View Full Version : When is a book a reprint and when is it a new book?

10-07-2005, 12:08 AM
I'm not sure if this is the right place to ask this question - please direct me to another section of the forum if it's not :)

I have a dilemma at the moment.

This is about my first book, which has been, quite literally, through the mill. I was advised by one agent that it was too long for an unpublished author (it was about 120,000 words). So I split it into two, and by an evil twist of luck the next publisher I submitted it to happened to be PublishAmerica...

Now, some of the people who read the first book want to read the sequel. I was planning to print it through Lulu, not for distribution but only for the people I know. So I wouldn't bother getting an ISBN number.

But now I'm wondering if this is a good idea.

Because when I regain my rights from PublishAmerica in 5.5 years, I'd like to re-combine books 1 and 2, re-edit the whole thing, and start submitting it again, with a new title and maybe under a pen-name.

I wonder if such a book would be considered a reprint? Would it make a difference if half of it has never been printed or is printed through Lulu?

Cathy C
10-07-2005, 12:52 AM
Hmm. That's a bit of a toughie. Technically, PA is the first publisher, but of only half of the book. So, the plot arc would be substantially different if you combined them, because you probably wouldn't "end" certain things where they presently stop. But most large press publishers really don't consider PA to be a publishing credit. It's about the same as being printed at Kinko's, frankly.

If I were in your position, I would wait out the 5.5 years, and then make substantial changes to the first half before tying them back together. Add a whole new subplot or a secondary character or some such, so that the new publisher has a new book to look at. Don't LIE about part of it going to PA, but stress that it wasn't the complete story that the new publisher is getting. It's about the same as expanding a novella into a novel. It's not the same thing, so most publishers don't mind.

BTW, 120K is NOT too long for a new writer. Our first book was 118K, so don't worry about that part.

Good luck!

10-07-2005, 02:12 PM
Thanks, Cathy, for your excellent advice.

I know PA is no credit, but rather a stain, so I'm hoping to cleanse my name and work of the PA taint one day.

I can certainly change the start of the book, since its main fault is a slow beginning. At the moment, the real adventure only starts in chapter 5. I've also started to plan a few plot changes, especially in book 1. In fact, book 1 (the published one) has many more faults than book 2.

But my more pressing question is whether printing book 2 through Lulu would have any impact on future submissions - bearing in mind that it would only be for friends and relatives, with no ISBN, distribution or promotion. I don't want to again do something that I'll regret later...

You would probably ask why bother printing book 2 through Lulu if I'm worried about it. The reason is that friends and relatives who've read book 1 have asked for the sequel, and I feel bad about leaving a story in suspense. Also, I feel that if I print book 2, then I can forget about it all for the next 5 years.

However, I don't want to abandon this book, or jeopardise its chances any further, because I can't help it - I love the characters and the story. I also think it's quite readable - especially with some more editing and re-writing. So I plan to start the process of submitting it again in 5.5 years' time. It never got a chance in the first round, as PublishAmerica was about the fifth or sixth publisher/agent I submitted it to.

Cathy C
10-07-2005, 06:36 PM
Well, I guess I'd question what your GOAL is for using lulu.com? If all you want to do is print it so your friends have it, I doubt they care much about the format. It would be much easier to simply single space the text and have your local copy center print it double-sided. Most of the copy centers like Office Depot, OfficeMax, Staples, and the like have "tape binding" machines, which is similar to the glue binding used by the POD press, except you can see the tape. It's a heck of a lot cheaper to do it this way, I've found, than to pay for the set up, etc. at a POD printer. You might also look in your phone director for "Printers/Presses" and see if there are any small press companies in your local region. Sometimes, they give a really good deal. I use my local press a lot, since the ARCs on our books don't come out until several months before the actual release. I like to get the book to some reviewers very early, so we have review quotes for the distributor catalogues and for foreign book fairs to sell translation rights. I have the manuscript tape bound with a piece of manila hard backing, a color copy of the cover art and a plastic cover, tape bound, for about $8 each. The reviewers have no problem with this, and I doubt your friends would either. Then there's no question at all.

10-08-2005, 04:09 AM
Wow!!! Thanks heaps, Cathy! That sounds like the way to go for me... I wasn't aware one could do that :)