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Salem
07-16-2007, 08:23 PM
So far I've heard so many negative things about Author House, Publish America, etc. Are there any companies out there that are recommended for self publishing fiction if I want my book to be available in brick and mortar stores?

ResearchGuy
07-16-2007, 09:55 PM
So far I've heard so many negative things about Author House, Publish America, etc. Are there any companies out there that are recommended for self publishing fiction if I want my book to be available in brick and mortar stores?
Print-on-demand (POD) books are not stocked in bookstores (with rare one-off exceptions in a store here or there arranged by the author, a couple of copies here or there, on consignment). Even self-published books printed in quantity in normal publishing style are extremely difficult to get into bookstores, and the process is very challenging at best. No matter what subsidy publishers and vanity presses tell you or try to imply, their books will NOT be on the shelves of bookstores and they are very, very difficult to market at all.

For some purposes and with a good understanding of the limits, POD can be useful (I could cite examples). But keep expectations very low and be prepared with marketing plan BEFORE having any copies printed or spending dime number one on such publishing.

Normal self-publishing (print run of hundreds or thousands of copies, not POD) can have more potential (as well as more risk), but real success is rare and requires a great deal of work and knowledge, as well as a book with appeal to a market. Study Dan Poynter's Self-Publishing Manual (latest edition) for background and nuts-and-bolts specifics.

In a nutshell, if you want your novel to be on bookstore shelves, pursue normal commercial publishing.

--Ken

Salem
07-16-2007, 10:54 PM
Thank you so much for the reply. So basically if I self publish my book it will doubtfully reach stores. If I seek a traditional publisher the odds of anyone publishing an unknown like myself are nearly zero and in the rare incidence that they do my book will still doubtfully reach stores. I see where this is going...:Headbang:

Toothpaste
07-17-2007, 12:25 AM
Salem - what you say is kind of true, but also not. An unknown can get published. There are several on this board who are first time published (or soon to be published) authors who didn't have any connections going in and simply mailed off queries to agents etc etc (and by simply I mean, mailed off queries and got tons of rejections and just kept at it despite wanting to pull their hair out).

The line "newbies don't get published" is a fallacy perpetuated by vanity publishers and scam outfits.

ResearchGuy
07-17-2007, 03:12 AM
Thank you so much for the reply. So basically if I self publish my book it will doubtfully reach stores. If I seek a traditional publisher the odds of anyone publishing an unknown like myself are nearly zero and in the rare incidence that they do my book will still doubtfully reach stores. I see where this is going...:Headbang:
EVERY published author started as a previously unpublished writer. Agents take on new authors, and publishers publish new authors.

The key requirements are professionalism and persistence.

Spend time with Writer's Market, with Jeff Herman's Guide to Book Publishers, Editors & Literary Agents, and with good books on writing queries and on finding agents. (And be sure your book is the best it can be.) There is plenty of help and advice available on AW, too. That it is not easy does not mean it is not possible.

If you absolutely WANT to self-publish (with all that entails), then there are good sources of information on that route, but for a fiction writer who wants to have his work in bookstores, that is not the route with which to start. If you do choose to go that route, prepare carefully and have a well thought out marketing plan in advance.

My opinions, FWIW.

--Ken

glendalough
07-17-2007, 03:40 AM
These kinds of threads make me want to cry. It's okay Salem, it's not you. It's me...and not in a Seinfeld kind of way.

I come in here and read all the posts from the other writers who are banging their heads against the same walls I am...year after year.

It reminds me of all the girls who say "I want to be a model" : yeah, sure. Go for it, you're the only one!

Salem
07-17-2007, 05:22 AM
Luckily, Glen, I'm not that stupid. I'm being a bit sarcastic and of course it's a little difficult for that to come across on a website thread. My favorite actor, Morgan Freeman, is a shining example of what it takes to be successful in any field. It took him over 20 years to get his first real acting job. That's perserverance that I find very inspiring! I was, however, very serious though about wanting opinions on self publishing and I thank you all for your replies. I will definately look up the resources that were recommended.

ResearchGuy
07-17-2007, 07:55 AM
. . .My favorite actor, Morgan Freeman, is a shining example of what it takes to be successful in any field. . . .
An excellent example indeed.

Best wishes for success in your endeavors.

--Ken

Salem
07-17-2007, 08:25 PM
Thanks ResearchGuy! And the best to you, too!

