Some of this column will be an excerpt from “$uccess, Your Path to a Successful Book,” by Maralyn D. Hill and Brenda C. Hill. This was originally published in The Big Blend Magazine.
The publishing world can be overwhelming, but don’t let it deter you if your passion is to be a published author.
It seems that changes in the publishing industry are happening as quickly as your new computer is outdated. We will attempt to cover some of the basics, but like anything else, we suggest that you research your particular area of interest.
What are your goals in publishing your book? In our case, the first joint effort, Our Love Affairs with Food & Travel, chefs were anxiously awaiting publication of their recipes. It was a big factor in our decision to use Print-On-Demand Publishing (POD) and be able to turn it around within four months. This commitment to the chefs was our goal.
What is the best timing for your subject? For example, if you are writing your memoirs for a family holiday gift in the summer, POD or self-publishing your book will have it ready before the winter holidays. This approach can assist you in planning your timing.
Are you on a budget? The difference between Print-on-demand (POD), self-publishing and a more prestigious and costly literary press was more than double, if we accepted the publisher’s proposal. This was a major cost difference.
How much editorial license are you willing to give up? For us, the traditional publisher, who would have taken twelve to fifteen months to publish, had the final say on the title, editing and cover. We self-edited, then used our own editor, and designed our own cover. It was important to us to maintain this license.
Traditional publishing is what we may all dream about, but is not realistic to expect, unless you are well-known. You can be just as successful using POD or self-publishing if you are willing to market your book.
You will hear agents and many reviewers say that independent presses and print-on-demand (POD) publishers are scorned. They used to be lumped with “vanity” presses and many still are. As more reputable firms are on the scene and wannabe authors are realizing their manuscript needs to be professionally edited and have a marketing plan, these author-subsidized methods are becoming better received. Even prestigious contests have categories for self-published authors.
An additional fact is that mainstream publishers are closing down. There are six major publishers left. All but one insist on incoming books having an agent. Jerry Simmons, author of “What Writers Need to Know About Publishing,” states that of 1500 new titles a year from the big six, 150 of the titles generate 90% of the revenue.
No matter which method you want to use, you need a marketing plan. You will note that this is a common thread throughout my columns. If you can’t figure out who your market is and how to market your book, it will not go flying off bookstore shelves or Amazon or publisher’s websites.
The majority of you will probably benefit from going with an independent publisher like Infinity Publishing.
You deserve to be a published author and that is achievable. With passion and perseverance, you can be a successful published author.
International Food Wine & Travel Writers Association
Books By Hills Success With Writing Where & What in the World
Member: Society of Professional Journalists
Finalist in the Writing and Publishing category of the 2009 Next Generation Indie Book Awards, ”$uccess, Your Path to a Successful Book,”