PDA

View Full Version : Subsidizing your own book?



acjohnson
09-22-2011, 07:14 PM
I apologize for somewhat changing the course of discussion. I'm wondering whether it would be a good idea to approach certain publishers with the proposal to finance your own book. I'm not talking about self-publishing, but rather go to a small/medium publisher and say that you are ready to pay the 10K necessary for the project (I think I read this estimation recently somewhere). This way you would benefit from their expertize to market and distribute the novel. Of course, the publisher would obviously have to like the book, but they wouldn't risk much.
We have no problems investing in a venture or another; then how about financially backing up something we have already invested years of efforts on?
Would welcome your opinions on this!

Anne Lyle
09-22-2011, 07:45 PM
I apologize for somewhat changing the course of discussion. I'm wondering whether it would be a good idea to approach certain publishers with the proposal to finance your own book. I'm not talking about self-publishing, but rather go to a small/medium publisher and say that you are ready to pay the 10K necessary for the project (I think I read this estimation recently somewhere). This way you would benefit from their expertize to market and distribute the novel. Of course, the publisher would obviously have to like the book, but they wouldn't risk much.
We have no problems investing in a venture or another; then how about financially backing up something we have already invested years of efforts on?
Would welcome your opinions on this!

No - a commercial publisher is very unlikely to welcome this kind of proposal, it's just not the way they work. The author putting money into the project would make the publisher look like a vanity press, which is not good for their reputation.

If you have money to invest, find a good book packager - they are set up to provide services for money.

Also, this kind of question should be a new thread in "Ask the Editor" or similar. Hopefully a moderator will come and split it off - I suggest not replying until this is done :)

shaldna
09-22-2011, 08:47 PM
I apologize for somewhat changing the course of discussion. I'm wondering whether it would be a good idea to approach certain publishers with the proposal to finance your own book. I'm not talking about self-publishing, but rather go to a small/medium publisher and say that you are ready to pay the 10K necessary for the project (I think I read this estimation recently somewhere). This way you would benefit from their expertize to market and distribute the novel. Of course, the publisher would obviously have to like the book, but they wouldn't risk much.
We have no problems investing in a venture or another; then how about financially backing up something we have already invested years of efforts on?
Would welcome your opinions on this!


I would back up what Anne said, also, it would raise a lot of other issues, such as:

1. Authors who pay for publishing usually want full control, but they don't always know what is best in terms of covers etc.

2. If the book is crap then that reflects badly on the publisher.

3. Why would you want to spend that money. if the book is good enough to be in print in the first place then a publisher somewhere will be willing to put their own money behind it.

BradCarsten
09-22-2011, 09:05 PM
I apologize for somewhat changing the course of discussion. I'm wondering whether it would be a good idea to approach certain publishers with the proposal to finance your own book. I'm not talking about self-publishing, but rather go to a small/medium publisher and say that you are ready to pay the 10K necessary for the project (I think I read this estimation recently somewhere). This way you would benefit from their expertize to market and distribute the novel. Of course, the publisher would obviously have to like the book, but they wouldn't risk much.
We have no problems investing in a venture or another; then how about financially backing up something we have already invested years of efforts on?
Would welcome your opinions on this!

interesting enough I was reading about this very thing in Harry Bingham's excellent book on getting published (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Writers-Artists-Yearbook-Getting-Published/dp/1408128950/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1316710451&sr=8-1).

He mentions companies like Metador and Amolibros that are a kind of hybrid between your traditional and your self publishers.
where most self publishers print your books then wave goodbye, they will actively promote your work after they have printed it. But because of this they wont just take on anyone.

Also goes without saying, that should you choose to go this route, you would have to do your homework- I can imagine there'll be a lot of scamsters lurking about, waiting to take your money.

Anne Lyle
09-22-2011, 09:36 PM
He mentions companies like Metador and Amolibros that are a kind of hybrid between your traditional and your self publishers.
where most self publishers print your books then wave goodbye, they will actively promote your work after they have printed it. But because of this they wont just take on anyone.

Exactly - they are a very specific type of company who work on this model only. But you're not going to get a regular publisher to follow suit - they'll take one look at your proposal letter and write you off as a clueless amateur.

IceCreamEmpress
09-23-2011, 03:20 AM
What would be the advantage to them in putting their resources to work for your book than for one they thought was a good bet to be a potentially bigger seller? The thing about trade publishing is that the cost of the bad guesses is built into the pricing/advance/royalty model already.

