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Welcome To SORMAG's Blog

Thursday, August 27, 2009

DISCUSSION: Self Publishing Your Book

This panel of self published experts will share their knowledge about self publishing.

Barbara Williams, Sylvia Hubbard, Gloria Mallette, Deborah Copeland, Savannah Frierson, Rachel Berry, Dr. William and Diane Martin.

Stop in and ask them a few questions.

41 comments:

Author, Deborah J. Copeland said...

The Art of Indie-Publishing

By Debbie Copeland

Is self publishing for you? With the shaky economy and thousands of job layoffs it’s becoming harder for writers—especially unknowns—to break into the industry and get signed with the big pubs—the mainstream publishing houses which are dealing with slowing book sales, downsizing, and cutting back on their book lists. With that being said, there are a few crucial things that you should know before you self publish your novel.

Should you chose alternative self-publishing companies, for example, i-universe, authorhouse, xilibris, booksurge, lulu, etc., or should you take total control and publish your novel on your own? Well, like everything in life, there are pros and cons.


Cons

Most alternative self publishing companies do not give you the choice of negotiating a competitive price tag on your book. Instead, they set a very high price tag on your book which is usually $4 to $6 dollar more than what the average book is selling for. How can your debut book stand to compete on the market at such a rate?


Another thing you must consider with using alternative self publishing companies is your royalties. More likely, a percentage of your royalties will be based on the wholesale price, not the retail price. Wholesale price means that the publisher sells your book to a bookstore or online retailer at a discounted rate, generally around 50% of the retail price rather than the full retail price. So if the retail price of your book is $14.95 and it’s discounted by 50%, your royalty payment will be 20% of $7.48, which means you will only make $1.50 per book at that.

If you do decide to self publish with an alternative self publishing company, make sure you read your contract/agreement thoroughly before you sign.

In addition to how your royalties will be paid, make sure you know the difference between exclusive rights and non-exclusive rights. Exclusive rights means that you give or sell the rights to your book to only one publisher which means you can’t publish it any place else, or allow anyone else to publish it.

Conversely, non-exclusive rights means that you retain the rights to your work, and allow whomever you want to publish it. Most alternative publishing companies will have non-exclusive rights; however, you agree to have your book contracted with them for a year or so before you can cancel your agreement. And in some cases, as stated on the contract, you have to buy back all your files, which can cost you a couple hundreds of dollars. Also, some self publishing companies continue to print your book up to a year after you’ve cancelled your contract with them. This can get messy, especially if you’ve acquired a new publisher. By all means, make sure you read your agreement with them before you give them the green light to produce your book.


Pros

On the flip side, there are a few advantages of choosing an alternative self publishing company to promote your book.

•You submit your manuscript via online and they do all the work.
•They supply your book with its unique ISBN.
•They also give you the option of providing the cover art for your book, or they will provide one for you for a fee of course.
•Most alternative publishing companies offer editing services. (*paid by you, the author).

•Also, alternative self publishing companies work closely with distributors, such as, Ingram distribution network and Baker & Taylor, making your title available immediately on online retailers like amazon.com and barnes & noble.com.

Author, Deborah J. Copeland said...

The Art of Indie-Publishing (continued)

On the contrary, you can do all the above yourself without having to deal with the negative consequences of a high price tag on your book set by alternative publishing companies, royalty gripes, and contract agreements that seem to linger even after you’ve cancelled.

You can start your own Indie-Publishing company. I know it may sound like a lot of work. And to some extent it is, but it’s also quite rewarding. Here are the advantages of self publishing your book through you own Indie-publishing company:


•Time is on your side; you can publish your book quickly, whenever you want to without having to wait six months to a year like traditional publication.

•When you self publish your work, you usually keep all rights to your work.

•You set the price of your book.

•You have total control over your cover design.

•No long term contracts. One of the nice advantages about self publishing is that you aren't stuck into long contracts usually. You have the option of taking your book elsewhere if you decide to. You can take your work from self publishing at anytime if you decide later on to try to publish your book going the traditional route.

