Thursday, September 15, 2005

What's Your Break-Even Point?

3,000 or 300? Scott Flora, executive director of the Small Publishers Association of North America, was quoted in the Colorado Springs Gazette (July 28, 2005) to the effect that a writer has to sell 3,000 books to break even. Whoa! we said. If you're assuming that you're going to a high-end full service book preparer and that "break even" means recovering the costs of your time as well the direct costs of getting your book into print, this may be true. We think this is unfairly discouraging to people who should be getting their books into print and the market. At The Publishing Pro, LLC, we typically try to help authors develop projects that will "break even" after you sell 200-300 books. And by "break even," we mean that you will recover your cash out of pocket costs for editing, book design, typesetting, and printing. Moreover, we rarely see the necessity to print 3,000 books at a crack. With digital printing available and economical, we usually recommend in the area of 500-1000. The Publishing Pro.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

The Upside of Traditional Publishing

And the Downside: At the Publishing Pro, LLC, we are not down on traditional publishing. We especially like "niche publishers" (publishers, usually small, with a well defined market) and much prefer them to the glamorous New York trade houses. You get someone to pick up all, or at least some, of the publishing expenses, someone who can reach a specific market (in the case of niche publishers), and the benefit of their editing, design, and marketing expertise. However, you need to be aware of the downside of traditional publishing. First, it takes a long time to find someone interested. Months, maybe years. Second, you lose control of your project--its shape, its design, its schedule, its shelf-life. While publishing is something of a partnership between publisher and author, it is an uneven one. The publisher is the senior partner; you are the junior partner. This isn't bad; if it weren't this way, publishers would be weak and there would be no point in working with them. However, it does limit your control. The Publishing Pro.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Don't Put All Your Eggs in One Basket

Assume Your First Book Won't Be Your Last:: A common mistake of the first-time book writer (of both fiction and non-fiction) is trying to make the book do too much. As a result, the project will begin to feel cumbersome, too long and too complicated. The mistake comes from the assumption, however subconsciously, that the first book will also be the last. In the case of people at the end the their lives, either because of age or illness, the assumption is understandable. Even so, acting "as if" you will write another book will produce a better book--shorter, more focused, more readable--and make it more likely that you'll finish the project. And maybe another. And another. The Publishing Pro.