presses rely more on the author for the marketing and promotions. They are also more specialized. They target their audience more and usually already have an established target audience. Subsidy publisher are a cross between the small presses and the vanity. The author pays a fee to the publisher who will usually typeset, create a cover and list it with a distributor, but will do little else. The author is totally responsible for the promotions and marketing.
The first question authors must ask themselves is what kind of publishing experience do they seek. Are they targeting a specific group or trying to reach the general reading audience. Technological advancement has made printing a single copy of a book affordable. This same equipment has opened the doors to small publishing houses to offer books that are comparable to the larger houses. No longer to printers have to run larger numbers of copies to make process cost effect, nor to publishers have to warehouse books in order to have the readily available. Many authors want only a traditional publisher are unwilling to look beyond the big name traditional publishers. But in doing so they limit their publishing possibilities. There are hundreds POD available who offer different services at different price ranges and services. However, when there is money to be made there are those who will attempt to take advantage in order to make a cheap profit.
For those who are not seeking to find placement in brick and mortar stores, there are other low cost publishing options. There are publishers who will make your book available in print for little or no cost, but they offer little to no distribution opportunities.
If you intend to buy and resell the books, both companies would serve your purpose. The difference between them is that Lulu provides a limited usage ISBN number, while Cafepress does not. Neither offer discounts off the cover price, but they do give a small discount for bulk purchases.
However if the goal is to sell the book on the open market, you will need to look elsewhere With the number of publishers available rapidly increasing, an author needs to really read the small print of the contract before signing it. It is easier to get into a contract than it is to get out of one.
* read all the small print and ask questions about their service. Know specifically what each party is responsibilities are.
* Make sure that you have legal remedies if they publisher doesn’t fulfill their obligations. There are publishers who not only deliberately misrepresent their services, but also attempt to manipulate the author into paying for services or products they don’t need.
* Research the publisher not only with other authors through online services such as Predators and Editors, but back check their other authors’ work. Are the books available in the stores the publisher claimed and how difficult is it to order the books through stores. Ask for the contact information for their other authors. However, you need to be specific. Don’t let the chose for you. They will naturally only tell you about those who like their work, not the ones with complaints.
* One of the major issues with small publishers has been receiving royalty payments. Make sure you have a way to receive a fair accounting and a payment guarantee. Most distributors have automated systems that will tell how many of a particular ISBN number has been bought through them.
Knowing the criteria use when they choose the books they place on their shelves should also factor into what publisher you choose. Although most bookstore are easily persuaded to list books on their online sites, they are more discriminating when it comes to their brick and mortar stores
* Quality books
* At least 50% discount off cover price
* A good cover price
Writing the book is the easy part of the process; the real work starts after it has been published. Marketing and promotions are the most time, money and energy consuming part of the process. Most traditional marketing methods are expensive.
* Media ads--print and broadcasting
* Book signing tours
* Book shows
* doing interviews in person
What are the marketing strategies that are successful and inexpensive?
* Website--actively promote by listing it on search engines, leave on topic comments on guest books (spamming would only reflect badly on yourself), use free gifts as away to draw traffic, and put a PDF excerpt on your site are only a few examples
* blogs--actively promote using search engine optimization words, listing with blog marketing sites such a Technorati, join blog rolls and write on topic comments on similar blogs (spamming them will only reflect badly on yourself)
* write articles on topic to give credibility
* join groups both on and off line that target your audience
* give lectures in the community
* do interviews both on an off line
* Cold contacting bookstores through fax, email and phone calls
* Networking sites like Myspace
* Burn CD's with excerpts and your bio that bookstores could give away
* Create book trailers promoting your novels for sites like YouTube
* Publish newsletters or ezines that show case your work and/or causes that you are involved with
Valkyrie Publishing was created in professional self-defense. I had been taken advantage of by two publishers that made great promises but who were ethically challenged when it came to paying royalties. I spend hundred of dollars and hours, in publishing and promotional costs only never to be paid for the books that were sold. I couldn't understand why the author is the last to be paid, when it is her or his hard work that is the source of the product. It was this frustration that prompted me to research publishing, book distribution and typesetting. What I learned surprised me. It is not as expensive or difficult as the publishers were making it appear.
The technical aspects, I had been doing for over a year with my free ezine, Messages From the Universe. Since 2003 when my first novel came out, I was actively involved in marketing; in fact, with the publishers I was involved with, I was the only one promoting my work. As I became more involved with online writings groups, not only did I make really good connections, but I also learned how to use new venues that were effective and inexpensive.
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