Tuesday, September 20, 2011


So, you have sent your book to umpteen agents and publishers and cannot find one willing to take you on?

Don't be disheartened, I went to a seminar recently where publishing editors and agents were among the panel and they openly admitted that they are taking on very few books from wannabee writers, something like 1 in every 7,000 submissions.

 They also said hundreds more than that deserved publication and would have been in the past, but now it is all down to economics.  It costs so much to produce a book, cost they cannot hope to get back from a debut novel unless they are guaranteed it will sell thousands of copies, and so they only take on either celebs or, they weigh up the odds of them making money in the long term. 

When doing this they fit the author into a certain criteria:  Mostly: female by gender, young, have a probability of being a prolific writer, and have something different to offer.  Do you fit this profile?  No, thought not.  Well, other than this you will have to have written something so excellent that they can see, 'best seller' zinging from its pages.  We all think we have written that one, but proabably haven't, so what can you do?

 You know your work is good and want it out there, well now you can get it out there - go it alone. And that prospect isn't frightening anymore as there is very little cost involved.  But there is a great deal of satisfaction - Go POD Publish:

  What is POD publishing?  Publishing On Demand is an innovative publishing process and in my opinion the best self publishing around.  The process usually only costs you the price of an ISBN.  Approx £60 (The ISBN is the unique number given to a book when it is published.  This number will enable your book to become available to all bookshops and Internet booksellers.)  A POD published book is not printed until it is ordered.  It is electronically stored by the publisher.  The publisher will take a commission on every copy sold, plus costs and you will end up with a very good royalty.

How to POD publish:
1) Make sure your book is edited to the very best possible standard - many POD publishers offer this service at an extra cost, depending on how many words your book contains.

2) Format your book:  Look at a good book and note the way it is formatted and follow the design.  Your POD publisher will have specifics to do with page numbers (usually, the total number of pages has to be able to be divided by four, sometimes you will have to include blank pages at the back to make this number up)  and will send you a copy of the 'publishing rights' pages. Besides putting this in the front pages of your book you will need an 'acknowledgement page' and if you like, 'an about the author' page. Think carefully about your acknowledgements as you don't want to upset anyone by leaving them out, or putting them in if they don't want to be put in.
Note how all of these are done in the book you are using as your guide. 

3) Step one of formatting is to make sure every new chapter starts on an odd numbered page, even if it means leaving a page blank - check this in any book on your shelf.  Very rare to find one that has new chapters on an odd page.  This is because even pages are on the left and odd ones on the right.  Therefore when a reader comes to a new chapter it is facing them.

4) Next justify the text, but check for massive spaces on shorter lines.  You may have something like, she  put the book down as a last line of a paragraph, which when you have justified appears like:
 she                 put                       the                             book                                             down .
Seek these out and correct them, but again, if you are worried about the formatting process help is offered as part of the POD publishing service, it is all a question of what you can afford.

5) Write the very best blurb you can for your book for the back cover, make it a real taster of what the novel is about, but also something that will sell it.  This goes on the Amazon page as well as on your book.

6) Download a programme that will convert your text to PDF and convert all of your text to it before you send it off.  If you send in a Word Doc all sorts of things may happen to your formatting en route.

7) Book cover:  Once more your publisher will offer help with this, either by offering free template covers to choose from or a design service at a cost which is determined by the art work involved.  If you are very clever at these things you can download from the publisher a set format in which you can put your own art work.  Or, if you can afford arround £80 then visit http://www.bradleywind.com/ this is a wb page of an extremely talented book cover designer, low cost, great service. 

8) Once you are confident your book is ready and have decided what work you need help with and a budget for that work, then you need to look for the best publisher to suit your needs.  Look on the Internet for POD publishers and contact them all to see what they offer and at what cost.  Check their lists to see the quality of books they have already published.  Get in touch through the Internet with authors who have used the publisher and try to get feedback of their personal experiences.  Remember, this is a massive step you are taking and you want the best for your wonderful book.

9) Make sure your publisher offers you a sample copy for you to check over before you approve it for sale and the chance to make one set of changes for free.  But, be prepared that any changes after that approval will have to be paid for. 
Good luck and I hope you have a good experience, this is so worth doing, nothing can surpass holding your own book in your hand, or seeing it on the shelves of book sellers - something which will be down to you as is not an automatic in this process, but that is the subject of another post.

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