Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Publishing House

A while back I discussed traditional book publishing. Nothing earth-shattering in that post. Just wanted to put the info out there for those folks who needed a quick summary of how traditional book publishing works. It's altogether different than self-publishing...

I had mentioned traditional publishers but didn't really focus on the term publishing house or publishing houses. You'll hear those terms from time to time and for the new author this sort of phrase can get kind of confusing. A publishing house is essentially the same thing as a traditional book publishing company. It's a traditional book publishing firm in the book publishing industry. Some examples: Random House, Thomas Nelson, etc.  Publishing houses would, of course, refer to more than one book publishing company. I know it's somewhat self-explanatory, but you'd be surprised by how many people haven't heard of the term publishing house or publishing houses.

MindStir Media actually launched a site recently that discusses what a "non-traditional" publishing house is and also explains some of the benefits. A non-traditional book publishing house, in my mind, is a lot like (or identical to) a self-publishing company (e.g. MindStir Media). A non-traditional publishing house, aka self-publishing company, should generally provide higher royalty rates than a traditional publishing house and greater control over the book design and content. Working with a non-traditional publishing house should also allow you to retain all rights to your work. A non-traditional publishing house will also guarantee that your book will be published  (and a lot sooner than a year!).

Some of the drawbacks of using a non-traditional publishing house include:

  • You the author have to invest financially (upfront) in your book publishing project. Traditional publishing houses will invest instead. Remember, though...they are incredibly selective because they're the ones fronting the money!
  • In-store distribution is lacking when you go the non-traditional route. In other words, your book has a much better chance of being stocked in physical bookstores if you go with a traditional publishing house -- or rather, if a traditional publishing house goes with you (i.e. chooses to publish your book over the thousands of other submissions they receive.)
So which should you pursue -- a traditional or non-traditional publishing house? That all depends on your desires and budget. If you want to see your book in every Barnes & Noble in the country, using a non-traditional publishing house would not help you achieve that goal. However, if you're content with reaching tons of readers online through Amazon.com, BN.com (and other online retailers), non-traditional publishing would be perfect. You won't receive rejections from traditional publishing houses and your book is guaranteed to launch. 

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Traditional Book Publishing

I own a self-publishing company and I'm a self-publishing author, so keep in mind that most of the time I will encourage authors to self-publish instead of focusing on traditional publishing. I teamed up with a literary agent years ago (for about 6 months). At that time I wanted to get a traditional publishing deal for Unconventional. It didn't happen and I decided to self-pub instead. I have no regrets.

I'm aware that some authors would rather not self-publish, though -- for various reasons. Most of the time it's a money issue for those authors. They lack the funds to invest in their book(s). I get it. When a budding author calls or emails me and admits he/she has no money, I usually point that person toward traditional publishing. I also explain that most traditional publishers do not accept unsolicited materials, therefore it's a good idea to connect with a literary agent. An agent will pitch the book to traditional publishers and retain 15 - 20% IF a deal is reached with a publisher. It's extremely difficult but not impossible to get a book published traditionally.

To work with a literary agent, an author usually has to query many agents (i.e. send out query letters) and brace himself/herself for rejection. I think I read somewhere (long ago) that literary agents accept somewhere around 1% (or less) of the authors that send them query letters ... Even if the author's book is great, it still might attract many rejections because perhaps it's too unique and doesn't perfectly fit into any particular category; maybe the query letter is lacking something; etc. Nathan Bransford, a former literary agent, does a fantastic job explaining the querying process, and he even has a post entitled "How To Find A Literary Agent," which is extremely helpful for authors who want to go the traditional route.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

My Next Book "Weepy the Dragon" Due Out in June

I have some very exciting news to share: Weepy the Dragon, my first children's book, will be released next month! My debut book, Unconventional, was published back in July 2009 -- and I've been busy running MindStir Media ever since -- so Weepy will be my first release in nearly three years... I didn't plan on having such a large gap between "J. J. Hebert" book releases, but MindStir has kept me busy helping other authors publish their books. And it's a lot of fun, of course! :)

Here's the description for Weepy the Dragon:

Weepy is a dragon, sure, but the dragons nearby would agree that he doesn’t act like a dragon at all. He’s not angry, scary, and mean. He only eats vegetables with his sharp teeth. He uses his fire-breath as a nightlight because he’s afraid of the dark. Worst of all, he tends to cry, something the other dragons – especially his powerful father – would never do! Weepy wants to be more “dragony,” but he soon finds that being different has its advantages.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Raise Funds for Your Self-Publishing Project

If you've been reading this blog for a while, you might have noticed my post about Kickstarter back in January 2011. Authors have been using sites like Kickstarter for quite a while to fund their self-publishing projects. I've seen plenty of authors raise thousands of dollars through this "crowdfunding" model. Well, Rich Burlew recently raised a million bucks through Kickstarter for his webcomic book. You read that right: One million dollars! Here's the story: http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2012/feb/22/author-raises-1m-self-publish-webcomic.

Kickstarter's not the only player in town, either. There's a bunch of crowdfunding sites out there. Go ahead and Google "crowdfunding websites" and you'll find a nice list of options.

Why not give it a try?

(Screenshot from Kickstarter.com) Top Self Publishing Company

Shipping Your Own Books

In addition to relying on Amazon.com, BN.com and other online retailers, most authors sell printed copies of their book(s) via their own website. This means they're responsible for accepting orders and ultimately shipping copies to the end customer. It's a time consuming process, but the author usually makes more profit per copy this way...

If you're one of those authors, I suggest you invest in some quality mailers. Flimsy mailers look unprofessional and don't really prevent your book(s) from being damaged. Have you ever ordered a book from Amazon.com? Take a look at their mailer. It's hard cardboard, very sturdy. That's the kind of mailer you need. And now you can buy them through ULINE. I'm not affiliated with ULINE in any way ... Just thought this tip might be beneficial to you and your readers. Have fun!