PDA

View Full Version : POD Promotion and Best Case Scenarios



Heath
08-30-2006, 01:51 AM
This may sound a bit strange, but like all of you, I'd love my book to become a blockbuster hit. I'm new to the whole business side of this, although I've read several books. It appears to me that there are the following methods to getting published:

1 - Get an agent
2 - Get a publisher
3 - Go to a small press or
4 - Do vanity or POD publishing

As for 1, agents want you to have been published or have a publisher. As for 2, publishers want you to have an agent. As for 3, the likelihood of being taken seriously enough to produce a major hit are low. It seems like you have to be good AND get lucky for any of these to work.

So here is my strange question:

If you do a POD such as AuthorHouse, which I've been considering, how much money would it take (assuming your book was halfway decent) to make sure it is successful? Has anyone ever done this successfully?

I was thinking of throwing $10k to $15k into the package and promotions and working on getting it out there, maybe up to $40k or $50k, but I don't want to waste my time and money. Does anyone know of a success story, regardless of financial cost?

Unimportant
08-30-2006, 02:13 AM
I don't think there's any amount of money that can make sure a book will become a blockbuster. Throwing money at a book that has a very high potential of being a blockbuster will help, but if the potential isn't there no amount of money will make it happen. And if a book can't attract the interest of a single agent, publisher, or small press, the likelihood of the book having the potential to even be a midlister is pretty low.

Agents take on new authors all the time. So do publishers.

Try to sell your book through traditional methods. If that doesn't work, write another book.

my $0.02

Heath
08-30-2006, 02:30 AM
We have to start with the premise that it is a good book just under the radar of the agents. After all, if they're getting 250 queries a week, the process could take a long, long time through traditional methods, assuming that they didn't just fight with their spouse before reading your query. :)

So that said, are there success stories out there? Is it good to do POD like AuthorHouse in order to attract the attention of an agent/publisher? If you can put $10k into it and sell 10,000 copies, wouldn't that attract some attention?

Wordworm
08-30-2006, 03:01 AM
Have you read up on AuthorHouse in Bewares and Background Checks? There are extensive discussions in there.

Having said that, I have also been contemplating the pros and cons of taking the sort of approach you're thinking about. However, one thing is very clear to me. Every single one of the Vanity publishers, Lulu included (a fine Canadian upstart, I might add, and owned by Hamiltonian Bob Young, who made a fortune with Red Hat) works on the same basis: extremely healthy margin off the top (on the cost of production) plus percentage of sales off the bottom. At the prices they charge per book (even in volume), you almost couldn't afford to have a bestseller. I am quite familiar with printing costs, and I can see that these outfits cover themselves backwards and forwards.

huw
08-30-2006, 04:43 AM
You say that you don't want to waste your time and money...I would advise you only to pursue vanity POD publishing backed by a big promotion budget if that requirement is, shall we say, flexible.

Other than that, I agree with Woodworm. Lulu is probably the best of the bunch, but even they have a print pricing model that makes the books seem unaffordable by the time they're listed on Amazon. You'd think there would be a niche for vanity PODs to make their money in higher up-front fees while doing the printing at close to cost, but I'm not familiar with any such outfits. Maybe they're out there, if you look hard enough. Come to think of it, with the sort of figures you're mentioning you could probably start one of your own :)

ResearchGuy
08-30-2006, 06:28 AM
...I was thinking of throwing $10k to $15k into the package and promotions and working on getting it out there, maybe up to $40k or $50k, but I don't want to waste my time and money. Does anyone know of a success story, regardless of financial cost?
Do not put one dime more into the project than you can cheerfully afford to lose.

Really.

I am a supporter of independent publishing, self-publishing, and even POD publishing, when used for the right reasons and with a full understanding of the limitations, and even I am very concerned about what you propose. You cannot promote a POD book into success. Some folks have modest local success when they have a local hook (local history, say, or an anthology of columns by a popular local newspaper columnist -- maybe). But that is about the limit for a POD. The economics do not work, distribution is nonexistent, reviews are rare, at best. Very hard row to hoe.

Allow me to suggest that you consider (1) noodling around in traditional commercial routes (query agents and publishers--after carefully studying how to write a query and how to write a book proposal) and only then, if that is not successful (2) go small-scale with a low-cost POD that has a good reputation, and work your specific market niche. Not all PODs are the same.

Do NOT sink thousands or tens of thousands of dollars into the endeavor unless you are rich and will not miss the money. (But if you are that rich, you can probably wheedle a legitimate agent or publisher into being interested. IF your manuscript is adequate.)

I have seen some high-quality POD books from Avantine Press, in San Diego. Up-front costs are reasonable AND pricing is exceptionally good by POD standards, allowing normal bookstore discounts from retail. Lulu.com offers free and low-cost options. But only those who make a full-time, serious business of it can make a living with self-published books, and I do not know anyone who has had meaningful success, by any measure, with a POD (and I do know a lot of folks who have used the POD route as well as folks who have done real self-publishing).

You will NOT sell 10,000 copies of any POD. Period. No matter how hard or expensively you promote it. You might do well to sell 100.

The most relentless (and full time, experienced, professional) self-publisher I know--buys print runs in the thousands, not POD, and has sold thousands of copies of some of his books. He is a rare exception, writes for a regional audience, and managed to place 8,000 copies of one title in Costco. Nearly all of them sold. Rare, rare, rare. And his printing costs are probably about a buck and a half a copy for books priced at $12.95 and that he sells at signings for $10. Not gonna happen with POD, and he makes his writing and publishing his full-time business. (He probably spends very little on promotion, by the way. Lots of person-to-person time, though.)

--Ken

Heath
08-30-2006, 06:54 AM
My idea was to use marketing such as Google or Yahoo! I imagine if enough people saw a banner ad or similar marketing, it would spur sales, and then word of mouth would do the rest. Consumers don't really care where they get their product (publishing house or POD), as long as they get the quality they want.

*Dreaming, perhaps, but hopefully at least would break even*

And the real money is to be made through film options. I want to be able to show them an adaptation screenplay "based on my novel."

Anyone aware of anything like this actually succeeding? The traditional route, to me, puts too much power and control in the hands of others, takes forever, and ends up in a crap shoot. Maybe I'm just a little too much like George Lucas...

ResearchGuy
08-30-2006, 07:56 AM
My idea was to use marketing such as Google or Yahoo! I imagine if enough people saw a banner ad or similar marketing, it would spur sales, and then word of mouth would do the rest....
How many books have you bought that way? Extrapolate.

