1. Kylo
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    Kylo Member

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    Looking for a good self-publishing place.

    Discussion in 'Publishing' started by Kylo, May 13, 2008.

    Anybody know any good ones? I'm checking out lulu.com, but I'm sure there's better ones out there. Although I do like lulu.com because it reminds my of Printfection. Still, any suggestions?

    By they way, I've never published a book before, just so you know.
     
  2. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    why do you want to self-publish, instead of trying to get a paying publisher to take on your book?

    are you prepared to have to do all the promotion and marketing of your book?... and do you realize that pod's like lulu set such a high price on the books that few beyond friends and family will want to pay that much for a paperback?...

    i suggest you go to preditor & editors and look up the listings there for lulu and other vanity publishers, plus google for feedback and check out their websites, before making a decision...

    http://www.invirtuo.cc/prededitors/

    love and hugs, maia
     
  3. Banzai
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    Banzai One-time Mod, but on the road to recovery Contributor

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    I'd agree with Maia to be honest. Self-publishing is called vanity publishing for a reason- it is almost exclusively for people who only want to see their work in print. Cases of publishers picking up authors based on self published work are very rare. Just be sure this is what you want, before you jump in.
     
  4. NaCl
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    NaCl Contributing Member Contributor

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  5. lessa
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    lessa Contributing Member

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    I have signed with a literary agent and things are moving along quickly for me.
    started about 3 weeks ago and now I am working with the editor they suggested and while I am doing that the agent is picking which publishers to send the end product to.
    I figure I don't know what I am doing since this is the first time I have attempted to have others look at my work I will go with the people who know what they are doing and they can do the leg work. I wouldn't know where to have my legs start and am willing to admit it.
     
  6. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    getting an agent is, of course, the best way to go, since they can get you a better deal with a publisher and handle all the details for you... and most publishers prefer dealing with agents... some publishers do take on unagented writers, but i'd always advise doing all you can to get an agent, first...

    lessa... congrats on landing one!... i hope you 'vetted' the agency carefully before signing... which one is it?... and what does 'working with' the agent entail?...
     
  7. lessa
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    lessa Contributing Member

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    Writers Literary & Publishing Services
    and I work with the children's books side of it.
    they listed all the types they are agents for.

    Very few of the agents even bothered to answer my questions and those were on the phone but this company answered questions sent me all sorts of information (that I hadn't even considered asking for,)
    They sent my story for a critique and then told me the publishers preference for having a professional editor working with the author for at least the first book and sent my story to Mark and he will be doing the editing keeping in close touch with email and phone calls. I hope more emails since then I have a chance to consider without him breathing down my neck.
    The agent Hilary is already making a list of publishers to send my book to so that is making me feel rather positive.

    I am also starting another Albert adventure I think it will be him learning things about human children through the internet.
    Anything to get children to try new things is sort of my goal that and making them stretch their imaginations.
    Who knows I may walk into a library some day and find a book I have written.
     
  8. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    oh, dear!... i'm so sorry to have to tell you that's one of the biggest vanity publishing scammers out there... they're part of 'the literary agency group' and p&e, sfwa, and absolute write all warn writers about the parent company and all of its parts...

    i wish i didn't have to be the one to pop your balloon, lessa, but i'd hate even more to see you taken by one of the worst creeps around... robert fletcher should be behind bars, along with all who work for him...

    when you go looking for a real agent, make sure the ones that you approach are legit, by checking them out at the above sites, before going any further... then, check out their websites carefully, especially the contract info, as one can usually tell a scammer by his own words and appearance... here's one telling bit:

    the first part of this is not what any legit agent will do and the second part is an outright lie, as it's not true of any legit publisher... i hope you haven't paid any money to this outfit... and i strongly urge you to cancel your contract with them asap, demand your work be returned to you stat...

    feel free to email me for more info on how to find a good, legit agent, if you want...

    love and consoling hugs, maia
    maia3maia@hotmail.com
     
  9. NaCl
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    NaCl Contributing Member Contributor

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    Lessa,

    I am one who sees self-publishing as a legitimate way to put one's writing into the market place.

    BUT!!!

