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Klaas
04-04-2007, 07:18 AM
Is there anyway to get your book into stock as a 'special order' or whatever it's called at major bookstores when you are self publishing? Like at a major bookstore where I live (Borders), they do not stock certain books in the store but if you type it in on the computer they still come up, and you can order them in etc?
Basicly, my book is finished, and due to my age (17) I figure I have no real shot of it becoming the next Harry Potter, so I just want copies for friends/family, but also available for sale if it's possible (the special order thing would be great, becuase there are quite a few people waiting to read this, so I could tell them to order it in from Borders or whereever, and this way I would actually feel like a published author rather then someone who just printed off a bunch of books). Would I go through an Australian POD publisher like lulu? Sorry for the ignorence but all of this is new to me.

Thanks.

Chicken Warrior
04-04-2007, 10:20 AM
You could go through Lulu, but that wouldn't mean your book was distributed anywhere off of their website unless you payed them $100 (in which case it might get onto amazon). You can list it on amazon yourself, but it will still be sold by you, and they will take a cut. As for local bookstores, you usually have to talk to the manager. Have a copy of the book ready to show them, and be prepared to give them a decent discount off the cover price (something like %40). All stores will take a fairly heavy cut of your profit, it's the way it works.

Or you could actually try publishing it (?).

BTW, I'm currently working on a project with young authors (I'm trying to start a non-profit publishing company for writers under 20). Would it be cool if I emailed you some info?

Good luck with your book,

- CW

citymouse
04-04-2007, 04:50 PM
K, what you're seeing is typical. My partner worked customer service for Amazon.com for many years. What most people don't realize is the borders online catalog is partnered with AMZ. Ever wonder why the two sites look so much alike?

All this means is that any published book with an ISBN (a very important item) can be and usually is included in online catalogs;usually placed there through the POD or regular publisher.

The problem of stocking a POD book in a brick and mortar business arises because 99% of POD companies do not allow bookstores comperative discounts. For example, iUniverse gives a stingy 15% and Author House comes in well below the standard 40-50% at 35%. Bookstores aren't interested in these low discount books however, they do list them on their online catalogs. Also don't be fooled that just because Barnes and Noble owns iUniverse that iU books will be eagerly stocked. The possibility is remote.

Something to think about is that books that do make it into bookstores do not have an infinite shelf life. However, once a POD book is included in an online cataloge it lives there until you decide to remove it. The book in this instance would be listed as unavailable. Even then the icon, blurb and reviews remain.

For self-published folks who use Lulu and the like, they must secure their own contract with online catalogs like AMZ, B&N and Borders. This is not difficult but it is one more step in the process.

There are rare cases where self-pub authors have snagged a Borders or B&N buyer and with a little arm twisting gotten their books into the stores but that as I said is, for the most part, rare.

So what am I driving at here?

First, if you deicde to either self-publish or go to a POD company, you will have to content yourself with online sales.

Second, all sales depend on how much promotion you do and how well you do it. Bookstore sales like online sales are very much at the mercy of buyers and reading trends.

Third, I must discuss a harsh reality. You as an author are an artist and deal in an art form that is truly wonderful. Bookstores, however, are not author friendly. The only friend bookstores seek is money. If an author can make money for the company then all well and fine. Make no mistake, companies care not a fig for individuals. That's why sucessful writers have agents who sell to publishers who distribute to bookstores.
An artist can't have too many barriers against the money people.

Now a word about quality. You probably have seen remarks about POD/self-pub books being of poor quality. Once upon a time that was virtually true of 99% of POD products. For the big POD companies and Lulu et al that has changed in this respect.
Paper and print quality has met market standards. Interior design has met market standards. Covers however, remain mostly gaudy clip art presentations that truly jar the senses. Many covers do not come close to suggesting the author's plot.
So, if you have the art background and or access to a designer then by all means avoid POD art services. Now I realize that this is a blanket statement and there may be a few exceptions but in this case the exception is not the rule.

