It seems that the memo should have gone out to everyone who is writing a book and who has ever thought of writing a book—“The first step to a successful publishing experience is studying the publishing industry.”
I’ve been vocalizing it and writing about it ever since the huge increase in publishing options. My colleagues also shout it from the rooftops. “Study the publishing industry BEFORE getting involved in book publishing.”
But still there are hopeful authors with what they feel are genuinely wonderful books diving into this fiercely competitive business without so much as a clue about their options, the possible consequences of their choices and their responsibilities as published authors. They know what they observe and what they read/hear from the media—they know that there are thousands of books in bookstores, that people read books while waiting for their flights, that authors are getting paid big bucks for their books. They view the publishing industry as an outsider—as a casual observer. And this is a rather distorted and narrow view of the industry.
When they decide to delve further and check the Internet for publishing opportunities, the first links that pop up belong to some of the biggest pay-to-publish companies—Xlibris, Authorhouse, PublishAmerica… The sites seem informative. The responses seem friendly and caring. AND they love your book. (Unbeknownst to you, they even loved the error-riddled, poorly written, poorly organized mystery by the woman with a 3rd grade education and the not-so-charming tell-all by the man with no writing skill and a grudge.)
When a company earns its money producing books and not on sales, they are generally going to publish anything. And some of them will tell you anything to get you to sign with them.
Over the years, I’ve heard enough negative stories about dealings with some of these companies to fill this daily blog for the next 10 years—only the stories are basically all the same. Hopeful author meets would-be publisher. They “marry” and produce a book. While the author is in heaven for a short time, soon things go all to hell. The baby book is much harder to raise than the author thought—especially with the restrictions placed upon it by and the stigmas evident around the parent company. The baby book never had a chance in this environment. And the cause for the failure of the book is generally always the same–the author did NOT do his/her homework.
Again—if you plan to write a book or if you are close to launching one, start the process NOT by signing a contract with what appears to be a wonderful company who will make it super easy for you. Publishing and book promotion are just about as easy as birthing and raising a child. If you find an easy path to successful publishing, run the other way.
So what should you do? Study the publishing industry! Learn what all of your options are. If you ultimately decide to go with a pay-to-publish service, make sure that you understand their contract fully. Hire a publishing or literary attorney to explain it to you. If there is anything that bothers you question it until you are sure about it—get it in writing! What might bother you? The enormous fee to make your book returnable so bookstores will carry it…HOGWASH! Or the fact that this company is the only one who can get your book into online bookstores, such as Amazon…Nonsense!
See, I told you that you have a lot to learn by studying the publishing industry. Start today—order my book, The Right Way to Write, Publish and Sell Your Book. http://www.matilijapress.com/rightway.html
If you have a worthwhile project, then doesn’t it make sense to go the extra mile? Take the time necessary to truly understand what you’re getting into and you’ll make much more reasonable decisions. Study back postings of this blog and articles at my websites.
If, AFTER a thorough study and a complete understanding of your options, you choose to go ahead and sign with a pay-to-publish company, that is okay. Now you know exactly what you’re getting into. You’ve made an educated decision.
Order my book today! You’ll be glad you did.