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Marcelle
08-11-2006, 01:33 AM
Hi all,

Can anyone give me some advice on self-publishing companies? I'm a newbie in this world.
I am considering Dorrance, Authorhouse, Iuniverse, and Xlibris.
I'd like to know which ones to rule out. Let me know what your experience has been. It's quite daunting for me right now. Thanks for sharing.

marcelle

Cath
08-11-2006, 01:49 AM
Hi Marcelle - first of all :welcome:

You might like to check out these forums:

Conventional Self Publishing (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=46)
POD Self Publishing and ePublishing (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=47)

And of course:

Beware and Background Checks (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=22)

You can also use the Forum search function (on the menu bar along the top there) to search for particular publishing companies if you want to check those out.

Enjoy the forums!

DeborahM
08-11-2006, 02:04 AM
Hi Marcelle and Welcome!

What Cath said, Cath's an expert, she won't steer you wrong!

You'll find this is a great place with awesome people and lots of great info!

:welcome:

Bufty
08-11-2006, 02:09 AM
Welcome, Marcelle.

Not sure what you have written, but are you self-publishing because you have decided not to try and have your work published by the convential route? Or because you have been unsuccessful in approaching an Agent or commercial publisher, and see self-publishing as your only alternative?


Hi all,
Can anyone give me some advice on self-publishing companies? I'm a newbie in this world.
I am considering Dorrance, Authorhouse, Iuniverse, and Xlibris.
I'd like to know which ones to rule out. Let me know what your experience has been. It's quite daunting for me right now. Thanks for sharing.

marcelle

MidnightMuse
08-11-2006, 02:13 AM
Greetings, Marcelle :) Cath gave you good links, and check around the boards here -- lots of people can give you ups and downs. And I'd like to echo Bufty and ask if you're going that route because you think it's your only option, or you just really want to ??

And again, Welcome to AW !

alleycat
08-11-2006, 05:03 AM
Hi Marcelle,

Welcome to AW.

ac

KTC
08-11-2006, 04:04 PM
Hello Marcelle,

Sorry...no advice here. But I hope you enjoy your stay in the cooler. I'm sure you will be helped in your quest.

Kevin

L M Ashton
08-11-2006, 04:24 PM
Welcome, Marcelle. :) And, you know, what Cath said. You'll find the info you're looking for there. :)

Marcelle
08-21-2006, 03:34 AM
Thanks everyone for welcoming me.
It's been a lonely journey as a writer and even more lonlier trying to get my non-fiction book published.

Thank you Cath, I will definitely check out your recommended resources.

I'm looking into the self-publishing possibility because I have been rejected by several publishers and agents. And I am finding it difficult to do it over and over, not to mention it's depressing the hell out of me! Despite the fact that I am a former journalist, I can't seem to get a single publisher's interest. But then I have to tell you, I am the worst marketer in the world. Anyway, I'm sure someone out there can relate.

I would prefer the traditional publishing route, but it's just not happeneing and so I'm looking into other possibilities. There's my story. It's a common one, I'm sure. Thanks all.

Marcelle

Cath
08-21-2006, 04:20 AM
Marcelle, a great way to get help with agents around here is to post your query letter in the Share Your Work forum. The members here are really good at helping people refine their query letters to make them as good as they can possibly be.

And don't give up yet, it is disheartening, but if you're good enough an agent will pick you up eventually. You'll find other people here who've been there or are still there with you. (And plenty, like me, who haven't even got that far yet!)

Popeyesays
08-21-2006, 06:17 AM
When you've gotten fifty rejections, it's time to reassess. If you've just gotten several, you haven't started yet. How long have you been trying: Months? Years? Be sure to check each agent or publisher out at Preditors and Editors and on our own Bewares Board. Don't waste time on the scammers.

Regards,
Scott

Redd Ryden
08-24-2006, 03:22 AM
:welcome: Marcelle!!!



:D


(listen to Cath & the others... they're good-- and smart-- people)

Marcelle
09-01-2006, 04:11 AM
I've gotten a dozen rejections from agents and publishers. Most of them came from the Writer Market and the Literary agent guide.

They all like the query but it dies after they read the book proposal.

What have been your experience?

Freckles
09-01-2006, 07:01 PM
Welcome, just come right on in to all the fun!

dclary
09-01-2006, 07:25 PM
Greetings!!

