1. Cherie
    Offline

    Cherie Member

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2010
    Messages:
    24
    Likes Received:
    0

    Time's Running Out

    Discussion in 'Publishing' started by Cherie, Feb 11, 2011.

    Hello, all,

    Some of you kind people may remember me. I'm the gal that wrote the garage sale book, and I am running against a brick wall everywhere I turn in attempts to get published. The book is proof-read, edited, and I have printed out a couple of copies.Granted, it isn't a professional looking book, just a spiral bound, but everyone I have shown it to (not just friends who might humor me, but total strangers and acquaintances). I am operating on a shoe string, and I need a real publisher. I have sent out many queries, but not one publisher has even had the courtesy to say "no thanks" or respond in any way. It is a "how to" book I have written from years and years of experience and information I have gleaned from many many garage salers. I have tried turning to PODS, but all that has resulted in is demands for money up front trying to get me to buy a lot of copies (I guess to fill my garage with.)

    I thought maybe I would sell through Amazon, but kind individuals on this forum said that was not the way to go. I even tried posting a listing in the wanted section of my local Craig's List showing a pic of the book and asking for help finding a publisher. Guess what? No publisher, but I got 15 individuals wanting to order the book. Everyone who I have shown it to wants to buy a copy. I was told by one POD that they wouldn't work with me at all until I purchased an Indiana retail certificate (about $200) just so I can collect sales taxes for the state. There are millions of people across the US that are putting on garage sales, many newcomers (due to this rotten economy) will be joining their ranks, and few of them know the ins and outs of how to plan it, advertise it, set it up, or even the basics of how to do it safely. Virtually none of the information in my book is found in other garage sale books, they do nothing more than paint rainbows about all the money you are going to rake in, and they use a lot of filler, meaningless quotes, unrelated pics and cartoons, and virtually ignore the scary side of how you need to protect yourself from thefts, robberies, scams, or worse.

    I think this book would sell like hot cakes if I could only get it out there. I bought books on how to self-publish, but so far what I had gleaned form them is you need lots of money to even start, and you must travel around to promote the book. Hey, guys, I'm no celebrity, and have no wish to be one. I can't travel anyway. I have been sidelined by a stroke, am virtually housebound, and am now rapidly going blind. Time is running out for doing anything with this book. All this great information in one place that could even be life-saving, and I can essentially throw it in the trash. : (

    I have attached a pic of my book below. Any ideas would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks for listening,

    Cherie
     

    Attached Files:

  2. Terry D
    Offline

    Terry D Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2011
    Messages:
    200
    Likes Received:
    15
    Location:
    Southeast Iowa
    Have you tried going to a book store and finding the names of publishers of 'How-To' books? If you are looking for traditional publishers you will need to do research into what houses publish the sort of book you wrote and then approach those publishers.

    Contrary to what you've been told, self-publishing doesn't have to be expensive. You can publish your book through Amazon.com's CreateSpace arm with no out-of-pocket expenses. But, if you decide to self-publish you need to know that all of the marketing of your book is up to you.
     
  3. Cherie
    Offline

    Cherie Member

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2010
    Messages:
    24
    Likes Received:
    0
    Hello, Terry D,

    Thanks for the reply. I have already found th e publishers of the other garage sale books, those are the ones I wrote to. No reply from any of them. Everybody on this forum told me to avoid selling on Amazon. I have contacted and registered with these PODS: Lulu, Create Space and Lightening Source. All 3 want money upfront.

    And how do I do my own promoting when I am housebound and going blind? Any ideas?

    : (

    Cherie
     
  4. Mckk
    Offline

    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2010
    Messages:
    4,749
    Likes Received:
    2,534
    Maybe a different title? Like, "XXX for Dummies"? Your book title doesn't grab me - but then again, I'm not interested in garage sales, so maybe that's why.

