... Pit BullsYou have invested a great deal into your writing: time, ... your heart and soul, maybe even a few tears, and now you’re ... ... even more: your cold hard cash.
Publishing Pit Bulls
You have invested a great deal into your writing: time, attention, your heart and soul, maybe even a few tears, and now you’re considering investing even more: your cold hard cash. Rather than accepting “No” as an answer to your dream of being published, you have decided to publish your book yourself. Before you put your money where your mouth is, be aware there are publishers willing to take your money and offer little in return.
To self publish, you must take on the expense of printing, marketing, distributing and storing of your manuscript. You will be involved in every aspect of the publishing process, which could leave you with very little time for writing. However, you will keep 100% of the profits from your book sales.
You may work with a vanity press, which will print and bind the book for a substantial fee. Vanity presses are not selective, they will publish the work of any one willing to pay, and they do not edit, market, promote or store the books once printed. Some vanity publishers do not require upfront money, but require payment for other “services” such as editing, set up charges, promotional charges, or they may ask authors to buy their own books for resale. While they may call themselves “small press” or “traditional” the fact remains they are a pay for print publisher.
A subsidy publisher will promote their services as a partnership, perhaps offering to absorb some of the publishing costs or provide marketing services. You are still expected to pay a large fee for the cost of publishing, but you do not own the books once printed and you receive only a portion of the profits from book sales. You need to be very careful about using subsidy publishers. The only benefit over vanity press is the promise to market and promote your work. However, they have already made plenty of profit just from printing your work and are likely to forego any marketing to make a few more dollars in book sales. It’s much more profitable to just move on to the next new author desperate to see their name in print. According to Writers Beware (2004) “…it's rare that this financial investment is ever recouped through sales. Vanity/subsidy publishers have no economic incentive to get books into the hands of readers, since they've already made a profit from the author's fees. Despite what they may promise, they won't effectively market or distribute your work. Some vanity/subsidy publishers don't even have arrangements with book wholesalers, making it impossible obtain books except through you or maybe the publisher's website.”
There is also a stigma attached to vanity and subsidy publishers, because they are not discriminate in works they publish. There are also many disreputable firms who “engage in a wide range of unethical or fraudulent practices, including grossly overcharging for their services, reneging on contract obligations, producing shoddy books, failing to print the number of books contracted for, and even providing kickbacks to agents that refer manuscripts to them.” (Writers Beware, 2004)
Many authors are opting to epublish in order to avoid expensive printing, distribution and storage costs. Epublishers may offer royalty payments up to 40% of the sales price and do not require up front fees. However, be wary of hidden charges like formatting charges, cover art or editing fees. Never conduct business with an agent or publisher who requires you purchase services as a condition of representation.
Writers Beware, http://www.sfwa.org/beware/agents.html Unknown Author (2004) Writers Beware. Retrieved March 12, 2004 from www.SFWA.org
Lisa Hood is the author of "Shades of Betrayal" and “Shades of Revenge”. She has been writing for over 10 years and is presently working on her third suspense novel, “Shades of Jealousy.” She is also the Talent Liaison @ BOOKJOBBER.com. Other articles by Lisa Hood can be downloaded from http://www.bookjobber.com/articles.asp or mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org