Kristen King
09-02-2006, 01:57 AM
I've gotten a dozen rejections from agents and publishers. Most of them came from the Writer Market and the Literary agent guide.

They all like the query but it dies after they read the book proposal.

What have been your experience?

Marcelle, welcome. If you pop on over to Share Your Work, I'm sure you can get some feedback on the problematic parts of your proposal. A dozen rejections isn't that many, so you're nowhere near exhausting the options.

You mentioned upthread that you're not a big marketer. To go the self-publishing route, that's going to be a real hindrance to you. I'd really encourage you to keep trying the commercial route. I wish you the best of luck!

Kristen

K1P1
09-02-2006, 11:42 PM
Hi Marcelle. I wish you all the best. I know it's depressing to deal with rejections, but you can get the support you need here. It really does make a big difference in actually selling your book if it's published by a traditional publishing house. If you self publish, then distribution and marketing can be a real problem. Follow up on the forums suggested by the folks above me and talk to people here about your optioins.

Welcome - I know the resources at AW will help!

Publicist
09-03-2006, 12:02 AM
I've gotten a dozen rejections from agents and publishers. Most of them came from the Writer Market and the Literary agent guide.

They all like the query but it dies after they read the book proposal.

What have been your experience?

Hi Marcelle

I am a publicist who has self-published 2 books. I chose that route because I wanted the books to get out in the market earlier. I also control the marketing of them. That is not to say, of course, that if a publisher is interested, I would not accept. I likely would. In the meantime, my books are out on the market.

The key to success whether the book is self-published or not is in the marketing. Many conventional publishers want to know what the author plans to do to help market the book. In the competition of today, it helps to let them know that you don't just expect them to take on the book and then sit back and wait for the royalties to come in.

It has also happened that self-published authors later become quite well-known, examples - John Grisham (A Time To Kill), James Joyce (Ulysses), Beatrix Potter (Peter Rabbit), Richard Bolles (What Color is Your Parachute?) - to name a few.

One option, if you are hesitant about spending the money that a self-publishing package would cost, is to take the book to a local printer and have a few copies printed. You can then take some copies to a local bookstore and ask if they will sell them on consignment - usually between 40-45% of the retail price. You can also show the book around and see what the reaction is.

Another alternative is Lulu Books. You upload your file and then choose what parts of the package you want. For example, they have a marketing package that allows you, for a very reasonable price, to have the book listed on Amazon, BarnesandNoble, etc. websites. In other words, you can pretty much control the cost.

Success is about 90% determination and perserverance. Overnight success is a fallacy.

Don't give up. If this is something that you really want to do, then don't let the rejections win.

Maria

LloydBrown
09-03-2006, 01:02 AM
It has also happened that self-published authors later become quite well-known, examples - John Grisham (A Time To Kill), James Joyce (Ulysses), Beatrix Potter (Peter Rabbit), Richard Bolles (What Color is Your Parachute?) - to name a few.

Oh, dear, sweet Baby Jesus. Somebody else do this.

persiphone_hellecat
09-03-2006, 08:04 AM
Hi ... be careful - very very careful... Visit all the beware sites and study them really really well. The books I have seen that were self published were full of typos and not really good quality.

There may be other options for you. You might first consider having the MS professionally edited. It's an expense, but an editor might be able to figure out where you're going wrong. Again, it's a risk and you have to choose carefully.

The great thing about this site is that we share experiences. And don't forget to check any publishers and editors out at Preditors and Editors before you submit!!

You're getting good advice here... Check out the Ask An Editor section at the bottom and post your questions... You will get great info and honest opinions. Persi

Publicist
09-04-2006, 04:13 PM
Oh, dear, sweet Baby Jesus. Somebody else do this.

Sorry, I'm not quite sure I understand the meaning of your response.

LloydBrown
09-04-2006, 04:39 PM
Sorry, I'm not quite sure I understand the meaning of your response.

The myth that John Grisham was self-published is commonly used by self-publishing proponents to convince others that it's a good idea or somehow helpful to achieving their goals. It is patently not true.