    I don't know much about publishing at all, but I read somewhere on this forum about Kindle, buying an Amazon account and basically producing your book as an e-book and selling it electronically. No print costs and I think it was Heinlein Fan who said that should cost you about $10 max. Maybe message him and ask? I'm also under the impression that Mammamaia is very knowledgeable in publishing.

    Personally, I worked for a website for a spell and Facebook works wonders. Use social media - that's free. Create a Facebook fan page for yourself. If as you say, your book will sell like hot cakes, then you should be able to find people who may be interested in garage sales on Facebook. Invite them to your page and gather fans. Give out tips etc as status updates but leave the juicy know-how out, as a taster for your book. Offer a link on the fan page for your book - create a better cover than the one you currently have! And you can send it electronically as an e-book, or I'm sure you could print on a "per order" basis, like Amazon does for some books, for a higher cost (optional for your customers).

    Twitter as well - especially if you're American, I'm under the impression that it's very popular over there. I'm British, so I could be wrong. Search for garage sales for users who actually post on this kinda stuff. Again, that shouldn't be hard if there's actually a readership out there. "Follow them" in the hope that they would follow you back. Populate your account much like your Facebook fan page. That way, you're marketing directly to your readers, all for free. All you need is the internet.

    Sell your book as a way to "make/save money" - seriously, people are obsessed with that topic. Get a better tagline on your cover - I don't even remember it and that's not good for a tagline. Make it sound like even a dummy who's just entertaining the idea could do it, if only he had your book.

    Maybe that's another way to sell to your agent/publishers - YOU know there's a readership. They don't know that. Use the recession/unemployment/economic climate to sell your book (more and more people are trying to make extra cash) and that's why your book is perfect for everyone.

    Edit: I tried googling some articles on this whole social media malarky. Ok, I haven't read the whole thing because I actually personally hate this stuff (hence I left my last job) - so here's an article on "optimizing your social media strategy" if you're interested in going down that route.

    http://mashable.com/2010/10/27/optimize-social-media-marketing/
    http://mashable.com/2011/02/09/social-media-magazines/ (how print mags are using social media to promote themselves)

    Remember social media is just a platform for your voice though - you do still need a page where people can actually buy your book. It may not be a bad idea to invest in a domain - it can be quite cheap. Alternatively, get a free blog where you can redirect your readers from the social media platforms.
     
  5. HeinleinFan
    Offline

    HeinleinFan Banned

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2007
    Messages:
    483
    Likes Received:
    33
    Promoting isn't all it's cracked up to be. You don't buy cake because the chef knocked on your door with a free sample, after all. Books sell primarily because of word-of-mouth. Adverts, book tours and such may cause a brief spike in sales, but if the book isn't good on its own, those sales aren't sustainable. (They often aren't even if the book is quite good, just because advertising and promotion carry less weight than a sister-in-law's "Oh, have you read..." comment.)

    I'm under the impression that the point of Print-on-Demand is that customers can order a copy from CreateSpace or somewhere and get it in the mail a week or two later. So I can see why you're annoyed as heck that some of the POD places you've talked to are trying to sell you loads of copies. In your situation, I'd be annoyed as all get out, myself.

    I've been looking on the CreateSpace site, and it looks as though there are ways for you to format the book, then put it out there on Amazon.com, for very cheap or for free. The "Pro Plan" thing looks like it's a way to boost royalties, rather than a requirement; it might make sense to sign up if you anticipate more than a hundred sales in the first six months. (I don't know how many pages your book is, so I can't really estimate better than that. If it's a longer book, there's a slightly higher printing cost, so it might take more sales to break even; if it's shorter than the 150 pages I assumed, it'll take rather fewer.)

    I can't give you a definitive solution, obviously; mammamaia might be able to suggest some nonfiction publishers for you to contact, but practically all my focus has been on fiction publishing.

    For better or for worse, I'm one of the few folks here at the WritingForums who thinks of POD in a reasonably positive light. In your place I'd be looking at book reviewing blogs, comparing POD prices, and such, because I would assume it to take at least a year sending out queries, another year or two before the book hits the stores, and possibly longer (if an agent has to be acquired, and if the publishers take longer to respond).

