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A Publisher's Conversations with Authors: Self-Publish? Traditional-publish? Hybrid Publish?

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  It is Tuesday. Time to tall turkey. Monday's madness is over, and Wednesday will take us over the hump, so Tuesday it is--for some serious discussion with authors. Tuesday talks mean to address authors in waiting and self-published authors who would like to go a more traditional route or who would at least like to take their steps with a publisher by their side. Today's topic is about whether to seek traditional publication, self-publish, or go the hybrid route. Each of these approaches to publications has advantages and disadvantages. - Self-publish (you do everything yourself):      Pro: You can proceed immediately. You have full control over all content and design. You get all the net income.     Con: You have full control over all content and design--meaning, the book is only as good as your own professional skills (or, you can pay for professional services that a traditional publisher would provide for free). You don't know what you don't know. It will take much

A Publisher's Conversation with Authors: Republishing Self-Published Books

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  It is Tuesday. Time to tall turkey. Monday's madness is over, and Wednesday will take us over the hump, so Tuesday it is--for some serious discussion with authors. Tuesday talks mean to address authors in waiting and self-published authors who would like to go a more traditional route or who would at least like to take their steps with a publisher by their side. Today's topic is about republishing self-published books. Can you get a traditional contract from a traditional publishing house for a book you have self-published?  Well, that depends. As the acquisitions editor for a traditional press that also offers hybrid publishing contracts for untested writers, the answer is an across-the-board no, but there are some publishers who might. Let's look at the reasons for and against republishing a self-published book, from a publisher's point of view. Why a publisher would not want to re-publish a self-published book -- Typically, an author thinks that he or she has exhau

A Publisher's Conversation with Authors: Self-Publishing (Excerpt from Publishing for Smarties: Finding a Publisher)

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  Excerpt from Publishing for Smarties: Finding a Publisher Why Would You Want To Self-Publish  As an acquisitions editor for a small publisher, I have sometimes received proposals that clearly indicate that an author would be better off self-publishing. Typically, just one or two exchanges with that author will make that preference clear. Such authors will want full control of the book—cover, title, release date, size of the book, and the like. They will often even say something like, “I can take care of the editing; I just need the press to do the marketing.” Well, frankly, the industry does not work that way. Any press that is going to market the book is not going to turn over full control to an author, and any author that thinks he or she can manage full control in a quality fashion is clearly a neophyte. If an author cannot detach himself or herself emotionally from the “baby” (the proposed book), then no kind of functional working relationship will be able to be buil

A Publisher's Conversation with Authors: What Does My Contract Mean and Should I Sign It? -- Initial Verbiage and Paragraph 1 (Rights)

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  It is Tuesday. Time to tall turkey. Monday's madness is over, and Wednesday will take us over the hump, so Tuesday it is--for some serious discussion with authors. Tuesday talks mean to address authors in waiting and self-published authors who would like to go a more traditional route or who would at least like to take their steps with a publisher by their side. Today's topic addresses contracts -- what is a good one, what is a bad one, and what do the specialized terms actually mean? I will answer these questions in a series of posts, using, to start, our contracts, and will go through them paragraph by paragraph. Then, I will look at some other publishers' contracts for differing. So, for today, let's take paragraph 1 (all paragraphs are numbered in a contract; that makes it easier for refer formally and legally to specific clauses). Before paragraph 1;  Name of the publishing company The words, MEMORANDUM OF AGREEMENT, or something similar, establishing that this i

A Publisher's Conversation with Authors: How to React When Told Your Book Needs Work

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It is Tuesday. Time to tall turkey. Monday's madness is over, and Wednesday will take us over the hump, so Tuesday it is--for some serious discussion with authors. Tuesday talks mean to address authors in waiting and self-published authors who would like to go a more traditional route or who would at least like to take their steps with a publisher by their side. Today's topic focuses on what to do if a publisher tells you that your book needs work. Editors will rarely tell you this. It takes time for them to write back to you, and it takes time for them to give you specifics about your book's lack of merit for publication. How should you interpret their words when they actually communicate with you? If a publisher says that your book needs work (and nothing more), there are a few responses and interpretations: Generally, this is a kind (though it may not seem so) comment, helping you to understand why the book is being rejected rather than the typical "does not meet ou

A Publisher's Conversation with Authors: How Much of the Self-Publishing Hype to Believe

