Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Introducing The Publishing Pro, LLC

Our company has changed its name from Graphics West to The Publishing Pro, LLC, and moved its offices to the Business of Art Center, 513 Manitou Ave., Manitou Springs, CO 80829. The new name better represents our mission of making publishing accessible and rewarding to everyone. To reach us via email, go to the website and use the contact form.

Friday, July 16, 2004

Writing Your Book Is the Easy Part

One big vote for self-publishing: Advice from Seth Godin, business author. First, write a better than average book. Then get over the notion that writing it was the hard part. Followup, which is to say "marketing," is the hard book. Godin, author of several successful tradition (i.e. printed) books as well as the most widely read e-book in history (Unleashing the Ideavirus), is a fan of self-publishing. The only reason to go to a publisher "is if you need credibility or prestige," he says. The advantage of self-publishing is that it's "faster, more fun and more likely to succeed." That is, if you do the marketing. From Book Marketing Update, #233, June 30, 2004. Email your comments.

Friday, May 28, 2004

Trade Publishers Are Best for Novels

The novel approach: Ordinarily, I tell authors that self-publishing and traditional publishing have roughly equal but different advantages and disadvantages. Which way to go depends on you and your circmumstances. One exception. In the case of novels, the business advantage definitely goes to the traditional "trade" publisher. That's because novels are sold mainly through bookstores--and that's a tough business for anyone, especially the novice self-publisher. If you can find a publisher comfortable with novels and bookstores, go for it. The same does not hold for poetry, by the way. Email your comments.

Tuesday, May 18, 2004

Here's a Short-Short Run Book Solution

Need 20 books professionally produced? Suppose you present workshops and would like to updgrade your current workbook. You've avoided doing so because you only need 20 or so copies at a time. Here's a solution. Let GRAPHICS WEST design your workbook for you and then print it as needed using photocopying technology and sturdy Fastback binding. We can print and bind 1-99 copies, usually overnight. Moreover, using this technology, we can make quick changes that allow you to customize your workbook for every workshop. The same technology makes great children's books and family histories. You can even get foil-stamped hard covers that look super! Contact me for more info.

Thursday, May 13, 2004

The Truth about Hardcover Books

Save Thousands of $$$: Many would-be self-publishers think their book needs to be "hardcover" in order to be taken seriously. This is not so. Go into any bookstore and you'll find that many books, even most books, are paperbacks. There is a good reason for this. Getting your book printed in hardcover (or "casebound") will cost anywhere from two to five times more per copy than the same book printed the same size with a paper cover. Yet, you will won't be able to charge twice as much for your hardcover book, let alone five times as much. The economics don't work. If you expect your book to have a long shelf-life, consider doing a hard-cover edition for libraries and some premium sales (e.g., autographed copies). But don't mortgage your house getting thousands of copies. Instead, do what smart publishers do and order a "split run," in which case you get 2000 (for example) sets of interior pages printed at one time with 1500 sets (for example) bound with paper covers and 500 copies bound with hard covers. You can even overprint interior pages, have the printer store them, and decide later how you want them bound. Let us help you make wise decisions about your printing. Email me. See Graphics West for more info.

Thursday, May 06, 2004

On-Demand Printing: An Option for Some

It's Magic, Almost: If you are thinking about self-publishing your book, you may hear something about "on-demand" printing. New technology has made it possible for suppliers to load a digital file of your book into a computer and print out a single copy "on demand." Moreover, the output can be good enough to put into a bookstore (depending more on the preparation than the on-demand technology). Sound too good to be true? It's not. The books look good, and the technology means you don't need to invest an arm and a leg on a load of books that you might not be able to sell. The technology is almost magic. That's the good news. The bad news, if you can call it that, is that the business of book-selling is not magic. On-demand printers, if they're smart, structure their deal so that they make out whether your book sells or not. Thus, they charge you a variety of set-up fees, essentially preparation fees for creating the digital file of your book, and then they keep a large portion of any sales (80% is typical), returning the remainder to you. In this respect, on-demand printers act like publishers, although their return to you is a little larger than the standard royalty. Still, if your book takes off, the small return means that you won't make back your set-up fee for a long time. Fortunately, on-demand printers part company with classic publishers in that they buy only limited rights from you. Thus, if your book takes off, you can take back control of the process, get your books conventionally printed at a much lower unit cost, and make your bundle. Another thing to watch: on-demand printers often promise to get you into various distribution channels:, wholesalers, and the like. This is a useful service that novice publishers often confuse with marketing. It isn't. More about that another time. Please email any comments. See Graphics West for more info.

Thursday, April 22, 2004

Traditional Publishing vs. Self-Publishing vs. Hybrids

The term "Publisher" is getting more and more confused. In the traditional sense, the publisher is the business entity that owns the rights to a book and gets it into circulation by editing it, typesetting it, getting it printed, storing it in inventory, marketing it, taking orders for it, and getting it shipped to the customer. If the publisher is the same as the author, it is called "self-publishing," which is a rather new and growing phenomenon. Until recently, it was more common for someone else (a publisher) to buy rights from an author (in return for some payment, often a royalty against sales) and pay the costs of getting the book manufactured and to market. Now, with the popularity of self-publishing, businesses have developed that are hybrids, bearing trappings of both fee-for-service businesses and publishers. These hybrids may charge you (as author) a fee for certain services (copyediting, book design, page makeup, and publicity services are common) but provide a publishing infrastructure common to publishers (getting an ISBN number, manufacturing books, taking orders, and shipping) and then pay you with what amounts to a royalty on sales. The result is that these hybrids are (publishing) service businesses dressed up to look like publishers. They are not necessarily a bad deal, as long as you remember that you really are the publisher and are the only one that is going to make your book work. Email your comments. More info at Graphics West.

Wednesday, April 21, 2004

Business Card As Order Device

Business cards are relatively inexpensive, sometimes even free. (See Vistaprint.) They don't have to be standard format either. Mary Schroder, one of our clients, created a business card for her book, Nicholas Creede and the Amethyst Vein. Instead of personal information, it tells you how to order her book. She's inserting one into every copy. Please email me your comments. More publishing information at Graphics West.

Author vs. Writer

Key to success: To be successful in publishing, you need to make the transition from writer to author. The difference? As a writer, you are an introvert, interacting with your own imagination. You are creating the word. As an author, you are an extrovert, interacting with an audience outside of yourself. You are spreading the word but also changing and improving your work based on the feedback you get from your audience. Think about it. What good is a story or a book without an audience? Publishers look for authors because they know that authors are far more likely than writers to sell their work. Please email your comments. For more info, see Graphics West.

Tuesday, April 13, 2004

When You Can't Afford to Wait ...

Self-publishing can be big business. Even USA Today has noticed. See "Self-publishing will spur book industry to modernize" by Laura Vanderkam (USA Today, Mar. 23, 2004). One of the reasons. Traditional publishing takes time. Once you sign your agreement, you'll need to wait an average of 12-18 months before your book comes out. Some authors can't wait. If your manuscript is complete, you can self-publish a credible-looking book in a month or two. Thanks to Ray Hill, author of the newly minted Emotional Traps: How a Little Logic Can Change Your Life for the clip. Email your comments. See Graphics West for more info.
Welcome to Publishing Pro, a place where you can learn the latest about publishing your work. Email your comments to me. And see Graphics West for more help.