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SR1
06-20-2007, 02:31 AM
Does anyone have experience with either of these two POD services? If so, can you compare and contrast the benefits and/or downfalls of each?

SR1

ResearchGuy
06-20-2007, 06:42 AM
Does anyone have experience with either of these two POD services? If so, can you compare and contrast the benefits and/or downfalls of each?

SR1
Yes, with both.

Short form:

Booklocker, a subsidy publisher, requires payment up front for some services as part of package. ISBN is (I believe) standard part of deal. Seems like a decent outfit. I edited and formatted a small book a friend had published there a few years ago.

Lulu is self-service: you must provide fully formatted file. But there is no fee up front unless you want an ISBN. I have found it useful and know others who have, too.

Both have the usual benefits and drawbacks of print-on-demand publishing, discussed ad nauseum in several threads here. Their value depends entirely on your own purposes. They are fine for what they are. They are NOT like commercial publishing and NOT suitable if you want your books stocked in bookstores. (But not everyone does. As I said, it depends on your purposes.)

Search on my name at www.lulu.com (http://www.lulu.com) and you can find my booklet on "The Pursuit of Publishing." It provides a handy starting point for thinking about publishing options, from commercial to vanity, including some attention to Lulu (but no specific mention of Booklocker).

--Ken

JAGiunta
06-20-2007, 10:54 PM
I went with Booklocker and have nothing bad to say about them at all. I hadn't heard of Lulu at the time, but the folks at Booklocker do all the formatting for you (if you don't want to do it yourself). If formatting isn't a problem, Lulu might be better for you.

SR1
06-21-2007, 02:24 AM
JAGiunta

Can you compare the quality of booklocker's product to what you can buy at Barnes & Noble? Is it as good? Also, can you tell me how many books you have sold to independent people you do not know? Is it true that most average only about 50 books total.

I have several queries out to agents that I am waiting on. My goal with my book is to get it in as many young athletes (and their parents) hands as possible. The book was written to help make a difference in that particular market, which is a huge market. The best way would be through the traditional publishing route. However, the book is important enough to get out there any way I can if that is not possible for a first time author, thus the questions about booklocker. Any help is appreciated.

SR1

JAGiunta
06-21-2007, 07:02 PM
Can you compare the quality of booklocker's product to what you can buy at Barnes & Noble? Is it as good?

You can check out the cover of my book The Last Incarnation (http://www.jagiunta.com/images/TLI_Cover.jpg). While I think it looks great for a POD, the unusual size of the book irks me. I wish they could be printed at the standard size of a traditionally published novel.

As for the quality, the POD outfit you choose won't have much to do with that. They won't edit your work or provide illustrations for the cover or interior (short of public domain clipart). The most they'll do is format the text into a .pdf file the printer can use. In short, and in my opinion? It is not as good as something you would buy in B&N.


Also, can you tell me how many books you have sold to independent people you do not know? Is it true that most average only about 50 books total.

To people I don't know? I'm certain it's less than 50. Most of my sales have been to friends online. I haven't sold any to family, because I gave those away for free. Even though I've sold a few hundred copies, I didn't self-publish to make money. I did it for exposure.

Looking back on that decision, I would not do it again. At the time, it seemed like a great idea. I think now it has greatly lessened any chance of those books becoming traditionally published (not that I've been submitting to anyone). My plan is to finish my current trilogy and be done with self-publishing.

My advice would be to exhaust every last avenue you can find before turning to the self-pub route. First printing rights aside, have enough faith in your work and the patience to go out and find an agent/publisher that sees the same merit in your work that you do.

Stephania
06-25-2007, 07:35 PM
I have a question. I worked on this one manuscript for the longest time. I even had someone edit it and help me prepare it for submitting to publishers.

I tried getting an agent, but I have no previous experience or books out and it seems they all want someone with a small portfolio, which I don't have.

