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Author Topic: 1st Books (AuthorHouse) POD Publisher  (Read 1939 times)
Adrian
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« on: April 20, 2004, 12:39:38 »

Greetings Timless,

Thank you for your excellent information. There are a few comments I would like to add.

Most of the costs you note are based on the cost of marketing the book. In fact the price you quoted of $5000 is almost exclusively based on marketing the books to readers, stores etc.. Before I comment on that, I would just say that I do not see the necessity for the $600 insurance for returned books. The books are presumably returned to the retailer, and like everything else, they must return it to stock for resale.

On the marketing costs, it might surprise most people to learn that so called  "traditional publishers" do not generally make any effort to promote a book unless the author is a big name. The author is exected to promote their own books, notwithstanding the fact that they no longer even retain the rights to the book, and often receive less than $1 per book in royalties.

Therefore, regardless of the chosen publishing route, the book has to be promoted. I personally would not rely on any publisher, POD otherwise to promote and market a book. They might be good at publishing, but not at marketing. There are many ways of very effectively marketing a book by means of the vast reach of the Internet for example.

The choice between POD and traditional publishing is therefore reduced to more tangible factors, notably the initial costs involved, and the so called "vanity" factor. I personally think that "vanity publishing" is a derogatory term; how can anyone possibly judge the quality of a book in this way? There are many exceptional authors who simply do ny meet the requirements of "traditional" publishers, and therefore can only be published by POD methods. Even J.K. Rowling was rejected by 7 publishers! Robert recently told me that out of 2000 submissions, a publsiher might choose 1 single title for publication. My own view is that they will very often choose the wrong one, leaving many excellent authors without a publisher.

Now the important thing is; digital publishing is the future! Traditional publishing is archaic and inefficient both in terms of time, resources and money, and they make authors pay the price. Offset printing is about as modern in this day and age as a Model T Ford [Smiley] Even the famous Oxford and Cambridge Presses are using digtal publishers now rather than using their own offset typing resources.  The quality of a digitally printed book is higher then a traditionally printed one from what I have seen, and that is what matters to the author and the reader alike.

Traditional publishers will do everything they can to keep their old industry alive, including it seems slurring the modern publishers and their authors with such titles as "vanity publishing". This is extremely arrogant on the part of "traditional" publishers, because they are basically saying that the authors they choose are the "real authors", and everyone else is being vain!  That is clearly very arrogant, biased on largely incorrect view. I would certainly question that attitude based upon some of the dubious authors they do select, and in particular the many potential best selling authors they reject.

In summary, AuthorHouse and similar are an excellent route. The publish top quality books and distribute them to the same outlets as so called "traditional" publishers. The book is as a high in quality if not higher quality than a "traditionally printed" book, so the reader is happy. The costs only mount up if using AuthorHouse own marketing systems, but I would suggest they are not required anyway, and therefore it is not a relevant factor.

No author should be called "vain" by the snobbishness of protectionist industries, just because they want to see their hard work in print for people to read and benefit from.

One day soon, the "traditional" authors will have to modernise themselves and use digital printing or go extinct, when they do they will be indistinguishable from the current, modern, digital publsihers, and they will no longer talk of "vanity publishing".

For anyone interested in self-publishing, here is an excellent site:

http://www.parapub.com

With best regards,

Adrian.
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timeless
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« Reply #1 on: April 20, 2004, 19:29:05 »

Dear Adrian,

AuthorHouse (1st Books) also does not get you on the bookshelf of a single bookstore.  The bookstores must be interested enough to stock your book. When they say they have you published that means your book is electronically ready for publishing, is entered electronically into Amazon.com etc and has an ISBN# etc.  You get this for $760 US.  

Unfortunately, very few books are sold if they are not on the self of a bookstore.  The www.sfwa.org link lists the low percentage of books sold on-line. Yes, AuthorHouse lists you on Amazon.com etc. But how many times does a person search for a book on-line...if they do not already have a title or author in mind?  Titles and author names come from being known in the industry, word of mouth etc.  

