I'm Trying to Get a Book Published! discussion

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I'm published!

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message 1: by Melissa (new)

Melissa Foster (melissa_foster) | 11 comments Hi! I wanted to share my experience with your group because I have learned a LOT about publishing! I'm not a know-it-all, in fact, I know very little about publishing, but that's still more than I knew two months ago and I hope this helps someone:-)

My debut novel, Megan's Way, was published July 19 by Outskirts Press. The experience has been very positive and a real eye opener.

First, let me say that my decision was mostly based on responses about the "poor economy" from several agents. I'm not a writer to make money, just to get my stories out there for people to read. But I also chose this route because I was in a hurry to work on my next novel and querying is a full-time job if done well. Little did I realize that marketing would be, too.

Reviews (so far) have been excellent (whew!) - but if you self-published, be forewarned that most agents will not take a (another) look at your book until you have roughly 5000 in sales volume. There are many exceptions, but that's what I've been told is the "rule" or "expectation" from major publishers. I also understand that the "buzz" you create makes a huge difference.

It is NOT true that you can't get your books on major bookstore shelves if you are self published. In fact, I have a signing at Borders in Germantown, MD, Sept 12! You just have to really, really put your time and energy into marketing your book, and have a good discount for the retailers. My book is offered through Ingram and Baker & Taylor, too, which is also a must for most book stores.

I do have my book in several smaller bookstores who were happy to have me walk in and offer them some for sale (which I signed b/c I think it's nice to do that). Some smaller bookstores will take books on consignment, too. And when you are self-published, though this can be pricey, it can be a good start, too, to getting your name out there.

Do I wish I had waited for an agent? Yes and no. My reviews (from editors and readers) have validated to me that my writing is good, and on some level I probably needed that anyway (querying can wear you down!). On the other hand, an agent makes things much, much easier, and if you are patient, and your writing is good, you'll probably get one.

In other words, if you query - I wish you luck - hang in there!!! If you self-publish, I think the stigma is dying down about it, and it's not a bad thing - just a different means to an end! Either way, it's up to you to market your book and find the readers - even an agent can't do that - it's you or your publicist (which I don't have).

Contact magazines, newspapers, bloggers, everyone you know who is reputable and make it happen. Because life does not happen for you, it happens by you.

Good luck!!! You CAN do it!
Melissa


message 2: by Rita (last edited Sep 02, 2009 09:54AM) (new)

Rita Webb (ritawebb) Thanks for the information, Melissa. I looked at Outskirts Press. They talked big but I was turned off by the way they packaged things. They seemed more like "used-car salesmen" for my taste. But that was my perceptions from the outside without any reall knowledge. From the outskirts, so to speak.

I'd love to hear how your experience was. What you liked about them. How cooperative they were. Etc. I've been using lulu.com and wanted a comparison. I'm about to publish my next book (Daughter of the Goddess) and am considering other options.


message 3: by Melissa (new)

Melissa Foster (melissa_foster) | 11 comments Outskirts has been easy to talk to and easy to work with. The only complaint I have is that you really have no way to make your discount higher than 40%. I'd like to have a higher discount for some of the major booksellers. Outskirts' process was easy, too.

I'm not sure what you mean by "used car salesmen," but I'd love to hear! Also, can you tell me a little about your experience with Lulu? Do they get your book out to Ingram and B&T? Do they handle the distribution?


message 4: by Rita (new)

Rita Webb (ritawebb) My first books were just ebooks, which was free to me. I haven't yet done a paper book, but will be doing so with Daughter of the Goddess. I've had no troubles with lulu and have heard great things from those who have done the whole thing.

"Used-car salesman"--it's just a feeling. Though I do know that someone on their staff published a book about how to publicize on Amazon using some not-so-ethical practices--like reviewing & rating your own work.


message 5: by Melissa (new)

Melissa Foster (melissa_foster) | 11 comments Really! I never read their book and wouldn't do that if I had! That's very unethical! Now that you point it out, I have received a few promotional emails from them citing reviewers and podcasts that you have to pay to receive. I ditched them. It stuck me as odd at the time, but I figured that's what all self-pub companies did - hype those that they maybe get referral fees from (my guess).

Overall, the process has been pretty easy, though.


message 6: by Rita (new)

Rita Webb (ritawebb) There were some things I liked about Outskirts too. On lulu, I am just one in thousands. Outskirts Press seems (from what I can tell) to individualize their service.


message 7: by Melissa (new)

Melissa Foster (melissa_foster) | 11 comments Yes, you are assigned an Author Rep, who is there to answer all of your questions. I looked into Lulu and even the upload of the manuscript seemed far more complicated.