--Ken

Anthony Ravenscroft
08-30-2006, 10:26 AM
In business sales, there's an old truism. Sometimes you have to BS the client. Once in a while, you have to BS your boss. But when you start to BS yourself, it's time to get out of the game.

Many people who choose the self-pub route claim they're fully prepared to devote their lives to promotion & marketing & one-to-one sales, but the problem is that they're fundamentally lazy. (In this usage, "deathly afraid of potential criticism" falls under "lazy.") They have no idea what's involved in the job, & therefore figure it's easy.

Then there's the "if you build it, they will come" mentality, encouraged by Yahoo & Google & various marketing schemes.

To a certain extent, it's true... if you're writing a nonfiction book to an underserved & active niche, or you've already got 10,000 people per day reading your blog. Otherwise, it's nonsense. (This is especially true for fiction.)

Heath, you can hire a freelancer to put your book into the right .pdf layout, & pay a few hundred bucks to a credible cover designer, then send the whole set of files off to a printing company, who'll run off at least 1,500 for maybe $3/unit, so call it roughly $5,000 after setup costs & shipping.

First, you might want to prove to yourself that you actually really believe in your book & its potential, & collect at least 100 rejections before taking an alternative route.

citymouse
08-30-2006, 02:44 PM
Email me privately about Author House.

james1611
08-30-2006, 06:38 PM
This may sound a bit strange, but like all of you, I'd love my book to become a blockbuster hit. I'm new to the whole business side of this, although I've read several books. It appears to me that there are the following methods to getting published:

1 - Get an agent
2 - Get a publisher
3 - Go to a small press or
4 - Do vanity or POD publishing

As for 1, agents want you to have been published or have a publisher. As for 2, publishers want you to have an agent. As for 3, the likelihood of being taken seriously enough to produce a major hit are low. It seems like you have to be good AND get lucky for any of these to work.

So here is my strange question:

If you do a POD such as AuthorHouse, which I've been considering, how much money would it take (assuming your book was halfway decent) to make sure it is successful? Has anyone ever done this successfully?

I was thinking of throwing $10k to $15k into the package and promotions and working on getting it out there, maybe up to $40k or $50k, but I don't want to waste my time and money. Does anyone know of a success story, regardless of financial cost?

If you've got 50k to throw away, why worry about making your book a blockbuster, you sound like your doing fine already!

Seriously, no amount of advertising can make a book that people aren't interested in, into a blockbuster. Advertising lets people know about the book, it doesn't mean people will like it.

--James

PODLINGMASTER
08-30-2006, 07:07 PM
My idea was to use marketing such as Google or Yahoo! I imagine if enough people saw a banner ad or similar marketing, it would spur sales, and then word of mouth would do the rest. Consumers don't really care where they get their product (publishing house or POD), as long as they get the quality they want.

*Dreaming, perhaps, but hopefully at least would break even*

And the real money is to be made through film options. I want to be able to show them an adaptation screenplay "based on my novel."

Anyone aware of anything like this actually succeeding? The traditional route, to me, puts too much power and control in the hands of others, takes forever, and ends up in a crap shoot. Maybe I'm just a little too much like George Lucas...

Lucas made a movie with studio backing. now nobody thought it would be what Star Wars has become, but it played to the public. Vanity books generally go unnoticed by the public, of course many others do as well.

As for google and Yahoo, I assume you are referring to their programs that charge per click to your site and so forth? That still doesn't mean anyone will like the book; even if they know about it.

It sounds like you need to have a really great book and then take the time to shop it around some. If its that good then it might get Publisher or Agent attention. If it falls outside the bounds of what they normally publish then a smaller press might pick it up. Then you are free to throw as much money at the project as you like, but it takes more than money to create GOOD WORD OF MOUTH.

You could spend 10k on advertising and people hate the book and spread that word of mouth instead! Goodbye 10k!

If you really intend on self publishing, You might try starting your own small press, going through Lightning Source and Ingram directly. You can purchase your own ISBN#'s in blocks of 10 for a few hundred dollars, get a premium cover and pay for good editing and so forth. Then you are running your own business that you may want to bring other authors works into. This might give you more eggs in your basket to depend on. Have your book reviewed and see what responses you get back from them.
Many book reviewers will review self published titles in addition to others. We do it at P.O.D.LINGS and I'm aware of several others including Pod People and Pod-dy Mouth.
See what reaction you get to your blockbuster in waiting from these kinds of sites and people before wasting big money on a book no one will read anyway.

My 2 cents,
Podlingmaster

Heath
08-30-2006, 08:05 PM
Thanks for your feedback. I was kind of looking for success stories as a sort of "how to" in making POD or self-publishing successful, such as The Celestine Prophecy and Eragon. Everyone here seems to think that an agent or publisher is the only way to go to be really successful, and that good books don't get by their radar. However, that's very contrary to the books I've read, which recommend a very proactive approach and that many good books really are outside their radar because they see so many queries a week.

Now, I've only received 5 rejections so far, and none have bothered to look at the manuscript. I'm going to keep trying, but I'm also making long term plans because an agent and publisher don't catch every good book that comes their way. I recall Stephen R. Donaldson saying that he'd been rejected about 47 times and then accepted by the first publisher he originally submitted to.

Heath
08-30-2006, 08:09 PM
And for those who think that money is everything...it's not. I'm considered a very successful attorney making top dollar at the top firm in the world, but I also have a very stressful life and had my first heart attack at the age of 34. That's when I decided it was time to pursue my lifelong dream, but you can see why I may not have the patience for editors and agents.

maestrowork
08-30-2006, 08:25 PM
Are you willing to spend most of your waking hours promoting and actually selling your books? Remember, POD books don't get sold in stores. So your only venues are web, online stores, and out of your own car trunk. Are you willing and able to push it? Even then, the chances of it being a "mega hit" is abysmal. You hear stories like Richard Paul Evans simply because it's so rare (and because he promoted and sold his books full-time).

If you think a small press with limited distribution and budget is not a way to go because you want your book to be a blockbuster... what makes you think AuthorHouse can do that for you? They have even LESS ability to make it happen.

If you have 50K to spend, why not just self-publish and make yourself a publisher? That way, you have a better chance to a) get distribution and b) get your book reviewed and into book stores.

Lauri B
08-30-2006, 09:30 PM
If your book isn't good enough to be picked up by a mainstream publisher, no amount of your own money is going to turn it into a blockbuster. Don't waste your money. Spend the time to write a really good book and go from there.

PODLINGMASTER
08-30-2006, 10:41 PM
Thanks for your feedback. I was kind of looking for success stories as a sort of "how to" in making POD or self-publishing successful, such as The Celestine Prophecy and Eragon. Everyone here seems to think that an agent or publisher is the only way to go to be really successful, and that good books don't get by their radar. However, that's very contrary to the books I've read, which recommend a very proactive approach and that many good books really are outside their radar because they see so many queries a week.