One publisher accepted my manuscript last June and held onto to it for about 5 months and then wrote me a letter to go to their office "to discuss the manuscript and changes needed." Now that was 5 months after the liason said, this is perfect and how excited he was for me, blah blah. oui!

Needless to say, I pulled my manuscript when they told me they wanted me to change the location and some characters and make the sex scenes more elaborate. I was floored, never signed anything with them so I took my manuscript and left.

It seems no matter what I did I couldn't get this manuscript out there. I went to a book signing and the author agreed to speak to me after she was done with the signing, to at least give me some adivce because no matter what I did, I was failing.

After we spoke for a few minutes, she took my email address and promised to send me some information. Well, she was true to her word and I love her for it. She showed me that her first three novels were sold through lulu.com . She wrote me and said that she too was being turned down over and over and after having her fill of rejections, she was given advice from another author to self-publish that novel and work like hell to get her name out. She said she sold close to 5,000 books in a year and although it may be small fry to what it could've been via a publisher and agent's help, she decided to continue with lulu for the next two. Her novels now are published by a well known publisher and they picked her up when she sent them a copy of her first novel.

Okay, I went to lulu and my book is now in the proof stage. Once I'm done with that and up load it, it'll be ready for release. I'm trying to get a book signing with a private book store here and there and wonder if I've done the right thing by trying the lulu thing. I have to go through with it and would like to know, if anyone has any advice for me? Ideas on how to promote the book? How to get my name out.

Thanks.

ResearchGuy
06-25-2007, 08:35 PM
. . . She said she sold close to 5,000 books in a year and although it may be small fry to what it could've been via a publisher and agent's help, . . .

. . . if anyone has any advice for me? Ideas on how to promote the book? How to get my name out.

Thanks.
A few comments.

--According to publishing industry memoirs I have read recently, the average first and ONLY printing of commercially published books is 3,000 - 5,000 copies. Hence, sale of 5,000 copies is not to be sneezed at.

--Agents do not help with book sales. They hook the author up with publisher and negotiate contract, but they are not publicists or marketers. And even at that, and even with commercial publishers, the author DOES have to carry a load to help market a book. (Do not be fooled by all the chipper claims that publishers always do it all. Nonsense. Read up on what is expected by way of "platform.")

--Although this does not make me an expert, it certainly has given me some experience. For more than two years I have workd with Kiyo Sato and her memoir Dandelion Through the Crack (see article by Sacramento Bee newspaper columnist Anita Creamer, http://www.sacbee.com/creamer/story/235673.html (http://www.sacbee.com/creamer/story/235673.html)). Some effort went to formatting and copyediting and proofreading. Some went to finding an agent (that flamed out, as the agent I found turned around and wanted the manuscript radically rewritten "or it won't sell"), and finally getting the author together with a willing and enthusiasic small publisher (someone I have known for years personally and professionally and trust completely). Much of my effort has gone to promotion and marketing. Every day I do something to support the book. It might be talking to a new acquaintance (or an old one) about the book. It might be contacting a best-selling author/journalist to read the manuscript and provide a blurb. It might be posting to an email list. It might be talking to a newspaper columnist about the book as an excellent subject for an article (which indeed it was, and the columnist and the newspaper's photographer really did it justice). It might be helping the publisher to identify targets for advance reader copies (ARCs) or delivering ARCs to influential pre-publication readers. It might be chatting up bookstore staff. And on and on and on, day after day for two years. And the book has not been published yet. (It is due out at the end of August.)

This is a boatload of work. The publisher established a website for the book, has sent out as many ARCs as could be afforded, and has in other ways supported the effort. But the publisher cannot do it all, and in this case, could not have done a fraction of what I have done as volunteer publicist and relentless cheerleader for a book and author I believe in 100%. BUT--and this was important for a book with national significance and extraordinary cultural and literary value--it HAD to come from a legitimate commercial publisher. Big publishers had rejected the author's queries time and again. (Unwisely, I believe, but they really could not have grasped the book's potential or its significance merely on the basis of the author's query.)

