Monday, December 11, 2006
Wednesday, December 06, 2006
Shipping Tip #2: Don't forgret to add a shipping charge to your mail orders. For a single book, you'll want to make it $5.00 or more (to cover Priority Mail). I'm not a big fan of this, but you can set your shipping charges higher so that you can set your book price(s) a bit lower. Just don't forget to have a shipping-charge schedule. Otherwise, any profits on selling your book will disappear. The Publishing Pro, LLC.
Monday, December 04, 2006
- You won't get that cash "advance": Okay, you might, but probably not if a) the publisher doesn't give advances and b) if you are a first-time (published) author. If you do get an advance, keep in mind that you are getting an "advance" against royalties owed to you down the road. This will delay any further payments made to you.
- You won't see any money for a long time: Maybe three years, maybe never. Your contract will tell you how and when your royalties should be paid. This varies with the publisher. However, royalties are paid on books sold, and this will be calculated according to periods of time, a quarter to a full calendar year, and then made payable on some schedule. In other words, your royalties for sales in calendar year 2007 might not become payable until July of the following year. In addition, your contract might even absolve the publisher from paying cash royalties at all under some conditions--for example, if your project does not make a profit. In this case, you won't see any cash royalties (see below for other options).
- Your royalty percentage doesn't matter: Okay, of course it matters. Just not as much as you think it does. The reality is that a smart publisher can only afford to give you so much of the pie. Think about it. If your publisher goofs and gives you a royalty share that is so high she loses money on the sale of every book, she quickly will stop selling your book (or go out of business, in debt to you). On the other hand, if he gives you a stingy royalty, so much so that he makes a terrific profit on the sale of each book, he will be more likely to work hard selling your book. Which is best for you? The stingier publisher.
- Get a good deal on books you purchase: You should get something comparable to a bookstore discount, 40% on orders of small quantities with an increasing discount for larger orders. Try to get a discount for large orders of at least 50%. If you're buying copies right off of the first press run, you might be able to negotiate an even even deeper discount.
- Get an advance in copies of your book: While most publishers will not give you an advance against royalties in cash, they will usually be happy to give you advance against the estimated royalties for a year in the form of copies of your book. Usually, the value of these books will be calculated according to the discount schedule you negotiated above. This is a win-win deal. Your publisher makes out because she is eliminating some of her long-term liability (your royalties) with books that she might have printed at $2.00 a book and given to you as a royalty at a value of $10.00 a book. You make out because you are getting a book worth $10.00 to you--but without paying any cash at all--that you can turn around and sell at a retial price of, say, $20.00. If you can sell your books, you've just doubled your royalty. Like I said, it's win-win.
- Get the right to buy books against royalties: Related to the above, make sure you can always buy books against royalties owed, even if not otherwise payable in cash. It's a good deal.
- Make sure you get your rights back: Publishers do not keep in print books that do not sell at a certain level. To protect yourself from a book going out of print, make sure you can get your rights back if a book is taken out of print. In many cases, you might not be able to get all rights to revert to you. However, you should be able to guarantee that you can continue to print an edition of your own in the event the publisher discontinues the book.
Tuesday, November 21, 2006
Thursday, August 17, 2006
- 20% discount--to resellers who buy a single copy of your book at a time, payment made if possible with their order. Large bookstores (e.g., Barnes and Noble) will order books for their customers (special-order) from you on this basis. They pay the shipping. (Generally, resellers don't make money on this discount. They are doing a service for their customers.)
- 30% discount--to resellers (though not distributors) who agree to sell your books on consignment. Payment is made after the sale by the reseller, practically speaking on their timetable. You pay the shipping. With this deal, resellers accept a lower-than-normal discount in return for not having to tie up their money on inventory.
- 40% discount--to resellers who order multiple copies at a time. This is the standard in the bookselling business. Normally, you would set up an account for these booksellers and invoice them for whatever they order. Usually, they pay the shipping. However, they expect to be able to return books that they don't sell--and they will.
- 50% discount--to resellers who order multiple copies at a time, pay for shipping, pay upfront, and agree to no-returns. This not standard, but it is a deal I would accept as a publisher in a second--because of the upfront payment and the no-return agreement. And if I were a bookseller--and confident of my sales--I would love it as well.