Stijn Hommes
08-16-2007, 01:45 PM
Thank you so much for the reply. So basically if I self publish my book it will doubtfully reach stores. If I seek a traditional publisher the odds of anyone publishing an unknown like myself are nearly zero and in the rare incidence that they do my book will still doubtfully reach stores. I see where this is going...:Headbang: Stephen King was an unknown once too. It's quite possible to get published and if the book is good your chances are well above zero. Stop the self-doubt and query those agents. If you get rejected by at least 40 of them, you can start thinking about self-publishing. That way you have a much better chance at bookstore placement. (Of course, if all you care about is listing with Amazon, self-publishing is just the thing for you)

dobiwon
08-17-2007, 04:19 PM
My favorite actor, Morgan Freeman, is a shining example of what it takes to be successful in any field. It took him over 20 years to get his first real acting job. That's perserverance that I find very inspiring! He is a good example. I remember watching him with my oldest daughter (then pre-school) as Easy Reader on the PBS kid's show Electric Company. I can't imagine a PBS kid's show in the 1970s was a very high paying acting job, so I think he took what he could get and built from there. A good inspiration for everyone, not just writers.

PattiTheWicked
08-17-2007, 04:28 PM
Salem, there are a ton of people on AW who have published books with "traditional" publishers, and all of us were first-time authors at one point. Seriously, if you're writing fiction, POD is really not a great way to go, because you're not only the writer, you're also the sales and marketing team. That takes up time better spent working on your next book.

auntybug
08-17-2007, 05:50 PM
Boy...this thead is depressing...yet offering hope??? kinda..sorta...

Didn't it take Dr Seuss 10 years to get published or something like that? No that - THAT makes me feel better or anythinghttp://www.freesmileys.org/emo/sad030.gif (http://www.freesmileys.org)

J. R. Tomlin
09-01-2007, 01:59 AM
Salem, there are a ton of people on AW who have published books with "traditional" publishers, and all of us were first-time authors at one point. Seriously, if you're writing fiction, POD is really not a great way to go, because you're not only the writer, you're also the sales and marketing team. That takes up time better spent working on your next book.
Whoa. There ARE PoD presses out there with marketing departments. They're mostly small companies so they don't have huge departments, but some definitely do marketing for their authors.

Now I'm not talking about self-publishing here. But I am seeing the strong implication that PoD and self-publishing is the same thing. Many PoD are royalty paying companies and not self-publishing.

I suspect many of you are aware of this, but that is the way this thread seems to read. So I wanted to clarify the rather important point.

Whether going with a royalties paying PoD is for each author to decide depending on their work and individual situation, but lets not confuse our terms here.

veinglory
09-01-2007, 02:09 AM
Self-published PODs simply will not be widely stocked in stores. And I specifically mean self-PODs, not all PODs. They may be picked up by a few local ones, taken on consignment and customers may be able to order your book from the store. Or they may not. Most self-PODs sell over the internet, Amazon and direct from publisher (e.g. Lulu).

Most third party published PODs also never see the inside of a chain book store but if you browse the shelves you will see exceptions. Some presses manage to make the books acceptable (e.g. deep discount, returnable).

For self-PODs I recommend Lulu, perhaps iUniverse at a stretch.

jowaydev
09-07-2007, 08:56 AM
I would appreciate any information regarding the successful effort of any author who has after publishing with PublishAmerica, successfully voided the contract and found a viable alternative.

smoore
08-24-2008, 06:59 AM
OK, I'm really going to go out on a limb here. I think Research Guy is either not aware of the changes in publishing going on or he is ignoring them. The main publishers are in cahoots with the brick and mortar stores and would like you to believe as Research Guy that POD is not the way to go. Well, I've got news for people like Research Guy: this is an internet world. I'm an old duffer and even I recognize this (one reason I'm here at Absolute Write). In twenty years (or maybe less) everyone will have something like a Kindle, the brick and mortar bookstores will be gone, and the main publishing firms will also be gone. I can now read most major newspapers around the country on a Kindle too, so newspapers will be gone. (Good riddance, too -- we need to save a few trees.) Unfortunately Amazon needs some competition to bring the Kindle price down.
In reference to Morgan Freeman, I love the guy, but gee folks, I can't wait twenty years -- I'll be dead. Granted, most POD books don't get into bookstores (Infinity does), unless you, the author, put them there. I published my first novel with Xlibris and had a painful experience on many fronts (it's on Amazon and Barnes and Noble, but they don't do any marketing). Infinity seems to have avoided all the problems I had with Xlibris, including having a book return policy (which is why book stores don't like PODs).
Bottom line: I think POD is the way to go. I fully recognize that I have to market my own books -- and I plan to do so...on the internet. Unless you're Stephen King or someone equally famous, you will have to market your traditionally published book anyway. So why not make it so you're completely in control?