I'm Trying to Get a Book Published! discussion

Advice/Questions > How much to publush a book?

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message 1: by Rollie (last edited Sep 01, 2009 01:32AM) (new)

Rollie (zheick) your sweat and blood while writing your book is enough payment...
it's up to you if you want to be a self-published author..

message 2: by Kevis (last edited Sep 01, 2009 12:04PM) (new)

Kevis Hendrickson (kevishendrickson) | 190 comments Ronna,

Technically, it shouldn't cost you anything more than the cost of postage stamps to become a commercially published author. If an agent is asking you for money, he or she is not legit and you should avoid that agent like the plague. A reputable agent or commercial publisher will never ask you for money. The reason being that they are going to make far more money from your book sales than they will taking money from you.

In the case of an agent, the standard rate for them to represent authors is 10% of your royalties from books sales. That may not sound like much to you. But it means that if you make $$100,000 dollars annually in book sales, the agent gets to claim $10,000 of that amount.

You should bear in mind that this is just the way business is done. An agent is your best friend in the publishing world and is there to guide you throughout your career not just sell a book. This is why agents are so picky about representing authors. They are in it for the future, not just a quick payday.

So if an agent or publisher ever asks you for money upfront, a red flag should go up immediately. This is a scam artist and you should quit having any dealings with them.

Hope that answers your question. :)

message 3: by Caitlan (new)

Caitlan (lionesserampant) what about self publishing?

message 4: by Kevis (last edited Sep 02, 2009 03:51PM) (new)

Kevis Hendrickson (kevishendrickson) | 190 comments Kirilee,

Self-publishing can cost anywhere from zero to several thousand dollars. It just depends on which approach you take. For instance, you can publish a digital book for free using Smashword, MobiPocket, or Amazon's Digital Text Platform. You can also publish a hard copy version of your books on CreateSpace or Lulu for free. But if you want more bang for your buck so that your book will be for sale at more than one online retail store, you are either going to have to shell out some cash to purchase your own ISBN # or use a POD publisher who offers you your own ISBN# as part of their publishing package.

I will warn you that not every POD publisher is what they claim to be. Publishers like PublishAmerica and iUniverse are infamous for taking advantage of their authors and offering them little control of their products. On the other hand, my publisher Outskirts Press offer me virtually unlimited freedom in how I choose to produce and market my books. In fact, my publisher makes it easier for me to have my books sold at bricks and mortar retail stores than most other POD publishers. As for how much it costs to publish a book with Outskirts Press, their publishing packages start at $199.00.

message 5: by Caitlan (new)

Caitlan (lionesserampant) oh-i think ill just go with an agent when im done...lol

message 6: by Kevis (new)

Kevis Hendrickson (kevishendrickson) | 190 comments Kirilee,

If you want to get published through a commercial publisher, getting an agent is the way to go. The waiting game is going to be a bit of a pain, but it greatly increases your chances of getting a book deal. Just make sure you write an awesome query letter! It's your ticket to getting your own agent.

message 7: by Caitlan (new)

Caitlan (lionesserampant) thank you kevis--by the way, in Need Help With A Synopsis, i posted the temporary synopsis for my temprarily titled NaNo WriMo novel that i'm starting for this years NaNo WriMo--can you read and critique it?

message 8: by Kevis (new)

Kevis Hendrickson (kevishendrickson) | 190 comments Sure. I'll check it out and let you know what I think.

message 9: by Caitlan (new)

Caitlan (lionesserampant) thank you

message 10: by Anne (new)

Anne (spartandax) Kevis wrote: "Kirilee,

Self-publishing can cost anywhere from zero to several thousand dollars. It just depends on which approach you take. For instance, you can publish a digital book for free using Smashword,..."

I used Outskirts Press for "The Phantom's Redemption" and was very happy with their services. They offer a lot of extras at extra money but don't pressure you into buying them.

message 11: by Lisa (new)

Lisa (lisarosenbergsachs) | 36 comments So how does Smashword and other on-line publishers of books actually work? I don't understand the whole setup and I've been hesitant to use it. I was afraid that I would be putting my book into cyberspace for everyone to read for free. Do you get any royalties? I would appreciate your input. thanks.

message 12: by Kevis (last edited Sep 04, 2009 10:39AM) (new)

Kevis Hendrickson (kevishendrickson) | 190 comments Lisa,

Smashwords is indeed an online publisher which allows you to publish your work for free. For a while, Smashwords was a bit player in the online publishing world. But in the attempt to give Amazon all they can handle, Barnes and Nobles has partnered up with Smashwords and will be selling Smashwords books through their catalog on barnesandnoble.com. That is a major move which basically makes it a necessity for authors to publish their books on Smashwords.

Now you are probably wondering what's the difference between Smashwords and Amazon Kindle. The difference is in the formatting. Amazon Kindle uses Digital Text Platform or DTP to upload your books into their database. DTP transforms your book into Amazon's proprietary Digital Rights Management (DRM) encrypted software. The reason Amazon uses DRM is so that it limits the ability of the customer to share the book. Although this is primarily to keep books from being pirated or copied, it also serves to help keep most of the content published on Kindle exclusive. The downside to publishing your book on Kindle is that only the people living in North America can use a Kindle, which means the rest of the world is unable to read your book.

