1. Ruleof72
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    Ruleof72 New Member

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    E-book and self publishing questions

    Discussion in 'Publishing' started by Ruleof72, Mar 16, 2010.

    I am about 30% through the 1st draft of a health and fitness book that will be aimed at a niche market that I have a lot of passion about. It is a bit of a twist on many of the books out there and I hope that my contacts in the community will help me sell the book.

    My plan is to have the book done by May or June and then spend the Summer editing, etc. so that I can start marketing it in the Fall. I would like to go the e book route 1st and then have it available in paperback. I have started to investigate some of the options such as Smashwords for the e-book and Create Space for the paperback. I'm being realistic that it might never get published in the traditional manner but I don't want to give up any control of the book (ISBN, etc.), just in case.

    Does anyone have experience with e-books, Create Space, or any of the other self publishing options out there. What do I need to be on the lookout for as I research the options?

    Thanks in advance for any help/suggestions!
     
  2. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Do you want to spend your time writing, or learning every aspect of publishing, including legal, advertising, marketing, typesetting and layout, distribution, etc.

    If you can't convince a traditional publisher to accept your manuscript, chances are it's not going to succeed financially anyway. Your per-copy costs are guaranteed to be higher than the same costs for an established publisher.
     
  3. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    that sounds about right to me...
     
  4. FrankB
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    FrankB Member

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    I'd advise at least trying the traditional route for a year or two. There are a lot of publishers of non-fiction out there who consider small, steady sales to be preferable to the blockbuster-or-remainder-bin mentality of the large fiction houses.

    I'm with one of them. My book's sales haven't been spectacular but they've been steady. It's been out for six years now and is in its 7th printing. I'm getting (low) four-figure cheques twice a year. Both my publisher and I are happy.

    Don't be so quick to give up on a project you seem to be otherwise enthusiastic about. Research agents and publishers. You invested a goodly chunk of your life learning what you intend to write about. Why not invest a little more and try to spread that enthusiasm to an honest-to-goodness-for-real publisher?
     
  5. Ruleof72
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    Ruleof72 New Member

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    Ok, self publishing doesn't seem to be too popular. Why? I know i would spend time getting the book published through someplace like CreateSpace but that would that be any more time than sending out letters to publishers/agents? What's to keep a traditional publisher from picking up the book even if (or because of) the sales I have made through self publishing. What about e books? I'd like to get the book out in electronic format, will that hurt my chances of getting a publisher to pick up the print version?

    I'm totally new to the industry so I'm trying to learn the options. What kind of money could I realistically expect to get from a publisher for a health and fitness book, seeing that this is my 1st?
     
  6. FrankB
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    FrankB Member

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    It would take more time than I'm willing to spare tonight to respond to this post in detail. Suffice it to say that all the answers to your questions are answered, often umpteen times, on most writing-related boards on the net. But here's a quick response, in order:

    1- For many, many reasons.
    2- Possibly. Possibly not. So what?
    3- Because traditional publishers know 98.799% of self-published books are crap.
    4- What about them? How many have you purchased and read?
    5- Not necessarily. Especially if you only sell 17 copies of the e-book. But then, what does that say about the merits of the book?
    6- This is an easy one: From $0-$10,000,000+

    If you want to sell a hundred or so copies of your book to your friends, relatives and a handful of strangers - go ahead and self-publish.

    If you want to make a few thousand bucks and make fans and friends from all over the world - learn the business of selling your writing to a traditional publisher. (Once you've learned the craft of writing page-turning copy.)
     
  7. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Self-publishing sounds like an easy and inexpensive way to get your book out into the world. It isn't. Publication is a huge and thriving business because publishers provide a real service. They understand what is required for a book to be successful, and they turn away projects that will not float. There are publishers for both large and small publishing markets, so the niche publication is covered as well.

    The romantic notion of grassroots publishing sounds good, but it's smoke and mirrors. Furtermore, there are savvy predators who will be happy to take your money with glittering promises.

    One of our members (NaCl) is in fact self-published, and with a lot of work come pretty close to making a profit on paper. He did, however, put a lot of his own money into it, and I doubt he has adequately counted his time (at modest wages) in the accounting. And I would place him among the most successful of self-publishers.

    If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. And self-publishing is one of those endeavors that fits the adage, along with get rich quick schemes and perpetual motion devices.
     
  8. Ruleof72
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    Ruleof72 New Member

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    Thanks for the response and input. I am definitely excited about the book I'm writing and I do have quite a bit of experience on the subject. I don't want to leave money on the table when it comes to getting paid for the work I've done.

