Frequently Asked QuestionsAnswers to Help Your Decissions Easier
What is Traditional Publishing?
Traditional Publishing, also know as Trade Publishing or Commercial Publishing,is a process where an author or his agent submits a manuscript to a publishing house for review. If that publishing house is interested in publishing the work an agreement is signed stipulating the advance, if any, the author will receive, the payback terms of the advance, the percentage royalty the author will receive, the length of the agreement, the marketing and publicity obligations of each party……you get the idea.
To contract with an author a publishing house must believe that the book will generate enough revenue to make the investment worth while. The publisher incurs the expense of producing the book and its marketing.
What is Self Publishing?
More authors than ever are moving to Self Publishing. This includes well known high selling authors as well as new authors. The reason is the ease of entry into the market and control self publishing offers.
Important items to remember when looking at self publishing are; having reliable proofreaders & editors, designers and support, understanding your market and having an existing platform, understanding pricing and having distribution. You’ll need an ISBN and probably someone to format an ebook.
Self Publishing is a good path to take, just remember your time is valuable, don’t try to do it all yourself and get bogged down with jobs you could easily hire done.
What is Subsidy Publishing?
Subsidy Publishing, Vanity Publishing, is a Pay-to-Play form of publishing where the author pays a company to publish their book. Most subsidy publishers charge $500-$1,000 to publish a book. This price may include an ISBN or not. It generally does not include any form of proofreading or editing, they require a print ready copy of your manuscript and cover. Of course author services such as editing, interior formatting, cover design, etc. are offered but at added expense.
Subsidy publishers will offer copies of the printed book to the author at a lower than retail price but usually at a discount around 20%.
There are advantages to subsidy publishing, the primary one being they will print anything. If you can’t find a publisher and are determined to have your book published this may be your only choice.
How Much Will it Cost to Publish My Book?
If you are published by a Traditional Publisher your cost is zero. Your royalty will be lower than if you self publish or use a subsidy press but the expense of editing, design, marketing and distribution will be that of the publisher.
If you choose to Self Publish your cost could be $200 to $2,000 depending on your book, the amount of editing needed and who you hire, the cost of cover design, and your marketing. For example, if you have a book that is 20,000 words it could cost $500-$1,000 to proof & edit depending on how refined a writer you are. The cover can cost as little as $50 from 99designs or as much as $1,000 from a high end designer. Interior formatting can run $20-100. If you have a web site that you can update and an existing platform to market to your marketing could be $0-$1,000.
So realistically you can spend $700-$5,000 to self publish. Probably you have friends or skills of your own and can save money by utilizing these. Just make sure you don’t skimp on quality.
That’s the long answer, the short answer is probably you can get by with $500-$1,000.
Read the “Will I Become Wealthy?” entry before jumping into writing/publishing with both feet. Write because you love writing, not to become rich.
What is a Typical Royalty?
Author Royalties vary between publishers, between authors and often depend on the services of the publisher. Typical author royalties are:
- 10% of the retail price on the first 5,000 copies
- 12.5% for the next 5,000 copies sold
- 15% for all further copies sold.
- 8% of retail price on the first 150,000 copies sold
- 10% thereafter
Orders form discount chains and big box stores are at deeper discounts than normal and royalties are adjusted appropriately.
Advances are royalties paid before the book is available for sale and re-cooped by the publisher before any royalties are paid to the author.
Generally royalties are paid to the author every six months.
How Do I Submit a Manuscript?
Submission Guidelines vary between publishers. Look for a Submissions page on their web site and for their policy. Some publishers only accept hard copies of manuscripts while a growing number accept emailed versions.
How will I know if My Manuscript is Accepted?
Depending on the publisher and the submission method the answer could be within a week or in three months.
Many publishers, particularly larger publishing houses, require printed manuscripts mailed to them. Because of the volume of submissions it could take months for them to respond to you. Often you will not receive a response at all. For publishers who accept electronic files for submissions you may see a quicker response or still none at all.
Read through a publishers web site for submission guidelines and you will probably find the timeline they work on and their response policy.
Can I Publish My Blog Posts?
This a question that arises more and more. The answer is of course “Yes, you can publish anything you want, as long as you have the right to do so.”
The real question we feel is “Is publishing your blog posts a good idea?” It certainly can be as long as there is additional content in your book and your posts are engaging and long-running. Publishing posts you wrote five years prior could be a very good idea especially in advance of the release of a new book as long as the posts are still relevant and support the subject of your book.
Another twist to this question is “How many chapters of my book can I use in my blog?” It is common for online booksellers and authors to offer up to three chapters for free to generate interest and purchases. While a chapter may produce a long blog post writing a post with insight into your story then linking to a website page with a free chapter makes a great deal of sense.
Do I really need a Proofreader and Editor?
Even if you are a professional proofreader or editor and have written a book you need another set of eyes, or two, to read through your work. One of the main reasons is that as the writer your mind is very familiar with your story and therefore can and will fill in blanks, see words as you mean them to be instead of as they are and generally remember not read.
It’s a nice thing if you have friends and family who can read through your writing and depending on how polished a writer you are this may help a great deal but a professional proofreader or editor will find issues they will not.
You’ve put how much time into writing your book? It is important enough to offer a quality product to hire someone to help with proofing and editing.
Will I become Wealthy Writing Books?
No….well probably not.
Making a standard living as a writer is tough, 95% of books written never sell more than 5,000 copies. That’s all books. And even with technology making it easier and cheaper to publish books, even with ebooks and the various platforms they are available on and how authors can now easily ‘publish’ their books this ease of entry has brought greater competition. We may see more titles selling but they are sold at lower prices meaning lower royalties.
Writers write mainly because they love writing. Some make a very good living at it, others earn a side income that allows them to continue to write or pay for vacations. Most make very little.
Write because you love to write not with the focus of becoming wealthy. It’s OK to have the dream and who knows, you may become rich but let that be a byproduct of following your passion.