Now, I've only received 5 rejections so far, and none have bothered to look at the manuscript. I'm going to keep trying, but I'm also making long term plans because an agent and publisher don't catch every good book that comes their way. I recall Stephen R. Donaldson saying that he'd been rejected about 47 times and then accepted by the first publisher he originally submitted to.

Unfortunately, the reason you aren't recieving the kind of feedback you wanted is because those extreme success stories are few and far between.
Having heard that you are a successful man, just looking to write a book for seeing a dream come true...I would say, go with previous advice to start your own small press. You have the money to do it apparently and you could actually afford to spend the money on a limited print run for your book and then try to get some distribution set up and of course be willing to accept returns. all these things and a good solid book may very well get you into bookstores.
If you're really not concerned about the money then why does it have to be a blockbuster??...If you just want to write and publish a book then you apparently have the financial resources to make that happen, by starting your own small press publisher.

Podlingmaster

ResearchGuy
08-30-2006, 10:43 PM
If your book isn't good enough to be picked up by a mainstream publisher, no amount of your own money is going to turn it into a blockbuster. ....
Tell that to Kevin Trudeau (Natural Cures They Don't Want You To Know About). Self-published blockbuster. Deceptive piece of crap. But then, not everyone is going to sink huge money into infomercials to sell a book or tie the book to a money-machine website. And the chance of anything like that working for a novel is about as big as the chance of the Empire State Building vanishing and reappearing on Mars an instant later.

Anyway, having a good book manuscript is neither a sufficient nor always a necessary condition to mainstream publication. That is not a popular view here, I understand.

--Ken

ResearchGuy
08-30-2006, 10:51 PM
...If you have 50K to spend, why not just self-publish and make yourself a publisher? That way, you have a better chance to a) get distribution and b) get your book reviewed and into book stores.
Bingo. A few dollars of that money could pay for a good book on self-publishing, for starters (Tom & Marilyn Ross's, or Dan Poynter's) -- and maybe a couple of classes or seminars in publishing. Some would cover editing, book design, graphics--and advance reader copies for reviewers. Some would pay for a cost-effective print run (be ready to store a few thousand copies in the garage ...) Some would pay for promotional efforts. AND because the book would probably cost only a dollar or two per copy to print in quantity, pricing and discount structure can make sense.

--Ken

Unimportant
08-30-2006, 11:51 PM
>My idea was to use marketing such as Google or >Yahoo! I imagine if enough people saw a banner ad or >similar marketing, it would spur sales, and then word >of mouth would do the rest.
Publish America, a vanity publisher, has eleven thousand or so 'happy authors'. Many of them have poured tons of money into promoting their book and trying to create word-of-mouth. Not one has gone on to blockbuster success, or even midlister success.

No one predicted Harry Potter. Not even the best editor or publisher can =guarantee= a book will become a blockbuster. If they could, obviously, they'd only buy those books and make zillions, instead of having a few blockbusters carry all those other just-breaking-even books.

>We have to start with the premise that it is a good >book just under the radar of the agents.
Every author believes that about their book. The reason you see so few success stories from non-traditional publishing routes is that the vast majority of those authors are wrong about the quality of their books. Most of them just plain aren't good enough. An awful lot of them are just plain crap. Not having seen your book, I can't judge. All I can say is that it's very possible =your= assessment of the book is not unbiased. Have you sought honest, unbiased feedback on your book via a workshop or critique group?

>Consumers don't really care where they get their >product (publishing house or POD), as long as they get >the quality they want.
True, but they =do= want quality. They buy books in bookstores because, in their experience, this equates to quality, just as they buy food in the grocery store for the same reason. Buying a taco off the guy selling them out of the boot of his car, and getting norovirus, will ensure they never shop anywhere but Kroger's again. Since most vanity published books are pretty bad, most people don't ever buy more than one. The potential buying pool for such books continually shrinks.

>And the real money is to be made through film >options.

Yes.

How many books/novellas get written and submitted to publishers each year? Out of these, what proportion get accepted and published? Out of =those=, what proportion get made into movies? You're looking at Lotto odds.

It's a poor gamble if you're looking for a way to replace the salary of a high powered lawyer.

>Anyone aware of anything like this actually >succeeding?
I know of one guy, E Lynn Harris (?) who self published, was hugely active in hand selling his books in everything from coffee shops to hair salons, and got picked up by a big publisher and went on to huge success.

That's the only one I can think of.

I think he was writing damned good books that most publishers thought would appeal to too small of a market -- gay/bi black men. Turned out there was a bigger market than anticipated, I guess. But those success stories after years of rejection, like this guy and Jean Auel, seem to happen when an author is basically creating an entire new genre. Not for Yet Another Fantasy or Yet Another Murder Mystery kind of books.

Heath
08-31-2006, 12:13 AM
Anyway, having a good book manuscript is neither a sufficient nor always a necessary condition to mainstream publication. That is not a popular view here, I understand.


I think this is a good point. If Paris Hilton can publish a book, you know that quality doesn't count as much as money/fame.

As for movie options, most authors who succeed big time make their money through selling options. Now, most of these options are not actually made into movies, but they are still optioned, and the authors still profit from that.

And someone asked why I would want a blockbuster if money wasn't an issue? Why does anyone do what they love? Why does Stephen King continue to write even though he has megabucks? You do it because you want to touch as large an audience as possible. Part of entertainment is getting your name out there, not performing in your backyard for your family.

Anyway, I was thinking along the lines of hiring a PR consultant or someone to do all the work so I don't have to, not spending the time doing the PR work myself, except appearances and the like.

Again, I have to repeat that not every good book gets picked up by an agent or editor, any more than every good singer makes it big in the music industry. And some pretty bad ones get out there. When it is the destiny of your book in your hands, it is best to make things happen...

Unimportant
08-31-2006, 01:23 AM
Heath, you've got a lot of options.

You can spend your fifty grand printing up mumbletymumble thousands of copies of a mass market paperback with a nice cover. (somebody here can probably point you to the excellent alg's blog post where she breaks down the finances of publishing) Then give them away. Bingo, you've touched a pretty big audience.


You can spend fifty grand starting up a new small press, with your book being the first novel it publishes. Hire an editor, an artist, and a copyeditor. Take returns, get into some decent distribution, and hope you can make back at least some of your investment.

