Excerpt 1 from Chapter 1, discussing Indie publishers
One relevant question we have to address concerns an alternative to self-publishing, the small indie press houses. There are many of these houses to choose from. To find listings of these indie publishers, go to Ralan.com. Some of these indie presses will only publish ebooks or print books, others will put out both ebooks and print books.
The advantage of these indie press houses over self-publishing is that the indie house will do all the work of putting the book together and absorb the expenses of doing so. Thus, they will provide a cover, edit your manuscript, design the interior of the book and take care of the other details. If you self-publish, you would have to do all these chores yourself or pay for someone else to do them. In summary, using an indie house relieves the author of a big chunk of work and expense.
There are many houses in business and they are often open for submissions, In addition, their response times are much shorter than the traditional publishing houses who may take more than a year to respond. Nevertheless, the response time can be many months long.
What’s not to like? Well, when it comes to marketing the book, the indie press houses disappear from the scene. Most of them won’t do any marketing at all. As far as they are concerned, marketing is the responsibility of the author. The only marketing they will do is to put up a web page for your book on their site. This page will include your book cover, a book blurb, your bio blurb and possibly a buy-link or two.
So, whether you self-publish or use an indie house, you will still be responsible for the marketing campaigns and have to absorb the costs of all the marketing. However, if you self-publish, you get most of the book revenue. That’s usually 70% for ebooks and 35% for print books.
If you choose to go with indie publishing route, make sure you read the contract thoroughly. If you’re not sure about some of the terms, ask the indie house for a clarification. Make sure the copyrights remain with you and the indie only gets the first publication rights. If you join a site like Linkedin, you can ask members in the writing groups for advice on confusing contract statements and rights issues.
With print books, here is another issue you must check on before making a decision. It has to do with how much you will pay the indie publisher to order books to sell on your own at book events and signings. I know authors who use indie presses and the cost of buying copies of their books from the indie is so high, they can’t make a profit on their copies unless they jack up the price to a point where it drives potential customers away. This business practice should be given strong consideration in your decision to self-publish or use an indie publisher.
Finally, one last word on indie publishing houses. These are often owned and operated by a single person and they frequently go out of business due to illness, death or the burden of all the work. If this happens after your book is published by the indie house, you’ll have to get your rights back and try to get another publisher.
From my personal experience and that of other authors I know, indie press houses have a poor record of sending monthly or quarterly sales reports. Many of them also don’t distribute the royalties as specified in the contract. Before you agree to an indie contract, contact a few authors who have their books published by the indie house and ask them about these issues.
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Genre - Non-fiction: how-to
Rating – G
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