October 10th, 2009 09:14 EST
So You Want to Publish Your Book!
Big publishers accept about one manuscript in two thousand, for publication. In the U.S.A,
most publishers require submission via literary agents and literary agents are mostly full. In Europe, the situation is more relaxed and publishers accept manus from the authors directly.
Eighty percent of all books sold in the world, are sold in the U.S.A. Big publishers use offset
printing which is economical for copies over 100.000 . Big publishers print and stock the books and then try to sell via bookstores and internet shops. They take the responsibility to make the necessary advertising.
Ten years ago a new genre of publishers appeared: the digital publishers or P.O.D. (Publish on Demand) publishers. These accept about twenty percent of all the manuscripts submitted and one may submit his manuscript directly to them, without going through an agency. Among the many on the market, such as Booksurge, Exlibris, Publish America, Authors House, Outskirts Press, and dozens more, prices, royalties, contract conditions vary. Let`s look at two of these P.O.D. publishers with a magnifying glass:
OUTSKIRTS PRESS: Lets the author decide the price of his book, its size, book-cover, his royalty, and the trade discount and keep the copyright. Book prices are quite reasonable both to the author and wholesale.
Trade discount is important as the book sellers want a large chunk of profit when they sell a book. For instance, if a book is priced at $ 20 and the trade discount is 50%, the bookstore or internet shop makes $10 gross profit on each book (less the delivery charges). The book-cover is also a very important factor, as readers usually examine a book for a minute, looking at its book-cover and inside a little bit, before deciding to buy it or not. At Outskirts press, exciting book-covers usually cost extra to the author. Otherwise only U.S. distribution costs the author $ 399 and worldwide distribution costs $ 599. This price includes ISBN and EAN codes, designing the books interior, printing and placing the book on major internet shops. And the author is given a few free books. That`s it. From there on, the author is on his own feet and must buy his own books (at a very reduced price) from the publisher, send them to media for book reviews and to various bookstores for acceptance, as well as to literary contests. Most of these attempts fail to bring a positive result, as there are millions of books on the market and the battles on this market are usually won by the big boys of the publishing business who have a monopoly on the distribution to bookstore chains. However, independent bookstores do exist and may accept book offers. In despite of the hardships in the book market, especially in our era accented by TV and internet, P.O.D. publishers seem to have taken over the forty percent of the book market from the big publishers, due to diligent systems like amazon.com or bn.com or tulumba.com or hundreds of other internet shops worldwide. Readers prefer to gaze at the books at home, in their armchairs rather than going to bookstores and looking at the books, mostly standing.
P.O.D. publishers distribute some copies to the wholesalers and as the books are sold, send more copies, thanks to the fast digital printing techniques which the big publishers` offset methods fail to provide. This way, the P.O.D. publishers don`t have to store the printed books. They sell and print, while the big publishers print, store and sell.
Outskirts Press has good packages for authors and work rapidly, but do check their contract before signing, and show to a lawyer. (You must do this with any publisher.)
Outskirts Press has also good guidance for authors for the PR of their books, but nothing can replace a big publisher. But, if one has no chances with them, one has to go to a P.O.D. publisher. Check with as many P.O.D. publishers as possible, before deciding which one is the most suitable for you.
PUBLISH AMERICA: This publisher does not require any payment from the authors. It designs a very fine book-cover, publishes, prints and distributes the book over a network of internet shops, globally, (perhaps even to a few bookstores now) but pays a small royalty. They require a 7-year-contract. They have a well-written contract. Authors do not have the choice of deciding about their royalties, or the pricing of the book or trade discounts. They have to accept what Publish America decides. Again, the author is expected to make his own PR of his own books, if he wants to sell well.
EXLIBRIS is also a good one with reasonable prices and wide distribution possibility, globally.
Talking about the markets, The U.S.A. is the Nr 1 market for book in the world and Germany comes second in Europe. But China or India should never be neglected with their population of 2 billion and 1, 6 billion respectively. China has a growing population of young readers whose English is flourishing and India is already established as an English speaking country. Japan, Russia, European countries, Latin America are, of course also large markets for books.
Looking at the best selling book genres, we see unfortunately the below surprising trend:
Sex books, Cooking books and recipes, Crossword puzzles, Criminal novels, Life stories by the famous men/women, self-help books, children`s books, classics seem to sell well.
TV and Internet seem to have won also the market. The days when readers queued, like they did in Russia once, to buy The new published book " is over. Now, the publishers are queuing to sell their books.
After your book is published, check with different internet shops it is sold at. Often, a major printer which prints books for many publishers and for thousands of authors, have the habit of placing its name as the publisher " for your book, (although they are the printers and not the publishers) although according to the copyright law, this is an offence. Many authors complain about this. If this happens, you can alert your publisher or the internet sales shop and demand that the right name should appear as your publisher. If the situation persists, you can also alert the prosecutor in the locality where the HQ of that printer is.
© Askin OZCAN
THE SECOND VENICE " ISBN 1598000888 (Outskirts Press)
SMALL MIRACLES " ISBN 1598001000 (Outskirts Press)
LIGHTNING AND A BOUQUET OF ROSES - ISBN 1424111870 (Publish America)