Most of these claims of self-publishing success are deceiving or omit basic information. You can read our own Jaws' discussion at http://scrivenerserror.blogspot.com/2004/08/autobibliophilia.html

Publicist
09-06-2006, 04:22 PM
Thank you, Lloyd, for pointing that out. I checked out Wikipedia and although a large number of websites state that A Time To Kill was self-published, Wikipedia claims that it was first published by Wynwood Press with an initial print run of 5000.

As far as self-publishing, I do feel that for some authors, it is a viable option. Not all books are going to be best sellers or accepted by publishers, and if someone wants to see their book in print, then why not? Some people only want a few copies to hand out to familly and friends. Some people are more hopeful. And if that is their dream, then they should go for it. It would be worse to be sitting on a rocking chair 40 years down the road, and have regrets that you didn't do it. Obviously, a person has to be careful as there are a lot of scams out there.

And yes, some books that have been self-published are later picked up by publishers and become successful - maybe not John Grisham! but there certainly have been others.

And some books that have been published by conventional publishers have not been successful at all.

In the end, if a person wants to publish a book and is determined to do so, they have to decide which option is best for them.

LloydBrown
09-06-2006, 05:05 PM
And if they want to self-publish, they should do it fully informed of the pitfalls and hazards and should scrutinize the financials carefully. Let's say somebody wants to build his own house. You wouldn't suggest that he just pick up a hammer and saw and go at it, would you? Cheering and encouragement won't make that house last for 100 years. Or even six months.

Offset printing allows for a wider range of printing options, better quality, and a lower price. It also removes a barrier to bookstore distribution. I don't think that POD is best for self-publishing unless you plan to sell fewer than about 300 copies of your book during your lifetime or fewer than a couple of books a year.

In no case are Dorrance, Authorhouse, Iuniverse, and Xlibris viable tools for a successful self-publisher.

Self-publishing works best for very specialized non-fiction and poetry--and even those topics might interest publishers. I have a manuscript that's borderline "very specialized" non-fiction and I found three small publishers willing to publish it. Another extended an offer to review it but I declined because it's already on someone's desk. A lot of that stuff might fall under a regional publisher or university press's area of interest.

"Failure" with a commercial press might still yield 3,000 sales, depending on who publishes it. That sounds quite a bit better to me than working many hours and spending many dollars to sell 125.

Publicist
09-06-2006, 08:11 PM
300 copies? Really? That's all that one can expect when self-publishing?

Hmm.. better let these people know:

The Celestine Prophecy was originally self-published by Redfield, who sold 100,000 copies out of the trunk of his Honda before Warner Books agreed to publish him.

www.wealthybarber.com

oh yes, and myself...

I agree that self-publishing is not for everyone. I also agree that you may not sell very many books. However, it is an option that has worked for some people.

And of course, people have to research carefully, just as they would when buying a new car. You have to look at the pros and cons. Is the particular model for you? If you don't feel comfortable with it, then don't spend the money. It's as simple as that.

If it is something you really want to do and are willing to take the risks, then that's up to them. Nobody is going to force them. As long as they make an informed decision, then what's wrong with it?

LloydBrown
09-06-2006, 08:32 PM
300 copies? Really? That's all that one can expect when self-publishing?
Did you read my post? I said 300 copies was *usually* the high point at which POD was a better option than offset. I certainly never said "that's all that one can expect when self-publishing." I will note, however, that 300 is higher than the average self-publishing sales.


Hmm.. better let these people know:
Do you honestly feel that your three examples, one of which is unsubstantiated, smack down the tens of thousands of examples to the contrary?


The Celestine Prophecy was originally self-published by Redfield, who sold 100,000 copies out of the trunk of his Honda before Warner Books agreed to publish him.

If he sold 100,000 copies by printing them one at a time, then he's really, really stupid. Even if true (the wikipedia quote comes from a self-publishing propaganda site that's full of the same myths they all quote), that's .5% of the number sold by Warner since he signed with them.

Think about the gulf between those numbers. If you can self-publish and sell 100 copies then a publisher might sell 20,000. Which is better?

Again, I fully agree that self-publishing is right in some cases. However, in probably 95% of the self-published books out there, the author isn't doing it for the right reasons and isn't going about it the right way.

Marcelle
09-18-2006, 09:43 AM
Maria,

Do you have a company you recommend for self-publishing? I hear some can rip you off. Let me know if you can help. Thanks.

Marcelle.