Friday, June 16, 2006
Thursday, May 18, 2006
Wednesday, May 03, 2006
Friday, April 28, 2006
Thursday, April 20, 2006
Tuesday, April 18, 2006
Friday, April 14, 2006
Wednesday, April 12, 2006
Wednesday, February 15, 2006
Tuesday, February 14, 2006
Generally, it's a good idea to get an ISBN. If you're book is published by a traditional publisher, the ISBN will be provided by the publisher. As a "self-publisher," you will either do without, get your own set of ten ISBNs, or use an ISBN from a vendor who provides some publishing services but is not a true publisher (an on-demand printer, for example). The Publishing Pro, LLC, does not like the practice of providing an ISBN when a company is not truly publishing a book. This practice creates confusion, adding to the impression of the author that she has been published by an outside publisher when she has actually been sold a set of editorial, graphic, or printing services. While we have nothing against providing such services--that's what we do, after all--we do not like our clients to leave us with the impression that we are their publisher when we aren't. The impression won't help them be successful. Therefore, we send clients direct to the ISBN Agency where they can use their credit cards to order a set of ten ISBNs (standard delivery is about $250, including the registration fee). Not all countries make you order ten ISBNs at a time, but the U.S. agency does, probably because they would lose money selling you one number at a time. On the other hand, we like our clients to be thinking about doing their second and third books, in which case they won't have to re-order their numbers. The ISBN is used to create the bar-code on the back of the book, something you can order through the ISBN agency. However, we provide bar codes and our clients can bypass this service. The Publishing Pro, LLC.
Sunday, January 22, 2006
- Contacts Who Will Receive a Complimentary Book Automatically: Keep this list short, reserved for contributors and the occasional person who you know will do your book some good in some way.
- Contacts Who Will Receive a Press Release and a Review Copy Request Form: Include logical book reviewers, experts in your field who might might give quality referrals to your book, potential bulk purchasers, textbook adopters, media contacts who might interview you or request an article from you or ask you to do a presentation, etc. After your book is printed, you will send them a press release accompanied by a review copy request form. If they request a book, you have identified someone genuinely interested in your book. Send them one. Then follow up to make sure they received it and ask them when they will be looking at it and when then might review it (or whatever). This list can be as long as your contacts are good. However, keep the emphasis on quality--contacts who have a logical interest in your book and the capacity to help you in some way.
- Contacts Who Will Receive a Press Release Only: This list is for contacts who should know about your book but who, for whatever reason, are both unlikely to buy a copy or do something useful with a review copy. (This is somewhat of a catch-all category for contacts who don't fit into categories #2 or #4.)
- Contacts Who Will Be Sent a Flyer, Postcard, or other Ordering Device: This list is for anyone you know who might actually order a copy of your book.
Creating this list is worth whatever effort you can put into it. Begin to create it as soon as you start thinking about your book. The Publishing Pro, LLC.
... Even If You're Self-publishing: If you're looking for a traditional publisher, you don't want to send out your manuscript. With rare exceptions, publishers won't read it or even look at. Some publishers want to receive one to three chapters--so they can sample your writing. What virtually all of them want is a simple proposal that gives them a clear but brief summary of what your book is about and who will want to read it. The proposal is so useful that you should do one for yourself--even if you are planning to self-publish your book and before you get down to serious writing. The proposal will help you clarify your thoughts and help you avoid serious mistakes. Here are the elements of a good proposal:
- A Working Title: A good working title is "descriptive" rather than "clever" or "poetic." E.g., How to Make a Million Selling Widgets rather than Widget Goes to Home.
- A Working Subtitle: This should also be descriptive. If you've gone for a clever rather than descriptive title, your subtitle definitely needs to be descriptive.
- Summary: If your subtitle and subtitle are communicating what your book is about and implying who it is for, you'll only need a paragraph. If you need more than a paragraph to communicate the gist of your book, your idea may be too complicated to sell. Your book will be strongest if it can claim, with some justification, to change your reader's life in some way.
- Reader/Buyer: If your intended reader and intended buyer are different, you'll need to make separate paragraphs about them. In any case, these are the people whose lives will be changed in some way by your book. It will help your writing if you can visualize your reader (and buyer) as an individual, real person from a real place with real values, concerns, and needs.
- Table of Contents: Again, you need to be descriptive rather than clever. You want your editor or your reader to know exactly where they will be going in the course of this book.
That's really it, but, in a way, it's everything. The Publishing Pro, LLC