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  (photo by Frank Perez) It is Tuesday. Time to tall turkey. Monday's madness is over, and Wednesday will take us over the hump, so Tuesday it is--for some serious discussion with authors. Tuesday talks mean to address authors in waiting and self-published authors who would like to go a more traditional route or who would at least like to take their steps with a publisher by their side. Today's topic is about assessing the hype for self-publishing. What should you believe and not believe? Hype abounds for self-publishing. Some of it is somewhat accurate, but many of the claims, while not necessarily false, are generally de-contextualized. We have friends and colleagues who have self-published books. While some of them are very nicely laid out and well-written, most can be easily discerned as self-published because of the quality. In one case, we were so appalled by the results of a friend who self-published through a vanity press, we offered to republish the book so that it had

A Publisher's Conversations with Authors: Avoiding Disappointment in Choosing a Publisher

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                                                                                                                    ( photo by Frank Perez) It is Tuesday. Time to tall turkey. Monday's madness is over, and Wednesday will take us over the hump, so Tuesday it is--for some serious discussion with authors. Tuesday talks mean to address authors in waiting and self-published authors who would like to go a more traditional route or who would at least like to take their steps with a publisher by their side. Today's topic is about choosing a publisher. Of course, you do choose a publisher, but also a publisher chooses you. It is a two-way affair. So, let's take each approach separately. How do you choose a publisher? Decide what you are looking for in a publisher. Do you want a large publisher with big pockets who might be able to get your book on the NYT best seller list, give you a large advance, or get you attention from a national television show? (You better have one whale of

A Publisher's Conversation with Authors: Should Authors of Multiple Books Publish Exclusively through One Publisher

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  (photo by Frank Perez) It is Tuesday. Time to tall turkey. Monday's madness is over, and Wednesday will take us over the hump, so Tuesday it is--for some serious discussion with authors. Tuesday talks mean to address authors in waiting and self-published authors who would like to go a more traditional route or who would at least like to take their steps with a publisher by their side. Today's topic addresses prolific authors as well as authors working on their second book. Who should publish subsequent books by an author -- the publisher of the first book or another publisher? This is not always a simple question, but there are simple ways to make a decision about where your next book gets submitted. Consider the following: What does your contract with your publisher say? Some publishers require authors give them the right of first refusal for any subsequent books. This is more especially true for novels than for nonfiction books. What your contract says you are beholden to d

A Publisher's Conversation with Authors: Avoiding Publishing Scams

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  It is Tuesday. Time to tall turkey. Monday's madness is over, and Wednesday will take us over the hump, so Tuesday it is--for some serious discussion with authors. Tuesday talks mean to address authors in waiting and self-published authors who would like to go a more traditional route or who would at least like to take their steps with a publisher by their side. Today's topic addresses book scams. Unfortunately, new authors, especially those who are independently minded or who despair of ever finding a publisher, are ripe for the picking by scammers.  Some of the scams out there include: Publishing companies that are scams or rip-offs They often "steal" your work; they may publish it, but they do not pay you. Check out the publisher's history of paying royalties . They contact you, offering to publish your already published book along with some kind of award program or other enticement. When MSI Press LLC authors forward me letters they get from such scammers, I

A Publisher's Conversation with Authors: Contracts You Should Not Sign

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  (photo by Frank Perez) It is Tuesday. Time to tall turkey. Monday's madness is over, and Wednesday will take us over the hump, so Tuesday it is--for some serious discussion with authors. Tuesday talks mean to address authors in waiting and self-published authors who would like to go a more traditional route or who would at least like to take their steps with a publisher by their side. Today's topic is about contracts--bad ones. We will state upfront that contracts are filled with legal terms that are often difficult for authors to understand. That legal information is important, critical, required. Also important, critical, required is that authors understand what they sign, reading the proposed contract as carefully as they would read any other document. AND RUN IT PAST AN INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY RIGHTS LAWYER. OK, let's take a look at one can go wrong with a contract. Rights and copyrights (see our previous blog POST on this topic for more information): Never sign a contr

A Publisher's Conversation with Authors: Why Traditional Publishers Generally Will Not Take On a Self-Published Book

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    (photo by Frank Perez) It is Tuesday. Time to tall turkey. Monday's madness is over, and Wednesday will take us over the hump, so Tuesday it is--for some serious discussion with authors. Tuesday talks mean to address authors in waiting and self-published authors who would like to go a more traditional route or who would at least like to take their steps with a publisher by their side. Today's topic is  about taking a self-published book to a traditional publisher in hopes of getting a contract.  At least a couple of times a month, a self-published author approaches MSI Press with a proposal to republish his or her self-published book. They all seem to think that their  poorly selling self-published book would soar to best-seller status if only a traditional publisher would take it on or that their self-published book with modest sales would not thrill a publisher by how many sales had been made or had many polite reviews simply re-stated the content and refrained from sayin