I realize that this is a long message but please bear with me because I want to say something about editing and beta readers and what I've learned.
Spell check your work. Look for typos that you know you make regularly. Mine are on for one and form for from. They get me everytime! If your ms is long and you use MSWord, you can use the FIND function to pick out those words you suspect as being wrong. Once you do the best spell check you can then move to the next phase.
After you finish any project read it aloud or record it and play it back. This will give you an idea of how well it reads and also you will pick up more ideas you want to include. We all know our characters and it's easy to skip important details the reader needs.
At this point you can do the five senses application. Take each scene as you hear it and ask if you have adressed, if appropriate, either smell, taste, touch. Writers typically do well with sight and hearing but we often neglect the others.

Once you're satisfied, have someone you don't know personally edit your ms for typos, spelling, and flow.
At 17 you're probably not in a position to afford the hundreds or even thousands of dollars editors often charge for their work, however, God has given us beta readers. Collect as many as for or five beta readers and ask them to read your book for typos, spelling and flow. Be sure to ask folks you don't know to read for you. They will be truthful and you'll have a beter product. Like most of us beta readers have auto correction sight that's why it's important to have as many eyes on your ms as possible. I had one beta reader send back a 60,000 word ms with just 29 noted errors while another reading the same ms found over 100 typos--little stuff like a comma and a period at the end of a sentense. Thsi occures when I changed my mind and cut a long sentense in half. Stuff happens!

I have found a POD company you may be interested in. It's BOOK SURGE and they are an Amazon.com company. They have a feature where if you have your ms all ready formatted and the cover done, you can publish for $99US. It's the most affordable option I've found so far. Book Surge also gives a %40 discount to booksrores through their "Buy Direct" option. Any business with an tax number can order through Buy Direct. That is a break through for POD customers.
P S I have no stock in Amazon so this information is not a solicitation.

Now it's time for my disclaimer. The above is the result of my own experinces and you will find others who disagree with some or even all of what I have written. You're blessedly young and have many years to hone your art and become read.
Good luck!
C

acousticgroupie
04-04-2007, 05:16 PM
www.iuniverse.com

eric11210
04-05-2007, 01:05 AM
Citymouse, I have to tell you something.

I don't plan to self pub my novel. Not unless I've been trying for years and after years of trying all that time, I still believe in it, in which case, I might invest a few dollars just for the heck of it so I can say it's published. Right now, I'm in the final edit before beta readers, so I haven't even begun the road towards trying to find an agent, etc. And I figure I've got a few years before I'm going down that road. . .and I hope never to go down that road.

However, what you suggested regarding ways to look for typos and considering the senses, recording the entire book being read and then playing it back etc. Wonderful advice that I haven't seen elsewhere (I've seen people suggest reading it aloud, but I think recording it and then coming back a week later to listen would make a much bigger impression on me) and thanks for sharing it.

Eric

citymouse
04-05-2007, 03:53 AM
Thanks Eric. Keep looking for an agent if that's your goal. I met a fellow writer about six years ago. He's been writing for over twenty years and now in his mid-fifties he's found an agent. He's literally over the moon with excitement. Of course he recognizes that this agent will have to sell his book to a publisher and then wait for that outfit to either print or not--something also not often discussed. While it's true publishers don't buy books they don't plan to print, it's also true that new/hot projects can bump a book out of budget and delay publication.

As for me I'm way too long in the tooth to devote months and years to get into print. POD is a good choice for me but clearly it's not for everyone.
C

LloydBrown
04-05-2007, 04:00 AM
He's literally over the moon with excitement.

Hmm.

Klaas
04-05-2007, 09:03 AM
BTW, I'm currently working on a project with young authors (I'm trying to start a non-profit publishing company for writers under 20). Would it be cool if I emailed you some info?

Thanks for your response, and yeah it sounds good, you can email me at colorofdeception@hotmail.com.

Thanks so much for your responses. Citymouse, thanks for your long post, just a couple of questions..


First, if you deicde to either self-publish or go to a POD company, you will have to content yourself with online sales.

So does this mean that theres no way it can be sold by ordering it in through the shops? I checked out the POD company you suggested, book surge, and they seem really good, but what I can't gather from their site is weather the book being in the borders.com catalog means it can be shipped in to the shops for people to pick up if they place a specific order at the counter of the shop etc. It may seem like an irrelevant fact I guess but it's important to me because I want to be able to tell friends how they can get a hold of it without having to shop online or buy it in person from me.. If it's not possible, that's okay, but I'm just trying to see if there are any options.. I plan to give a few copies to my local librarys... as far as I know as long as it has an ISBN/barcode they will be able to put it into their system, right? I'm not even sure if they accept donated books.. like I said, this is all new to me.. I've been working on this book for a few years and I never realized you could self publish until recently.
I will def. get an ISBN with the book when I get it printed.

