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Wolf
07-07-2006, 10:19 AM
As a new author I am still unfamiliar with the whole publishing game. I have started to research POD and was wondering what the opinions of the authors on this forum are when considering this type of publishing.

The POD publisher I have talked to charges nothing for editing or art work and only charges when you receive an actual order from people that want to buy your book.

The main difficulty I see is that I would be responsible for the bulk of the marketing.

So with this in mind what do you folks think?

citymouse
07-07-2006, 04:04 PM
[quote=Wolf]

The main difficulty I see is that I would be responsible for the bulk of the marketing.

Wolf, No matter which POD outfit you go with (assuming you do) the bulk of the marketing will fall to you. Some companies offer a "Marketing Kit" option for additional $$ but there's nothing in it that you can't find on the web for free. Some companies offer placing ads for you in big publications and they charge big money for that.
I have two POD books out. One is with iUniverse and one is with Author House.
Also be aware that 90% of POD books are sold via on-line catalogs like Amazon.com. Because of the short discounts POD companies offer brick and mortar stores like Borders, these stores don't/won't carry them.
If you can be happy with on-line sales alone then POD may be the way to go.
One thing more, so pay attention. Make absolutely sure that the final galley you submit to any POD company is as perfect as you can get it. That means having at least 4 beta readers (six is better) looking at your finished ms.

Good luck

Tilly
07-07-2006, 05:00 PM
Wolf, I'd suggest you research commercial publishing very thoroughly as well before opting for POD. Many books simply aren't suited to that kind of publication, and looking at all your options is the best way to make an informed decision.

This link might be a good place to start:
http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=20586

Good luck with whatever you decide to do :)

Ralyks
07-07-2006, 09:19 PM
What POD company charges nothing for editing and only charges when a book is printed? I know Lulu only charges when a book is printed, but I am wondering what company provides free editing services.

Tilly
07-07-2006, 10:01 PM
If it's Publish America, that ain't editing they do.

And if it's Publish America, go to this thread, then run away from them very fast:
http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=10211

Wolf
07-07-2006, 10:03 PM
What POD company charges nothing for editing and only charges when a book is printed? I know Lulu only charges when a book is printed, but I am wondering what company provides free editing services.

Octavia & Co. Press

www.octaviapress.com

Tilly
07-07-2006, 10:48 PM
If they're not charging until the book is published, do you know what their typical POD cover price is?

veinglory
07-07-2006, 10:52 PM
Marketing is not the issue IMHO, distribution is. The issue with self-POD is that the lack of deep discount and retruns means bookstores will not stock them. So you can amrket you heart out but unless you sell door to door you depend on people seeking the book out and ordering it online--

james1611
07-07-2006, 11:53 PM
Wolf,

All POD is not self published and all self published is not POD.

many small publishers and some medium sized if I'm not mistaken still use print-on-demand technology to print their books. It is cost effective for the publisher who may not want to invest large sums in print runs, only to have many returned.

Also, as Veinglory said...one big issue is returns. If a book is not returnable to the publisher by the bookstore if unsold, then usually they will not stock them on their shelves--one exception being those few that will allow consignment sales. But then you or the publisher must purchase the books and place them in the bookstore as per an agreement.

In my own research into self publishing I noticed that really none of the vanity presses (those that charge you to publish your book) do editing without charging you for the service. And many will charge outrageous fees for setup, when you could just go to LULU.com and avoid those useless fees. However you will be responsible for book cover design and any editing and formating before submitting it for printing to LULU.com...still its cheap in comparison and they do a nice job, plus the site is very easy to use and navigate through.


But you should continue to look for a publisher of whatever size first. This removes all the cost from you, but there are levels of distribution and marketing depending on the size or ability of various publishers.

--James

Dave Sloane
07-13-2006, 09:49 AM
If you're the kind of person who doesn't mind spending countless hours
agent hunting then try getting a commercial mainstream publisher.
It's too bad that authors have to deal with agents--it would be much
better if we could simply submit to publishers, but since few will review
unagented work there seems to be no other way but the agent route.
Look at it this way--if you go POD you can always go traditional later
if you can find an agent, then a publisher who will pick up your book.
And, don't forget, if you go POD you'll have an actual, tangible book
out there. While others spend months and years garnering rejection
letters, you'll be selling books (probably very few, but you will sell some).
And, you will be able to call yourself an author, no matter how much some
people like to put down POD.

