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View Full Version : POD publishing while looking for a commercial publisher?



MadScientistMatt
06-01-2005, 12:18 AM
This is something I've been wondering about: What are the implications of marketing your book through a POD while looking to get it published with a commercial publisher? Would such a move hurt the book's chances of being accepted or the size of a potential advance? This assumes that the POD in question is one that makes it easy to cancel their contract so the rights for the book would not be tied up. Is this a legitimate way to get a bit of money now while waiting for the big payoff, or something that could hurt chances later?

PVish
06-02-2005, 09:02 PM
What are the implications of marketing your book through a POD while looking to get it published with a commercial publisher? Would such a move hurt the book's chances of being accepted or the size of a potential advance? . . .. Is this a legitimate way to get a bit of money now while waiting for the big payoff, or something that could hurt chances later?

From what I understand from attending a few conferences where this question gets asked to those more knowledgeable than I, your POD book needs to sell about 5,000 copies the first year to prove its saleability. Commercial publishers are attracted to books that sell well. If your book only sold maybe 250 copies its first year, a commercial publisher wouldn't be interested.

From what I understand, Amanda Brown's Legally Blonde was a POD book before Penguin's Plume imprint picked it up.

So, it can be done. Just not very often.

eldragon
06-02-2005, 09:08 PM
I'm seriously considering it myself.


I'll show them!

MadScientistMatt
06-02-2005, 11:44 PM
Thanks. PVish, it seems like it would probably be easier to avoid self-publishing it before picking up a commercial publisher.

Cathy C
06-09-2005, 03:01 AM
This is something I've been wondering about: What are the implications of marketing your book through a POD while looking to get it published with a commercial publisher? Would such a move hurt the book's chances of being accepted or the size of a potential advance? This assumes that the POD in question is one that makes it easy to cancel their contract so the rights for the book would not be tied up. Is this a legitimate way to get a bit of money now while waiting for the big payoff, or something that could hurt chances later?

Okay, I'm probably going to have people scream and yell at me for this, but the truth is that commercial publishers consider most POD publishers to be nothing more than printers. It has about the same impact as running your manuscript down to Kinkos. Sure, if you print and sell 5,000 of the book to unique buyers for a reasonable price (not $1, obviously) then a publisher will take notice. But there's no negative implication to POD printing, so long as -- and you said the magic words -- you can get back the rights at the drop of a hat. That's trickier than it sounds. Most of the POD "publishers" will tie you up for 5-7 YEARS, so read your contract carefully if you decide to go that route. You might be better served going with a self-publisher, which truly IS a printer (offset or digital), and you get to keep all of your rights, but you will also do all of the work.

Hope that helps!

EllenG
06-17-2005, 07:41 PM
Just my 2 cents. I wrote a post yesterday in the Bewares section, about Heliographica Press. I went with them last September because my novel didn't fit a genre and wouoldn't appeal to a wide audience. It was a paranormal romance novel but had other elements.
Anyway, Heliographica is selling my book and I have seen no $. I plan to take back my rights when my contract is up in Sept. of '06. By then I hope to have another novel ready- a more convnetional romance novel- and I hope to publish it with a legit publisher. If I do, I am wondering if then, the legit publsiher would take a look at my first book if they liked my other one?
Please feel fre to email me if you have any comments.
Ellen Esmollin@aol.com

maestrowork
06-17-2005, 08:22 PM
Still, if you have POD book, I don't think you can sell the First NA rights anymore, which is what commercial publishers want. Am I right? I think you can sell other rights, including reprints, but not first NA.

Lauri B
06-17-2005, 08:27 PM
Okay, I'm probably going to have people scream and yell at me for this, but the truth is that commercial publishers consider most POD publishers to be nothing more than printers. It has about the same impact as running your manuscript down to Kinkos. Sure, if you print and sell 5,000 of the book to unique buyers for a reasonable price (not $1, obviously) then a publisher will take notice. But there's no negative implication to POD printing, so long as -- and you said the magic words -- you can get back the rights at the drop of a hat. That's trickier than it sounds. Most of the POD "publishers" will tie you up for 5-7 YEARS, so read your contract carefully if you decide to go that route. You might be better served going with a self-publisher, which truly IS a printer (offset or digital), and you get to keep all of your rights, but you will also do all of the work.

