Archive for the ‘Publishers’ Category

Read an Ebook Week was created by Rita Toews in order to inform the public about the wonderful world of ebooks.

There are many benefits to ebooks, the most important ones being that they don't kill trees and that they're cheaper–sometimes A LOT cheaper–than their print counterparts. For a full list of benefits, you may want to visit EPublishers Weekly.

Between March 8-14, publishers and authors on the web will be offering special deals and discounts on ebooks. Two of these publishers are Zumaya Publications and Twilight Times Books.

Zumaya Publications publishes books in both print and electronic formats in a large variety of genres rnging from romance to mystery to fantasy and science fiction. In celebration of Read an eBook Week, 17 Zumaya authors will offer free copies of their books. All will be offered in eReader format suitable for reading on iPhone and iPod Touch and PDF, and many will be available in other popular ebook formats such as MS Reader.

In addition, copies of other titles by these authors will be offered at our online bookstore, Novel Ideas from Zumaya, at a 20% discount for the duration of Read an eBook Week. As a special offer, anyone who purchases a copy of M. D. Benoit's newest Jack Meter Casefile, Meter Destiny, can claim a free copy of Meter Made, the second book in the series, free. Since the first Meter Casefile, Metered Space, is among the freebies, this means readers can have the complete series for the price of one book.

Twilight Times Books also publishes books in both print and electronic formats.

Publisher Lida Quillen is offering Darrell Bain's autobiography, Darrell Bain's World of Books, as a free download, plus an additional free ebook each day. Among the selections will be Behold the Eyes of Light by Geoff Geauterre, Jerome and the Seraph by Robina Williams, No Place for Gods by Gerry Mills, Striking Back from Down Under by Dr. Bob Rich, The Last to Fall by Anne K. Edwards and Who is Margaret? by Celia A. Leaman.

Here is a list of ebook giveaways during Read an Ebook Week:

All week — Darrell Bain's World of Books by Darrell Bain
Sunday, Mar. 8th — Behold the Eyes of Light by Geoff Geauterre
Monday, Mar. 9th — Jerome and the Seraph by Robina Williams
Tuesday, Mar. 10th — No place for Gods by Gerald Mills
Wednesday, Mar. 11th — Striking Back from Down Under by Dr. Bob Rich
Thursday, Mar. 12th — The Last to Fall by Anne K. Edwards
Friday, Mar. 13th — Who is Margaret? by Celia A. Leaman
Saturday, Mar. 14th — Futures Mystery Anthology Magazine Issue Sept/Oct 2005
Saturday, Mar. 14th — Futures Mystery Anthology Magazine Issue Jan/Feb 2006

So why read ebooks? I asked Elizabeth Burton, Editor-in-Chief at Zumaya Publications:

"Books are books–ebooks are just more convenient than their print brethren. If you have vision problems, if you can't leave the house without something to read, if you spend any amount of time waiting for something to happen, if you have arthritis in your hand that makes holding a book uncomfortable, if you like to read in bed but your partner doesn't appreciate the glare–these are all good reasons to consider ebooks. That there are some incredibly good writers whose work you'll only be able to read digitally is just an added bonus."

On the future of ebooks, this is what she had to say:

"There was much lamenting when the mass market paperback crawled out of the pulp world that it would destroy the wonders of hardcover reading. The same, equally specious wail is not being aimed at ebooks. EBooks are just another way to read, one that appeals to the younger generations who've grown up with digital media but that also draws those who for any or all of the above-listed reasons want an alternative to print. They won't replace print books anytime soon, but the market for them will continue to grow."

There's no question that ebooks are the reading format of the future. Feel free to spread the word about Read an Ebook Week and don't lose your chance to get some free ebooks.


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I actually didn’t think about how I was going to get my first book published until it was almost completed. Did I want to have it published by a traditional publisher? Or did I want to self-publish? Or did I want to go with a print-on-demand (POD) company?

Before making a choice, I took all three options into consideration. But what it ultimately came down to was to answer the question, what were the results I was looking for? At first I just really wanted to write a book so I could be seen as an expert in my field. All the marketing experts say having a book is a way to show yourself as an expert. So my original intent was not to make money but to establish that I knew what I was talking about. The traditional route seemed like the way to go because, as I understand it, you don’t get much after you get the advanced payment. Your royalties on each book are about 3%-15% with the higher percentage reserved for famous authors. So you are looking at getting 14 cents to $1.50 a book. Not much.