    Most of the true POD and Vanity Press companies, are liars...plain and simple. They sell a dream to starry-eyed hopefuls, until they have extracted all the fees thay can. It is not about selling your book; it's only about selling their services.

    When I read your post identifying the "literary agency", I got in touch with them. Filled out their little summary request and sent it in. Within 24 hours (just as they promised) I got the email asking for the entire manuscript so they can "assess" my writing abilities. Imagine my thrill when they asked me for a lot of detail about my manuscript and for an electronic copy of the whole 140,000 document. NOT! Of course, they educated me about the importance of good "editing", before it goes out for publisher review....etc.

    My point is, they don't really have a clue about the quality of my writing and they are already "managing" my career. I got the overwhelming feeling that these folks are totally BOGUS!

    And, this is coming from someone who believes self-publishing is a reasonable alternative. But, I see a big difference between true self-publishing and these companies that sell a false dream. Be careful! Write NO checks! And, make sure you sign no contract giving them ANY rights to your book. Once they have your manuscript under contract, its NOT yours anymore!

    Respectfully,

    .....NaCl
     
  10. lessa
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    lessa Contributing Member

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    OK here is my take on this.
    I am putting it down to a learning experience.
    It cost me $200 to get the lesson.
    My story has gone to the editor so I will see
    what they have to say.
    If he helps my writing then it was money well spent.
    If he doesn't then it will be a lesson well learned.
    This is the first board I have ever felt comfortable
    writing my stories in.
    It is fun to have others read them and help me improve them.
    So I am just learning to walk now and I will fall down a few times.
    I have my husband Don and my son Domoviye to you but Danny to me
    backing me up 100% and all the friends I have made here.
    So if my experience turns out really badly I may come here and cry not
    for the loss of the money not for being taken as a fool but for support
    and a shoulder.
    I have been married for 32 years my children are on their own now. My husband
    has a very well paying job and the only bills we have are for fun things. House
    is paid for cars are paid for so for now money goes for hobbies and this is one
    of my favourites.
    Most of the writers here are in university or high school with minimum paying jobs.
    You could not afford to be taken in like I was.
    So I will pay the price and get the word out to all of you wonderful writers so you
    don't make the same mistakes.
    I know Dom certainly would be eating homemade soup or kraft dinner or those noodles for quite a while if he made this mistake.
    I do not want any of you to have to do that.
    I am a mom and when I meet young people I sort of treat them like they were my own kids.
    I lecture, I joke, I scold but most of all I care.
    Maia is here so ask her advice.
    before you make a big decision come and talk with someone here.
    PM or open forum that is what this family is about, caring and helping each other.
    So let them, like me they may have made the mistake and now know how to keep
    others from making the same one.
    It may help your ego, your pocket book, and your life style.
    just some info and warnings from a mom.
     
  11. Hulk
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    Hulk Banned

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    Wise words, lessa.
     
  12. Kit
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    Kit Contributing Member Contributor

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    Aww, i'm really sorry to hear about what might be happening Lessa. I hope that the are doing things legitimately, but if not then i'm sorry. Glad to see you're staying positive.
     
  13. lessa
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    lessa Contributing Member

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    Kit Albert Einstien was a very intelligent man.

    What a sorry world we would have if we never made mistakes.

    my brother is a minister and once he stood up in his church and said simply
    we have taken away our children's greatest honour.
    silence of shock until he added
    we have taken away their right to fail.

    To me that is so true.
    we have to fail in order to succeed.
    if we don't make mistakes or fail
    we will never know what real success is.
    It can't be handed to you on a platter with a glass of fine wine.
    you have to earn it or it isn't really yours.

    Don't ever be afraid of making mistakes or falling down.
    There is always someone around to offer advice and support.
    So I hope everyone learns from their mistakes and their missteps.
    It will hurt for a while but it will make you stronger.
     
