Carolina: Cruising Past 70: Wonderings on Wanderings: Selecting a Publisher

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Wonderings on Wanderings: Selecting a Publisher

design/title number 1
 design/title number 2
The first thing I was confronted with after finishing my manuscript and sending it over to my editor for Round 1 edit was whether I should go the Traditional or Self-publishing routes. Now that I have sent the revised draft for Round 2, I have decided. Here’s how I made the two decisions. (Included are three tentative cover designs/titles; please comment which you like best!)

design/title number 3
In traditional publishing, the author writes a query letter or a proposal to a publishing house (or has a literary agent do this for them). If the house decides to publish the book, it buys the rights from the writer and pays a small advance on future royalties. Then it puts up the money to design and package the book, print, market, and distribute the book to the public. If the house decides not, the author can turn to another house or literary agent. In self-publishing the author provided the funds to produce the work and market and distribute the book. In the past, the author printed copies resulting in stacks of unsold books gathering dust in the garage! Print on Demand (POD) technology changed all that.
self publishing arm of Amazon

The fundamental differences between the two are 1) time, 2) money, and 3) control. With traditional publishing, a manuscript can take years to become a book because an author may have to pitch the manuscript to several publishing houses or hundreds of literary agents before it is picked up. With self-publishing, an author can literally have a finished book within six months. But authors have to pay for this service, which can be thousands of dollars. Traditional publishing pays some advance and vigorously promotes your book. When you self-publish, you're all by yourself. Thus self-publishing works best for people who are good at marketing and want control because an editor at a publishing house may turn your manuscript into something very different from what you want.  With self-publishing, the author decides about content, design, and appearance, even where the book is marketed and distributed.

self publishig arm of Simon and Schuster
I am 65 and did not want to wait. I am self-publishing! But then I was confronted with many self-publishing companies that offer various publishing packages. Fortunately, the day I turned over my draft for Round 2 Edit to my editor, I found out that four of the most popular companies (AuthorHouse, iUniverse, xLibris, and Trafford all owned by Author Solutions that is affiliated with Pengin/Random Books) had a 50% off promo but only up to Friday, March 14, in just two days! I quickly asked them to give me up to Monday, March 17. They all did! Together with three other companies that did not have promos (CreateSpace by Amazon, Outskirts Press, and Archway Publishing of Simon and Schuster), I set up a matrix with the following criteria: technical services such as ISBN/Congress/copyright assignment, cover and interior designs, formats and trim sizes available, business services such as retail price and royalties, distribution arms, marketing extras, and intangibles and add-on services. 
independent publishing house
The variety of offerings led me to think clearly what my goal was in publishing the book. Was it to tell my story to friends and relatives or to tell it to a wider audience? If the former, I should select the cheapest alternative which turned out to be $925. If the latter, I should select a completely different type of package, one that would give me the opportunity to be heard by a wider number of people. I chose the latter, at $1,299 (originally $2,599) that had an editorial evaluation service with the package. If the editors deem your book to be worthy, they stamp the book cover with an Editor’s Choice seal and, if your marketing program is deemed adequate, your book is advertised with the Rising Star collection. With sales of 500 books in traditional outlets like bookstores, your book will be stamped a Star and  given financial aid. 

one of four by Author Solutions
So I bought the chance to be in these Recognition Programs for $325 more. Even if I do not land them, the editorial evaluation alone will enable me to improve my book. Besides, with the royalties provided, it means only an additional 300 books to recoup the additional investment. I thought it was worth the risk.
one of four by Author Solutions

At the time of this writing, I have signed the Publishing Agreement with iUniverse and I have at most six months to turn over my manuscript to them. I plan to do so before Bill and I leave for Europe on May 17. Six months after, I will have a book on the market!

one of four by Author Solutions
In other words, I have finally committed to deliver to you, my dear readers, a book about what you have been reading about in this blog: our four and a half year cruise of North America…with all the juicy stories behind the scenes! 
one of four by Author Solutions and the one with whom I signed up