You can spend a few grand on a professional editor or two, to rip through your manuscript and give it a thorough critique. Eminent author and forum member James MacDonald used to do this for a set fee. I think some pro agents like Larson Pomada (sp?) and Ashley Grayson (?) have an editorial service as well. If you're going to pour money into a book, you might as well spend a few thousand up front to ensure it's as good as it possibly can be, to enhance your chances of success.

You can submit your book (as is, or post edit) via traditional routes to publishers and agents. Use any feedback you get; if you get fifty form rejections, assume your book just isn't as good as you think it is, set it aside, and write a better one.

Anthony Ravenscroft
08-31-2006, 01:37 AM
How to emulate The Celestine Prophecy: quit your job, close your house, spend more than 10 years of your life travelling endlessly back-&-forth across the United States, selling enough books out of your trunk so that you can afford both a motel room & a hot meal.

How to emulate Eragon: get born into a family that owns its own printing company, talk Mom into hiring a professional editor to rewrite your text & "expand" it, talk Dad into hiring a top-line professional designer to assemble the book, spend fifty thousand bucks on promoting it as "this little kid who self-published his book," then sell the rights.

Heath, you're talking as though you play every position on the football team. One moment you've got a great book that's going to sell itself; the next, you're going to have to throw wads of dollar bills with great force.

If you don't have at least a hundred rejections, I doubt you'll be able to actually expend the effort to sell your book.

Yeah, ResearchGuy is right that there's a lot of garbage on the market. So what? Sturgeon's Law once again -- big surprise. We elect crooked politicians because "he sounds like such a nice guy!" or "but at least she belongs to a good church!"

That doesn't mean that garbage is going to sell better just because a "little guy" is throwing it. In fact, that means you're going to have to make sure that you've got something remarkable, & that it's spotless, & that you're already a "known name," & that you've got connections.

You can throw cash at garbage if you want, but I don't see why you'd need anyone's advice. Thus far, you don't appear to want anything except empty support for your ill-conceived fantasy -- your marketing plan, that is, not your book.

Go find a dozen published big-house novelists. Pay them to read your manuscript, & offer them more for a two-hour critique over dinner. Do this with each of them, one-on-one.

Pay attention to what they say, & rework your manuscript. If right now you hear a little voice saying, "I won't need to rework my manuscript! It's utterly perfect!" then quit this site immediately & go do it -- you don't want input anyway.

On the present path, you're going to sell your house & start living in your car so that you can finance the movie, & there's nothing anyone can do to stop you. Mazeltov. But a hundred grand, or even half-million, makes you a small player in Hollywood, & barely midlist in "independent" film. It doesn't sound like you're interested in writing, storytelling, or publishing -- you want to be Spielberg, & everything else is the ground you'll walk upon.

If that's the direction you're going to go, though, my feeling is you'd be better off hiring a ghost, spilling your ideas, then hiring a screenwriter to do a 30-minute cheapie to tour the indie festivals & get funding for development, production, & distribution, not to mention build some buzz.

Wordworm
08-31-2006, 02:19 AM
Despite all the dire warnings, I'm rooting for you, Heath. I think your attitude about your writing is terrific (although I hope you DO get at least a few reliable people to vet the book for you).

But all in all, I think it's great that you're self-confident enough that you're willing to try to make something happen without going through the established channels. As I read through the posts on this forum, I get rather depressed at how many writers seem to feel like they have no choice but to take what the 'system' delivers. Maybe it's my 60s roots, but I personally like people who are willing to try to buck the system, even if they eventually lose.

I've been trying to figure out a strategy for doing much the same thing as you. When I started my magazine in 1991, I was quickly told how 75% of all magazines didn't make it to their fifth year, and how difficult it was to get advertising, blah blah blah. I managed to make a decent living at it for twelve years, and it's still around today, although my interest in trying to keep it going has now dissipated, but that has more to do with the times and the subject matter.

Anyhoo, all I'm saying is that you're obviously a smart guy who has a dream, and I see no reason for you to abandon it just because a few folks tell you to follow the rules. I'm sure you know that your writing and your subject matter has to be damn good if it's going to sell. But assuming it can fly those hurdles, I say keep looking for ways to fast track its success.

Good luck, and I hope you keep us posted.

(and I'm not even going to hold anything against you for being a lawyer) *g*

Heath
08-31-2006, 02:41 AM
Thanks, Wordworm. I like your advice best. It seems that most the people here seem to assume that the work must be bad if you're willing to spend money on promoting it and you're having trouble finding an agent, and there is the assumption that finding an agent is the end all, be all of writing success. I too started getting depressed about the possibility of taking a non-traditional route when I started reading these replies.

Personally, I've been looking only at top notch agents and publishers so far, as I begin to lose confidence in them the lower down the list I go (not with their skills, but with their willingness to promote you).

But as for POD, it's seeming like there are far more horror stories than success stories, and they seem to go far beyond just the promotional aspect. Even John Grisham was selling copies of "A Time to Kill" out of the back of his car before "The Firm," and he had a publisher.

Wordworm
08-31-2006, 03:28 AM
Yeah, I'm with you completely, Heath, as far as the generally negative attitude here about POD. However, because I've been writing, editing and publishing a magazine about leading edge printing and publishing technologies for the last fifteen years (and in the publishing industry for much longer), I know a lot more about digital presses and digital workflows than virtually anybody on this forum.

This end of the publishing market is about to explode, and like it or not, the traditional publishing market better get ready for more big changes. This is a topic I know something about. In 1992 I was the first publisher in the world to do a production run on the Heidelberg GTO-DI, the very first digital press. Today you have Xerox, Canon, HP Indigo, and other companies selling digital presses left, right and centre. In the next 12 to 24 months the cost of POD is going to drop substantially (Lulu is making a killing already, running books on DocuTechs at $5.00 each, and according to a July Toronto news report they're now doing $1 million a month in sales). A lot more people are going to get fed up with waiting for the slow wheels of the old publishing world to turn, and look for alternative routes for getting their work to market. I myself am just in the process of producing a prototype book of caricatures. Just out of interest, I posted about this already in this forum and got much the same response as you. But I don't really care. I'm going to run off 50 or 100 samples and start promoting it myself. If a big publisher wants to pick it up and put it into mass production, I might consider it. Or I might auction off the rights to the highest bidder. Or I might just put it on press myself, if I can score the right distribution deal.

The point is, digital printing technologies are opening up a whole new avenue of publishing possibilities, and even though the old guard is trying to block it, it ain't gonna go away. It reminds me so much of the birth of desktop in 1985, and how the graphic arts industry first tried to ignore it, then tried to diss it, then finally had to grudgingly accept it, then eventually got so behind it that we figured out how to get rid of film altogether and go right to CTP (computer to plate). Today with digital tools and technologies and the fierce competition in the printing industry, all printing costs have come down dramatically, just as I predicted back in the early 90s.

