How difficult is it to publish a book?

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Mar 28, 2011 3:07 PM GMT
    I have recently secured a contract for literary representation with a New York-based literary agency. They do not promise to publish your work and merely assure that they will work hard to find a publisher. So I wonder if there is an author on RJ or someone who has had an experience with publishers to advise me on what is the best way to publish your manuscript.
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    Mar 29, 2011 9:30 AM GMT
    no idea. maybe it's on ehow.com.
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    Mar 29, 2011 9:33 AM GMT
    I have a friend who wrote a book and she went through hell trying to get it published. It all depends on which companies you're targeting, i guess. Some companies won't publish anything they feel may no bring any money to the table. And some will publish ANYTHING.
  • Joeyphx444

    Posts: 2382

    Mar 29, 2011 9:36 AM GMT
    If Snookie can, we all should be able to right?
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    Mar 29, 2011 9:37 AM GMT
    Joeyphx444 saidIf Snookie can, we all should be able to right?


    bahahhaha.. he has a point.
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    Mar 29, 2011 9:38 AM GMT
    alonelyplanet saidI have a friend who wrote a book and she went through hell trying to get it published. It all depends on which companies you're targeting, i guess. Some companies won't publish anything they feel may no bring any money to the table. And some will publish ANYTHING.


    Please name one publishing house that will publish anything presented to them. Go ahead ... I have all day.
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    Mar 29, 2011 9:40 AM GMT
    RiverRising said
    alonelyplanet saidI have a friend who wrote a book and she went through hell trying to get it published. It all depends on which companies you're targeting, i guess. Some companies won't publish anything they feel may no bring any money to the table. And some will publish ANYTHING.


    Please name one publishing house that will publish anything presented to them. Go ahead ... I have all day.


    Sorry I don't argue with faceless profiles
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    Mar 29, 2011 10:27 AM GMT
    You ever hear about the Kindle on Amazon? Here's info on how to publish on it. You can even sell it in book form instead of digital.

    https://kdp.amazon.com/self-publishing/signin/188-4508198-2128127
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    Mar 29, 2011 11:15 AM GMT
    alonelyplanet said
    Joeyphx444 saidIf Snookie can, we all should be able to right?


    bahahhaha.. he has a point.


    But that is different; Snookie is one of the great thinkers of our time. Such a genius!! Who wouldn't want to read her drunken ravings... er.... I mean her literary endeavors.
  • Ironman4U

    Posts: 738

    Mar 29, 2011 12:17 PM GMT
    As was stated above, most publishers want a sure-bet so they rarely will go with first-time authors unless there is some proof of a following (from blog, speaking platform, client-base, etc) to mitigate their risks. It becomes one of those catch-22 things where you want a publisher because you've never been published but you can't get one because you've never been published.

    The other big negative is that even if you are one of the lucky ones to get published, the publishers are not going to sink much money into your book for marketing and distribution...again because you don't have a track record of selling books.

    For that reason, I would personally recommend going the self-published route. I did for my first book. Yes, it means I have to market it. But it also means that I get to keep the money vs making pennies per book. There are some great resources on self-publishing out there. Dan Poynter is one of the gurus and has tons of resources on his website.

    If you prove you can sell books (on your own), then getting a publisher becomes easier and easier. But then again, you may decide that you don't need them anymore. It all depends on what your goal is with the book. Publishers do give you a certain legitimacy and the potential for better distribution. But you'll have more control and potentially earn more money going the self-publishing route.
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    Mar 29, 2011 12:45 PM GMT
    mostly word of mouth
    I published a monograph with a prestigious university press but they had already been told to look out for me....the upshot know published authors who are well regarded in the industry
  • alphatop

    Posts: 1955

    Mar 29, 2011 1:09 PM GMT
    Very.
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    Mar 29, 2011 1:46 PM GMT
    Publishing a first book has never been easy. I received a 3-book contract in my late 20s and was immediately depressed by how little money I was told I'd make until the third one. The publisher -- a major one -- had all kinds of formulae on which my advance was based. (I never finished even the first book, something I kinda sorta regret.)