When I looked more into the industry, I realized that traditional publishers make you sign over all your rights to your work. I don’t know about you, but I have a problem signing over something that I put my heart and soul into creating. Yes, they take care of the marketing, promotion, bookkeeping, printing, assume all the risk and such but I don’t think that deserves all the rights to my work for the rest of the company’s existence. Also, it takes a long, long, long time for a book to be published by a traditional publisher. I’m talking two years or more. I didn’t have that kind of patience. I wanted my book out, yesterday. Not to mention that before you get to a publisher you have to find an agent who believes in your work that will shop you around. That takes even more time. And when your book sells you have to share and I use that word loosely with the publisher and the agent who get more of a royalty than you do on your own book.

That didn’t really appeal to me so I looked into self-publishing and honestly, it is just way too much work, time and money. In order to self-publish, you have to establish yourself as a publishing house, buy an ISBN, well, they don’t sell only one, they sell them in packs of 10 for about $250 or something. Then you have to find a designer and printer. You have to have books in your home, garage or wherever you are planning to store them. You are responsible for getting your book into bookstores. That is a lot of money to invest up front. I just can’t handle that kind of financial risk. Much to much stressful.

I moved on to print-on-demand. This format is almost a hybrid of self-publishing and traditional. What really caught my attention was that I didn’t have to worry about carrying books in my car or my tiny apartment, unless I wanted to. And the royalties were going to be higher. I wouldn’t have to worry about finding a printer, handling returns, bookkeeping and any type of customer service. Yes, I still have to hire an editor to ensure I put out quality work. Plus, all the marketing and promotion is on me, but I was okay with that. And I wasn’t going to have to put a whole lot of money up front.

So now that I had decided to go with a POD, I had to decide which company I wanted to go with. You have to be careful of which one you choose. There are some that maintain the rights to your work and the files you sent them to create your book. And you have to pay them to get them back, usually hundreds of dollars up to a thousand. Some offer marketing or editing services but they are super expensive. Some you can’t really tell what your royalty is going to be at the end of the day.

After comparing companies, I decided to go with Booklocker.com. I paid a little over $500 upfront to get the book laid out, original cover design, an ISBN, listed with Ingram and most importantly I retain all the rights to my work and files. And as if that wasn’t good enough, I make 35% off of each book sale and 70% off of each ebook. Oh, did I forget to mention that they create the ebook at no additional charge? So instead of making $1.50, I’m making about $5 on each book and $9 on each ebook sale. I am not locked in a contract, so if I decide I want to leave or get a contract with a major publisher I don’t have to wait or pay a fee.

I am so thrilled that I selected to go the POD route. I am making more money off of my book and can actually make a living off of it.

If you are considering publishing your first body of work, I suggest you also look into all three options and decide which one is best suited for you. And keep in mind that just because you get published through a traditional publisher doesn’t mean you’ll get rich. No matter which option you choose you are going to have to work your butt off to get noticed and get people to buy your book.

Good Writing!

–ChaChanna Simpson is the author of LIFE AFTER COLLEGE: WHAT YOUR PARENTS AND PROFESSORS NEVER TAUGHT YOU. Visit her website at www.twentity.com.

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Lida Quillen, owner and publisher of Twilight Times Books, has written a very information article on how some epublishers have gone to print.

To read the article, visit Gather.

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Sandra Shwayder Sanchez is both a literary author and co-founder of The Wessex Collective, an unusual literary publishing company in more ways than one. For one thing, none of the authors get royalties; for another, they have a noble mission: to publish “committed fiction” that is “socially responsible.”

Tell us about the Wessex Collective, Sandra. When and how did it get started?

I had been corresponding with R.P. Burnham for several years after I read his editorial prelude to an issue of The Long Story which I discovered at The Tattered Cover Bookstore. I submitted a story which he published and later he asked me for more work. What we had in common was a preference for fiction that focused on characters that lived on the periphery of society, the poor, the homeless, the very old or very young, the mentally ill, people who are neglected and often abused. I went to law school in my late thirties because I wanted to speak up for the rights of people who often have no voice and Peter helps to run a soup kitchen in Lawrence, Massachusetts.

