Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Online Publishing

Just to add to my last blog, what I said about Internet publishers deserves more comment.

A few years ago, when I published The Story of St. Catrick, ebook publishers weren't something you could take all that seriously. Especially, what they call subsidy publishers, like the company where I published Catrick.

A subsidy publisher is one where the author pays a fee, and the publisher does just whatever the auther pays them to do. Unless you're absolutely sure that you have something that will sell, that doesn't need editing for grammer and style errors, and you have a budget to pour into marketing, I'd advise going with a publisher that doesn't charge a fee, but is picky as to what they'll publish -- in other words, they more often than not, send you a polite email saying your manuscript doesn't fit into their publishing agenda. When they do accept you, they take a personal interest in whether it sells or not. It doesn't just sit there, like Catrick did.

'More often than not' is a far better ratio than 999,999 times out of a million, which is more like what you get from standard 'New York' publishers. By 'New York', I don't mean they're necessarily situated in that great city, but that they are a standard paper-only publisher that has to print about a thousand copies of their first editions, and therefore must be absolutely sure that your book is going to sell a big enough persentage of that for them to make it profitible. New York has more than its share of those types, and the top ten lists are done from there.

In a few short years, times have changed. More authors are now making a sizable income from books published on-line. Some best sellers are in the ebook cattigory.

A side product of the downloadable book file (in PDF format or whatever) is P.O.D., or Publishing on Demand. Some publishers do it for you, some rely on a third party to do it. The company where I did Catrick also happens to do POD for other publishers, including one that is now deciding on my Pepe manuscript. POD is where they use ultra modern printer-copiers and desk size book binding machines to print only as many books as have been ordered, be it one, ten or 100. They don't have to pay storage cost, and they have less to loose if your book doesn't sell at all.

However, the non-subsidy companys are still picky, because they edit your book for you, they design a cover, and they market it, which still requires an investment on their part. The fact that they are picky also means that the book buyer can be sure that the books listed will be of a standard quality, and not the rants of some half literate crack-pot as they might find in a subsidy list.

As an author, you do, after all, want a market full of confident buyers.

The biggest obstacle you'll probably find is that a publisher is presently closed to submissions. They'll open again when their present pile of manuscripts get low enough to where they feel they can realisticly tell you they'll look at yours within the next six months to a year. They might say on their site when they expect to open.

The length of time that they take to review your manuscript is the other obstacle, but that's also the case with 'New York' publishers.

Anyway, here are some links. This one is for some articles about the state of internet publishing. Here's another one by author Piers Anthony, author of Zanth, with a list of both subsidy and non subsidy publishers. He comments on each one, giving negative views on some, forwarding his readers comments, and tells you which are subsidy publishers.

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