    My block in writing that book ironically led me to mainly working with blocked writers and other artists in my psychology practice. I've had a handful of clients go the self-publishing route. It is not like the "vanity press" of the past. These clients have done quite well but the degree of their success depends on the degree of self-marketing they are comfortable doing.

    Realize, too, that you are not paying an agent or the pubisher high percentages when you self-publish. Work I have done through an agent usually cost quite a bit. Also, there are many shitty agents. If you are asked for any money up front, don't do it.

    I have several other clients who publish through the usual routes. I'm astounded by what they have to do. You now typically have to hire your own copy editor/proof reader. In one case, my client had to format the entire book. I had an offer from an academic pubisher to publish my doctoral dissertation and they wanted me to format it too. No thanks. (I hope nobody ever lays eyes on it, anyway.)

    I also have two clients who have published successful books the conventional way. Last year, their publishers -- major ones in the gay niche -- kept delaying publication, finally defaulting altogether. They both found other publishers eventually and the task of marketing was totally their own.

    Finally, I've had a couple very successful clients with several books behind them. They still are making very little money from them and now, like many others, they conduct workshops to teach other people how to write and publish books.... that aren't going to earn them much money, either.

    Mark Morford, a very popular writer with the SF Chronicle's website, recently turned down offers from publishers, deciding to self-publish, for all the reasons I've mentioned here. Of course, he is not unknown and has a guaranteed large readership. Nonetheless, he demonstrates that it's not just unknown authors who are going that route.



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    Mar 29, 2011 2:04 PM GMT
    Jailbird, it's a very difficult task indeed. Here in Brazil it is even worse. The publishers are way more interested in publishing foreign authors who have already given proof of their marketing success than risking their profits on a new national author even if they recognize some talent on his writing.

    As Heybreaux well stated, self-publishing is the easier way-out, despite its cons.

    I started writing my novel in 2004 and finished one year ago. It's a historical fiction about the loss of the original language. It consumed a large time of research, and after proof-reading it received 100% of positive acceptance (after an amount of more than 500 different readers from all around the world). I subscribed this work of fiction to an international literary contest in Portugal, which was held by Jose Saramago (a very respected Portuguese author). None of the contestants won that contest due to Saramago's death last year, but I received a personal and positive review from the critics which were involved in the contest.

    Even with so much positive feedback, I can't get my book published, or even read by well-known publishing houses here in Brazil. Many say I should translate the manuscript to English and try publishing it elsewhere, but I believe it wouldn't be that easy either.

    So, good luck with your project, pal. And if you see any light in this dark tunnel, please,let me know. I'll do the same here.

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    Mar 29, 2011 6:43 PM GMT
    I used to get conned into writing chapters for academic books. Usually you get a copy of the book, a few hundred dollars "honorarium" and "prestige." If people like what you write, they basically ask you to write more of them. I suppose it they liked it well enough, they might even offer to pay. But I dunno.

    The last one that I did for McGraw-Hill, was probably the best of those that I wrote. For a few years, it was the defining reference for a field of research. I spent basically a whole summer writing it (and building my house.) Anyway, all I got out of it was a coupon for an "authors discount" (only $180 !) for a copy of the book .

    As a consumer of books, it seems like I get all of my advice (marketing) from the booksellers. Not from publishers.
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    Aug 22, 2011 4:20 AM GMT
    Well, Alex has published his book. He took some good advice that he received here and had it "self-published" by Unibooks.
    An advance copy has been sent to a large publishing house in Sweden who he hopes will pick up the book and make it a best seller all over Europe.

    Here's the link to the publishers site:

    http://www.unibook.com/en/Alex-Kondratev/RAMI
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    Aug 22, 2011 4:43 AM GMT
    Don't overlook the prospect of Kindle self-publishing, and I say that because hasn't Amazon talked about a plan to launch an imprint of their own to print physical books, and if they do, a track record on Kindle would be very much in your favor and oh dear God this is a badly written sentence.
  • Lincsbear

    Posts: 2603

    Aug 22, 2011 4:41 PM GMT
    I`ve had many rejections so far....It`s very hard to even get a reading of your manuscript!Polite persistence is a virtue in this business.I`d definitely recommend you go down the route of self publishing/internet style as at the very least you`ll begin to create pubilicity for yourself.This may then help you go on to more traditional routes,etc.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    May 08, 2013 5:58 PM GMT
    Got the publisher....now I need to finish translating.
  • LJay

    Posts: 11612

    May 08, 2013 6:03 PM GMT
    lulu.com
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    May 08, 2013 6:11 PM GMT
    when I finish the second draft for my manscript I'll be sending it to dreamspinnerpress.com
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    May 08, 2013 6:31 PM GMT
    Self-publish, self-publish, self-publish.