•You get paid more often from your sales. This is another one of the great things about self publishing is getting paid more often. You can get paid each month instead of quarterly.

•And finally, it’s a great way to get your first novel out there to test the waters so to speak.

Deborah J. Copeland is a native New Yorker from the Boogie Down Bronx. She captures her memories and experiences coming of age in her North Bronx neighborhood in her books, The Kids at Latimar High and Summer Love, Pink Snowballs, and a Splash of Hater-aid. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Library Science from UMA and a MFA in Creative Writing from UCLA.

She currently resides in Southern, California, where she works with troubled-teens and enjoys writing contemporary/Hip Lit fiction for the young adult market. She is currently working on the third book in the Latimar High series,
“4ever and 4always, 4real.”

Bana said...

Hello, everyone,

I am Savannah J. Frierson, a primarily self-published author. I use alternative self-publishing companies that Ms. Copeland mentioned, specifically iUniverse for my debut novel Being Plumville and since then Lulu Press for all of my other self-published works. I've also started using the self-publishing platform to convert my books into Kindle format. I agree with all the pros and cons Ms. Copeland mentioned in her comments, and it's important for those starting to self-publish know exactly what they can handle and learn about the business before they decide one way or the other.

As for me, I chose Lulu especially because I have the level of control with which I am comfortable, and I can provide my books in multiple formats. I also get paid monthly, whereas with iUniverse I only get paid quarterly. It is also an excellent way for an author to learn more about the business side of bookmaking and pricing. I have learned things I probably wouldn't have known had I decided to just solely go the traditional route, and it also gives authors a chance to see books in print that many more traditional publishers are reluctant to publish--not because it is a poorly written story, but maybe the publishers don't see a huge enough market to warrant a deal. There is a reader for every book, so I encourage authors to exercise all options available to them.

For more information about me, you can visit SJF Books and I'll be happy to answer any questions!

bettye griffin said...

This is Bettye Griffin. This year I took the unusual step, at least for an author with 15 published novels and who is still under contract with Dafina, of self-publishing a romance title that I'd tried to sell to Harlequin without success. (In a bit of irony, this book in its finished form came in at 90,469 words, meaning it was long enough to submit to the major publishers of longer romance fiction. Ultimately I decided not to pursue this, out of unwillingness to endure the long submission process.)

I went through CreateSpace, which takes a reasonable cut for copies sold, but does not charge any up-front fees. I did purchase an ISBN number because I published the book under my business name, Bunderful Books. I also used a professional cover designer (author Sean D. Young) and my own in-house editor, who worked on proofreading as well as editorial content, and the three of us created a beautiful product. The money I spent on these vital professional services was well worth it, and the total was much, much less than what the leading POD publishers charge. My book, Save The Best For Last, is sold through Amazon, through my e-store, and also through my website. It is also available for Kindle readers. If Amazon discounts the price, my royalty (paid monthly) is still based on the cover price. CreateSpace gave me a very low minimum price to set based on the number of pages, and I was able to set a competitive price for a 258-page trade paperback. I've been very pleased with the experience.

For more information about Save The Best For Last, visit my website, www.bettyegriffin.com. If you're looking for an editor, you can contact me through my web site and I'll put you in touch with her.

Bana said...

Ms. Griffin,

You sound like a lot of well-established authors out there who are taking matters into their own hands. How is the transition for you? I come from a different place because I started as a self-published author, who then published a short story with an e-publisher, and who is now in talks with a more traditional publisher. I'm sure it helps to have an audience already when you take that self-publishing leap, correct?


Savannah

Rachel Berry said...

Greetings everyone,

I am Rachel Berry and I too am a self-published author. I published my first book of poetry 4 years ago through LuLu Press and really liked the freedom of book design and cover design.