  14. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    i'm happy to see you taking it so well, sweetieheart!... it was a costly lesson, but thankfully won't put a major dent in your budget...

    just please keep in mind that NO legit agent will EVER ask for a penny before they sell your work and then, they'll take their commission off the top... read all the info on agents you'll find on that p&e site, before going hunting for one again, ok?

    http://www.invirtuo.cc/prededitors/pubagent.htm

    and to all who read this thread:
    LEARN the ways of the BUSINESS end of writing, before approaching anyone who offers a contract of any kind... and NEVER sign a contract without having YOUR OWN literary attorney look it over first...

    love and hugs, maia [mom of many]
     
  15. NaCl
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    NaCl Contributing Member Contributor

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    As a young man...yes, long ago...I heard the expression, "The road to Hell is paved with good intentions." It didn't make sense to me then, but it may be the perfect cliché right now.

    A lot of hopeful writers get hoodwinked by companies like this, all the while, the aspiring author thinks he or she is accomplishing something good. Yet, their money feeds the monster, allowing it to continue finding victims...naive people chasing the hope (false hope) of a publishing contract that waits just around the corner.....ALWAYS.....just around the corner.

    I won't bug you again about this...just wanted to point out to the general public that a decision to use one of these companies effects others as well. I hope you get at least your $200 worth of value in "professional" editing. Good luck!

    .....NaCl
     
  16. Domoviye
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    Domoviye Contributing Member

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    NaCl, the problem was she sent them the money two days before discovering the problem. So she will let them do whatever they want with what they have right now. If they ask for more she'll politely refuse.
    Its trying to make the best of a bad situation. Because that money is as good as gone now. The thieves will have to be happy with the money they have because she will not send them anymore.
    Normally I'd let Lessa answer this, but she's asleep and I've talked it over with her.
     
  17. lessa
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    lessa Contributing Member

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    mom of many. glad it applies to someone else as well as me.
    I have about 10 young adults who still call across the grocery store "Hi mom" even
    while walking there with their real moms. I figure I fed them while they were teens so
    they were mine for life. The parents get the problems and I got the fun of having them around.
    Back to the agent thing.
    they didn't ask money up front so I figured ok.
    they explained that an editor was pretty much necessary so that sounded reasonable.
    my CFO (take that as husband) sent the money by pay pal since it would be a pro's eyes view. Which it still will be if I get to see it.
    We have done many different things in our life together but we have always had one rule. Never spend more than you can stand to lose. I think that is the good gamblers creed. But it makes sense..
    They have the contract for the one story. So all I have to do is read what they want to do with it and if I don't like it then I tell them no. If they get enough no's they will give up.
    I have many other stories and I will definetly keep up writing them and finding a way for little kids to enjoy them.
    That is my dream and I will never give up on that.
    Money is insidental with my stories, fame is not even on the horizon.
    I just want kids to be able to enjoy my stories as much as I enjoy writing them.
    If my experience can save even one member here from being taken in then that is wonderful and worth the costs to me.
    Domoviye certainly found a wonderful place and I am glad that he loves me enough to open a place of his own to his mother.
    luv and hugs mom to many.
     
  18. lessa
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    lessa Contributing Member

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    NaCl
    A dream is never a false hope.
    It is a dream that you carry around with you to build upon.
    It carries you through bad times and adds to the good.
    Sure there will be set backs but the dream is still there shining maybe not brightly all the time but there to think about.
    It gives you something to strive for.

    So I goofed. So the company that attempts to make money from my dream gets a bit more in their coffers.
    I know they will use it to pay for more ads for the poor authors who took the wrong turn and ended with up with the same company. There is little I can do except warn others to avoid them.
    That does not mean I will give up and sit in my office or on my swing outside and say I will never try again.
    I will get up brush my stories off and send them to other agents who are the step up for the dreams.
    I have hundreds of stories running around in my head and someday probably sooner than later now that I was taken in.
    I do not get angry I get even.
    I will have my stories published and that will in my own mind rub the companies nose in it.
    They could have had a great deal of success with me and they have blown that chance to have money added to their coffers.
    It will now go to a legitimate caring company.
    So now that I have had a good cry
    a lot of good support
    I will get on with what I do best.
    I will improve the stories I have already written
    I will get them published
    I will write more stories
    And I will not get angry
    I will get even.
    it is a win win situation.