Lulu also didn't seem to "do it all" as Outskirts does. It appeared to me that with Lulu, they print, and you distribute everything yourself.


message 8: by Rita (new)

Rita Webb (ritawebb) I'm pretty sure lulu distributes for you. I've read Wil Wheaton's blog about how much he has enjoyed lulu.com. One of the things he mentioned was how he was glad he didn't have to distribute anything himself.


message 9: by Kevis (last edited Sep 03, 2009 12:43PM) (new)

Kevis Hendrickson (kevishendrickson) | 190 comments Since I am also an author who decided to publish a book with Outskirts Press last year, I'd like to say that Outskirts Press has been good to me. They offer tons of excellent services (professional editing, press release, marketing coach, world book tour, book video creation, kindle submission, etc.) that are very helpful to an author. However, these services can add up to what I would say is a small fortune if you use them all.

Truth is, most of the services that Outskirts Press offers can be purchased elsewhere for a much cheaper cost. There are some services such as their annual retail book return program which is a great service, but ultimately way overpriced.

One of the problem with using 'free' publishers like Lulu and CreateSpace is that that you have to do all the legwork to prepare and produce your book in addition to financing the production of it (book cover ilustration, editing, interior illustrations, etc.). Although you are still responsible for financing the content of your book, Outskirts Press handles the production aspect of your book which I love.

Another advantage to publishing with Outskirts Press is that you get your own ISBN #, meaning that from day one your book can be sold at multiple retail stores both on and offline. CreateSpace and Lulu forces you to purchase your own ISBN #. And if I heard right, Lulu has recently stopped selling ISBN#'s to its authors which means customers have to go to Lulu to buy your book. As far as I am concerned, if your book is not on Amazon you are missing out on the opportunity to sell your book to the biggest online book buying customer base out there.

I am not saying that Outskirts Press is the best POD publisher in the world. But they do hold themselves to a pretty high standard. I have only had a couple of hiccups with Outskirts Press which was easily forgiven when they proved themselves to be professionals and resolved my problems.

With that said, I think every author needs to figure out what their specific goals are before selecting a publisher, be it POD, vanity press, or commercial.


message 10: by Rita (new)

Rita Webb (ritawebb) Thanks, Kevis, that is a lot of good information.


message 11: by Paige (new)

Paige Miller | 43 comments Melissa wrote: "Hi! I wanted to share my experience with your group because I have learned a LOT about publishing! I'm not a know-it-all, in fact, I know very little about publishing, but that's still more than I ..."

That was super helpful, Melissa! Thanks for the tips. :)



message 12: by Regina (new)

Regina | 2 comments Hi, I am currently investigating self-publishing and doing my research. The way I found you was to use the keywords 'reputable and smashwords' in the google search box.

Is it possible for you to clarify.
This is your paragraph:
:"Another advantage to publishing with Outskirts Press is that you get your own ISBN #, meaning that from day one your book can be sold at multiple retail stores both on and offline. CreateSpace and Lulu forces you to purchase your own ISBN #. And if I heard right, Lulu has recently stopped selling ISBN#'s to its authors which means customers have to go to Lulu to buy your book. As far as I am concerned, if your book is not on Amazon you are missing out on the opportunity to sell your book to the biggest online book buying customer base out there."

My Questions:
- from reading about isbn's they are identifiers and within one set of the numbers there is an identifier that is specific for the 'publisher'.
- so if lulu purchases - owns the isbn or outskirts etc. then how would an author 'own their own book rights or digital rights'
- would it not make sense for an author to buy their own isbn ?

i've posted my other questions on the thread that mentions smashbooks.



message 13: by Rita (new)

Rita Webb (ritawebb) Reg wrote: "Hi, I am currently investigating self-publishing and doing my research. The way I found you was to use the keywords 'reputable and smashwords' in the google search box.

Is it possible for you to c..."


I know that on lulu, one of the things that you can add to your package is to buy your ISBN number. I think that means you become the publisher, rather than lulu.com, and lulu.com is your print service. I noticed that several books on lulu have a publisher's page with a publisher name other than lulu (different for each book).

But this is all assumption on my part. To know for sure, I recommend contacting lulu and ask them what their ISBN option buys you.


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