Hi Marcelle

I am a publicist who has self-published 2 books. I chose that route because I wanted the books to get out in the market earlier. I also control the marketing of them. That is not to say, of course, that if a publisher is interested, I would not accept. I likely would. In the meantime, my books are out on the market.

The key to success whether the book is self-published or not is in the marketing. Many conventional publishers want to know what the author plans to do to help market the book. In the competition of today, it helps to let them know that you don't just expect them to take on the book and then sit back and wait for the royalties to come in.

It has also happened that self-published authors later become quite well-known, examples - John Grisham (A Time To Kill), James Joyce (Ulysses), Beatrix Potter (Peter Rabbit), Richard Bolles (What Color is Your Parachute?) - to name a few.

One option, if you are hesitant about spending the money that a self-publishing package would cost, is to take the book to a local printer and have a few copies printed. You can then take some copies to a local bookstore and ask if they will sell them on consignment - usually between 40-45% of the retail price. You can also show the book around and see what the reaction is.

Another alternative is Lulu Books. You upload your file and then choose what parts of the package you want. For example, they have a marketing package that allows you, for a very reasonable price, to have the book listed on Amazon, BarnesandNoble, etc. websites. In other words, you can pretty much control the cost.

Success is about 90% determination and perserverance. Overnight success is a fallacy.

Don't give up. If this is something that you really want to do, then don't let the rejections win.

Maria

soloset
09-18-2006, 07:24 PM
I am a publicist who has self-published 2 books. I chose that route because I wanted the books to get out in the market earlier. I also control the marketing of them. That is not to say, of course, that if a publisher is interested, I would not accept. I likely would. In the meantime, my books are out on the market.

I'm confused. I thought if you self-publish, you've "used up" the first publishing rights and it becomes that much harder to get a publisher to purchase what is now a book, not a manuscript? Unless, of course, you're one of the tiny percentage who sell enough copies of a book that's good enough to go commercial anyway.

With the stated exceptions, of course, being poetry and highly specialized non-fiction.

maestrowork
09-18-2006, 07:49 PM
If it's a good book, or if a publisher think it has mass market potential, they will buy the reprint rights. Look at Christopher Paolini's Eragon. It was first published by his parents' publishing company, then picked up by Knopf.

soloset
09-18-2006, 08:31 PM
If it's a good book, or if a publisher think it has mass market potential, they will buy the reprint rights. Look at Christopher Paolini's Eragon. It was first published by his parents' publishing company, then picked up by Knopf.

Oh, okay. Is that a particularly common thing, though? Enough so it's a viable goal? I remember hearing something like that about the author of Legally Blonde, but it seemed kind of silly to me.

I mean, if you think your book is good enough to sell thousands of copies if you print them up (or make them available via POD for customers to special order in two weeks) and drive them around town yourself to all the booksellers, pitching the bookseller on selling them on consignment, and so on (because I imagine you'd have to have that kind of faith to even bother), why wouldn't you think it's good enough to keep editing and querying the usual way?

Maybe the thought of all that work intimidates me, I don't know, or maybe I'm just too shy -- the thought of all that selling terrifies me. I don't mind the thought, say, of going to an already arranged book signing or dropping by a local bookstore to sign off the cuff, as long as I have a reputable publisher's name behind me, but I don't have the chutzpah to do it cold on my own initiative.

maestrowork
09-18-2006, 08:38 PM
Self-publishing is not for everyone. Most writers are not business savvy enough to take that on. However, if you have the skills and know-hows and the personality for it, it could be much better route than going to vanity/POD.

BTW, even if you're with a big house, you still have to do promotions and sell yourself. It comes with the territory of being an author. Better prepare yourself for that. ;)

soloset
09-18-2006, 09:38 PM
Sure, but there's a huge difference between "Hi, I'm Author X, my publisher arranged a signing here today?" and "Hi, I'm Author X, I have this book in my trunk I want to show you."

And no worries. I have more promotion ideas already than, ah, words on the page... oh, yeah, I knew there was something I planned to get done today. :D

maestrowork
09-18-2006, 10:52 PM
If you're REALLY self-published you would have a publishing company. You wouldn't be saying "Hi, I have a a trunkload of books..." Book stores won't take you anyway. You'll be saying, "I'm Author X and my publisher Y arranged a signing here today."

