JS Blume Publishing A Division of JS Blume Enterprises
publishing part-time writers

2/8/2014: Plotting Through the Middle

1/18/2014: Who's Telling The Story?

1/21/2013: Supporting Characters

8/1/2012: The Ins and Outs of Publishing

7/1/2012: Plotting Along

6/1/2012: Advice for Aspiring Writers

Letters from the Editor
The Ins and Outs of Publishing
So, you're interesting in becoming a published author?There is a lot to learn about publishing.This article covers most of the information you'll need to make an informed decision.

First, I'll start with some basic definitions:
CopyrightThis provides the holder of the work the right to copy, be creditedfor, determine who may adapt the work to other forms, who may performthe work, and who may beneifit from it. In many countries, the act ofcreation of a work provides an automatic copyright to the creator under theBerne Convention. A work should contain, at minimum, the copyrightsymbol, the year of first copyright, and the name of the copyright holder.
ISBNInternational Standard Book Number. A unique number assigned to a book that identifies the language-sharing country group and the publisher.
OffsetA cost-effective method for producing large quantities (called a 'run') of high quality books. It costs less to print a book but the books need to be stored.
On DemandA method for printing a book only when an order is received. It costs more to print a book but there are no storage requirements.
Distribution ChannelAn organization that makes a book available for sale.
AdvanceMoney paid to the author by the publisher prior to publication.
RoyaltiesMoney paid to the author by the publisher from the profits of the book.
Galley ProofAn uncut and unbound copy with wide margins created for proofreading, copyediting, promotion, and review.
The overall process of publishing a book includes the following steps:
  1. Determination of Copyrights
  2. Proofing and Editing
  3. Design of Cover and Interior
  4. Pricing
  5. Assignment of ISBN
  6. Printing
  7. Distribution
  8. Marketing and PR
The length of the process depends on the route you take.Traditional publishing generally follows a 40-week schedule once the book is written.Self-publishing can take as little as four weeks to appear on Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble.

There are three primary routes you can take to publish your book:
Traditional Publisher, Independent Publisher or Small Press
A publisher that earns profit from sale of the book to persons other than the author.

A publisher generally controls all aspects of the process.
  1. A publisher will require you to sign some or most of your rights over to them, including:
    • The exclusive right to copy.
    • The exclusive right to adapt to other forms.
    • The right to benefit from the book. They will pay you a royalty out of the profits. The royalty will be lower if they offer an advance on the book.
  2. Proofing and Editing
  3. Design of Cover and Interior
  4. Pricing
  5. The ISBN assigned to the book will be owned by them and designate them as the publisher.
  6. Traditional publishers usually use offset printing. Independent publishers or small presses may do smaller runs of offset printing or use print-on-demand.
  7. A publisher, at the very least, should be able to get your book listed with Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble. Traditional publishers will get your book on the shelves in national book stores.
Vanity/Subsidy Publishers
A publisher that earns profit from the sale of a book to the author. The author pays the cost to print and/or distribute the books.

According to Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America:
"A vanity or subsidy publisher charges a fee to produce a book, yet still presents itself as a publisher. There’s a wide variety of models for vanity/subsidy publishing, from companies that do little more than produce a print run that’s shipped to the author, to companies that provide a menu of design, editing, distribution, and marketing services in addition to book production. Vanity/subsidy publishers may or may not be selective (if they are selective, it’s not likely that their gatekeeping processes are comparable to those of commercial publishers), and may or may not make a claim on authors’ rights. Marketing and distribution, if provided, are usually limited; as a result, most of the burden of promoting and selling falls on the author. Costs for vanity/subsidy publishing can rise into the five-figure range."
Publication of a book by the author without using an established publisher. The author is in control of and responsible for the entire process, but may outsource all or part of the process.
Lulu,iUniverse,AuthorHouse,CreateSpace andXLibrisare popular outsource agencies that can handle all parts of the process.
  1. The outsource agency will require you to sign over some of your rights, including:
    • The non-exclusive right to copy (you may use other agencies to produce copies)
    • The right to benefit from the book. They will pay you a royalty out of the profits. The royalty will be higher because there is no advance on the book.
  2. Proofing and editing services
  3. Tools for design of cover and interior
  4. Tools for pricing
  5. You may have the option of being listed as the publisher on the ISBN.
  6. Print-on-demand is most often used.
  7. An outsourcer, at the very least, should be able to get your book listed with Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble.
And finally, a few words of wisdom, culled from a recent conversation with a person who wants to be a published author:
I've heard cases where people have offered digital versions of the first book free and they became successful authors. People would pay for the sequel.

Being good enough or not has nothing to do with it. There are a lot of poorly written books out there, and most authors do not make a living at it.

It is possible to become have a best-seller, but it's finding that audience that's the hard part. Twilight Saga grabs people on a lot of levels, especially given the current popularity of vampires. Zombies are also very popular. However, with a traditional publisher by the time your book comes out the fad may be past.

Your best bet is to leverage the Internet to get your stories out there. There are venues that will give you exposure.

There's nothing wrong with a pseudonym! And a story that pushes the envelope will attract readers.

Becoming a famous writer is like trying to become a famous actor or singer. These are highly competitive fields with a fickle audience and the people in charge have an agenda. You'll meet with more rejection than success because a lot depends on the mood of the audience and the people in charge.
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