Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Paying money to get published is still a dicey idea...five things to keep in mind

I think though the self-publishing trend has been revived due to Kindle and electronic publishing, it still stands as a good adage that the money should flow toward the author. Although Kindle may be considered self-publishing, it does not cost to publish on Kindle, and even Amazon’s Create Space for print titles is moderate (I think $35 for a package that lists you with Baker and Taylor and the major distributors.)

In addition, many print-on-demand publishers take a percentage of what is sold (unless you opt to purchase marketing services…which is a whole other ball of wax. ) For the record, I would be hesitant to pay for marketing services unless said organization has a proven track record of ROI (that is “return on investment.”)

You don’t need me to “mother hen” you, but here’s five things you should always consider when sending your book out in the world:

1. Track record of the publisher. Go to Preditors and Editors --- a VERY useful “buyer beware” website.

2. Can you do this yourself? Seriously. How is this publisher different from a print on demand publisher that won’t charge you an upfront fee?

3. Charges for cover art and editing? Well, you SHOULD get your work professionally proofread. That’s a given. But you may be able to find reputable freelancers who will do this (if you don’t, e-mail me and I’ll leave you the names of some I’ve worked with in the past). Cover art? Just like everyone thinks he/she can write, everyone also thinks he/she is an artist. Unless you have a background in graphic design maybe it’s best to leave it to the pros. JA Konrath’s blog has listed some of his cover artists. I can also forward the names of reputable freelancers I have dealt with in the past. Ask yourself if it’s more economical to hire a freelancer. You want your book to be professional.

4. I’m counting #3 as two items because, well, I’m just that lazy.

5. DISTRIBUTION. I’ll say that again. DISTRIBUTION. How do they plan to get this book out and into the world? Just putting it on their website (as opposed to Barnes and Noble, Amazon, etc. and Kindle among others) doesn’t cut it.

Any thoughts?


Jose Antonio said...

True enough. You have raised valid points here particularly about hiring a professional editor/proofreader and designer. I think what an author must concentrate on is the writing part and delivering great content since it is his/her competency.

Dawn Wilson said...

I could not agree more.
And I think that there are a lot of "win-win" situations. For example, the St. Jude cover on this webpage was actually done by a graphic design college student. He charged me less than he could have, in exchange for extolling his virtues (sadly, though, he did change majors to science/math. But probably best considering the job climate in the States).

BTW-- I am bad about typos--I admit it. That's why I 1) have someone look after it after me 2) sleep on it for a while and 3) read it backwards (two and three are mainly if I have a deadline or something.)

I've been told that there are writers who can proofread their own stuff. I look at them the same way I look at the Great Wall of China: I've heard it exists, I'm sure it exists, I've seen pictures of it, but I have personally no firsthand evidence of it.

Thanks for the comment!