Friday, September 7, 2007


Five Ways to Publish Your Book by Yvonne Perry

Writing a book is the easy part. The hard part begins when you attempt to publish the book. I’ll share the five options I found as I considered publishing my book, MORE THAN MEETS THE EYE: True Stories about Death, Dying and Afterlife. I’ll also tell you about a new trend-setting publisher that is changing the way books get to market.

Option One: You may find a mainstream publisher who is willing to take a look at your book, but if you’ve ever tried to pitch a book you will realize that the rejections are extremely high and the possibility of having a publisher pick up the tab is not very likely. You must be able to market yourself and have a tough skin when it comes to rejection. Even if you do get lucky, you will still have to do a major portion of the marketing, so it helps to have some extra money to use for publicity. While mainstream commercial publishers and university presses have budgets for advertising and promotion, they tend to only use their resources to promote highly visible personalities whose books are easily sold by the power of that person's notoriety. These publishers will rarely risk a dime on the unknown author, and if they do, the window of time for the book to be deemed successful is roughly six weeks. If your book doesn't justify its costs in that time, it is back-listed and disappears from print. The author has little recourse, and can only wait out the time period until he can purchase back the rights to his book.

Option Two: is to use a “print/publish on demand” (POD) or vanity publisher. Most of these companies will accept ANY work from ANYONE, but you can expect to spend upwards of $1,000 and that will not get any copies in your hand for that price! That will cost you about $5-6 per book. You may do all the design work yourself or you may choose a la carte services or packages that include editing, designing the cover, formatting the page layout to their specifications, fulfilling orders and marketing the book. The POD will help you obtain an ISBN and list the book on, Barnes and Noble and other major chain bookstores, but remember whoever owns the ISBN, owns the copyright. You may think you are self-publishing, but unless you purchased the ISBN under your name, you may very well have given your publication rights to the vanity publisher. One good thing about POD is they do handle distribution and order fulfillment. When someone wants to purchase your book, they will print a copy, ship it, and pay you about 30% of the purchase price as a royalty. I checked into three companies:,, and They each offered about the same thing for nearly the same price.

Option Three: I checked into printing the book by using a local commercial printing company. The best price I found was three cents per black & white page. A 195-page book would cost about $6.50 including the cover (which you design) and perfect binding. If you want the book in color, the price could easily make the book cost more than you can sell it for. The printer I used allowed me to print as many or as few as I wanted since they offer digital printing—the same digital technology Pods use.

It is most important to have someone proofread your text before submitting your file because the printer will print exactly what you send without making an edits or doing any revisions. If you print the book in this manner, you will still have to market the book, fill and ship orders.

Option Four: Publish it as an eBook. This is the least expensive way to publish, and people do actually buy eBooks. I had a graphic designer create my cover image to use for promotion of the book on my Web site. I set up a business account with Paypal and added my ISBN to my product list. They created an html code that I copied to my Web site. When someone makes a purchase, I receive an email notification. I respond to the email by attaching the PDF of my book and sending it to the customer. It would be better to have an auto responder email the eBook to the customer upon purchase but Godaddy, the company who sends my permission-based newsletter, does not offer an auto responder.

Option Five: Hire a publisher. I have found a medium-sized independent press called Nightengale Press that combines the best of both worlds. A contractual fee covers the costs of artwork design fees, graphic design of the book, an author's website and affiliate program, uploading of files to a print-on-demand and off-set mass production through Lightning Source, the first press release about the title, and all the associated costs of registering the book in the proper agencies for cataloging the title and tracking sales.

What makes this company so different from the old world view of publishing is clear. Not only do they take care of order fulfillment and distribution, offer industry connectivity to all online and bricks and mortar bookstores reporting sales back to Ingram and Baker & Taylor, they also pay 70% net royalties to the author and even repay the author’s contractual fees through the sales of the author's books whether in bookstores, on the internet, or directly through back of the room sales, or through any other marketing means. Furthermore, the authors retain the rights to their books, and can at anytime request release from the contract with a simple letter and thirty days notice.

Nightengale has criteria the book must meet before it is accepted into production. Therefore a short query letter is needed to introduce the book. You will still need to set aside some money for publicity, but this company offers some group rates to its authors who want to chip in and take a full-page ad in a major publication.

Good luck in publishing no matter what method you choose.

Yvonne Perry is a freelance writer and the owner of Write On! Creative Writing Services based in Nashville, Tennessee. She and her team of ghostwriters service clients all over the globe by offering quality writing at an affordable price. If you need a brochure, web text, business document, résumé, bio, article or book, visit Be sure to subscribe to the RSS podcast feed and the free monthly newsletter about writing, networking, publishing and marketing. Yvonne is the author of RIGHT TO RECOVER: Winning the Political and Religious Wars over Stem Cell Research in America.

1 comment:

blessedheart said...

Great article! Very informative.

Rhonda :-)

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