    But then ... heck, my approach would be to go for POD (to send to reviewers, and for those who want a physical copy to have on-hand or for gifting, and priced between $7.99 and $12.99 so it's inexpensive but I'd still get a decent royalty) and for e-publishing (at a lower price) simultaneously.

    On the other hand, that approach is more work, and more research, and the formatting would be my responsibility; also, building up by word-of-mouth results in sales over time, while most New York publishing houses aim for a lot of sales to happen quickly.

    I can't say for certain which route is best. They both have downsides.

    I do wish you the best of luck, though.
     
  6. Kevin B
    Offline

    Kevin B Member

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2011
    Messages:
    47
    Likes Received:
    1
    I don't know anything about Lightening Source. But I do know those that have published through Create Space, and I have published through Lulu, and I have never heard of any 'upfront' fees. Of course there are fees if you're planning on buying copies of your book for yourself, and thats just the cost of the books, but there's no upfront publishing fee. Those sources print on demand, so theres no overhead, and no upfront costs.

    Promoting can be done in several ways. As already mentioned, word of mouth will more than likely net you your biggest sales since you're unable to get out and market the book yourself. Writing sites, and other social networking sites are great places to pitch your book. I'm sure there are even "yard sale" oriented forums that you can join to promote your book there as well.

    Of course, creating your own website to promote your book, and pointing people to that would also be a good strategy.

    There are already a lot of good pointers in the other replies, so take those to heart and formulate a plan to get your book noticed by using some of those suggestions. They will take you further than you're getting querying publishers. :)
     
  7. Terry D
    Offline

    Terry D Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2011
    Messages:
    200
    Likes Received:
    15
    Location:
    Southeast Iowa
    Here is what I have spent With CreateSpace; First proof copy of my book -- $9.82 (including shipping); after minor changes I needed to order another proof -- $9.82. I also opted for the Pro Plan HeinleinFan mentioned for $39, but that was optional.

    Have you tried putting an advertisement in your local paper's garage sale section promoting your book? There are numerous garage sale newsletters around the country that could be a source of advertising for you also. You could also do a direct mail advertising campaign by sending a blurb about your book to each household listed in the garage sale ads.

    Good luck
     
  8. mammamaia
    Offline

    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2006
    Messages:
    19,316
    Likes Received:
    1,014
    Location:
    Coquille, Oregon
    the problem with the publishers may be with your query letter and book proposal, cheri...

    if you want help with them, just drop me a line...

    love and hugs, maia
    maia3maia@hotmail.com
     
  9. Cherie
    Offline

    Cherie Member

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2010
    Messages:
    24
    Likes Received:
    0
    Hello, all,

    Thank you so much for your kiind responses. A lot of food for thought, and some interesting ideas! A comment was made that the title wasn't good, and while I am open to ideas, it is a reference book on garage sales. Anyone looking for a book on that subject is going to look under garage sales. What else would they look under? Even in the copyright lists, there are many listed under garage sale, add just an S to make it garages sales, you drop a whole tier below garage sale. A more artsy title may be interesting, but not make it clar what the book offers. The whole idea of a garage sale is to make money. Thus, "profitable", many new-comers and even old hands are interested in "how to", and "safe" is one of the major points of the book. How else could you entitle it to be sure it is seen, and they get an idea of what is being offered?

    I will try many of the ideas mentioned in your responses, and again, thank you all for your kindnesses.

    Best wishes,

    Cherie
    online77@comcast.net
     
  10. ChickenFreak
    Offline

    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2010
    Messages:
    8,967
    Likes Received:
    5,491
    If you haven't taken Mammamaia up on her offer to help with your query, I'd definitely recommend doing that. Queries to publishers and agents follow a very, very specific format. While a person might feel that publishers/agents _should_ look past a non-standard query and see value in the book, I don't think that that's what usually happens. I believe that something like (for example) sending them your spiral bound copy instead of sending them pages in normal manuscript format is likely to get your query ignored or rejected. (As is, I believe, sending them pages before they request pages.)