For whatever reason, we both had this particular interest and we both expressed our empathy for the real people we encountered in our lives and work in fiction. Peter calls this “committed fiction” and perhaps in today’s phrasing we could call it “socially responsible” fiction. After experiencing the usual frustration sending out full length book manuscripts, I suggested that we start an author’s publishing collective. Peter had been publishing The Long Story for more than twenty years when I approached him about it and I was delighted that he was interested because no way could we do this without his expertise. We each invited work from authors we admired. We published our first three titles in spring of 2005, another three that fall. In 2006 we published two more titles and we have just come out with three more this fall. The way we work, no author is paid for his or her work so it doesn’t matter how many copies of which books we sell, all the sale proceeds go back into the collective account to help print and promote all the books.

What type of books do you publish?

We publish literary fiction although our list includes one memoir that has the dramatic suspense of a work of fiction.

Are you open to submissions?

We do not encourage submissions as none of us has the time to read a lot of manuscripts but we have received email queries from authors who have read our books and believe they have something that would be a good fit with what we are doing. Before we put a lot of time and effort into an author’s manuscripts however, we want to know that the author will work with us to promote all our books, not just their own, as that is the whole point of the collective concept.

What is the toughest job of managing a small press? What is the most rewarding?

The toughest part is actually selling books. So many readers these days, even serious readers, will only “take a chance” on books that they have already heard a lot about. I always wonder about this, because what exactly does the reader have to lose by reading an unknown title by an unknown author? They might be disappointed? Then again, they might make an exciting discovery. It seems to me if you love to read, you might enjoy being the first to discover some hidden treasure.

The most rewarding part is bringing into the light, excellent books that might otherwise have been lost to the world.

How do you market your books to bookstores and libraries?

Personal contacts with bookstore managers and librarians is absolutely important. I have gotten orders for books from libraries I have visited personally, not when I have written or emailed, the same with local bookstores. We now work with a distributor of small press books: The Booklink, Inc. We have really enjoyed working with them. We don’t keep as much of the sale proceeds but hopefully this arrangement will result in more sales and therefore greater exposure for all our authors.

Any book publicity strategies you would like to share with our readers?

Well, I’ve learned the hard way that reviews by themselves don’t sell books, ads by themselves don’t sell books and even the two together in one publication at the same time, doesn’t always have any immediate effect. When readers take a chance on a book and recommend that book to friends or better yet, give books to their friends for birthdays and holidays that is a good long term strategy. One author I know said that trying to get some attention for a new book these days is like highlighting a snowflake in a blizzard. It is just going to take a lot of time and perseverance and a little luck now and then (like being discovered by Oprah).

You’re also an author. Tell us a bit about yourself and how you became an author.
What type of books do you write?

I read all the time as a child and by the time I was in my teens it seemed inevitable that I would write stories. In fact my creative writing teacher in high school suggested that I start a literary magazine so I did and it became a tradition at the school. In my twenties I did send out some stories and even won a first prize for fiction one month from a literary magazine in Austin, Texas. I also corresponded with Anais Nin who was very encouraging. Then I decided I needed to live more and figure out what I wanted to write about. I threw out dozens of stories that suddenly seemed trivial to me. In my early thirties I wrote an experimental novel, Snow (I had just finished reading Ice by Anna Kavan). It was one of those stream of conscious creations that is not exactly poetry and definitely not narrative and later I called the manusript my “salvage yard” because sometimes I really could use something from it to clarify another story or novel.

As soon as I finished Snow I started what would later be my first published novel. I interrupted work on this to get a divorce, return to college and then law school and I finished this 124 page book about twelve years after I started it. The Nun was published by Plain View Press in 1992, three years after I finished it. I also started writing more serious short stories and the first of these was published in The Long Story in 1986. I have since had stories published in The Long Story, Monocacy Valley Review, Zone 3, The Healing Muse and some online publications: Storyglossia # 17, The Dublin Quarterly, and Cantaraville.

In 1994 I was diagnosed with breast cancer and put on an unpaid medical leave of absence from my job in a small law office. My boss had died of cancer the year before and I think his son was afraid of having me die on him as well. In any case, the leave of absence became a layoff and I later returned to private practice but during the months I was undergoing chemotherapy I wrote two novels and started a third. The first one was a finalist in a novel contest but not the winner and I’m just as glad it was not published as, looking back, it was not the work by which I’d want to be known. The second was Stillbird which I consider my best work and when I started Wessex Collective with R. P. Burnham this was the work of my own I felt most confident publishing. In fact it was when I had a say in the selection process that I threw out that other novel. The third novel involved some historical research before I could finish it. I recently queried a University Press about that one and they are seriously considering it.

Do you have a website where readers may learn more about you or your publishing company?

The Wessex Collective was recently redesigned by our talented friend, Christine Potter.

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