For the benefit and as a warning for all those people here who think that getting a book published by a proper publisher is going to help you make a lot of money and your key to success let me share my recent very disappointing experience. Last October my book Herbs of the Northern Shaman was published in colour by O-Books. It is available from Amazon, Waterstone's, Blackwell's, Tesco's and many other sites and in shops too. I was looking forward to the royalties I was promised in July, but when they arrived I was paid all of 24.40GBP, just about the price of two copies!
I just looked up O-books on Preditors & Editors, which is the first thing you should do before deciding to go with any "proper" publisher.
It looks like they're such a small operation, they haven't even made it on to P&E yet, in either a good or bad way, which isn't a good sign!
If they're a very small house, they probably don't do any marketing for you - did they make that clear when you signed up? Have they advised you on how to market the book? Did they charge you for publishing?
I have to say my publishers send me checks that pretty much match my expectations--because I researched their sales numbers before submitting. The are small but I think "proper" publishers and it adds up to 5 digits each year.
In my personal opinion it is entirely up to the author to know what they are getting into. You got published by a recognized but tiny literary press. That's an achievement. Maybe next time go for a commercial press?
My daughter looked in to having her book published. The returns were pathetic, so she sells it herself from her blog.
It sells for $24.95.
She started by making an adwords campaign that cost 120% of sales initially then went down to around $60% after we got better at building the campaigns.
After building a decent list by offering free advice, she is now able to drop the costly advertising campaign and keep most of the proceeds of her book.
It took months to build the blog and organise a newsletter to go out to her list.
The beauty of the newsletter is that she can sell to her list any time she makes a new product for as long as they keep reading her newsletter.
We had weeks where we spent $4k on adwords initially, but even then, sales paid for the ads.
If you want to sell your own book like this you need to learn adwords, and the best way to do that online is to buy a course off the adwords king Perry Marshal.
Some of the key things to do before publishing any book is to research the publisher, research the genre you are putting out and also research the market. Find out the kinds of books that the particular publisher has more success publishing. See what genre is selling in a particular area.
Where and who your book is sold to has a lot to do with the sales. If a particular book retailer is known for selling travel books then having a crime fiction placed in that store is a bad idea.
What are people buying now...that's the market, find out what is popular. If Natural remedies or homeopathic/natural medicine is selling then you don't have a problem.
When it comes to print the market changes regularly, that is why the publisher will let you know what genre they are accepting at a particular time.
Some small publishers will accept most manuscripts regardless of current market value, with the hope that the market will change soon.
Give it time the market might turn when you least expect it to.
It does seem that O-Books has effectively closed even though their backlist remains on sale--that might have had some effect.
I'm really not sure why anyone would go with a traditional publisher and all the angst of years of getting an agent and a contract - there's a reason that this week's topic is self publishing http://hubpages.com/question/128300/wee … publishing
I have a friend who was published by Career Press/New Page Books this past February. She worked with an editor to tighten up the manuscript after they accepted it, they designed a cover for her and hired an illustrator to do some lovely paintings for chapter headings, and she got to review proofs twice before the book went to press. When she told the publisher that she had gotten a chance to present a workshop at a large convention about a month before her title was due to be released, they moved her book up in their production schedule and rushed her a case of copies to have at the event to capitalize on her appearance. They've also been arranging anywhere from two to five internet radio interviews for her to do every month since the book came out.
She got an advance of $1000 when she turned in her finished manuscript, and has received about $2000 more since the book came out and that's still inside the first six months of release. Her contract also gives them first look rights at her next title, which she has just begun.
I don't know how you define "proper" in regards to publishing, but I doubt very much that you actually worked with a proper one, whereas I'm quite sure that my friend is.
I have called O-Books a 'proper' publisher because it has lots of titles on its list, has worldwide distribution and gets its books in shops. When I had an earlier version of my book published by the now defunct Loompanics they had no distribution for the UK and Europe and the cost of shipping books over was far too much. As far as I know an exception was made for my book by printing colour photos. I was told at one point that they didn't do this and the costs would be too much and then months later I heard from the owner saying he was going to do it anyway.
The database for the company asks what the author can do to market the book but I would have thought all publishers expect their authors to do what they can too. As it is for me I cannot do much from where I am because I cannot appear at events in the UK or do book launch signings there because I am over in Tenerife. This is a Spanish island so a book in English has little in the way of opportunities here. However, I would have thought that if the book was in shops like Waterstones and Blackwells that it would sell there.
Marisa, no they haven't charged me anything. If I had to pay I couldn't have gone any further. I am trying to make money not spend it.
Psyheskinner, where did you see that O-Books was "effectively closed"? I thought they were publishing new titles so this is news to me!
Are you sure it's actually there in those bookshops? It seems to be getting quite common for publishers claim to "make your book available" in all the big bookshops, but in fact all they do is make it available TO those bookshops - in other words, it appears in their database and they can order it if a customer asks for it, but it doesn't mean there are any copies on the shelves.
Hi Bard, I was at a friends house the other week and she started talking about herbs, plants, healing etc and then said that she had specifically gone to a festival in the UK just to get a book signed by the author, who was an authority on European plants.
She brought out the book and it had been signed by you - so you are famous in this little corner of Hertfordshire!
Well, funnily enough I am working on a hub about being famous as we speak and concluding that I am nowhere near famous enough! So it is good news to hear that I am known in a "little corner of Hertfordshire!"
I know people have bought it from some of these shops but cannot be certain if they had to order it first, or what quantities were stocked or how many shops had it. I mean there are branches of these big book-stores in all cities in the UK but I doubt if they all have my book. I have seen that as a problem with books by friends where yes the book is out but not necessarily on sale in the city you live in.
Bard is it on Amazon - its the only place I look for specialist books anymore these days?
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