    As for the title and being able to find it, most databases that allow you to store books allow you to search on the book's subject, not just the title. And if there are lots of books titled "Garage Sale", then it's going to be hard to distinguish yours from any of the others. Something like _Merchant For A Day:How to Have a Safe and Profitable Garage Sale_ makes it possible to clearly specify your book, as distinguished from the others. And, no, I'm not saying mine is a good title, just that it's a distinctive one.
     
  11. HeinleinFan
    Offline

    HeinleinFan Banned

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2007
    Messages:
    483
    Likes Received:
    33
    I imagined changing the title to "Beating the Garage Sale Blues: How to Be Safe and Have Fun while Making Money," but then, I'm never good at telling whether titles are really marketable or not.

    I picked that one because books have covers, and it's easy enough to get a cover design that turns "Garage Sale" into something like the signs you'd see in real life, without sacrificing clarity.

    Alternately, "Garage Sales Done Right," "The Garage Sale Guide" and "The Ultimate Guide to Garage Sales" might also work.
     
  12. Conjureman
    Offline

    Conjureman New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2011
    Messages:
    7
    Likes Received:
    0
    Go ebook

    Sounds like you're where I was a few months ago. What I did was publish my book as an ebook. This is the best thing about this new epublishing: it is democratizing the publishing industry, which has been ruled by a few gate keepers for too long. There didn't appear to be any hope for a quirky, non-traditional book like mine, which has funny short stories and poems and humor essays. You can publish your book as an ebook free!
    The bad news is, then you have to let people know it's there, i.e. market it. I hope you're able to see a computer screen, it sounds like your vision is worsening? If you can function online, you'll be able to do the marketing.
    Check it out at Amazon.com, there are lots of titles under the Kindle store, including mine, "The Bizarre Bazaar," by Jim Lanier.
    Good luck!
     
  13. mammamaia
    Offline

    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2006
    Messages:
    19,316
    Likes Received:
    1,014
    Location:
    Coquille, Oregon
    heinlein's getting closer to a good title with those suggestions!

    the problem is that there are so many good ones already out there... just check amazon's books for 'garage sale' and you'll see...
     
  14. psychotick
    Offline

    psychotick Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2011
    Messages:
    1,373
    Likes Received:
    309
    Location:
    Rotorua, New Zealand
    Kindle

    Hi,

    I did publish my first novel on Amazon's kindle thingie, and though it hasn't sold much I don't really regret it. The important thing for me was first to finish it and then get it out there. But I don't expect to become a multi-millionaire out of it or anything, and I don't market it at all. If a few people buy it and like it I'm happy.

    It sounds to me as though you are somewhat desperate to sell high volume and make some money. I don't want to discourage you but my understanding is that very few writers enjoy overnight success like that.

    Given that I think e-books are the way to go, the last prediction I saw on the news a few nights ago was that e-books are set to become fifty percent of the market within the next three or four years. In addition, knowing only the kindle situation, I know that there are ways to market your book within the kindle community, and I know that some of the other authors do a much better job of self promoting then I do. There's one thread in there titled 'have you published a book on the kindle' which seems to be running in the thousands of posts, all from other aspiring writers. Oh and its free to publish on the kindle.

    I can't speak for the other e-book systems, I haven't looked at them, but I'm sure they will have similar communities forming. I do know that after rounds of submitting synopses and SASE's to publishers listed in the writer's guide it was easier to self-publish then to read more rejection letters.

    One thing I would suggest, if you do go the e-book route, read the fine print in the contracts carefully, there is quite a lot of it on kindle and some of it comes with some serious conditions you don't want to breach, and also you can join the community without publishing, and maybe get some advice there first.

    Cheers, Greg.
     

Share This Page