You don't have to tell then: a) Publisher Y is your company and b) that you're the person who arranged this signing.

That's why people self-publish, and they don't self-publish using their own name as the business (no "Jane Smith Publishing").

soloset
09-19-2006, 08:03 PM
Lee Goldberg (http://leegoldberg.typepad.com/a_writers_life/) has a post on this subject today.


If you're REALLY self-published you would have a publishing company. You wouldn't be saying "Hi, I have a a trunkload of books..." Book stores won't take you anyway. You'll be saying, "I'm Author X and my publisher Y arranged a signing here today."

Except if I'm also Publisher Y, I have to come up with a way to get the book store to do a signing in the first place. So I've saved myself the humiliation of pounding the pavement in front of the store as an author by trading it for the embarrassment of cold-calling store owners until I get a nibble.

And, well... I'm pretty bad at deception, even harmless, mild ones. What if they asked me a direct question, like "what is your name?" or something? <g> I'd be outed in a millisecond.

I think it probably boils down to what your goals are, and if this method will achieve them. For some books, this might be the right path, while others will suffer from the perceived lack of quality control.

maestrowork
09-19-2006, 08:40 PM
Have a friend or spouse do it for you.

Friend: Hi, my name is <friend> and I represent Publisher X and Author Y, and I would like to schedule a signing with you for Author Y's book, Title A
Store: Let me check... oh, yes, it's in our system and the book is returnable. We have December open...

And it goes from there. Self-publishing does mean you will have your own company, and that you do everything else (like making your books returnable, etc.)

Like I said, not everyone is fit for self-publishing. It does boil down to what your goals are -- do you want to be a writer, or do you want to also run a publishing company?

PatriciaDianne
12-07-2006, 11:17 PM
I too am new to all this. I am retired and am indulging my dream to see my work in print. I ran across a book by Mark Levine called The Fine Print. It ranks many Print on Demand companies and ranks them Best to Worse in terms of their "writer friendly" qualities. Of course I want to read more opinions but this seemed like a nice starting point and a point of reference so that I can compare these opinions with others. I am not recommending this book, I am merely suggesting that it is pointing me into the right direction and seems to be advising me on the questions I need to ask. Good luck.

Grampa Joe
05-20-2007, 04:34 PM
My first book was POD. My second will be self-published. I sure had a hard time selling my POD to Barnes & Noble, etc. They had a copy of the book on the shelf, but B&N wouldn't even consider me for a book signing. I've sold about 1,000 of my first book and had to pay the POD folks up-front money. Lightning does the printing, so I have to pay them plus a little to the POD company. I'd rather pocket that money.
I'm ready to take on the marketing for the self-published book.
Got my own company name, got my website, got my 10 ISBNs. Ready to rock and roll. Finding a decent printing house is the hardest part so far. I'll have to lay out a bundle for that.

ResearchGuy
05-20-2007, 09:07 PM
. . . Finding a decent printing house is the hardest part so far. I'll have to lay out a bundle for that.
There are at least several, including some in the Midwest (Central Plains is sometimes mentioned favorably by people I know, but there are others). Get bids. Ask for samples. There is also the option of printing overseas. I know folks who have done that with great satisfaction. (I would prefer to buy American, and would encourage folks to shop U.S.A. first for book printing.)

If you have not already studied Dan Poynter's book on self-publishing, allow me to strongly encourage you to do so. It is the bible of self-publishing. See www.parapublishing.com (http://www.parapublishing.com) for more information on that -- and much more. Another highly-regarded book on the subject is by Tom & Marilyn Ross. There are recent new editions of both.

Task #1 for the self-publisher: have your marketing plan in place BEFORE you have the books printed. The biggest mistake self-publishers make is lack of a marketing plan before going to press. The second biggest is neglecting to hire competent editors/proofreaders. If there is an independent publishers association in your area, you might do well to get acquainted with it ASAP. Those folks share experience and knowledge.

--Ken

MarkP
10-16-2007, 10:46 PM
Printing is one of the bigger problems in the industry.

Between the risk of having 5000 books in the garage that you can't sell vs. getting marked up badly on small runs, the author is put in a difficult position.

Investigation, as with anything, is the key.

Mark Pitzele
www.bookprintingrevolution.com