Years previously I completed my first novel and shopped it to traditional publishing houses. While I received some interest I didn't obtain a book deal and after 3 years of querying I decided to self-publish my novel as well.

As the other authors have stated there are both pros and cons of taking on this huge project. I however love it and have learned so much about the book publishing process and have a greater respect for the publishing industry. I always say, "the easy part is writing the book, then the work begins."

Here are just 4 things I feel you should ponder and know before making your publishing decision.

1. Do you really have the time to learn and grow as you go?

With traditional publishing once your manuscript is accepted and you have an editor to work with, you have someone to point out what needs to be polished and how to make your manuscript shine. Most likely you also have time to get back to other writing.

When self-publishing you have to find your own editor, however you have control over what needs to be changed or reconsidered. Working on your book’s creation however can be very time consuming and might not allow time for other projects.

2. In self-publishing you need to do a lot of research and comparison; meaning looking at the form and feel of other books similar to yours or in the same genre for creative ideas. Go to the library, book stores, and book fairs and observe the books.

You'll need to know what you want your book to look like; such as proper font and size that is allowed by the publishing press you choose. Things like the size of your book, page amount, graphics and cover design or just a few of the decisions you'll have to make.

Traditional publishing provides all the above solutions for you and some houses allow you to work with their designers. Some you'll have limited impute.

3. In self-publishing you have to pay out of pocket for the use of their services and or tools. You also have to obtain your own copyright and ISBN.

However, with LuLu press or other print-on-demand services you can print as little or as many copies of your finished book as you need without worrying about inventory. Also at Lulu they supply you with all the needed info on how to obtain your copyright and ISBN. This is info you might not learn otherwise.

My advice is to prepare a budget that includes book, copyright, ISBN and promotional item purchases.

Traditional publishing however provides you with the finished product, review copies, copyright and an ISBN and you don't have to come out of pocket up front.

4. Are you prepared to wear all the hats? Meaning: Until you get people to help you with editing, marketing & advertising, book designing, book promotions etc., you're it.

You'll also have to do research and network with other authors and book clubs etc, to find out about award events, conferences and how to gain book reviews.

However, even with traditional publishing an author still has the responsibility of promoting and selling their book. A good agent however will aid you with setting up book signings, book tours, and giving you to 411 on upcoming book awards and events.

I'll check back in a few hours. If you have any questions please feel free to ask.

To get more info about me and my books, especially how to purchase my novel "Family Pictures" please go to:

http://www.LuLu.com/RachelBerry

http://www.RachelBerry.webs.com

or email me at:
rachelwrites2@yahoo.com

Barbara Joe williams said...

Hello Everyone,

This is Barbara Joe Williams, owner of Amani Publishing, LLC, in Tallahassee, Florida. I'm happy to be a part of the self-publishing panel today. I've been in business for five years. I've published seven books for myself and over twenty books for other aspiring authors. I decided to self-publish my first book as a way to get my name out while trying to find an agent or a traditional publisher. I couldn't understand the contract or the pricing model for the alternative self-publishing companies and decided to start my own business with a one-page contract and reasonable prices. And the one thing to remember is that you're not truly self-published unless you own the ISBN. So publishing with iUniverse is not truly self-publishing and honestly, I don't know why they call it alternative self-publishing. But I'm here today if you'd like to ask me any specific questions regarding self-publishing. I also have a handbook titled, A Writer's Guide to Self-Publishing and Marketing, if you'd like to know more about the process in detail.

Lisa Sachs said...

I have heard much conflicting feedback about the various self-publishers and it's leaving me at a quandary about how to proceed. I would like some more information about Amani Press. For example, what are the upfront fees? Does it include being published on-line? How do the royalties work? It all sounds interesting. Lisa Sachs

Sylvia Hubbard said...

I do love that Deborah chose Indie Publishing and I'm slowly but surely changing a lot of things over to say Independent publishing because that's exactly how to put what we do.

When I entered the field of SElf publishing nine years ago, it was actually by accident.

