Authors of full-length books face even more
difficulties than freelancers for periodicals.
Established publishing houses normally will
not give the time of day to a first-time
book author who is not already famous in
his (her) own right. When discussing writing
for periodicals, we generally advise you
to avoid writing before a magazine accepts
your idea in principle for publication .
The rules are reversed when it comes to books.
A first-time author is pretty much forced
to write "on spec," then shop the
First-time authors and authors in obscure
fields with little appeal to major publishers
sometimes turn to so-called subsidy publishers,
self-publishers or vanity presses (these
terms are roughly synonymous). Generally
speaking, these firms take a finished manuscript
and turn it into printed books. Sometimes
they offer help (for an additional fee) marketing
your book to stores and on-line booksellers.
If you are considering self-publishing,
are some tips:
- The cost of printing a book is remarkably
low, as little as $1 to $6 for a quality
softcover book (including books with cover
art and illustrations inside). The cost varies
with the size and length of the book, and
the number of copies produced (long print
runs translate into lower cost per book,
as set-up costs are spread over more copies).
- The cost of printing generally runs from
10% to 25% of the cover price. The hefty
markup over the production cost covers editing,
marketing, royalties to the author and (not
least of all) profit to the publisher.
- You also can consult local typesetters and
bookbinders about self-publishing
Sometimes independent booksellers
guidance in this regard.
- If you are familiar with desktop publishing
software, you might be able to submit your
book to the printer in a format that cuts
their setup costs.
- Seek the help of a professional copy editor,
who will make sure that the writing is clear,
grammatical and punctuated properly. This
will be an additional cost, but is probably
well worth it.
- When you self-publish, remember that you
assume primary (if not sole) responsibility
for marketing your book. Be prepared to call
on bookstores, set up a website to sell your
book, visit book fairs or even sell out of
the trunk of your car at flea markets or