Hope that helps!

This is just one small publisher's opinion and experience, but I am very wary of taking on any self-published or previously published books.

A few years ago we picked up one previously self-published book that had sold about 3,000 copies. We figured it was worth repackaging, editing, etc. It completely tanked--the book was good, but since the author had already tried to promote it, had sold it on Amazon, and had sold as many copies as he could to as many people as he could already, we couldn't get reviews even though we renamed it and put it under our ISBN--the editors at the mags had already seen it in its previous incarnation--and the sales just weren't there. We found that for this particular book, 3,000 copies was about the number that it was going to sell, no matter what we did with it. So it was a hard lesson for us to learn, and I would think two or three times before I'll pick up another self-published book and launch it under our own imprint again.

Cathy C
06-17-2005, 09:09 PM
Nomad said: So it was a hard lesson for us to learn, and I would think two or three times before I'll pick up another self-published book and launch it under our own imprint again.


Hmm. This is a point I hadn't considered, Nomad. It hadn't occurred to me that self-publishing might well flood the market to the point that there would BE no more readers. Definitely worth consideration and I might change my opinion that POD has no impact at all. Thanks!


EllenG said: It was a paranormal romance novel but had other elements.

Man, EllenG! I would be amazed if you couldn't find a home for a paranormal romance in today's market, REGARDLESS of the "other elements." This is the hottest genre in romance today. You definitely want to get the rights back as soon as you can and try to find an agent for it.

EllenG
06-18-2005, 03:18 AM
Man, EllenG! I would be amazed if you couldn't find a home for a paranormal romance in today's market, REGARDLESS of the "other elements." This is the hottest genre in romance today. You definitely want to get the rights back as soon as you can and try to find an agent for it.[/QUOTE]

Thank you! Maybe it really isn't a paranormal romance. Is there someone who might be willing to look at the blurb for my book online and offer an opinion? (The SIlver Wheel- its on Amazon.com.) Yes, it is definitely a love story between a man and woman, that involves reincarnation. But the story is told msotly from the man's POV. Is that allowed in a romance novel, or must it be from the woman's POV? Ellen Esmollin@aol.com

brinkett
06-18-2005, 04:08 AM
So it was a hard lesson for us to learn, and I would think two or three times before I'll pick up another self-published book and launch it under our own imprint again.
I'd think it would depend on how much marketing the author had already done and how saturated you think the market is for their book. I read a few interviews recently about publishers picking up POD books (which aren't self-published unless the author holds the ISBN--a comment not for you, because I know you know that, but for people who keep talking about self-publishing their book through POD but aren't providing the ISBN). All of them said that for non-fiction, if a book has already sold a fair number of copies, they'd think twice about picking it up because the book may have already run its course. But if they didn't think the book had run its course and the signs were that it was being well received, they'd want it.



Still, if you have POD book, I don't think you can sell the First NA rights anymore, which is what commercial publishers want. Am I right? I think you can sell other rights, including reprints, but not first NA.

Some POD books have been picked up by commercial publishers, but I don't know the details of what rights were sold.

Cathy C
06-18-2005, 04:12 AM
by EllenG: But the story is told msotly from the man's POV. Is that allowed in a romance novel, or must it be from the woman's POV?

LOL! Apparently you haven't read several recent paranormals, including mine and Linda Howard's latest! Our December, 04 release, HUNTER'S MOON, is told from the male POV, in FIRST PERSON! AND he's a Mafia assassin who doesn't "redeem" (i.e., he remains the same person at the end as the beginning.) The sequel will be out in August, and it's ALSO first person male (same anti-hero).

Sure, the trick, though, will be waiting another year to try to sell it, because the market is shifting. You might see if there's a clause where you can buy out your contract if you can get another offer. That's what we did, because ours was with an e-publisher when we sold to Tor.

Good luck!

maestrowork
06-18-2005, 04:40 AM
My book is not paranormal romance (it's borderline romance... not quite), but it's told from a male's POV, first person in PRESENT TENSE. ;) It will be out in November.

Lauri B
06-21-2005, 02:59 AM
My book is not paranormal romance (it's borderline romance... not quite), but it's told from a male's POV, first person in PRESENT TENSE. ;) It will be out in November.

I definitely want a copy of this, Ray.