Now, where does your book fall on the spectrum . . . is it suited (as many are) to author-based promotion and marketing? It is suited to an effort that focuses (at least initially) on local marketing? Does it require the cachet of commercial publishing, or is it the author's own standing, and the book itself, that will do the trick? That is up to you to decide.

Alternative publishing (any flavor of self-publishing or subsidy publishing or vanity publishing) is a hard row to hoe. But I can tell you from first-hand experience, small-press publishing ain't any picnic, either, and as the numbers of books published vs. books selling more than a few thousand copies will tell you, even publishing by larger houses is no guarantee of big sales.

So, bottom line: at some point you have to make a choice to continue to seek commercial publishing or to pursue another option. No one but you can really decide which is right. However, an agent once told a meeting I attended that a self-published book that sells 5,000 copies or so draws the interest of commercial publishers. That level of sales demonstrates the market. But (and here is the rub), it may be that by that time, the alternate route will have proven much more profitable than normal royalty-based commercial sales. Are you at heart an enterpreneur who can thrive in running a business that combines writing and publishing and marketing and promotion and selling? Or are you at heart a writer who wants only to write and to leave the rest to someone else? Your call.

I have rambled, but I hope the comments are helpful.

--Ken

Stephania
06-25-2007, 08:50 PM
Wow, ResearchGuy you gave me a lot to think about. I'm going to read your answer a few more times to figure out what's next.

I am the type who wants to write and leave it to others, but I also want a hand in marketing. My problem is I have three other manuscripts, one a two part series and they're ready to be submitted, but I have to deal with this one first. I'm just getting more and more confused. I was told to get my name out and have enlisted the friends in various states to help me do that, I'm just wondering if I'm doing the right thing.

I believe in my work and I guess every writer says that. I thank you for your answer and will now, see what avenues I need to take to follow through. Stephania

JAGiunta
06-25-2007, 10:21 PM
5,000 copies is very impressive, in my opinion. I would be contacting that author again to ask how she went about marketing/selling the book. Feel free to report back here if you find out, because I'm sure quite a few people would be interested.

I'm still debating what to do with my self-published titles. Marketing isn't my strong suit.

ResearchGuy
06-26-2007, 01:08 AM
5,000 copies is very impressive, in my opinion. . . .
BTW, among my acquaintances are a historical novelist whose top seller has sold upwards of 30,000 copies; a textbook/reference author whose top seller has also sold upwards of 30,000 copies; and a nonfiction author whose top seller (among 17 books) is approaching 80,000 copies. Each is his or her own publisher. Each makes a full-time business of it. They are not typical (and they do not use POD).

--Ken

Stephania
07-10-2007, 08:01 AM
BTW, among my acquaintances are a historical novelist whose top seller has sold upwards of 30,000 copies; a textbook/reference author whose top seller has also sold upwards of 30,000 copies; and a nonfiction author whose top seller (among 17 books) is approaching 80,000 copies. Each is his or her own publisher. Each makes a full-time business of it. They are not typical (and they do not use POD).

--Ken

I know I may regret asking another question, but if they publish their own, and not through a POD then how???

ResearchGuy
07-10-2007, 08:31 AM
I know I may regret asking another question, but if they publish their own, and not through a POD then how???
Like any other normal publisher, by buying a run of thousands of copies. (Or in the 17-book fellow's case, as sales wind down, runs of a couple hundred or a few hundred to replenish stock.)

Look, for example, at www.aeonix.com (http://www.aeonix.com) for a list of book printers.

--Ken

Anita M Shaw
08-07-2007, 10:12 PM
That's a great link to explore for those of us looking to self publish. Lots of resources and info. Pete is a respected expert on a self publishing list I subscribe to. One of the inspirations that keeps me going in this crazy business!

Anita
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