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Online Book Publishing

Updated on February 17, 2013

What Is Online Book Publishing?

Online book publishing works very much like the offline business of publishing. The biggest difference is that most online book publishing companies publish ebooks with print books as an afterthought. The opposite is true of traditional publishers.

Ebook publishers usually make their books available in their own bookstore as well as with a few other ebook sites. Some also make the print version available in a few online bookstores. Most do not offer their print editions in major brick-and-mortar bookstores.

Differences in Writer Pay

Another big difference is that online book publishers generally pay their writers with royalties- not with an advance and then royalties. However, the cost of producing the books is lower and writers can expect a much, much higher royalty rate when they publish a book with an online book publishing company.

With print books from traditional publishers, you can expect an advance of a few thousand dollars for most authors, plus a royalty of 3 to 10 percent of the retail price of each book sold. But with book publishing online, you can expect no advance amount and as much as 60 percent of the retail price. About 40 to 50 percent of the retail price is the norm. Many writers who publish with Web book publishers make a few thousand for each book, though it can take a year or two of sales to earn that amount.

Why Publish a Book Online?

Traditional publishing is preferable to some, but others enjoy the unique way that Web publishers do business. While most of the major print publishers have gone to an agents-only plan (writers must get an agent and have the agent submit the work), virtually no online publishers do the same. New writers have a better shot at getting published through these book publishing companies because they don't have to query agents- they can submit directly and expect a personal answer.

Publishing Times

Because the book production process is easier when you don't have to print and distribute the books, the time that it takes to get a book from the acceptance phase to the availability phase is shortened with ebook publishing. While the major publishing houses may have 18 months to two years between the time they accept a book and when it comes out on shelves, six months or less is fairly common for online book publishers. Some have times of up to a year, but even this wait is less than you can expect at virtually any print publishing house.

Easy Availability

Ebooks are quickly gaining on print books in the sales realm because they are so convenient to buy and to access. Ebooks sales are climbing so rapidly because electronic books can be purchased in minutes no matter where you are and read on any device you happen to have. Whether it's a Kindle, an iPhone, a Nook or a PC, you can read the books you want immediately in the way that it is most convenient. Online publishing companies know this, and they're going after the exploding market for ebooks.

Getting a Book Published Online

To get a book published online, you do need to have a compelling story with fleshed-out characters and good pacing, just as you would with a manuscript submitted to a print publisher. Ebook publishers will supply some editing services as part of the contract, and you may have to make a few changes, just as you would with a traditional publisher.

Before you submit a work to an ebook publishing company, be sure that you know what their requirements are. Some require that you query with a few chapters or with a summary and chapters. Others want to see the entire work all at once. Make sure that your work is proofread and is your best work before submitting it, and then make sure that you have followed the company's directions to the letter.

The time that you will hear back is shorter than with print publishers. Instead of waiting six months, you may hear back in as little as four to six weeks. Be sure that you know how long to you can expect to wait before you email to ask about your manuscript.

If you have submitted your best work and it is a story that people will want to read, you can expect good results with an online publisher. Each has its own idea about what they want from a book. If you are rejected by one, go to the next, and so on. Keep going, and you can make your dreams of writing a novel come true.


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    • generalbrat profile image

      generalbrat 6 years ago from california,usa

      great advice :)