    My dreams will never be taken away from me by non dreamers.
    My dad couldn't do it.
    My mother couldn't do it.
    Teachers couldn't do it.
    and that was when I was alone in the world.
    Now with my husband my two children my grandchildren.
    There is no way in hell a stupid company can do it.

    Dreams are our salvation.
     
  19. Kylo
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    Kylo Member

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    I'm not looking for self-publishing for vanity. It's just that it seems much simpler to deal with and I really can't afford all those professional publishing contracts and stuff like that. And I don't wanna have to give up the rights to my story as some firms make you do, or at least I've heard they do.

    So unless there's a pro firm that's affordable and doesn't take my copyright, I just want a good self-publisher.
     
  20. lessa
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    lessa Contributing Member

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    Kylo check out the sites that maia has listed.
    I am sure you will find ones that fit your bill.
    good luck which ever you decide.
     
  21. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    actually, i meant that literally, as i have 7 kids and 18 grandkids [at last count], in addition to their friends during childhood, who considered our home as their own [or preferable to same], along with the thousands of 'mentees' who've 'adopted' me over the years i've been helping aspiring writers and other in-need folks, that make it 'figuratively' true, too... ;-)


    i would take it with a hefty dose of salt when it arrives, since they're not known for hiring top-level reviewers...

    you can [and should!] nullify that contract right now... if you want some help to do this, let me know, as i've helped folks get out of bad contracts with 'baddies' of all sorts, including the nefarious publishamerica!...

    why don't you submit some of them to children's magazines?... if you can make a name for yourself in that realm, getting books published will be a lot easier...

    if i can be of any help whatsoever, please don't hesitate to drop me a line any time...

    love and hugs, your 'sister-mother'
    maia3maia@hotmail.com
     
  22. TWErvin2
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    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Kylo,

    A legitimate publisher doesn't make you give up rights to your story. They pay you for them. They may pay you per word or a flat rate for first print/electronic rights to a story.

    They may pay you royalties and/or an advance your novel, and in return you receive (levels vary for all of the following depending on the publisher)professional editing, distribution, marketing, ARCs and reviews, etc...and the potential of having wider distribution and earning more income from your work than you would otherwise. When the novel goes out of print (or some other limiting factor), the rights revert back to you, the author.

    The goal is for both you and the publisher to distribute as widely and sell as many books as possible...and both make money and walk away happy. If you're a good/successful author, a publisher would want to keep you happy.

    If you're approached by a publisher that 'takes your rights' or does not properly compensate you, the author--through a bad contract for example, then move on.

    It's best to check them--publishers and agents--out (many places besides P&E) before signing and never sign anything you don't understand. Never signing something you don't understand is a rule to live by--leases, loans, whatever--period.

    Terry
     
  23. NaCl
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    NaCl Contributing Member Contributor

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    The real cost to self-publish.

    I share your feelings. I decided some time ago to be an entrepeneur and sell my own stories. My first novel is at the printers now and will be on the market next month. It runs 137,000 words and 440 pages in 5 1/2x 8 inch size paperback.

    Here are the things I had to do:

    1. Establish a "company" to operate on my behalf. Applied for a business license ($120), established bank account ($6000 initial deposit), applied for "Resale Permit" ($100 - this invloves collection of sales tax in California and allows me to pay printers on a wholesale basis, instead of retail), set up stationery, accounting and adequate work space for book storage as my other company (all "free" through my existing company).

    2. Registered my publishing company with the Library of Congress and Bowkers (free). Purchased my own book of ISBN numbers ($245).

    3. Book cover: Purchased book-cover layout and design software...$250 - one time expense. Graphic artist $900-1300.

    4. Editing: I hired a local independent editor with 15 yrs experience in the publishing industry. ($400) This is very important if you decide to self-publish. Editors do not have any emotional investment in your story and they help you objectively "look" at the work...yes, it was painful! LOL!

    5. Printing & binding: I shopped all over the USA and Canada. When I got my best quote, I took it to a local printer and they were willing to match the price so I am actively involved in the page lay-out and print editing process. Print cost for 1,000 books, $3,400. Binding cost for perfect binding, $800. These costs are for perfect binding and extra paper cost to add more "white space" on the pages...makes for easier reading. Shipping is free because I managed to get the local printer...BTW - they showed me numerous other books they produced and I was satisfied with their quality.

    - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

    Up to this point, we're talking about creating a real book. Now, we need to talk about developing sales. Do the math yourself.

    I priced the book at $12.99 retail. This gives me lots of wiggle room to lower price and still be very profitable. My cost per thousand for the first 1000 is about $5.50 per book (this was my goal price). If I am fortunate enough to print future editions, the reprints will average $4.00 per book because I have already amortized the costs of the book cover art, printing layout and editing.

    - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

    Now, for marketing...it's not free either.

    Website for my new company: $2000 initial cost with ecommerce capability and professional management. Less than $100 per month thereafter for hosting.

    Webpage dedicated to the new book (with its own URL): $300 plus fees for graphic art...this cost is already covered in the original graphic art done for the cover.

    PayPal account: No appreciable cost to setup but ongoing costs as a function of sales.

    Yahoo payment account: same as PayPal

    Amazon Books outlet...don't have the specifics yet, but I was told to expect around 30% of retail price. That means I still make around $3.00 per book profit.

    Traditional book stores: Book brokers want 10% and the brick'n mortar stores ask for 40%. On a $13 dollar book, that still leaves me a profit but their "unsold return" policies frighten me so I don't expect to use this resource much.

    Pre-sales: Because I have an established readership frm my years of magazine writing, I contact many of my fans and provided copies of the cover art and synopsis to stimulate immediate sales. I expect the first 200 books to sell overnight. Then, sales will fall off until my promotional activities generate more interest. I already have contacts with several local reading clubs...they love having authors speak to them. I also have a local talk-radio show that has invited me to visit. Now, I need a contact at Oprah!!!

    - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

    There you go. This is true self-publishing. No POD. NO vanity press. Just a writer who is willing to put his own $$$ at risk...classic entrepeneur.

    .....NaCl
     
  24. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    i have to ask... how do you expect to sell enough paperbacks at 13 bucks, to cover all those costs, when best-selling pb's by major well-known novelists cost only half that much?...
     
  25. TWErvin2
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    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

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    It's roughly the size of a trade paperback. Discounted (such as at Amazon.com or bookstores that mark best sellers down 10-15%), they sell for $10 to $12. Regular price is about $13 to $15. Some small publishers who rely on POD vs Offset print runs, sell the equivalent for $14 to $18 and are sometimes discounted (on Amazon.com for example).

    So the overall coverprice isn't really out of line as far as I can tell.

    Looking right on my shelf at the trade paperbacks in front of me:

    Carry Me Home by Sandra Kring (260 pgs) retails $13.00 (Bantam/Dell)
    The Book of Bright Ideas by S. King (307 pgs) retail $13.00 (Bantam/Dell)
    The Book of Jhereg by Steven Brust (480 pgs) retail $16.00 (Ace)
    Silenced Cry by Marta Stephens (279 pgs) $15.50 retail (BeWrite Books)
    Memory of a Murder by Earl Staggs (265 pgs) retail $13.95 (Cornell Maritime Publishers)
    Seven ArchAngels: Annihilation by Jane Lebak (271 pgs) retail 19.99 (Double-Edged Publishing)
    Distant Passages Vol 2 -Anthology- (236 pgs) retail $17.99 (Double-Edged Publishing)
    Loose Cannons and Other Weapons of Mass Political Destruction by J.D. Elder (256 Pgs) retail $18.50 (Lulu.com)

    I just picked every trade paperback on the shelf above my computer as the sample. Each is discounted on Amazon.com from 10% to 22% (I just didn't want to list each discounted price). Some are physically larger (length and height) as compared to NaCl's work but still all would be considered trade paperbacks, I believe.

    The selection listed above represents major publishers, small publishers, and one self-published.

    Whether NaCl can indeed sell enough novels to recoup his investment (beyond the marketing time that is not factored in--but in truth nearly every novelist would have to invest some time in this) is a question that will be learned over time. Hopefully the calculated for second print run is in his future.

    I really don't know what his novel is about, but if looks to be something that's of interests to me, I'll give it a read--one book sold.

    Terry
     

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