I was helping a friend out by investigating a new site at the time called: www.xlbris.com. At the time they were giving away for FREE the same author packages they sell now for $1200.

Of course it was an offer too good to be true and I had some manuscripts sitting around that had gotten their share of rejections.

I submitted one: Dreams of Reality.

Two weeks later, they sent me a published paper back 6x9 book.

I think after I fainted the second time from the shock of seeing my work published for the first time, I had to get into the mindset of self publishing.

Nine years later, I can say one thing form all the years of educating and learning about the whole process.

I can give you three tips that accentuate from the above advice from Deborah:

1)Prepare prepare prepare. Although Independent Publishing can give you immediate publishing power, give your self at least three months in advance for reviews and marketing before releasing the book. Even release it in ebook form first before debuting it. Your run time, and pre-sales before release will give you a lot more cash flow once the book is release

2) PRINTING AND DISTRIBUTION a)Be able to order in large bulk from a printer at a discounted rate (meaning your books shouldn't cost you anymore than $3 to 4 dollars with shipping and handling included in your cost. b) But also have international DISTRIBUTION. The largest problem independent publishers have according to various Publisher's Associations and Organizations is Distribution. You want to make sure that your book is not only available online, but also orderable at the bookstore level easy for book store owners as well. Most importantly, please have returnable status on your books because bookstore owners do not want to be stuck with books.

3) Network and Education. Both of these go hand in hand in hand. Getting out there and making yourself known offline and online is highly important. Don't just go to events, conferences and bookselling events just to sell books, but also network and educate yourself about what others have learned from this business. Never stop learning and never stop networking. You're less then three degrees of separation from your literary goal.


BTW, just for the conference, I'm offering a free ebook: Mini Guide to Self Publishing.

Go to:

http://e-junkie.com/hubbooks to download your FREE copy of The Mini Guide to Self Publishing.

Sylvia Hubbard
www.SylviaHubbard.com
www.HubBooks.biz

Sylvia Hubbard said...

@Lisa. I've never heard of Amani Press, but for everyone before you spend a dime on self publishing, I would suggest you get the Bible to Independent Publishing :

The Self Publishing Guide by Dan Poynter.

Tia said...

Hello everyone, this is very informational.

Greetings Barbara

I have a few questions. I'm currently published under Eloquent books. I opened my own company last year because I'm gearing toward my own publishing and other book services.

I did the first step by opening, getting a tax id, and getting a bnk account. What would be my next steps as far as ISBNs, barcodes? How do you partner with stores to get your titles on the shelves? And I am highly confused about this print run business and distribution companies, wholesalers. When you get your books printed what process do you use?

Thank you

Karen C. Brown said...

Hello Everyone,

My name is Karen C. Brown and I am a self-publisher new to the business and so far it's been a hellava ride so far. I mean it has been very fullfilling, especially after getting the finished product in your hands. But there are also some challenges and unknowns that come into play that must be dealt with. I just self-published my first book "If The Tree Could Talk (oh what stories it would tell) and sales are going good and getting great reviwews from those who've read the book. As those on the panel have said, you really do have to wear many, many hats and do your homework when self-publishing and at times, to me it can be overwhelming. My husband is my General Manager who is hanldling the "business" side and of course I'm the writer. But he is getting me indoctrinated on certain business aspects that I need to be aware of and to provide input. We both are learning the business and with online conferences like this one is truly a blessing. During this conference, we've both learned valuable information and look forward to learning more, networking with you BIG DOGS! and enjoying the ride. For more information about me check me out at www.browncopublishing.com.

Blessing, Karen

Author, Deborah J. Copeland said...

Hi, Barbara

I-universe is a supported self publishing company as stated on their website. I-universe produces your book by POD, Print on Demand, and they code your book as Non-Returnable to the bookstores.(*which can cause you problems if you're booking a book signing at Barnes & Noble. Another self-pub topic to know that I teach at my workshops). Anyway, back to the subject...The traditional publishing houses, ie, Harper Collins, Random House, Penguin, Simon & Schuster, etc., DO NOT USE POD.