And then there's the other dimension that everybody seems to be ignoring. It isn't a print world any more, boys and girls. I hate to be the one to have to tell you, but print is in the back seat today. It's all about the screen (see my article 'The Page Has Turned', gX January 2004). It's all about delivering content in a cross-media world (see gX Summer 2004, "Cross-media goes mainstream"). If you aren't delivering your books and articles in multiple media, including not just print but also PDF or Flash or HTML, or on CD or DVD, and tying your writing whenever you can into ancillary venues and products, then you aren't marketing in the 21st century.

*sigh*
So much to say, so little time to say it...

'Nuff said for now, Heath. Just keep going, big boy. If I can give you any guidance, just ask away.

LloydBrown
08-31-2006, 05:37 AM
. Even John Grisham was selling copies of "A Time to Kill" out of the back of his car before "The Firm," and he had a publisher.

He sold books because he wanted to. His personal sales had nothing to do with his success.

Unimportant
08-31-2006, 06:07 AM
Wordworm and Heath, I don't think anyone is saying that selfpublishing or vanity publishing is bad or evil or useless. My point, basically, was that major publishing houses throw at least $25-50K at every single book they publish, and only a very small proportion of those books turn into blockbuster hits. If their success rate is low, the odds of someone without experience, name recognition, and distribution channels being able to do it is even lower.

If fifty grand and enthusiasm were enough to guarantee a blockbuster, everyone with a keyboard and a bank loan could write a book and retire to the Bahamas. But it doesn't work that way, any more than fifty grand and a CD burner is guaranteed to make you the next Michael Jackson.

Blockbuster means you have to A) be able to write a good book, and b) have in place a system to get that book in front of readers who are willing to pay money for it. Yes, it happens. Yes, it could happen to Heath. But without any evidence of either A or B, it's hard to be optimistic about his chances, money or no.

Anthony Ravenscroft
08-31-2006, 06:51 AM
A few thoughts.

On the open market, a great concept is worth somewhat less than a great idea. Great ideas are a dollar a bushel.

If you have great connections & a lousy idea, you could be the next Aaron Spelling. If you have thousands of great ideas & no connections, you'll probably not get very far.

Media is a mass-entertainment device, nothing more. Every once in a while, something resembling Art manages to squeak through, simply because the machine's so ungainly.

Heath, I'd like you to write your goal in 20 words or less. Then, write six concrete steps as to how you'll get from here to there. For instance, you're very vague as to whether you're out to get famous, get rich, or prove something to someone. There's nothing wrong with any of these, & in fact some combination tends to motivate each of us.

But if you don't choose just one, & right now, you're going to spin in circles of "what if," & you may have already begun.

Oh, yeah. Grisham had gotten published by an old-fashioned publisher. When his first book sold dismally, he bought back unpulped copies at salvage prices. From the time he turned in that first manuscript, he kept writing; when his option was dropped, he kept searching for another publisher. Meantime, he did indeed sell the remaindered books from his trunk... but at no time has John Grisham ever self-published. The only places that'll tell you otherwise are scams that aren't terribly interested in the truth -- & the people that spread these stories might be sincere, but they're also foolish.

Ooops, wait: I hear the Mark Twain story shuffling toward us...

Very few people "hate self-publishing." The fact I'd say a Stilson wrench makes a lousy hammer doesn't mean I hate Stilson wrenches -- but I have some doubts about people who say it's better as a hammer. Or how Abe Lincoln used a Stilson wrench to build a log cabin.

But tossing out an "I'm so oppressed" canard is easier than intelligent discussion.

Medievalist
08-31-2006, 07:15 AM
You know, I'm a total fanatic about digital books and printing technology; I've been professionally involved in digital books and multimedia and print technology since 1989.

But.

POD is just a technology; that's all it is. A publisher does much more than that. In addition to acquistion and editing and copyediting and proofing, there's book design, layout and typesetting, production (POD really doesn't do as good a job as, say, a web press. It just doesn't.), then there's the matter of the ISBN and copyright (yeah, you can get these yourself), the LOC CIP data (want a library to buy your book?) which you can't do yourself, and then, the hardest thing, distribution.

Publishers have a sales staff. They have marketing people (not the same as PR) and a sales force and catalogs and advertising schedules. They make contact with book sellers, they know their books and their customers.

And they take returns.

Wordworm
08-31-2006, 07:47 AM
POD is just a technology; that's all it is. A publisher does much more than that. In addition to acquistion and editing and copyediting and proofing, there's book design, layout and typesetting, production (POD really doesn't do as good a job as, say, a web press. It just doesn't.), then there's the matter of the ISBN and copyright (yeah, you can get these yourself), the LOC CIP data (want a library to buy your book?) which you can't do yourself, and then, the hardest thing, distribution.

Publishers have a sales staff. They have marketing people (not the same as PR) and a sales force and catalogs and advertising schedules. They make contact with book sellers, they know their books and their customers.

And they take returns.

I don't think anyone would argue with any of this, Med. If Heath could line up a publisher, I think he'd be quite happy to have all that taken care of for him.

I think the discussion was about whether, in the absence of succeeding with this route (which he hasn't really explored to the fullest by any means), or even in parallel with trying to set up a traditional publishing arrangement, Heath should or could do POD. Not only do I empathize with his frustration, I believe digital publishing technologies and POD markets will grow significantly in the next few years, in conjunction with the expansion of broadband, which provides a powerful medium for self-promotion. On that note, let's not lose sight of the fact that only three years ago, two-thirds of the U.S. home market was on dialup. Today, 75% of American homes have broadband connections. This fact alone makes it a whole new ball game as far as reach and marketing is concerned, so I don't think history necessarily means as much it once did.

But the crux of the matter is that (a) Heath thinks he has a winner, (b) he doesn't want to wait for things to happen through conventional means, and (c) he's prepared to invest his time and personal resources in finding alternative production, marketing and distribution methods. If he chooses to do this, I applaud his self-confidence and determination and hope he succeeds, and I know current printing and publishing technologies are very much on his side. I think we need more of that kind of aggressive risk-taking instead of hearing "everyone knows it can't be done." Wasn't that always supposed to be "the American way"? (says he, sitting in Toronto)

Unimportant
08-31-2006, 08:30 AM
Wordworm, I can't agree with you that Heath is going about this correctly. Yes, he thinks he has a winner -- and perhaps you believe that's sufficient, but my advice is to that he should invest a small amount of time and money in professinally assessing the quality of his putative winner before he proceeds further. Obviously he doesn't want to wait for the slow wheels of publishing to grind, but there's been no discussion of how long it might take to succeed using other routes (it took E Lynn Harris three years before his self published book was 'discovered' by a commercial publisher).

