How to get a book published…

A Dodo: like which books are as dead

1638 picture of a Dodo: print books are as dead

I had  no subject for my blog this morning. Like Mr Micawber, I waited for something to turn up. And it did.

A British comedian of my acquaintance, who is quite well-known, sent me an e-mail:

I am 174 pages (57,177 words) into my first novel. Have you any ideas as to what I should do with it? Even as I write this, I can see I am asking for it…

I replied:

If you have an agent you trust, get them to submit to mainstream publishers a one-page synopsis, a two-paragraph biog of you and around 20 pages of A4 text which gives ’em a feel of what the book will be like.

All publishers are running scared at the moment so you may get rejected by 10, 30 or, indeed, all traditional publishers. This is nothing to do with the quality of your book. Also, many publishers are second rate people – otherwise they would be in a better-paid job.

People who can, write. People who can’t, publish.

You should simultaneously look into print-on-demand with someone like lulu.com – remember that, with a traditional print publisher, the author gets only 7.5% on a paperback sale. With print-on-demand you get a much higher percentage, though without a mainstream publisher’s publicity and access to shelf space… but remember, too, that Amazon and Apple will also screw you for a large percentage when you sell through them at a normal price.

Print books are dead, so be aware you are also writing for eBooks.

In your case, you want some print books to sell at gigs and eBooks online as well as print books online.

Traditional print publishers tend to want 90,000-120,000 words, but the cost of production is in the number of pages not in the wordage. They can adjust the typeface size, gaps around text etc to fit the number of pages which they decide is economical.

The advantage of a traditional print publisher is they will pay you an Advance… though it is paid one third on signing the contract, one third on delivery of an acceptable manuscript and one third on publication. So, if you get a £9 advance, you actually only get £3 in advance of writing the book.

A traditional publisher may take 18 months to get your book published and available for purchase. Print-on-demand is instant, once you sort it out, which may take you a few weeks.

We live in interesting times.

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Filed under Books, Publishing, Writing

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