Becky Black
09-26-2011, 05:14 PM
Since he who pays the piper calls the tune the publisher would be wary of the fact that you, the investor, would want more say in the things they normally have control of when they're just dealing with you the author.

Anyway, if the publisher took on a book with an extra sweetner like that, wouldn't there always be a question over the book about whether it's genuinely good enough, or if they only accepted because they happened to need some cash right now?

A reputable publisher who didn't want to be labelled as a vanity publisher wouldn't do this. Look how quickly stories spread on the internet, usually in half-true forms. You mention someplace that you paid $10k to Publisher X, it gets around, and other people researching publishers are instantly wary of them and assume they're a vanity publisher or full on scam. The reputational damage it worth a lot more than the $10k.

veinglory
09-26-2011, 06:13 PM
I think what would be more attractive is if you said you were willing to invest in the promotion of the book once it was published.

Jamesaritchie
09-26-2011, 07:24 PM
A real commercial publisher simply will not do this. It would kill them as a legitimate, commercial publisher.

Writers try all sorts of things to get published. You wouldn't believe how many writers who submit short stories offer them for free, if only the editor will publish them.

There is no trick to getting published. If you write a book the publisher thinks is publishable, they buy it. If you can't write a book a publisher thinks is publishable, they reject it. It's really just this simple.

Old Hack
09-26-2011, 08:01 PM
Reputable publishers used to do this. But I've not heard of it happening for a couple of decades, and if I were you I wouldn't try it. There are other, better ways to proceed.

Jamesaritchie
09-28-2011, 01:28 AM
Reputable publishers used to do this. But I've not heard of it happening for a couple of decades, and if I were you I wouldn't try it. There are other, better ways to proceed.

Depnds on what you mean by "reputable". Some publishers used to do this, but they did it for all writers, and were basically "You pay half, and we pay half" subsidy publishers.

A few are still around, but it's a poor way to go.

IceCreamEmpress
09-28-2011, 02:19 AM
There are some academic presses that accept subventions from the institution where the author teaches. Subventions for things like illustrations or accompanying CDs are also not unusual at many other academic presses that don't normally work on a subvention basis.

That said, academic presses generally know roughly what the size of the audience for each book will be, so they're operating on a different model than other small presses.

Again, a small press that published a subsidized book that it wouldn't otherwise have taken a chance on would be wasting one of the niches in its list that could be offered to a potential best seller, so it's not necessarily an attractive model, even apart from the potential hit to its reputation.

djf881
09-28-2011, 06:51 AM
interesting enough I was reading about this very thing in Harry Bingham's excellent book on getting published (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Writers-Artists-Yearbook-Getting-Published/dp/1408128950/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1316710451&sr=8-1).

He mentions companies like Metador and Amolibros that are a kind of hybrid between your traditional and your self publishers.
where most self publishers print your books then wave goodbye, they will actively promote your work after they have printed it. But because of this they wont just take on anyone.

Also goes without saying, that should you choose to go this route, you would have to do your homework- I can imagine there'll be a lot of scamsters lurking about, waiting to take your money.

How many books have you read that were published by Metador or Amolibros? Because I have read zero.

Old Hack
09-28-2011, 10:06 AM
Depnds on what you mean by "reputable". Some publishers used to do this, but they did it for all writers, and were basically "You pay half, and we pay half" subsidy publishers.

A few are still around, but it's a poor way to go.

No, James, you're wrong.

Some very good publishers used to do this.

I read a publishing biography a couple of years ago, which discussed some of the big names in publishing and in that book it discussed how some of those big names worked in this way very occasionally. I'll see if I can dig up a proper reference for you.

blacbird
09-28-2011, 10:42 AM
If a publisher accepts your manuscript, they accept it because they think they can sell it. If they won't accept it, it's because they don't think they can sell it. No amount of "subsidizing" will change the latter decision. It's a non-starter.

If you want to spend money subsidizing "publication" of your work, you are already wandering in the swamp of self-publication. Best of luck with that.

caw

Anne Lyle
09-28-2011, 05:02 PM
An article about real "subsidy publishers" - basically vanity presses:

http://www.thebookdesigner.com/2011/05/subsidy-publishing-proceed-with-caution/