Heath's prepared to invest his personal resources in alternative routes, but his first post also made it very clear that he doesn't want to =waste=his money. I think he would very likely be wasting his money if he were to box ahead and vanity publish, hire a publicist, and buy a ton of yahoo ads, in the expectation of earning back his big bucks through the sale of copies and movie options. And I'd be doing him a disservice if I played cheerleader instead of giving him my honest opinion.

<shrug>YMMV.

JanDarby
08-31-2006, 08:22 PM
It might also be worth a trip to the "Show Me the Money" site, which deals with romance books, rather than all fiction, but gives a good, albeit non-scientific indication of the average earn-outs of romance books from assorted publishers. It's been a while since I visited the site, but as I recall, the average earn-out is less than the $40K to 50K that's being bandied around as the budget for producing the book. I know the percentages (royalties vs. profit) might be different for a self-published book, but a reality check about the expectations of earnings from a first book might be useful.

The site is: http://brendahiatt.com/

Oh, and keep in mind that, on average, the print runs for romance (which usually accounts for a greater segment of the mass market paperback than all the other genres combined) exceed the print runs for most other genres, so don't dismiss these figures as "just romance," because I would expect that they're actually higher than the earn-outs for mystery and SF/F, etc. I don't know what genre the book under discussion is -- legal thriller? -- but the print runs should be comparable to or less than an average romance print run unless it does, in fact, turn into a NY Times bestseller.

JD

Heath
09-01-2006, 12:13 AM
Thanks, I think Wordworm and Unimportant both have great ideas and opinions.

My goal, to answer the question, is this:

I have many ideas, and I love to see those ideas translate to the page. I also love movies, and I'm working on scriptwriting to get these ideas to film. Unfortunately, the scant 1 to 2 hours a day I can dedicate leave me unfulfilled. Sometimes, I will take days off and write for hour upon hour straight. I'd love to be able to work on turning my ideas into commercial media in the quickest and most efficient way possible. Why? So I can leave my day job and churn out these stories full time. (A dream, yes.) I have the ability to be as prolific as Stephen King or Dean Koontz, yet not enough available time to do what I enjoy and still a few more years before I could retire...assuming another heart attack doesn't catch up with me first.

So if I can self-publish to help push my way into the film industry by my "script based on my book," then that would be great. Or if I could succeed in selling the books by a personal investment of cash (not too much time), then that would be great. Ultimately, the goal is to succeed at what I love to do so that I can do what I love to do full time.

I'm not saying how do you turn a lousy book into a bestseller. I'm saying how do you self publish and still get a fair shake at the marketplace.

I'm getting beta reading on my book now. So far, so good.

To answer JD's question, it is a horror thriller involving an attorney -- imagine John Grisham getting caught in a Stephen King nightmare. At least, that's the one I'm marketing now. The other is more of a legal thriller about a 19th Century attorney defending a man accused of murder by vampirism -- a bit of the Crucible meets Anne Rice.

Unimportant
09-01-2006, 02:02 AM
>I'd love to be able to work on turning my ideas into
>commercial media in the quickest and most efficient
>way possible. Why? So I can leave my day job and
>churn out these stories full time.
Okay, fair enough. That's the dream of pretty much every writer.

But there's a difference between dreams and goals. A lot of people dream of winning Lotto, too, but that's not something you can base a business plan on.

What proportion of hopeful authors achieve commercial publication? Dunno. Maybe 1%? Of those authors who do reach professional status (define any way you want; SFWA defines it something like one novel sold to a commercial advance-paying, royalty paying publisher or three short stories sold to established markets paying at least 5c per word), what proportion are able to support themselves solely by writing? Again, not many. I've heard the average income of the pro SFWA members is something like $5000 per year, and that even most midlisters selling 50,000 or so copies per book still have day jobs or working spouses. Anyone with more concrete info?

>I'm saying how do you self publish and still get
>a fair shake at the marketplace.
That's a double edged question. The market place = book buyers, who buy their books mainly in bookstores. Bookstores stock books that are returnable, that they feel they can sell to their customers, that they in turn are enticed to buy by the publisher/distributer.

Someone who publishes with PublishAmerica may feel they don't get a 'fair shake' at that market, but on the other hand those book buyers expect their bookstore to provide them with books that give them a 'fair shake' at getting a good-quality read. Readers expect bookstores to filter out the crap; bookstores expect publishers to filter out the crap; publishers expect agents to filter out the crap. Readers would be cheated they bought a bunch of books on the recommendation of their local bookstore staff member and these books ended up being the equivelent of PublishAmerica slush.

If you want your book stocked alongside Grisham, your book will need the same quality of art, writing, editing, distribution, discount, and return policy as Grisham's books. Not many self-published books can pull that off, but if yours can, you've got your fair shake at the marketplace.

Heath
09-01-2006, 03:17 AM
Those are good points, and along the lines of what I've read. And I think Wordworm is right about the print revolution. I remember going into a law school class (and this is 10 years ago) and the professor (entertainment law) saying that print is dead and we will not use textbooks in the class. I was blown away, but he made it work.

I'm trying to think innovative here. You have POD, so you know at least you can get your book published. Now how do you turn that into a successful innovation with a bit of money?

huw
09-01-2006, 04:15 AM
Heath, rather than debate whether this is a good idea, I'll assume you understand the risks and that you are prepared, if necessary, to deal with the worst-case outcome.

You need to examine alternatives beyond the usual fee-charging POD suspects. You can afford the fees, but readers can't afford the overpriced product. Vanity PODs see printing as a profit centre, with a fat markup on print costs to compensate for expected low sales. That model is in direct conflict with your goal.

Rather than hiring a vanity POD, I would hire professionals directly to edit and design your book (inside and out).

If vanity PODs are at one end of the POD spectrum, at the other end is having your own ISBNs and your own account with Lightning Source. That would make you a true self-publisher, with control over everything including pricing, wholesale discount, and returnability. You would be able to market online, but would still have no way to market to the bricks-and-mortar book trade.

Paying for an offset run would give you a better crack at that, but how to deal with warehousing, marketing, distribution and returns? I've been curious about that myself for some time, and this thread spurred me to find:

http://www.bookmarket.com/distributors.html

Note particularly: "Frontlist books, which are the books that most benefit from distribution by a distributor, needed to be produced in sufficient quantity to merit the _sales efforts_ of one of these distributors."

