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Ok, so here's the skinny.
I have a world encyclopedia I'm working on and have some questions on publishing that I was hoping some may be able to help me out with. My world is fairly well known online and offline and seems to have a decent number of fans (though, I'm not suggestion everyone knows, just stating that I have a lot of people who are interested and or have shown interest in the world and critters).
1. Have you ever published a book? If so, was it self-published or through a company? Both? Which would you recommend?
2. Did you do both the text and illustrations? How long did it take? How were you able to afford the time to do it? Did you already have another job, take commissions, get funding assistance?
3. How did you go about advertising yourself? Through magazines, online, mail outs?
4. What was the final cost of publishing your books? Was it worth the time spent and did you get enough hits to feel gratified in the work you produced?
Any suggestions for a first timer?
wewt sketchbook...hope link works
PA is one of the slimiest scam companies out there, they charge HUGE fees and the product is terrible. It's right up there with AuthorHouse. Avoid at all costs.
LuLu is your least expensive option, though you'll have to figure out the details regarding illustrations.
BookSurge is another with halfway decent quality, but the printing runs will cost ya.
Google university presses, and request samples of print to see what sort of quality you'll get out of them.
Why not seek out a small publisher?
Hannah - Here's a local publishing group that does fiction novels and graphic novels...not only that, but the name is right up your alley: Artic Wolf Publishing
Oh yah, and I had some face time with the head of the comic area of lulu yrs ago and got GN samples from him. As long as your illustrations are good dpi, the finished product looks like a pro printing, IMO. Ask Jarrett--he did all of Lunarboy (albeit b&w) at lulu.
Last edited by Mirana; March 1st, 2008 at 02:43 PM.
Self publishing would be fine if your looking to get your work available to an existing community of fans. If your hoping to drive sales and attract a whole new reader base, then forget about self publishing and seek out a small publisher.
Many turn-key self publishers make their money off first time authors by hard selling expensive marketing packages that very often provide little if any return. These first-time author book mills are well known in the industry and are avoided like the plague by distribution channels. Quality is also a problem, and staff tend to have very little professional layout, editing, or production experience.
Print houses are another option, but you have to produce the product on your own (typesetting, layout, editing, etc..) and the printer simply prints a run of whatever you give them. The downside is the minimum runs are much higher (2500-5000 copies), so you could end up with a garage full of product you have to move.
So my advice is be very selective if you go the self publishing route. Google the company and search deep into the results. If you see a pattern of complaints, as you will with most of the big names, then find someone else. If your really looking to break into the book market (even on a small scale), then buck up, get ready for rejection, and start submitting. You will get a lot of 'no thanks', but if you do manage to find a publisher, you will be a lot better for it as they will front all of your costs for production and marketing, and you'll actually make money for your effort. If you self publish, you will lose money pretty much guaranteed unless you have thousands of fans itching to buy your product (and if thats the case, sounds like you have great pitch potential for a small publisher).
Don't mean to be a wet blanket, but I have watched others go down this path and lose thousands of dollars.
Last edited by thinairart; March 1st, 2008 at 03:23 PM.
I'll also take a look into AWP and see if I can get any more info from them, unless you have more you'd be willing to share
Just another coin toss. If it all fails, then maybe it's not the right time or not as interesting as people wanted and I'll have to improve. At least with self publishing I can choose the number of books to produce at a time. *nods*
I'm writing a book at the moment, through an mainstream art publisher in the UK.
I did at one point look at doing it through Lulu, but full colour books seemed to be extremely expensive and my book could not be done in black and white.
Getting a publisher was a fairly arduous process, despite the fact that I had a very good and original idea, my book deals with light for visual artists and it is pretty unique. Like you, I already had some stuff online with a substantial fan base.
The most frustrating stage was one publisher, Thames and Hudson, who were interested in the idea, basically kept me dangling for two years writing various proposals and samples, before eventually saying no. After that I decided that I would be more pushy and approach several publishers at the same time, despite being told that they prefer you not to do that. This worked in my favour as I then had two more publishers interested, Ilex and Laurence King, and was able to play them off each other and get a deal signed quickly, which I wanted after my previous experience.
I am now half way through writing the actual book, it takes a long time to write a 200 page technical book, and I am providing most of the photography an illustrations, which also adds to the workload.
I would say straight away that a first book is not going to be a money-making exercise, considering the amount of work that is required. My advance was £6000, only £2000 of which was paid up front (the rest comes once the book is finished, but before publication). With mortgage and child-care costs there is no way that I personally could afford not to carry on doing my illustration work to earn a living, so all my writing is done at weekends or during the evening. Writing the first draft, and producing the illustrations is a minimum of 18 months, so you can see the money is very little compared to the work required.
However, I don't think anyone really writes a book for the money, it is a real pleasure to do, something you can be proud of and it may also open other doors for you later down the line. What's more if you can write a few really successful books then you can make serious money from royalties, but be aware that many books don't sell in enough numbers for royalties to be significant.
So my advice would be to get a really good proposal together, with some detailed information on the market you are aiming to appeal to and reasons why your book would be successful, and send it to as many publishers as you can. All publishers are interested in new ideas, and I found everyone I dealt with friendly and open (even if they eventually said no) so don't be shy. The key thing though is for the idea to be good, original and sellable, these are the criteria that publishers are looking for - if you have all three you will find no problem getting people interested. What's more, even the publishers who reject you may be able to help you get in contact with others who might be more suitable, which is what happened to me. After T&H rejected me they passed me on details of other publishers, including the one which eventually signed me up.
And I have to deeply agree that doing color with Lulu is really pricey with a book having as much artwork as mine will, and none of the artwork is suppose to be black and white. It's absolutely important for it to be color *nod*.
Thanks so much for telling your experience :3 It's very helpful!