The gentleman I am dealing with at AuthorHouse even stated that the reason they started the return insurance package was specifically because of problems selling their books -- bookstores were not stocking their POD books. You are welcome to contact Robert Walters at AuthorHouse RWalters@authorhouse.com.  He is a very approachable fellow and if you ask him about the problems listed on the www.sfwa.org site he will be quite honest.

Even Robert Bruce did a great deal of free public access on-line articles before publishing his book.  It is wise to generate interest prior to publishing.  After publishing, he also advertised his books on Art Bell, Quest, etc.  Robert Bruce had a very unusual niche market to target and did a tremendous amount of work to get known and recognized. The same applies for almost all authors. Robert Bruce is the one who recommended I seriously consider the longer route of generating a reputation (hopefully a good one[Wink]) prior to publishing.

Please do not think I have totally rejected fee based POD -- just put it on hold -- checking out other options and working on rep.  You have been very supportive in my writing efforts Adrian and kind enough to read my novel.  Again I thank you.  

One reason I may have no choice, but self-publish, is my book is the first of a trilogy.  If you are an unknown author, publishers apparently want the entire trilogy before publishing.  Perhaps this concept also made it tough for Rowlings?  She was not published until her next two stories were well underway.  This is understandable, I guess.  What if the next two books are...horrible? The publisher would be obligated to publish, if the first book did well. All the money gained on the first book could be lost on the next ones.  Also, some authors get writers block after their first book. Unfortunately the first 'novel' story that came to me, needed to be in the form of a trilogy.  I am not going to worry about it, just do my best to get a rep. -- hopefully a decent one.  

Best Regards,
timeless
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« Reply #1 on: April 20, 2004, 19:29:05 »

logoVisit the website of Astral Pulse creator Adrian Cooper.

Home of the best selling book Our Ultimate Reality.

Astral Projection, Metaphysics and many other subjects.

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Adrian
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« Reply #2 on: April 20, 2004, 22:20:35 »

Greetings Timeless,

I don't doubt what you are saying at all, believe me.

I am rather looking at it from a different perspective. I realise that traditional book stores do not actually stock POD books, but nevertheless they will still buy them in againts specific orders just as Amazon or B&N will.

The secret therefore is to create the demand for a book. The average book store caters for the casual book browser which is fair enough.

The Internet has tremendous power for creating a demand for a books, just as it has for creating a demand for any product at all. No other media has that power, and certainly no publisher or distributor.

The fact is, create the demand for a book and people will have to order it from Amazon, their local book store or direct from Authorhouse. These factors over-ride all others, and render the fact as to whether it is traditional or POD totally academic. If people want the book they will buy it from wherever they can, plain and simple.

Another route of course is to publish as an eBook. A further route is to start a publishing company just like the traditional publishers did once.

I do wish you every success with your book, and if there is anything I can do to help I will gladly do so.

With best regards,

Adrian.
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« Reply #3 on: April 20, 2004, 11:58:02 »

Hi All,

I checked down this avenue and discovered many hidden costs.  First it is important to understand that POD books tend not to be stocked by book stores.  Why?
(1) Stores usually cannot return unsold POD books
(2) Stores have to prepay to get POD books
(3) Most POD books are usually not well advertised or well reviewed, so stores to not anticipate good sales.
For details read the discussion on fee-based POD at this link: http://www.sfwa.org/Beware/printondemand.html

AuthorHouse (used to be 1st Books) now has packages to counteract these problems, but they are expensive.  You need to buy an insurance program for $600 US to allow books to be returnable -- not a bad deal.  The tough one though is advertisement and book reviews.  This costs over $3000+ US --Ouch! -- for a decent shot at things.  This package also provides book signings in a few Barnes and Noble stores, which is helpful.  Once publishing, return insurance and advertising and local travel (days drive) costs are all added up, it comes to well over $5000 and approaching $6000 US. YIKES![:O] Conversion to Canadian dollars makes the eyes roll. Since, I have not struggled much as an author -- too new to say that -- the long road of first getting published in magazines and through contests is looking attractive right now.  

Best Wishes to All,
Patricia
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