Publishing 101 vs. The Funny Farm

To Submit or What Not to Submit:  Publishing companies vary from synopsis, to pitch letter, to a chapter or two plus table of contents – so just ask. Do not send in a one-page paragraph saved on a Word document or ask the publisher to read the whole book. I can assure you they will not have time. If you are submitting a fiction book, definitely submit a synopsis.  We look at a chapter or two and a table of contents for non-fiction and add a synopsis to that for fiction. Also, it is not recommended you insult the publisher if they choose to pass – just keep at it.

Vanity Press Model:  The vanity press model will publish anything and everything. The paper quality when compared to other books is yellow versus white. These models typically do not have national distribution, meaning you need to submit individual marketing plans to Barnes, Borders, etc. It is quite the process — and most of the big guys typically do not accept individual titles. The vanity press models are pay-for-play (you pay for services); but a positive is that they do print on demand, so you do not have to order thousands of books if you do not want to. Big warning: Vanity press has a stigma too. The word “vanity” says it all. Most people are turned off by the notion that “anybody” regardless of skills or talents can create their own book. Your “vain” attempt at becoming an author will lose credibility in many ways (keep reading).

PR does not mean poor response. Some of these companies do have costly PR programs, and I end up doing PR for some of their clients. Be very careful here, although you cannot guarantee PR – I have seen the coverage reports that are null for six months of costly payments. I have also seen programs where they only guarantee one article a month. Even more horrifying, I have seen programs that do not start until your book as been out for 3 months. Your book is old after 90 days.

Traditional Model:  The traditional big publishing house models have national distribution – cool. You do have to have a literary agent, and unless you are Brad Pitt or Dean Koontz you are not going to get an advance on your book. After you pay your literary agent, you typically will receive royalties between 5 -10% per book – if your book is $14.95 you might get up to $1.50. The downside, if your books are not selling … you will have to buy them back. You also will have to hire your own publicist. Last, when you get signed by one of the big houses, it typically takes 18 months to have a book in hand and another 18 months to receive your first royalty check. Last, you lose editorial control over your book – they can edit and edit away.

M Com Publishing Model:  I am not going to give away the farm here, but we are a hybrid in between the two above-mentioned models. We are play for play, however offer our clients earn 60 percent royalties and have full-service marketing and public relations programs at their disposal. We do not limit our public relations programs to just media coverage (and we do know all of the book producers – even at Oprah). Our programs include everything from launch parties to speaking at conferences. We call our proposals a Chinese take-out menu selection of services. You can pick and choose what you need or retain the whole thing. We do have authors come to us just for the marketing portion. We are receiving national media attention next month for this business model and are very excited to be the new pioneers in the publishing industry.

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