About the cover- a close friend, an art student at my school, will do the cover for me. I love her style and I think it suits the book... her stuff is very good, so that won't be a problem.

I'll def. work on getting it edited/beta'd asap.
Oh.. one more concern.. sorry for asking so many questions lol.... But.... will I have to pay/fill out forms or anything to do with tax if I used book surge to sell my books through amazon/bordres etc? I'm not 18 yet, so does it concern me at all? And does book surge/amazon/borders just send a check to you when a certain amount of your books sell or....?

Thanks so much.

eric11210
04-05-2007, 09:55 AM
Generally, it can be special ordered as long as the person asking for it has enough information for the person at the desk to find it and you have an isbn number. However, it rarely happens. People don't bother with special ordering. I know if I walk into a bookshop and I'm told "we can special order it for you" I walk out the door again. I might hunt it down on the 'net, I might not, but very few people go through that trouble. And this assumes they have the exact name it's published under, exact title and possibly also name of the publisher.

So yes, in theory, they can. In practice, from everything I've read, not very likely to happen.

Hope that helps.

Eric

Edit: If I recall correctly (don't quote me on this, you may want to consult a tax professional) you need to earn more than $6,000 in order to be required to pay taxes and more than like $1500 to be required to even report taxes. The numbers may have changed, but I recall that being the case when I was younger. I'm sorry to say, from what I've read about it (never done it myself mind you) it seems unlikely you will have to worry about filing for taxes.

However, if you do have the rare break out success (they happen, but not very often) then yes, even under 18, you are required to pay taxes if you earn enough money.

Oh, and whoever you use, check the details on their web site. They will tell you how often and how royalties are sent.

citymouse
04-05-2007, 04:15 PM
Thanks for your response, and yeah it sounds good, you can email me at colorofdeception@hotmail.com.

Thanks so much for your responses. Citymouse, thanks for your long post, just a couple of questions..

K, you're most welcome! My responses are below.


So does this mean that theres no way it can be sold by ordering it in through the shops? I checked out the POD company you suggested, book surge, and they seem really good, but what I can't gather from their site is weather the book being in the borders.com catalog means it can be shipped in to the shops for people to pick up if they place a specific order at the counter of the shop etc. It may seem like an irrelevant fact I guess but it's important to me because I want to be able to tell friends how they can get a hold of it without having to shop online or buy it in person from me.. If it's not possible, that's okay, but I'm just trying to see if there are any options.. I plan to give a few copies to my local librarys... as far as I know as long as it has an ISBN/barcode they will be able to put it into their system, right? I'm not even sure if they accept donated books.. like I said, this is all new to me.. I've been working on this book for a few years and I never realized you could self publish until recently.
I will def. get an ISBN with the book when I get it printed.

The short answer is your customers will be better served if they order on line. The cost (loss actually) of dealing with POD books is simply not good business for bookstores of any size.

About the cover- a close friend, an art student at my school, will do the cover for me. I love her style and I think it suits the book... her stuff is very good, so that won't be a problem.

That's good! It's half the battle. If you decide to go with something like the $99 Book Surge option, your artist needs to know how to format the cover (back and front). That would be true for Lulu as well.
I'll def. work on getting it edited/beta'd asap.
Oh.. one more concern.. sorry for asking so many questions lol.... But.... will I have to pay/fill out forms or anything to do with tax if I used book surge to sell my books through amazon/bordres etc? I'm not 18 yet, so does it concern me at all? And does book surge/amazon/borders just send a check to you when a certain amount of your books sell or....?
All companies report all royalties paid to the taxman. However, Eric is correct. There is a low limit you must hit before taxes are applied. Check with a CPA or your national tax information site.

Thanks so much.
Again, you are welcome.
C

veinglory
04-05-2007, 05:56 PM
I agree about that special ordering--at that point it is easier for them to buy it online themselves and sent direct to their door. Also in my experience when you try to special order they often stuff it up so it isn't worth the bother.