Another thing to know, to clear up any confusion is: All publishing companies, traditional big pubs, small presses, alternative self publishing companies own the ISBN to your book.

I will be checking back throughout the day during the conference to answer any questions about self publishing. Also, I will be happy to answer any self pub questions per email at:

djcopeland@latimarhigh.com
djcopeland@theteenzone.com

Stop by for a visit:
www.latimarhigh.com
www.whirlaboutpublishers.com
www.theteenzone.net
www.Blogtalkradio.com/theteenzone

Rachel Berry said...

Hi Karen,

it seems you have done your homework and continue to learn the biz. As the other authors have said you have to constantly learn and network. This is one of the beauties of venues like this. We're networking with pro's we might never meet face to face gaining valuable information.

For me self-publishing is the answer with hopes of a traditional contract one day. However, as you know it's a lot of work. But as one of the old time songs go "it's nice work if you can get it, and you can get it if you try."

Much success to you and all my other fellow authors.

Thanks so much for the additional information. You can never learn enough.

Keep the questions and comment s coming!

Bana said...

And to piggyback off Ms. Berry,

As an aspiring author searching for a traditional publishing contract, it is important for them to know you are more than a fantastic query letter and synopsis. They need to know you can see a project to the end. Self-publishing is a great way to present a finished product to them, so if you especially want to use it as a marketing tool, I would suggest the alternative self-publishing sites instead of a full-fledged self-publishing venture. You need to be aware of just how much you want to accomplish and how much you are willing to invest.

Savannah
http://www.sjfbooks.com

Shawneda Marks said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Shawneda Marks said...

I support every indie movement and books are no different. I'm an independent published author I've had my company since 2005 and released two books. I took a pause for the cause and chased the traditional route (without consulting God...bad move) then came back to the last thing He told me which is SC Creations Press. I am releasing my 2nd novel and 3rd book this December and feel way better equipped to do this in glory to Him but wouldn't trade any part of my journey because of where I am now. One day I may teach or give some free ebooks on the subject but I'll stick to observing and helping as I can for now.

Author, Deborah J. Copeland said...

Hi, Tia

Congratulations on starting you own Indie-Publishing company!

You're in for quite a journey, but you will learn so much in the process. Going by experience the first thing I did when launching my own publishing company was to create a business plan, mission statement and all with step by step instructions of what I needed to accomplish. (this will help tremendously)

1) You need to buy a block of isbn's for your books. You can purchase them at the US ISBN Agency. Lots of info and guides on that site so check it out.

http://www.isbn.org/standards/home/index.asp

2) Next, you need a book printer and a cover designer if you don't already have one. I went on google.com and researched book printers and book designers. I decided to go with a book printing company in the same state and close proximity to where I live for the conveniency and also to save money on the cost of shipping. LOL...Yes, indeedy. We're in recession!

*I also discovered this great association that provides a lot of information, including vendors for the Indie publisher, book marketing opportunties, book distribution and more. You can find book printers, designers and distribution companies listed on their site:

http://www.ibpa-online.org/

3) Another great source for Indie-Publishing is the publishing expert John Kremer. He's done exceptionally well in the self-pub biz and has tons of articles and books out. I purchased his Book Marketing 105: Choosing a book distribution system. It has A LOT of options about distribution for your book. Check it out:

http://www.bookmarket.com/distributors.htm

And here's his main site:

http://www.bookmarket.com/

I hope this helps. =)

Minnie Estelle Miller said...

Debbie Copeland, you mentioned publishing with alternative self publishing companies. I see you've mentioned Lulu. I didn't know that. Thought you were talking about vanity presses. My bad.

Yes, I'm aware of the cut back by publishng houses, which is why I'm not even going to go that route, at least not for several years. Ha! I'm interested in e-Publishing as an independent publisher. Can you speak on that? Also what would be considered "camera ready" formatting when going e-Publishing?