This is where Smashwords comes in. When you upload your book to Smashwords it automatically converts your book into multiple formats including mobi/prc which can be read on Kindle. The other formats make your book accessible to virtually every non-Kindle owner. Now the rest of the world can read your book too!

The only downside to publishing on Smashwords is that your book is DRM-free, meaning that the people who download your book can make as many copies of your book as they want. If someone wants to pirate your book or give away unlimited copies to friends and family members without paying you for your work, they can do so at will. With that said, it is not impossible to "steal" the content from DRM-protected Kindle books, but it does make it a little more difficult.

As for royalties, Amazon allows you to charge any price you want for your book so long as you price your book at the minimum of 99 cents. Smashwords, on the other hand, allows you to either give your book away for free, allow your customers to select how much they want to pay for your book, or price your book yourself also starting from 99 cents.

In my opinion, it's best to have your book represented in as many formats as possible. The more people have access to your book ultimately means the more readers you can potentially have.

message 13: by Lisa (new)

Lisa (lisarosenbergsachs) | 36 comments Thank you Kevis. That was very useful information. I appreciate it.

message 14: by Caitlan (new)

Caitlan (lionesserampant) interesting

message 15: by Lisa (new)

Lisa (lisarosenbergsachs) | 36 comments Kevis, I thought of a couple of other questions. If I publish on Smashword, can I then legally self-publish with a press like Outskirts or IUniverse? Or print it myself? Would Smashword have a mechanism for getting paid and sending me royalties?

message 16: by Kevis (last edited Sep 05, 2009 08:37AM) (new)

Kevis Hendrickson (kevishendrickson) | 190 comments Lisa,

The beauty of the way the business is shaping itself is that competition is such that few publishers are requiring exclusive contracts. Rest assured that you can safely publish your book on Smashwords without fear of not being able to publish it elsewhere. You can definitely publish your book on Smashwords and then on Kindle or/and with a POD publisher like Outskirts Press who also does not require your book to be published exclusively by them.

However, there are a couple of things that you should keep in mind. First, there are some POD publishers such as PublishAmerica, which do force you into a contract that will not allow you to publish your content anywhere else. So you have to make sure to read the fine line of every contract before you sign your name to it. Many poor authors are now lamenting the fact that they signed on with PublishAmerica and now have to wait several years until their contract expires before they can go elsewhere.

The other point that I want to make is that when you publish your book on Smashwords (and to a lesser degree MobiPocket), even if you decide to withdraw your book at some point in the future from their catalog, it will not be removed entirely. New customers cannot purchase your book. But any customer who previously downloaded or purchased your book will have access to the version they downloaded from Smashwords. In the case of Mobipocket, your book will be removed from their catalog, but they will require that it remain in their database for bookkeeping purposes.

message 17: by Lisa (new)

Lisa (lisarosenbergsachs) | 36 comments Thanks Kevis. That cleared some questions up. Do you know how the royalties work or would people be reading my book for free?

For anyone reading this in the Chicago area, on September 26, The John Marshall Law School is having a seminar on self-publishing with lawyers and people from the self-publishing companies. It costs $75 if you register befire September 12 and $95 if you do it afterwards. You can get more info on the website


message 18: by Kevis (last edited Sep 06, 2009 11:00PM) (new)

Kevis Hendrickson (kevishendrickson) | 190 comments Lisa,

Smashwords, Amazon (Kindle), and Mobipocket all pay royalties for every sale. Smashwords pays you quarterly once your book sales exceed $25.00. Kindle pays you after 60 days once your sales exceed $10.00. Hence, if you make the minimum amount of book sales every month, you will receive a payment every month. Mobipocket pays you once your sales exceeds $150.00.

In the case of Mobipocket and Smashwords, they will issue your payment in the form of a check or via PayPal. Amazon, on the other hand, will deposit your payment electronically into your personal bank account.

Without a doubt, Amazon has the most convenient and frequent method of payment. But I'm sure you'll be happy just knowing that all of the aforementioned parties will compensate you for your hard work.

message 19: by Lisa (new)

Lisa (lisarosenbergsachs) | 36 comments Ok. That explains it pretty much. Thanks. I never heard of Mobipocket. Who are they? Anyway, thanks for all your information, Kevis. You've been really helpful. have a great labor Day.

message 20: by Regina (new)

Regina | 2 comments Hi again Kevis,
"You can also publish a hard copy version of your books on CreateSpace or Lulu for free."

Researching createspace, they do not share much information unless, i believe, you register. Did you find that ?

About lulu ? If I am interpreting this correctly, once you use lulu - they own the rights to your book.
Is this true ?
Does it limit you from putting it up as an ebook on smashbooks ?

message 21: by Lisa (new)

Lisa (lisarosenbergsachs) | 36 comments Hi Reg, I just attended an all day conference on Saturday in Chicago conducted by lawyers and self-publishing presses. They talked a lot about the pitfalls to avoid in these contracts. Each contract is a bit different and you need to read the fine print in the contract before you sign anything. One book they recommended is The Fine Print of Self-Publishing by Mark Levin. If they don't let you see the whole contract before you give them your book, it's a major RED FLAG.

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