The Five Necessary P’s to Publishing, Continued

Once you have Planned, Prepared, Proofed and begun establishing your Platform, it is time to start thinking about Publishing. You have a choice to make—you have options. Will you try to land a traditional royalty publisher for your piece of fine work? Will you go with a pay-to-publish company? Or will you self-publish (establish your own publishing company)?

People ask me, which is the best publishing option? My response is, “It depends on you and it depends on the project.” Your job is to study the publishing industry so that you understand all of your options and the possible consequences of your choices. My book, Publish Your Book, Proven Strategies and Resources for the Enterprising Author provides a good start in that direction. If you are considering a pay-to-publish company, also read Mark Levine’s The Fine Print of Self-Publishing, wherein he rates and ranks 48 of these companies and scrutinizes their contracts for you. (You can get the ebook version of this book FREE when you join SPAWN (Small Publishers, Artists and Writers Network—something you should do, anyway.)

Publishing is not free. If you land a traditional royalty publisher, you may not be required to put any money up, but you’ll receive only eight to fifteen percent of the selling price of the books and this doesn’t typically add up to much.

If you go with a pay-to-publish outfit, you could end up with as much as $10,000 out of pocket. And in many cases, you still have to purchase your books. Read and understand any contract before signing.

If you self-publish, you could spend anywhere from $1,000 (for a few copies produced at a business center) to $10,000 or more. My first self-published book cost me $25,000 to produce in 1983. That’s before digital printing and I ordered 5,000 copies.

Both the pay-to-publish option and self-publishing require that you hire a page layout and cover design experts, unless you can do this work yourself. Here, you could spend another $3,000.

So how do you recoup your money? By selling books. To this end, it is imperative that you plan ahead and develop an excellent marketing plan.

Do not even consider producing a book for publication if you do not have the money, time, experience, interest, enthusiasm for and/or knowledge about book promotion.

In order to sell copies of your book, you must turn practically all of your attention to promoting it. This means identifying your audience, locating them and finding ways to effectively approach them with information that will entice them to purchase your book.

There are numerous ways to approach book promotion and, in my articles, courses, workshops and books, I outline various activities for each type of promoter—the bold and the bashful. I highly recommend that you purchase and study and continuously refer to my book, Promote Your Book, Over 250 Proven, Low Cost Tips and Techniques for the Enterprising Author. Do not expect to sell books without promoting them. Your book will not sell itself. (Don’t laugh. I’ve met authors who believe that their books will do just that.)

One of the things you will learn from studying the publishing industry is that the competition for books is fierce. You may have already noticed that everyone is writing a book. Did you know that over 75 percent of all published books sell fewer than 100 copies? And lack of promotion is only one reason why so many books fail. What are the other reasons?
• Lack of appropriate planning.
• Improper preparation.
• Inadequate proofing/editing.
• Ineffective publishing methods.
• Lackadaisical promotion.

Put your P’s in a row before you even put your pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) and you will have a much greater chance for publishing success.

Order the books mentioned above at or most other online and downtown bookstores.

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