Publishing in 2016

Now that I’ve set up my publishing business, there’s a lot to learn about the publishing industry.  While writing is a solitary activity, publishing usually requires teamwork.

I can write my books, edit them, and re-write them, but to polish them, I need another set of eyes to check for grammar, spelling mistakes, plot holes, and other things that could slip past me.  That’s where an editor comes in.  Then after the editor edits my work, I re-write and fix any mistakes.  The next step would be to have a proofreader check to see that everything is corrected and there aren’t any mistakes left on the manuscript.  Then there is the formatting for the print version and the formatting for the ebook.

But another point to consider is distribution of the book.  Many of my writer friends are selling ebooks and working with CreateSpace for a “print on demand” format.  The books tend to be larger than the paperbacks I’m used to reading and the price is higher than what I would like to pay for a paperback.

I figured that I would use Amazon as one ebook format and Smashwords for the distribution of all other formats of ebooks.  But for the print books, I would like to get the size down to 5 x 8 or 4 x 6 which is more like the books I have in my personal library.  To do that, I have to print enough books to get the price low.  But unlike traditional publishers, that money must come out of my pocket up front to cover the costs.  Then, what do I do with all those books?  I don’t want to store them in a room, hoping to sign them at a book signing.  No, I want to get them into stores (brick and mortar) and sell them.

Recently, I joined the IBPA, The Independent Book Publishers Association. They have a wealth of knowledge to share with newbies like me.  Now I don’t have to fear the learning curve.  Sure it will take time and action on my part, but I think it will be worth it in the end.

The old way involved years of writing, submitting, waiting to hear from a publisher (because they didn’t want you to submit your work to any other publisher until they gave you an answer).  Once I got a response from a publisher ten years after I submitted the manuscript.  Ten Years!!!!  Needless to say, I didn’t wait for that response.  I had changed the manuscript several times by then and had submitted it over and over again to other publishers.

Then, once someone decided to buy your manuscript, you may or may not get an advance.  Now, since I hadn’t officially published with anyone else in fiction, I got this information from my writer friends who did.  If they didn’t get an advance, that meant they got more money per book as they were sold.  Mostly, it was pennies per book.  Pennies!! After spending years working on manuscripts that’s all you could expect to earn.

I am so glad the publishing industry has changed.  There used to be a stigma on self-publishing, but not any more.  And if I do my homework, there are ways I can market my books to earn more than pennies per book. I want to make a living with my writing, so that means I have to write a lot of books and market them well to earn enough money to live on.

Right now I’m assembling my team.  I’ll keep you posted on the next phase.

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