One more thing. I want to turn my Amazon Short into a novel and asked them to take my short down. This was their response.

"Thank you for your email regarding Amazon Shorts. I'm sorry but we do not remove Amazon Shorts from the Amazon site. This enables our customers to continue to access Shorts they have already purchased and gives shoppers the widest range of possible choices. The 30 day notice you are alluding to refers to notice which must be given if you publish the Short elsewhere after the six month exclusivity period, which has passed in your case. You are still free to market and publish your book elsewhere online or in print. Thank you again for contacting us."

Am I really free to publish elsewhere without AS tagging alone for the publicity?

bettye griffin said...

Hi Savannah (and please call me Bettye),

Putting a book out on my own really isn't a transition, since I'm still an agented writer under contract with a major publisher and am working hard right now to meet a rapidly approaching deadline. In other words, I'm not planning on making a career out of self-publishing; it was simply a case of a good story I felt deserved to be published, even though it didn't fit the guidelines of the targeted publisher. This book is mainly for the benefit of my readers who have enjoyed my romance novels and have been waiting since 2007 for me to come out with a new one!

That said, yes, it helps tremendously to have an established audience when self-publishing. I essentially put the book out there, told everybody under the sun about it, and am working on my contracted work!

I wish you every success with your negotiations!

Bana said...

Thank you, Ms. Bettye!

I'm glad self-publishing or alternative self-publishing is an avenue even established authors use because I think the opinion of self-published authors is for those who don't have talent, and that's simply not true. I say authors should use all avenues available to them!

Savannah
http://www.sjfbooks.com

Tia said...

Thank you very much Miss Deborah! Extremely helpful.

Rachel Berry said...

Yes Savannah,

I agree with you about how SOME organizations and literary professionals feel about self-published authors. Those considering self-publishing should also know that there are some awards, contests, and associations that don't consider self-published authors for their services and opportunities. However, with research you will find that there are just as many who will; some who are customized just for the independent author & publisher.

With perseverance, professionalism, dignity, and determination (the belief in your product) you can and will overcome any stigma that comes your way.

Recently I came across a very impolite and unprofessional librarian while inquiring about their policy for acquiring new novels. Once she found out I was a self- published author she proceeded to rapidly shoot off a list of things I would need to have and in a tone assuming that I didn’t. I held my composure and when she finished her list I calmly asked, “And to whom ma’am should I forward this information to tomorrow?” She seemed shocked as if she expected me to hang up in defeat. I simply took her attitude as someone in need of customer service skills and a refresher course on professionalism. I will not let anyone detour my course of action.

Bana said...

@ Ms. Berry,

Completely agree with all of that. I was in New England Chapter of RWA and I think I was the only self-published author in the group. I met up with another member who was getting frustrated with the traditional publishing route, and as we spoke, her eyes got wider and wider. She looked at my books and she essentially had all her preconceived notions about the quality of self-published books and the talent of self-published authors shot to death. She now had consideration for an avenue she previously thought was, in a sense, beneath her. Even though I would like a traditional publishing contract because I consider myself a writer first, I am so grateful for the self-publishing route. That route has gotten me places I never even considered and allowed me to meet people I never thought I could!

Savannah

Barbara Joe Williams said...

I've truly enjoyed reading everyone's post and learning more about the self-published authors.

To Lisa: I appreciate your interest in Amani Publishing. If you'd like to know more about my company, you may visit my website at www.amanipublishing.net or email me at amanipublishing@aol.com
and I'll answer your questions or send you a sample contract for your review.

To Tia: You need to apply for a block of (10)ISBNs and an LCCN (Library of Congress Control Number) which will allow libraries to order your book. I used a traditional printer for my first book and signed with Baker & Taylor book distributors, but now I use a Print on Demand (POD) printer for all of my books. The printer also serves as my distributor with major retail and online bookstores.