    Why on earth would anyone want to wait for some knucklehead to decide whether what you have to say is worth it to them? For you to give them all the rights, only receive maybe $10k to $20k up front (if you're lucky), and just pennies of any sale? To never own your book once they take it out of distribution months later? For them to expect YOU to do all of the marketing and them to profit the most?

    Do not waste your time with publishers in this new era. Even the well-known authors are ditching them. Remove the middle man.

    On that note, make sure your book is written well and you've spent months on editing and proofing and have had others read it too. Make your book good.
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    May 08, 2013 6:42 PM GMT
    wrestlervic saidSelf-publish, self-publish, self-publish.

    Why on earth would anyone want to wait for some knucklehead to decide whether what you have to say is worth it to them? For you to give them all the rights, only receive maybe $10k to $20k up front (if you're lucky), and just pennies of any sale? To never own your book once they take it out of distribution months later? For them to expect YOU to do all of the marketing and them to profit the most?

    Do not waste your time with publishers in this new era. Even the well-known authors are ditching them. Remove the middle man.

    On that note, make sure your book is written well and you've spent months on editing and proofing and have had others read it too. Make your book good.


    ^This!!! +1
  • thatirishbast...

    Posts: 3523

    May 08, 2013 6:51 PM GMT
    wrestlervic saidSelf-publish, self-publish, self-publish.

    Why on earth would anyone want to wait for some knucklehead to decide whether what you have to say is worth it to them? For you to give them all the rights, only receive maybe $10k to $20k up front (if you're lucky), and just pennies of any sale? To never own your book once they take it out of distribution months later? For them to expect YOU to do all of the marketing and them to profit the most?

    Do not waste your time with publishers in this new era. Even the well-known authors are ditching them. Remove the middle man.

    On that note, make sure your book is written well and you've spent months on editing and proofing and have had others read it too. Make your book good.


    Don't ever tell another writer how to best market their work. What works for YOU, what YOU prefer to do for your own work should have no bearing on anyone else.

    "Even well-known authors are ditching them." Name five.

    The publishing industry exists because writing a book and selling a book are as similar as blacksmithing and neurosurgery. And to suggest that the publishing company are making huge profits off your work is laughable. Publishers take profit from your work because their paying for the cover art, paper, ink, binding, shipping, marketing, and shelf space at Barnes and Noble. The majority of published books don't even make a profit for the Publishing company, and they still put money in the hands of the authors. What percentage of self-published authors do you think make even close to ten grand?

    OP: Congrats on getting the attention of a literary agency! Before you sign any contract, make sure you do your research. Have they sold titles recently? Are they a member of AAR? Search online for the top questions to ask an agent before signing a contract.

    The bad news is, your work is never guaranteed to sell, either in self-publishing or traditionally. The good news is, it sounds like someone in the industry thinks your work has merit and that is a HUGE step forward.

    The best advice I can give you is this. Write well. And then do your research.

    EDIT: Oh. This was from 2011. The OP will never see this. Oh well. My point still stands.
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    May 08, 2013 6:59 PM GMT
    thatirishbastard said:

    Don't ever tell another writer how to best market their work. What works for YOU, what YOU prefer to do for your own work should have no bearing on anyone else.



    First of all, 25-year-old, I have experience with this and am twice your age. Secondly, the person asked for advice, albeit two years ago. Thirdly, there are a lot of "literary agents" out there who will charge you to find a publisher. Read below:

    NO LEGITIMATE PUBLISHER WILL EVER CHARGE YOU A FEE.

    These are the kinds of people that prey on the hopes and dreams of writers. And tons of people are very capable artists who can design their own covers and format their own books, or farm it out to someone.