TRYING TO GET PUBLISHED?
We probably don’t have to tell you about the problems you can experience when trying to get your work published by a commercial publisher. It’s hard enough to write a good book. But that’s just the beginning. Then starts the endless effort of sending your manuscript to dozens of publishers for acceptance. Unfortunately, the odds are against you, as publishers typically reject thousands of manuscripts for every one that is accepted.
ACCEPTED AT LAST!
Even if your book is accepted by a publisher, you have no guarantee that it will be properly presented to the public. We hear many disappointing stories from authors about eventually getting their books published by a commercial publisher and making little or no money at all! Unless you are famous (or infamous).
GOING IT ALONE!
In desperation, many novices turn to doing it all themselves. This means that critical decisions concerning the title, cover design, content and marketing are made entirely by them. If not done properly they often end up having cartons of newly-printed books sitting in a garage or basement with no place to go.
SELF PUBLISHING SERVICES
This is why many authors are turning to companies who offer self-publishing services to produce quality books and get their books on the shelves of bookstores and into readers’ homes.
Control - You retain full control of the content, design and layout of your book.
Sole Ownership - You own all the rights to your book and are in the position to set your own recommended selling price and determine your own profits.
Speed - You can get your book in print and in the stores in only a few months.
THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN HAVING YOUR BOOK SELF-PUBLISHED AND PUBLISHED
BY A TRADITIONAL PUBLISHER
All over the world the competition for a publisher is stiff, but especially in South Africa where 75% of the general South African book market consists of overseas publications and the remaining percentage are mainly locally produced schoolbooks. So authors who know they have something worth publishing now have the alternative of self-publishing.
Although a traditional publisher carries all the cost and risk, it is therefore obvious that they also reap most of the profits from your book. A first time author is often not in a position to negotiate an above average book deal yet and must accept the standard royalties of 10%. Unless your book is a bestseller, selling thousands upon thousands of copies, you may wait some time before seeing even a reasonable return.
Traditional publishers also take over total control of the publishing process i.e. the content, look and style of the work as well as the distribution channels. This means that you as the author don’t have much say over cover design, layout and often even content. You also cannot control where and for how much your books will be sold.
A common reason why people consider self-publishing is because they run courses and seminars and would like to build their books into their course packs or use their seminars as some form of distribution outlet. A traditional publisher will usually not allow this, only allowing for the distribution of the work through their conventional means.
For the above reasons, to make all the work you put into your book financially viable, many turn to self-publishing. As a self-publisher you own your books. The books you print are yours to do with as you please. You can sell them at a price you determine and through whatever channels you desire. Although it means a risk and more effort on your part, it also means that you take all the profits, therefore making the whole venture far more financially viable.
As a self-publisher you work closely with Reach publishers’ design specialists regarding exactly the cover design you want. You are given layout options and ultimately you decide what the inside of your book should look like. Your book is thoroughly edited, but nothing is changed without your permission so you control the content. Before your book goes to print you are sent a proof to make sure everything is in order.
The whole process from beginning to end (up to you actually receiving your printed books) usually takes a maximum of three calendar months. If a traditional publisher undertakes to publish your work the production and distribution process can take anything from 12 months to three years.
TIPS ON WRITING A MARKETABLE BOOK
1. Research - is there a market for my book?
Visit your local bookstore as well as the various on-line stores (Amazon.com, Kalahari.net). Look for books similar to yours i.e. a similar topic e.g. health, science fiction, business etc. Now compare your book to those already available. How does it rate? Can you compete with them? If yes, then you may have something!
2. Do you have a unique idea?
Sometimes your topic may be unavailable in book form. Perhaps it’s because no one has thought of this brilliant idea and you could have a bestseller on your hands. Or it could be that people are just not interested enough in the topic. We advise you to approach friends, family and professionals (editors etc.) and ask their honest opinion.
3. Do you have a bold and fresh creative concept?
In other words, if your book is about a healthy lifestyle, do you feel that you have a unique angle to launch it from i.e. is it different in a fresh and bold way to similar topics?
4. Does your book have appeal?
If it is a non-fiction book, have you researched your topic thoroughly, checked your facts and provided updated and interesting information to your particular target market? If it is a fiction book, have you made sure that your characters come alive i.e. can readers identify and empathize with them?
5. Obtain someone’s point of view
Pass your completed manuscript on to someone you trust and whose opinion you value and ask them for their honest evaluation and constructive criticism. Be careful not to give it to the wrong person e.g. you wouldn’t give a book on sewing to someone who has absolutely no interest in the subject.
6. Good readability and individual style is helpful
It does help if your manuscript is well written and understandable for your market. Although editors will clean up your work (grammar, punctuation, sentence structure etc.) they will generally try and keep an author’s own individual style of writing.
7. Brush up on your writing skills
If we feel that your writing skills need some work to become as publishable as possible, then we will refer you to our course contacts for assistance.
For an “honest” opinion on your work, send us a synopsis and three chapters/or no more than 5000 words. We will then forward this to one of our Independent Editors for an opinion. This service is only R390.00.
However we can also offer you an in-depth edit which will entail a fee depending on the size of your manuscript and they will go through your manuscript and give you vauable opinions and ideas (from an outsider's point of view).