To Deborah: I understand how iUniverse, Trafford, and other POD publishers operate. I just don't understand how authors who publish with them are called "self-published." Paying someone to publish your book is not truly "self-publishing" because you don't own the ISBN yourself. That's the only point I was trying to make.

Thanks for all of the comments. I look forward to checking in again before the day is over.

Bana said...

@ Ms. Williams,

I think the term self-published is for anyone who has to pay out of pocket in order to publish his or her book--regardless if they own the ISBN or not. If an author doesn't, that is more traditional publishing.

Savannah

Barbara Joe Williams said...

When it comes to publishing, you have three choices: Traditional, nontraditional, or self-publishing.

Traditional publishers include Random House, Simon & Schuster, and Dutton books. They offer advances, pay royalties, and can get your book on the shelves in major bookstores.

Nontraditional publishers include AuthorHouse, iUniverse, Trafford, and Amani Publishing. They don't offer advances. In fact, you pay them publishing fees, and they pay you royalties based on book sales. They can also make your book available for ordering from major bookstores and online stores like Amazon.com, but they can't guarantee shelf placement.

Self-publishing is when you own the copyright and the ISBN for your book. This means that the copyright and ISBN is registered in your name and not the name of the publisher. You also have a business name and license registration number. There are many ways to self-publish and not everyone is going to do it the same way. I read several books on self-publishing before forming my company and publishing a book on writing, self-publishing, and marketing.

Bana said...

With nontraditional publishing, you can own your copyright, just not the ISBN. You have to read the contract to make sure. And with Lulu and I think CreateSpace, you can own the ISBN as well and they act as your printer and help with distribution.

Savannah

Rachel Berry said...

Lulu gives you the option to publish through self or through them. Through them and a distribution package they offer you receive an ISBN. Through self you purchase your own. You also can choose not to use a ISBN if you're going to sell from their website. Lulu also has packages that team now with Amazon and Ebay and offer your book on these sites for 1 year.

Barbara Joe Williams said...

The bottom line is whoever owns the ISBN is the publisher. If you pay a company to "self-publish" your book, they become the publisher on record with BooksInPrint (the database used by most bookstores). If the relationship ends and you want to re-publish the book, the number cannot be transferred to you and the book will be listed as out-of-print. I'm just stressing this fact because I've worked with a lot of new authors who don't understand how the publishing system operates and they just assume that because they're paying someone to publish their book that they're the publisher on record.

Barbara Joe Williams said...

I contacted Lulu before self-publishing my first book. They seemed like a fairly easy compnay to set-up with, but they wanted about $9.00 to print a book which didn't leave much room for profit. So I ended up paying a traditional printer $4.00 a book plus shipping charges. But it seems like they have made some changes, and a lot of authors are going with them now.

Bana said...

@ Ms. Williams,

That's exactly right and new authors need to know that distinction. But they can still publish the book again, they just have to use a new ISBN. And they do own the rights, but authors must read the terms.

bettye griffin said...

Chiming in on the self-publishing debate. As Savannah said, CreateSpace customers like myself can purchase their own ISBN (I did) and use their own business name (I did), using CreateSpace as more of a printer. I did this for the reasons Barbara stated: because I wanted to own the copyright to my work.

Melissa said...

Lots and lots of useful information! Thanks to everyone who contributed. I've learned a lot from the conversations and taken notes as well. I've published through iUniverse before and have looked into Lulu and CreateSpace. Right now, I mainly write short stories so I have some time to make up my mind. Thanks again for all the input!

Author, Deborah J. Copeland said...

Hi, everyone

Allow me to elaborate on what defines self publishing. If you, as an author, have to come OUT OF POCKET and PAY any company--self publishing/nontraditional/alternative, it is in fact Self Publication.

To Barbara:

I understand what you're trying to clarify when you stated that ‘new authors think that just because they PAID a company to publish their book that they are the publisher "ON RECORD." If i-universe, for example, published my book, AND provided my book with an ISBN, then i-universe IS and BECOMES the publisher on record. You are right.

