1. Cherie
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    Cherie Member

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    A few publishing questions

    Discussion in 'Publishing' started by Cherie, Oct 26, 2010.

    Hello,

    I have been reading the threads, and need help finding answers to a few publishing questions for my book.

    It's a reference book on garage sales (it's hopefully entertaining, with emphasis on safety, how to, and lots of things people wouldn't think of). It's 103 pages. It's in complete print-ready condition, the first print has been made. It's in standard paper size (8.5 x 11), and will be spiral (cord) bound, and printed on 60lb text paper, and hopefully sell for $19.95.

    Now it's time to figure out how to market it. There's no way of knowing if it will fly or thud, so a shoe-string budget has to be taken into account. I went online looking up publishers, and nearly every site I opened started with 3 questions: what kind of book is it? How soon are you ready to publish? And how many thousands of $$$ are you ready to sink into it? A red light immediately flashed on in my brain. I can see where that's going.


    Amazon.com offers to sell books for private individuals EVERYBODY looks at their website so it would definitely be made public. They charge small fees on each sale. They seem to be a pretty honest outfit, too.

    My questions mainly are:

    1. Does anybody on this forum have any experience or pros and cons on selling books through Amazon.com?

    2. How in the world do you find a publisher that will evaluate your book and make an honest effort to publish it without demanding an arm and a leg upfront and eventually do nothing for you?

    3. Where would be the best forum/market to present this kind of book? I did check out Lulu's and it seems they concentrate more on getting paid for formatting and printing your book, than promoting it.

    4. How many copies should be printed and on hand before offering the book for sale?

    Any information would be greatly appreciated. I have posted once before, and received great responses from Cogito and mammamala, (thank you again!)

    Cherie
     
  2. HeinleinFan
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    HeinleinFan Banned

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    1. I've heard good stuff about Amazon; if there are huge downsides I haven't been told about them.

    2. Given that the only "publishers" who will want you to pay money are the vanity presses, your next goal should be to find real publishers and court them. Go to the store, look at the garden section or the do-it-yourself section, and write down a list of publishers (which will be evident on the spines of the books, or on the first few pages near the title page at the book's beginning). Then look up those publishers' websites, find out what they require in a query package, and get to work querying them.

    3. One pro writer says that Lulu is terribly overpriced for what it does. He recommends CreateSpace and LighteningSource; they do Print-on-Demand, meaning you don't have to sink a huge amount of money into copies of your book before you start selling on Amazon. Each buyer will pay Amazon, who will tell the POD publisher, who will print a copy of the book and send it to the buyer. And although the spiral binding may be good, I've seen some bad spiral bindings (not "bad" like breakable, "bad" like unprofessional looking), which POD should be able to avoid.

    4. Again, I don't know how many you should have; I favor Print-on-Demand so if you have bad luck you don't end up with 400 copies taking up space in your house.
     
  3. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    since you're already self-publishing the book, i don't understand why you're asking about publishers... traditional publishers don't get any money from you at all... they pay you!... so, if you're asking about vanity presses, they do no promotion or marketing, so you have to find one with a good rep [if there is such a thing!] that you can afford... whatever you do, stay away from PA and its ilk... a POD company is the most affordable way to go, since they only print the book after it's paid for...

    but you seem to have a publisher already, if you have a print copy in hand, so i'm still confused about what it is you're asking... and i have to say that 20 bucks for what you're offering is way more than people will pay...
     
  4. Cherie
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    Cherie Member

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    Hello, HeinleinFan and mammamaia!

    Thanks so much for the responses! I really appreciate them! A lot of food for thought and things to check into!

    mammamaia, you asked why I was looking for a publisher if I was self publishing, and the reason is because I am trying to decide whether to try to self-publish or go with a publisher.

    Ii am quite new to this whole ball-game, I had just finished the book, and now have to deal with the nuts and bolts of publishing. As to pricing, the best estimate I have found so far just for printing and binding is running over $15 a book, and that leaves very little wiggle room. How can I make anything on the deal if I price my book at less than $19.95? Most of the books on this subject were originally priced at that or higher, most of the ones that have been reduced or are selling for less are the ones that have turned out to be basically worthless.

    I did a lot of reading and investigating the competition before I ever tried doing the book. Most of the garage sale books out there are filled with fluff and useless information, then loaded up with quotes, cartoons and silly stuff to fill in the empty space, basically a pamphlet made into a book.

    It's like they don't know what they are talking about, and I haven't found even one that points out the dangers involved if you aren't careful. This is the reason I wrote the book. It's 104 pages packed with many years of actual experience, including information from law-enforcement individuals about the hair-raising situations sellers run into.

    I am on a tight budget, and all of the publishers I ran into online wanted a ton of cash upfront. I wasn't aware that these were vanity publishers. It seems I have a lot to learn!

    HeinleinFan, you are absolutely right. the spiral or cord binding is a mistake, and tape binding is a better way to go. I saw some examples of each yesterday, and the cord binding is out. Also, the POD outfits sound like just the ticket, and I will be checking out the ones you mentioned.

    Thank you both again, you are great mentors!

    Cherie
     

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