In your position, it has to be worth investigating what these "sales efforts" might be.

JanDarby
09-01-2006, 05:38 AM
You have POD, so you know at least you can get your book published. Now how do you turn that into a successful innovation with a bit of money?

I think you're asking the wrong people. We're writers and storytellers, not marketers or salespeople. And most of us believe in the more traditional business model of aspiring to sign with a major publisher and let them do all the non-writing stuff, because that's what they're good at and we're not.

The more I read this thread, the more I think that what you're asking would be better addressed to PR and MBA types than to writers. You're looking for a new business model, and none of us here (or at least I don't) have experience or expertise in that. It might actually make a fascinating case study for some MBA class, to come up with alternatives to the current publishing models.

In any event, you're starting with the assumption (which may, of course be valid, and is a necessary, but not sufficient, prerequisite) that you have a good product (a series of well-written, highly entertaining manuscripts which have movie tie-in potential), and you're looking for a faster, more efficient method of getting them to readers/filmmakers than the traditional route of going through an agent and the year or more of editorial/production work at a major publisher, or the several years of annual releases as you build a readership, and you're willing to trade money for time.

I'm not aware of any such existing route, and I'm not aware of anyone who's followed such a route, and from the other responses here, it seems no one else here has either. There have been some self-publishing successes, or small-press successes, but they were less about money and shortening the timeframe than about other factors, like luck (someone noticing a copy of the small-press-published "Hunt For Red October" and starting widespread interest in it) or hard work (the self-published authors who spent a year or more of their full-time energy on promoting the book, selling it from the trunk of their cars and speaking to garden clubs or whatever it took to get some buzz going) or working a niche market (NON-fiction books sold at gatherings of people interested in a certain narrow subject that's too small to be of interest to major publishers, but is large enough to generate a profit for a small press or a self-pubbed author).

There may, of course, be innovative routes to the goal of supporting yourself as a writer, and a business expert or marketing expert might have some suggestions, but you'd be blazing a trail, with no guarantees. And I'm sort of picking up, between the lines (and I may well be wrong here and projecting my own tendencies), that you're looking for some sort of guarantee (something that lawyers are pretty much trained to want) or encouraging risk-benefit analysis (if I spend $40K, and do A, B, and C, I can be sure to at least have an established career that will enable me to quit my day job and write full-time for the rest of my life), and the simple fact is that there's no such guarantee or clear analysis in the storytelling world. You've got to be a little crazy to be a writer.

Even assuming you could sell the first book and break even, there's no guarantee that the second book or the fifth book or the tenth book will succeed, even if you spend the same amount of money on it and the product is as good or better each time. This business is just too unpredictable, and what readers want today, they don't want tomorrow. Writers who were at the top of the lists five years ago can't even get anyone to look at a proposal today. And vice versa, of course, but the point is that this is not a career where there is any predictability (beyond the current contract if you're with a major publisher), and there's always a huge amount of risk which is unquantifiable.

Write your books. Get them out there. That's all you can control.

JD

huw
09-01-2006, 03:42 PM
most of us believe in the more traditional business model of aspiring to sign with a major publisher and let them do all the non-writing stuff
JD

<checks forum title>

Er...

dclary
09-01-2006, 06:28 PM
Heath, honest to god, you forgot a step:


Write a blockbuster.


Why not start there, instead of planning how to blow 50K without telling yourself later that it was wasted?

maestrowork
09-01-2006, 09:30 PM
But as for POD, it's seeming like there are far more horror stories than success stories, and they seem to go far beyond just the promotional aspect. Even John Grisham was selling copies of "A Time to Kill" out of the back of his car before "The Firm," and he had a publisher.

Right. Grisham had a publisher, albeit a small one. A Time to Kill was far from a blockbuster. Not even close. He didn't have to sell the books out of his trunk but he did it anyway because he wanted to, and still, they only sold about 5000 copies. But it got his foot in the door -- he's now published, by a traditional publisher and not a vanity/self-publish. When you go vanity, the odds are against you.

maestrowork
09-01-2006, 09:33 PM
The point is, digital printing technologies are opening up a whole new avenue of publishing possibilities, and even though the old guard is trying to block it, it ain't gonna go away.

Don't confuse digital printing (the technology) with the business model. And no, the old guard is not blocking it. Many commercial publishers, including the big guns, are using digital printing technology. It's the business model we're not enthusiastic about -- the pay-to-get-pubished-without-any-editorial-quality-control-or-distribution business model.

maestrowork
09-01-2006, 09:44 PM
On that note, let's not lose sight of the fact that only three years ago, two-thirds of the U.S. home market was on dialup. Today, 75% of American homes have broadband connections.


You're mixing analogies. Broadband and Internet in general dictate a faster, broader and more convenient "distribution" system for information and content to be consumed. That has nothing to do with quality. We still see crappy websites, lousy e-Business models, and poor-quality content everywhere. And they come at us much faster because of broadband.

I think a better analogy would be digital music -- MIDI and digital recording/editing, etc. The technologies make it SO MUCH easier for the musicians to create and record their music. And with digital format and the Internet, it's easier to distribute the music, too. More and more people buy and download music online instead of going to stores. However, it still doesn't mean any garage band or John the Singer can succeed. I have heard some amazing music from "amateur" musicians online, and I have heard some really awful stuff. The fact is, without a solid business model that SELLS, advertises, and distributes the products, these musicians won't get heard.



But the crux of the matter is that (a) Heath thinks he has a winner, (b) he doesn't want to wait for things to happen through conventional means, and (c) he's prepared to invest his time and personal resources in finding alternative production, marketing and distribution methods.


a) everyone thinks they have a winner
b) in this case, waiting might be the best approach -- if he REALLY does have a winner, it WILL happen
c) that's his choice, and if knows all the pros and cons and does his analysis and goes in with his eyes open and feet on the ground, that's power to him and I wish him luck

[QUOTE
If he chooses to do this, I applaud his self-confidence and determination and hope he succeeds,
[/QUOTE]

No one is wishing him failure. We're just telling him the pros and cons -- and many of us have been published. Having confidence and determination doesn't mean success -- he has to understand what the publishing business is all about.

maestrowork
09-01-2006, 09:50 PM
Heath... "a screenplay based on my book" is unnecessary or maybe even a joke if they find out your book is vanity or self published.

Now, if you manage to sell 10,000 copies of it, they MAY look at it differently. I have a question for you, then -- how do you think you can sell 10,000 copies in the next couple of years?

Tsu Dho Nimh
09-05-2006, 02:06 AM
I'd love my book to become a blockbuster hit. Wouldn't we all :) What kind of book? And maybe a "decent first book that gets accepted by a mainstream publisher" would be a better goal.