Reading the previous posts, it is now my understanding that some self publishing companies/non-traditional/alternative are flexible in their publishing options and allowing authors to acquire their own ISBN’s. I can see how things can get confusing.

=)

Tia said...

Thank you everyone for your feedback. It was very helpful!

Angela Breidenbach said...

Hi all,

I am currently considering self/independent publishing for a non-fiction book. The standard publishers like the writing, the premise, and I've received great reviews from 20 test readers.

I've used it to teach an online course and plan to do that regularly. It's the first in a series of 3 (minimum.) The standard publishing houses think my niche is too small. I believe they are very, very wrong.

So my questions are for those who will answer:
1. What's your sell through or break even?

2. How many books have sold in X amount of time?

3. Are you making a paycheck from your royalties or commissions?

4. Please share how we can find out more about independent publishing contests.

5. What's the BEST distribution company you've found and why?

6. Does anyone know or work with Terry Whalin and/or his new Intermedia Publishing Group?

7. Best approach to bookstores?

8. Do you stay local or travel to sell your books?

9. Is there a list of costs to prepare for or should I compile what's been written here?

10. Best sales prices that hold well and make a profit?

Thanks SO much!
Angie
http://www.MyGemofWisdom.com

Angela Breidenbach said...

I meant to also say thank you to Sylvia for her ebook and to all the ladies who have shared so many wonderful links.

Another question:
Why do you suppose some of the companies like lulu have a bad name in certain writer groups? I really don't understand.

Angie

Anonymous said...

There are so many indie authors using other means, instead of hard copied books, to promote their work and get published. Is this a good thing and how does one go about starting an online book store/web distribution? Would any of you established authors recommend this for the future of indie authors? I'm interested in tapping into this 'brand' of publishing but find it difficult to find sucessful companies to share the steps of this adventure. Any and all comments would be appreciated and helpful!
Thanks, Sapphyre!

Author, Deborah J. Copeland said...

Hi, Minnie

I'm not a big fan of e-books Mainly because I don't feel that e-books generate as much sales as paperbacks or hardcover books. But, I can be wrong. Chances are they are a lot of successful e-books out there. You may want to do some research on e-books. Search the web. I do know that there are a lot of self publishing companies/non-traditional/alternative that have e-book packages.

I believe the term, camera-ready formatting means converting your file/manuscript to a PDF file. Do you have Adobe Reader on your computer? You may have to upgrade so your Adobe can not only read files but convert your files into a nice PDF doc.

Here's a good book that I recommend that may help you with e-books. I used it mainly for book marketing, but it also deals with e-book publishing.

"How to publish and promote online" by M.J. Rose and Angela Adair-Hoy, ISBN: 0-312-27191-3

Minnie,

I'm sorry you're having problems with Amazon Shorts. Hmmm...something sounds fishy there. I would suggest re-reading your agreement with amazon regarding your work AND sending another email asking them "Why can't you remove YOUR COPYRIGHTED work from their site."

Good luck with that.

By the way, I love your name. I have an aunt named Minnie. =)

Peace & Blessings

Bana said...

To Ms. Breidenbach,

I think publishers like Lulu get a bad wrap because the books are really "what you see is what you get" because most of the time the author does her own cover art, formatting, proofing, etc, and they might not be the strongest at those things. I will say for me, I get the opposite reactions. "Your books look so professional!" *shock* lol, but it shows that if you learn to do certain things or get in touch with people who can, you can put out a product that is on par with the more traditional publishers. That and there are people who charge WAY too much money for their books on Lulu and CreateSpace. I know PoD books will be more expensive than mass market books, but there's a limit to how much people should charge, especially if the page count/quality of the book doesn't warrant such a fee. I do think it is a viable option, though, but the book has to be presented properly.

I hope that was helpful!

Savannah

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