How Do I Get Published Part 3
Posted by Bruce Hennigan
My ninth grade English teacher, Mrs. Griswold, had a six week creative writing period at the end of my freshman year in high school. I had never heard of such a thing even though I had been writing since age 11. At the top of the first page of every assignment I wrote she would place in red ink: “Publish! Publish!” I fell in love with writing and I wanted to become a published author.
In today’s part 3, which will be segmented into several sections, I begin discussing where to go with your finished manuscript if you want to get published.
You have written your manuscript. You have honed your writing skills. You have edited it to the best polished version you can imagine. Now what? How do you get that bad boy into print?
I have had the good fortune and also, misfortune of publishing every which way imaginable. I have published books through traditional publishers (Meriwether Publishing/Contemporary Drama, Broadman & Holman, Lifeway, Kregel, B&H Publishing, and Strang Communications/Realms Imprint). I have paid a “self publisher” to publish my books (Xlibris, iUniverse, BookPros, and Westbow Press). I have paid a low end publishing entity to merely print out a book for promotional purposes (Xlibris). And I have formed my own independent publishing entities.
I have done it all and I can tell you there are lots of bear traps along the way. Let’s start with the easiest pathway — the self-publishing company.
SELF PUBLISHING COMPANY
https://selfpublishingadvice.org/best-self-publishing-services/ is one of many sites to check out the best and worst self publishing companies. What I am about to say about these entities is scathing. But, there are a very few companies you can trust and I would do a lot of research on the internet and get unbiased reviews of the company you may choose before proceeding. Note that there are many entities that help you get published but YOU do the work and YOU pay for each level of service. These reliable companies can be found in the information of www.thecreativepenn.com. But, I will tell you they are few and far between in my experience.
Having said all that:
Author Beware! In fact, do a search for “author beware” or “writer beware” before going with a self-publishing company that promises to do everything for you.
Unless you are willing to fork over thousands and thousands of dollars to produce “vanity” press, a book for family or for your own ego, this is a waste of time and money. These companies promise you the moon. They have “packages” that range from basic to premier and at every step of the way they offer things like editorial services and book cover design and marketing training. Notice, training! They will not do the work for you. In fact, even the traditional publishers no longer do any marketing for you. We will talk about that later but it is entirely up to you.
Now, if you have $20,000 to $50,000 you can throw against the wall and hope something sticks to the wall, then go ahead and try this. I’ve used four different companies and only one delivered, BookPros, and they are now bankrupt. Want to know why? Because BookPros linked their income to the success of book sales, not on the upfront money they could bilk from their authors. I’ll probably be trashed by these companies, one of which still has one of my books, but I want to be honest. Before using any of these companies, do a search on reviews. You will discover that almost every self publishing company uses the same central entity and they just put a veneer over that name. But, when you’ve spent your thousands and the “marketing” calls come streaming in from dozens of fake companies wanting to “feature your book” on their website at a cost, of course, you’ll understand. I get about 20 calls a day from my one remaining book because the company wants me to spend thousands more to “market” my book. It’s a scam, pure and simple.
Look, if you want to self publish a book, then do the hard work I mentioned above and consider became an independent publisher. You will spend much less money and you will make more in the long run. Or check out reliable self publishing entities such as the one in the website above or refer to Joanna Penn’s website, http://www.thecreativepenn.com.
Let me give you an example. I received a call from my self publishing company because I was a “VIP” (which cost a whole lot of extra money to get that designation) about a special opportunity. I could get my book in front of millions of potential customers. Millions! How, by advertising in the now defunct “Shopping Mall” in the sky, that throw away magazine tucked into the airplane seat in front of you. If you’ve ever flown you may remember these magazines with all kinds of gadgets. Well, I could have advertised my book in those magazines. I was a fool not to take the offer. How much did it cost? $27,000 a month!!! I did the math and figured how many books I would have to sell to break even. There was no way I could recoup my cost for such a venture. And, the sad fact of the matter was the salesperson was so perky and optimistic and had no idea how ridiculous this proposal sounded. That is when I realized I had been taken.
Also, I paid extra to this company to have my books “returnable”. I’ll talk about that eventually. You see, brick and mortar book stores will not carry POD (Print on demand) books because they cannot return them to the publisher to recover their cost. But, you can pay extra to print up a run of books and house them in a warehouse so brick and mortar stores can order them and keep them in stock. Only then would a store consider allowing you to have a book signing.
LifeWay Bookstores, now closed nationwide, were a perfect market place for my books. However, at their peak they seldom had book signings. But, I managed to hold a book signing in the Austin, Texas bookstore for my traditionally published books and they agreed to order my newest self-published book put out by this company of which I speak. To my horror, three weeks before the book signing the store called me and said they could not find my books in their distribution network. I frantically called this company and they assured me my books had been printed and were stored in the warehouse. But, they had spelled the title incorrectly! Yes, they had entered the title of my book into the distributors database with the wrong spelling. No wonder I couldn’t sell any books! The LifeWay cancelled my book signing and refused to allow me to have anymore after even with two books from a traditional publishing house!
Did I receive an apology? Did the company try to make recompense for their error? No! In fact they contacted me a year later and wanted to know if I wanted the books shipped to my house or if I wanted to PAY to have them destroyed because they would no longer warehouse the books!!! I had to pay tons of money to have some of the books (I had already paid to have printed, mind you) shipped to my house. I am not a warehouse and I didn’t have room for all of them so I ended up paying to have the rest destroyed!
My story is just one typical story of horror shows with these entities. They seldom, if ever make good on their promises and they take advantage of innocent people who want desperately to be published. Don’t fall for their scam!
Next post will be about Traditional Publishing.e
About Bruce HenniganPublished novelist, dramatist, apologist, and physician.
Comments are closed.