Bufty
07-13-2006, 06:11 PM
I think that is dreadful advice.

Yes, you'll have a book out there, Neil. But that's about all. If you have written a book which you genuinely wish to be available for readers to flip through in nationwide bookstores and purchase, self-publishing (which may involve POD) is not the answer.

And if you think you can then hold up your book as proof of your writing ability and as a key into a future Agent or Publisher's door, think again. With a self-published book you are the sole arbiter of its quality and readiness for publication. It neither confirms nor denies that you have writing ability nor that your work is saleable or of a publishable standard.

If your book is in a non-fiction slot try an Agent who deals in that type of non-fiction. If you have spent years mastering the craft and the Agent thinks your book is well-written and will fill a market need, he will take it. If he doesn't he will reject it.

Your choice is to keep learning the craft to become a better writer and write another book, or repeat the submission process until you either find an Agent or give up. Writing is a craft and it can take years to master.

If having your book physically on shelves in bookshops is not your aim, then POD/self-publishing is an option. But the marketing and distribution will be all up to you and high sales are not the norm with these books.

Good luck.
(And if my advice is no better, I am sure I shall be corrected)





If you're the kind of person who doesn't mind spending countless hours
agent hunting then try getting a commercial mainstream publisher.
It's too bad that authors have to deal with agents--it would be much
better if we could simply submit to publishers, but since few will review
unagented work there seems to be no other way but the agent route.
Look at it this way--if you go POD you can always go traditional later
if you can find an agent, then a publisher who will pick up your book.
And, don't forget, if you go POD you'll have an actual, tangible book
out there. While others spend months and years garnering rejection
letters, you'll be selling books (probably very few, but you will sell some).
And, you will be able to call yourself an author, no matter how much some
people like to put down POD.

Dave Sloane
07-14-2006, 09:15 AM
This member asked for opinions and I take offense at you putting down my
opinion, Bufty. An opinion is an opinion. Agents aren't gods and anyone can call himself an agent and get listed somewhere.
Too damn bad if you don't like my opinion. Advising someone to quit if they
can't find an agent sucks like you say, sucks, as does your superior attitude.

Popeyesays
07-14-2006, 10:04 AM
This member asked for opinions and I take offense at you putting down my
opinion, Bufty. An opinion is an opinion. Agents aren't gods and anyone can call himself an agent and get listed somewhere.
Too damn bad if you don't like my opinion. Advising someone to quit if they
can't find an agent sucks like you say, sucks, as does your superior attitude.

Putting a book out there is pretty worthless if it never gets distribution. Writing is kind of like sex. Masturbation may scratch the itch for a few minutes, but it's essentially a lonely process. Much better to write and see people actually CHOOSE your book above something else because they can weigh the merits browsing the shelves in their local bookstore.

Regards,
Scott

Charter Member and past president of the Sam Vargo "Whiner's Club" at Circle Literary Agency, Clearwater, Florida.

Bufty
07-14-2006, 01:42 PM
I simply gave my opinion, too -that's all. And I stand by it. And I didn't advise anyone to quit if they couldn't find an Agent.
It's not my problem if you take offense simply because someone expresses disagreement with yours.
On reflection, I perhaps shouldn't have personalised ny response, so for that I apologise and I have edited your name from my first sentence.


This member asked for opinions and I take offense at you putting down my opinion, Bufty. An opinion is an opinion. Agents aren't gods and anyone can call himself an agent and get listed somewhere.
Too damn bad if you don't like my opinion. Advising someone to quit if they
can't find an agent sucks like you say, sucks, as does your superior attitude.

Popeyesays
07-15-2006, 01:06 AM
Begin Rant: :Soapbox:

The whole problem seems to boil down to this: Is the whole publication process an adversarial relationship. Is the author out to pound the industry until it lies in defeat and can do nothing but say, "Okay, you've got a publishable book"?

I do not think it is adversarial at all. To the contrary it is very cooperative.
Sure, you may write the book in pure privacy and personal angst, but the attitude has got to change when you try to market it.

