Oooops. I forgot that I have a blog. Man, I’m getting worse and worse on updating this thing.
It’s not that there aren’t things happening, but I’ve been buried in other writing projects. I’ve been writing and editing for a couple of internet companies and just completed a new book on growing up in the terrific decade of the ‘50s. The title is, “The Huckleberry Days of the ‘50s.” Subtitle, “Growing Up in Los Gatos.” The book is in production as I type this.
I’ve also re-written my novel, “Granite Veil” and cleaned out most of the heavy stuff, for example all the scientific analysis of the theory of evolution, which seemed to bog some people down. For those who enjoy that kind of thinking, it was very well received, but the new version moves faster with the focus on the murder mystery. The title of the new edition is, “Folsom Parallax.” I’ll remember to post a blog when it’s out.
I'll give you a quick lesson in publishing:
Writing a book entails more than simply “writing a book.” That’s the easy part. When you function as Publisher you have to determine layout, edit, format, check all details of copy, punctuation, spelling, etc., file for copyright, ISBN number, library number, bar code, cover design, legal clearances, binding style, paper size, weight, texture, clarity of photos, proofing and other details.
It’s costly to self-publish, but there are advantages. You retain the copyright. You determine price based on the market and your production costs, you keep profits, if any, over costs. You actually engineer the entire project. You put up all the money in exchange for a predetermined number of books, which normally includes a possible 10% over-run. There are no contingencies. You pay for the books whether they sell or not.
Publishing-on-demand is another option. If you choose to “publish-on-demand”, which is a popular method today, there are pros and cons here too. You contract with a company to produce books as orders come in from yourself or other sources. You don’t have to warehouse books or come up with a lot of upfront money. But there are disadvantages with this. You have little control over quality. Marketing is a problem in all publishing methods except when a major publisher handles it. From my experience, the biggest disadvantage with print-on-demand is pricing. I have a book with one of these companies and they have it marked up so high that no one would spend the money for it.
The easiest way to publish is to interest a major publisher in your project. This is next to impossible and you usually need an agent. After you provide a final manuscript, the publisher takes over. You can market the book, but since the publisher has the biggest financial investment they will push the book. You may be required to do interviews, make speeches, and go to trade shows and events to promote your book, but you have no financial investment. If a publisher asks for money upfront, that’s a red flag. You should never pay a fee to a legitimate publisher. They take the risk.
The author signs over copyright and all rights to produce to the publisher in exchange for a percentage, called a “royalty.” There is a wide range for royalties, but the rate is normally between 10 and 20%. Royalties for foreign sales are less. These are paid as long as the book is sold. I have received royalties on my first book for over 40 years, but that’s unusual. If the publisher fails to sell enough books, the book will go out of print and unless you have a reversion clause in your contract, the rights don’t return to you and the book is virtually dead.
Self publishing is putting your money where your mouth is. If you think there’s a market for a book, you can bet on yourself, but it can be costly. I’ve lost a lot of money through the years on self published books due to lack of marketing and the fact that I always give my books away. So it’s a gamble. But here I go again…
Since I couldn’t think of a subject for my blog, here’s a quick lesson in book publishing, which is something I’ve had experience with through the years.