07-21-18 Patricia Sargeant

Saturday, March 8, 2014

How to Take Your Book from Concept to Publication

by Jennifer Conner of Books to Go Now
There are many more options for authors these days. But it’s a big scary world out there. Sometimes I think the writing of the book is the easy part. Now, what do you do with your story and what is the best choice for you. Authors I’ve spoken to are trying different directions. If they were self-pubed, then they are trying a house or vice versa.

There are the publishing options: Self-Publishing: Small Publishing House: Vanity and Subsidy Presses:  Large houses: These are your “big six” trade publishing houses: Who are The Big Six? Hachette Book Group, HarperCollins, Macmillan, Penguin Group, Random House, Simon and Schuster.

BIG HOUSE: What are things you may need to be acquired by a “big six”? Agent, Lawyer, Pitching, Proposals/Synopsis, Strong Querying tactics. And what are some of the disadvantages of working with big houses? The Acceptance Rate of getting into a Large House is around 1%.  Every year large houses (not just the big six) put out 150,000 books a year. They are slower to change. What happens when you are picked up by a large house and your numbers are lackluster? Your books are remaindered and you are likely dropped from that house. If your books fail to sell, they are pulled from the shelves and your books falls into the abyss *unless you have digital rights in your contract. High levels of stress… In these houses and environments you are expected to create X books a year. If you fail to produce said books, you are dropped. You are expected to do large amounts of marketing and promotion (and spend your money doing so). Their contracts are usually in stone.  There is very little wiggle room unless you are one of their bestselling authors.

The book’s list price is about 6 times the cost of production.  Let’s make it $24.95. You make $2.49 a copy, but don’t forget your agent (who gets 15% of your cut). So you walk away with $2.12. The average first print run (for a new author) is 15,000 copies. From this your agent will get you a 50% advance (or $15,783). If you sell less than half of your print run, you will end up owing the publisher money. If your books end up on the “Bargain Table” you make $0.00 royalties. If your books sell at Costco (or wholesalers) they sell your book at 55% of original price—So instead of making $2.12 you are now only make $1.37

When you publishing in mass market paperbacks your royalty rates are only 6-7% of the cover price (then subtract your agent fee).  So on a book that lists at $7.99 you will make: $0.48 times 15,000 (assuming you sell your full print run)= $7191 and then subtract 15% for agent and you walk away with $6112.35. Yes, you can get multiple print runs (which is what the large houses want).  However, most print runs are not less than 15,000 copies.

SMALL HOUSE/INDIE PUBLISHER: What does it take to be acquired by a Small Publisher? This is the New Frontier and Reality of the publishing market place. To be considered at any house you must present your best work, a great query letter, and a strong synopsis (or a great proposal).

Advantages of a small publisher: You don’t need an agent to get into a small publishing house. The turnaround time in acceptance/rejection is shorter (Varies but approximately 4-8 weeks for an answer). This is also the case in getting your book onto shelves. Better royalties. Strong relationships with your editor. More attention.  You succeed therefore they succeed. 

Here are a few more advantages: More freedom in your publishing process. You pick the number of books you want to write in a year. If you don’t like something you have a little more (not much more) wiggle room in negotiating.  (Again, tread softly) Smaller publishers can be a fantastic way to build your brand as an author. Use them to get your foot in the publishing door.

Getting published is a tough process. Expect Rejection. But know that your odds of getting picked up are much higher by a small press vs. a large house. They publish varying lengths. Some will get your book into Paperback, but it is often done as POD. Your book never goes out of print due to lackluster sales. On average you will make 30-50% of net royalties.

So, if your book sells for $2.99 on Amazon. $2.09 is the profit. Around a dollar for you and your publisher (varies of course.)

Disadvantages of small houses: There are the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. Make sure you do your research! Smaller marketing budgets. Usually no advance given to authors, though I don’t believe many of the big houses do either these days.

SELF-PUBLISH: Are you ready? These are a few things to ask yourself before you choose to put up your book. Budget. Marketing. Distribution. Editing. Cover Design. Formatting. Uploading. The last number I saw were that almost a 1,000 books a DAY are being uploaded to Amazon.

Everyone needs help with this crazy writing journey. The goal you need to keep in your mind is that you need to write and then make your book/story the best it can be.  Write. Re-write. Take classes. Re-write. Get beta readers. Re-write. Read again. Re-write. Make sure that you are in a writing or critique group. They are golden to making you a better writer. No one can do it on their own.
Books to Go Now (BTGN) is proud to be a Traditional Publisher who works with their authors each step of the publication process. We have helped numerous authors become best-sellers with our dedication to creating only the best. We represent over 100 authors and have 300 represented stories in all genres and word count.

We are actively acquiring works (from short stories to full novel length) from both aspiring and established authors. Before submitting a query or proposal, please read the guidelines at www.bookstogonow.com

Jennifer Conner is an Associate Publisher for the indie e-book publisher, Books to Go Now who resides in the Seattle area. They pride themselves in helping new authors get their foot in the door with well-edited manuscripts, professional covers, and platforms uploads. 

Jennifer is a best-selling Northwest author who has forty short stories, novellas, and full length books in print. She writes in Christmas Romance, Contemporary Romance, Paranormal Romance, Historical Romance, and Erotica. jenniferconnerwriter.blogspot.com/

She has hit Amazon's top fifty authors ranking and her books have been #1 in sales.
Her novel Shot in the Dark was a finalist in the Emerald City Opener, Cleveland, and Toronto RWA contests. 


Sarah Raplee said...

Hi Jennifer,

Thank you for Guesting at RTG. Your post was packed with good information! I have much to think about.


Judith Ashley said...

Hi Jennifer,

Thanks for sharing your knowledge with us at RTG. So glad to know there is a traditional publisher that puts out short stories and anthologies!