Trying to find an agent is not a sparring match. You are looking for someone who actually believes in your work to assist you to make it more attractive for a publisher to believe in your work. Then you and the publisher's editors work COOPERATIVELY to make it as big a success as possible.

In this way it is more like theater than painting or sculpture. The playwright cannot stand alone. He can only exist as he is perceived through the medium of director, actors, designers, publicists, technical experts. It is not done alone.

The artist looks for just one person to BUY. The writer does not have that freedom, he has to write for as many as possible to BUY.

If one looks at the publishers, the agents, and God forbid - the readers as adversaries, one is just doomed.

Angst is not demanded by art. It is actually a BIG roadblock.


Regards,
Scott

End Rant- :Shrug:

veinglory
07-15-2006, 01:14 AM
Dave, your advice just isn't very helpful IMHO. Most publishers *will not* consider a previously self-published manuscript and most publishers *do* accept unagented manuscripts via a query letter and solicitation process.

ResearchGuy
07-15-2006, 06:50 AM
What POD company charges nothing for editing and only charges when a book is printed? I know Lulu only charges when a book is printed, but I am wondering what company provides free editing services.
Editing is a laborious and time-consuming process (labor and time varying widely, of course, depending on the state of the manuscript in question). No publisher could afford simply to give away such services. Either the publisher sees a suitable profit potential in the manuscript (enough to justify the investment -- a commercial publisher who has contracted with the author) or it charges a fee for service (enough to defray costs or provide a profit -- a subsidy publisher). One notorious subsidy POD publisher adds the fee on by jacking up the list price of the book and wheedling the author into buying in bulk, having provided superficial, and often very bad, "editing" mostly limited to spell-checking, and often inserting errors in the process. That publisher plays the odds that on average its authors will buy fifty to one hundred copies for resale.

BTW, I am not unsympathetic to Dave Sloane's views, having recently observed what I consider double-dealing (bait and switch) by an agent. If one can live with the severe limitations of subsidy POD publishing or the expenses and challenges of self-publishing, and understands how either fits with one's purposes, then fine. (Old-style vanity publishing, think Vantage or Dorrance, is horribly expensive and an assured disaster to any but the well-off clueless, and to be completely avoided.) Some folks make a business of self-publishing and do it well -- but they are business people first and foremost, and their business is publishing their own books. (I know people who make their living as self-publishers.) Some folks have found subsidy POD suited to their purposes and goals -- but their goals were appropriately modest (local or regional, niche). I have also seen some who were terribly disappointed at the lack of sales and lack of recognition.

By the way -- I am acquainted with a man who self-published a nonfiction book, did pretty well with it, got it noticed by a major publisher, and is having a new (larger) book published by that royalty-paying commercial publisher. He is thrilled that the publisher handles the graphics, editing, distribution, marketing. In his case, his self-published book (on a niche topic, but one with a pretty large niche), led to his commercial publishing contract.

I am also well acquainted with a local author who published a nonfiction book via one of the better subsidy POD publishers and whose next nonfiction book is being published by a major commercial publisher. The POD route for the first book clearly did not diminish opportunity, and might have enhanced it.

Personal observations and opinions, FWIW.

--Ken

ResearchGuy
07-15-2006, 07:14 AM
...Trying to find an agent is not a sparring match. You are looking for someone who actually believes in your work to assist you to make it more attractive for a publisher to believe in your work. Then you and the publisher's editors work COOPERATIVELY to make it as big a success as possible....
You apparently have had better luck with agents than I have had the misfortune to observe in connection with a writer friend of mine. The agent said one thing to entice the author to sign the agreement, and then turned around and demanded that the author pay a high fee to a third party to rewrite the manuscript--the one the agent professed to love--into a completely different one, with an angle the author specifically did NOT intend and did not want. The author rejected that demand. (The manuscript in question is an outstanding piece of work, praised by writers of national prominence as well as by everday readers with whom, in cooperation with the author, I have shared the manuscript for review and comment.)