    What is a good way to narrow the field on potential publishers for my niche market fitness book? Any good resources I can use to get the ball rolling?
     
  9. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    www.duotrope.com

    have you assembled a proper proposal for the book?... that's the first thing you have to do, once the ms is completed and ready to be seen... it's quite a chore, if you haven't yet learned what goes into one, and will take a good while to get it done and polished, ready to submit...

    so don't think a simple query will do the trick on its own... you need to have the full proposal ready to send the moment your query gets a nibble... and some agents/publishers will require the proposal from the get-go...
     
  10. Ruleof72
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    Ruleof72 New Member

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    Thanks for the link but it looks like it is for Fiction, I am writing a Non-Fiction book. From what I understand, propsals for non-fiction can be submitted before the book is done. Is that right? If so, is there a similar site for non-fiction?

    Thanks for the help!
     
  11. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    sorry about that slip... i forgot about the non bit... there's no equal to duotrope for non-fiction that i know of... but i have some good publisher lists i'll be glad to send you... sad to say, you'll have to do it the hard way, by checking their listings to see which ones take the kind of book you have to offer...

    and while querying with a proposal for an as yet unwritten book is ok for established and somewhat 'known' writers, if you're a new, unknown one, you'll have to have the book completed, before querying with a proposal, to maximize your chances of snagging a publisher...

    after all, they're not likely to trust that you're capable of producing a marketable book just on your say-so, are they?...
     
  12. jmar2
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    jmar2 Member

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    I'm going to go on record supporting ePublishing. This doesn't mean I've given up on traditional methods, I have two novels making the circuit and I continuously send out short stories. I've sold four shorts the traditional route and gotten many rejections, some really good and most standard form letters.

    What prompted me to try the electronic route was simple curiosity. On other forums, we've been beating this topic worse than a dead horse and for every three questions there are about thirty different responses.

    I have personally found out the first stumbling block in following this route. The self promotion involved is like a black hole. But without the traditional support of a publisher's marketing group, I have to do it all myself.

    Do I expect a profit? Not really - as I said, this is all about the experience.

    Has it been easy? Yes, very. XXXXXXX provides a guide for formatting and once you meet that criteria, it all becomes automatic.

    Do they expect a professional product? Oh yeah. And this is one of the differences I find favorable between ePublishing and vanity press. Vanity presses do not care what your book looks or reads like. They get your money and print your book. Period.

    But ePublishers need to meet the criteria of the various platforms. They need to supply a book that isn't full of typos, excessive blank space, misrepresented as PG-13, etc. Sites like XXXXXXX and XXXXXXX provide your uploaded manuscript directly to Barnes and Noble, Amazon and others. If those retailers get too many unreadable and misidentified books, they will stop dealing with the ePublishers.

    So is it for everyone? Of course not. Is it for anyone? Yes it is. Does anyone make money? Yes. The Editor Unleashed forum has several threads on successful ePublishers.

    On a final note, take the aforementioned reply where someone asked if "all you wanted to do was sell a hundred books to friends" then you could self-publish. Well doing that through a vanity press or a POD company can cost you a lot of upfront money. $xxx for a hundred copies is one sample fee I read. That means you have to sell them for at least $x.xx each to just meet your expenses.

    But on a site like XXXXXXX, if you price your book at $$$$ as I did, you keep $$$$ for each copy sold. That means if your 100 family and friends buy this version, you didn't spend any up front money and you put $$$$ in your pocket.

    Hope that helps and I hope I didn't overstep the forum guidelines. I didn't mean to pimp ePublishing. I just wanted you to be clear on some of its potential.

    John
     
  13. bruce
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    bruce Active Member

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    Me too. Thanks for posting that e-publisher's name. I'll check it out soon.
     
  14. jmar2
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    jmar2 Member

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    My apologies for stepping on any toes, in future I will attempt to avoid mentioning actual names and links in thread discussions. Cogito has warned me that comes close to advertising so I'll pay more attention next time.

    I confess though that on this topic, one is trying to report specifics in order to provide or expand a knowledge base. Doing so without naming names seems moot.



    John
     
  15. jmar2
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    jmar2 Member

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    Update on ePublishing

    My ePublisher just signed a deal with a computer company that is famous for its fruit logo. Among the extra requirements for me was the acquisition of an ISBN.

    If anyone wants details about ISBN, copyrights or particulars about this ePublisher, just send me an email or a private message.
     

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