It appears to me that there are the following methods to getting published:
1 - Get an agent
2 - Get a publisher
3 - Go to a small press or
4 - Do vanity or POD publishing

Yes, but then you appear to have inhaled the "it's a clique" fumes and half-truths the vanity press is spewing all over the net.

As for 1, agents want you to have been published or have a publisher. Untrue, or there would never be new authors! JK Rowling had no publisher and was accepted by the second agent she queried. She spent several years writing and rewriting her book and series outline first before she approached the agent.

As for 2, publishers want you to have an agent. Mostly true: They use agents whose taste they trust to screen out the worst of the submissions.

Imagine American Idol ... except with writers. What you don't see with agents is the first audition or two where the "star judges" aren't around and the worst of the worst are filtered out by agents. The ones who are left can usually carry a tune.

As for 3, the likelihood of being taken seriously enough to produce a major hit are low. Untrue: Small presses can be the "farm teams" for large publishers. Grisham, for example, was first published at a small press, did much of his own PR (not distribution, but the personal interviews and such), and went from there to bigger things.

Small presses in specialty areas have excellent distribution, but they seldom produce "blockbusters".

It seems like you have to be good AND get lucky for any of these to work. Good and persistent, willing to accept rejection and criticism, willing to take advice, willing to take the time to position yourself where you need to be.

How many agents have rejected you so far? If it's not at least 20 (who specialize in your kind of book) ... you aren't trying.

So here is my strange question:

If you do a POD such as AuthorHouse, which I've been considering, how much money would it take (assuming your book was halfway decent) to make sure it is successful? Has anyone ever done this successfully?

More money than you have!

I was thinking of throwing $10k to $15k into the package and promotions and working on getting it out there, maybe up to $40k or $50k, but I don't want to waste my time and money. Does anyone know of a success story, regardless of financial cost?

Your 40-50K are peanuts compared to the millions that the trade presses and small presses have. Those are distribution channels that you NEED to get into. Their books automatically end up on booksore shelving.

I know one extremely successful self-published author: he found a niche where there was a need for a book, wrote an excellent book that so thoroughly plugged that niche that no one can blast him out of it, and he keeps his book up to date. Based on his early sales records, the market analysis, and the quality of the book, he got a local small press to handle the distribution. But it was unique content, had an astounding market size, and was well-written.

Heath
09-08-2006, 12:57 AM
Thanks for all your comments. Definitely food for thought. The comment above is very on the money: I'm looking to find a new business model because I've read all the books about the conventional publishing system.


Heath, honest to god, you forgot a step:


Write a blockbuster.


Why not start there, instead of planning how to blow 50K without telling yourself later that it was wasted?
Every beta reader that has been reading my book has told me the same thing: that it needs to get in front of an agent ASAP. I'm not worried about the quality, as this thing has been written and rewritten down to a science.

The problem is how to get agents to take a look at it instead of throwing it into a slush pile. But that is a different topic...

And my point is not to completely self publish or use POD always, but to generate enough interest through that method to (1) pay for itself and (2) attract a wide audience, especially the big time publishers and agents.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but it sounds like POD does not attract them because it is so vanity based.

huw
09-08-2006, 03:43 AM
Correct me if I'm wrong, but it sounds like POD does not attract them because it is so vanity based.
The cause-and-effect relationship is more complex than that. It's not because most POD is vanity, it's because most POD is not of publishable (by commercial standards) quality. A quality POD product can attract attention and help achieve a long-term objective, as long as that objective isn't making tens of thousands of sales of the POD title itself.

Check:

http://girlondemand.blogspot.com/2006_08_06_girlondemand_archive.html

About half-way down, the "Entertainment Weekly" section.

Arguably, each of those authors might have done better by submitting to a trade publisher or agent in the first place. But who's to say they didn't? These writers are clearly not ignorant of possibilities, or they couldn't have achieved what they have. Presuming they pursued traditional avenues first, and failed to secure publication, then they're better off for having taken the POD route.

PODLINGMASTER
09-08-2006, 06:01 PM
Thanks for all your comments. Definitely food for thought. The comment above is very on the money: I'm looking to find a new business model because I've read all the books about the conventional publishing system.


Every beta reader that has been reading my book has told me the same thing: that it needs to get in front of an agent ASAP. I'm not worried about the quality, as this thing has been written and rewritten down to a science.

The problem is how to get agents to take a look at it instead of throwing it into a slush pile. But that is a different topic...

And my point is not to completely self publish or use POD always, but to generate enough interest through that method to (1) pay for itself and (2) attract a wide audience, especially the big time publishers and agents.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but it sounds like POD does not attract them because it is so vanity based.

Heath,

there are plenty of Agents taking unsolicited submissions from new authors--to get them interested you better have a winning query and synopsis. Wet their appetites for the manuscript and they will ask for it.

It really sounds like you should at least make an effort to put the manuscript out into the traditional channels...as huw said, this is the route to go FIRST, and then if your novel doesn't get the desired attention, then go the other route.

The fact is, that either way, it will take you some time to accomplish your goal...you could (since you apparently have the financial resources) begin by working both routes--How?

1.) hire professional editing for your manuscript to get it in tip-top shape, (this will be necessary no matter which route your book is published through)

2.) begin submitting your manuscript to Agents that handle your genre and accept unsolicited submissions--being sure to avoid the scams--A.W. keeps a running list on the scammers, so you've come to the right place.

3.) At the same time, begin looking into various smaller presses to submit to--but hold off for now.

4.) At the same time, begin planning a detailed strategy for setting up your own small press, Lightning Source accounts, ISBN#'s, Graphic design for your book's cover, formatting and so forth--get everything planned and ready but wait before you proceed further.

Honestly if you get the ms. ready and out the door to agents and publishers accepting unsolicited queries and then begin to plan out all of these other things in detail--just in case you have to go that way--then you will find you have plenty to keep you moving forward on the project and busy. This would allow some time to see if you get a traditional publishing response, while preparing to self publish if need be. You would be covering all the bases and then if nothing came of your submissions, then you would be ready to proceed with self publishing under your full control. No time would be wasted and you might just get in the door with a larger publisher, able to move you forward toward your goal faster than you could hope to do on your own.

Podlingmaster

Heath
09-08-2006, 10:14 PM
Thanks. Great advice. Do you have a link to the scams mentioned?

JanDarby
09-09-2006, 12:45 AM
Be aware, however, that my book is nonfiction—which is easier to market.

And that's the key. Success stories in non-fiction, where you can tap into a niche market, do NOT translate into comparable success in fiction.

JD