--Ken

Popeyesays
07-15-2006, 07:21 AM
You apparently have had better luck with agents than I have had the misfortune to observe in connection with a writer friend of mine. The agent said one thing to entice the author to sign the agreement, and then turned around and demanded that the author pay a high fee to a third party to rewrite the manuscript--the one the agent professed to love--into a completely different one, with an angle the author specifically did NOT intend and did not want. The author rejected that demand. (The manuscript in question is an outstanding piece of work, praised by writers of national prominence as well as by everday readers with whom, in cooperation with the author, I have shared the manuscript for review and comment.)

--Ken

Check out Bewares and read How to Avoid Scams.

Your friend met one of the many scam agents who live off kickbacks from editors, who usually aren't very good anyway.

You can check agents out at Agent Query, at Preditors and Editors, and here in the Bewares section.

Your friend did not have an honest agent. Honest agents make their fees by selling your book not bait and switching you to a kickback editor or charge fees in advance. If you a fee in advance you can be sure it's a scam.

Regards,
Scott

ResearchGuy
07-15-2006, 07:37 AM
Check out Bewares and read How to Avoid Scams.
...Your friend did not have an honest agent. Honest agents make their fees by selling your book not bait and switching you to a kickback editor or charge fees in advance. If you a fee in advance you can be sure it's a scam....
The agent in question has legitimate clients and does not charge fees. I would not go so far as to describe the agent as "dishonest" -- but "disingenuous" might fit. (And the referral to an expensive editor was worrisome, especially after the praise the agent had heaped on the manuscript originally. But I have no evidence of an expected kickback, and would not wish to imply such an arrangement.) It has been very puzzling. The agent fooled me when we all met to discuss the manuscript and potential representation (my role is as the author's friend and advocate, as well as pro bono copy editor and formatter). I thought that only mechanics of author's bio, refining proposal letter, and printing some copies of the first hundred pages to go to prospective publishers were on tap, not a slashing of the manuscript (editing out its heart in the process). The prompt turnaround of views was very disappointing. Now the agreement with the agent is an obstacle, not an opportunity, until formally terminated. (There has been no response to the request for termination.)

Granted, it may well be that the manuscript is simply not commercially publishable--not as the author wrote it or intended it. But the agent could have said that in the first place instead of repeating the ambiguous mantra that "it will be hard to sell." Alas, I did not give enough weight to that phrase, which should have been enough warning. My mistake.

--Ken

Popeyesays
07-15-2006, 07:45 AM
<The prompt turnaround of views was very disappointing. Now the agreement with the agent is an obstacle, not an opportunity, until formally terminated. (There has been no response to the request for termination.)>

I am truly sorry for you and your friend. He may have clients, but if he treats them like that, I bet he does not have many repeat clients. I would not know how to describe the behavior OTHER than dishonest. I suggest your friend sees a lawyer. There are on line free legal services for artists in most states.

In the meantime I would suggest a certified letter with receipt requested or a FED EX calling on whatever section of the contract speaks of breaking off the relationship.

Regards,
Scott

Dave Sloane
07-15-2006, 09:26 AM
Dave, your advice just isn't very helpful IMHO. Most publishers *will not* consider a previously self-published manuscript and most publishers *do* accept unagented manuscripts via a query letter and solicitation process.

Veinglory,
How do you know that most publishers will not consider a POD book?
An agent from the Charlotte Gusay agency informed me that she read
my POD novel "cover to cover" and was "ambivalent". I'm sure she
wasn't lying about it just to make me feel good.
Also, try sending queries out to major publishers and keep a tally of
the returned unopened envelopes stamped with something to the effect
of "PUBLISHER WILL NOT REVIEW UNAGENTED MATERIALS". In general, publishers are not interested in getting material from unagented authors,
and that's a simple truth.
Finally, I'm not in the business of giving advice. I was giving my OPINION
in response to one member's solicitation of OPINIONS. This is my honest
opinion, and since I am a POD author at least I don't just talk the talk.
Is it good advice? Perhaps it is to some, perhaps not to others. That's
not the issue.

ResearchGuy
07-15-2006, 07:18 PM
... I would suggest a certified letter with receipt requested ...
That has been done, weeks ago, and the agent has not responded. The agreement has a twelve-month clause for terminations (request for termination on either side only after twelve months). It may be necessary to send another letter explicitly requesting immediate termination, that clause notwithstanding, and again describing the cause. If the agent does not agree to the termination, it would be out of sheer spite (which, alas, is entirely possible).

--Ken