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Entries in Full-service publishers (2)

Tuesday
Sep132011

Publishing Options for Indie Writers:

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Option 2: E-Book Services

By Tara McClendon, the Despicable Muse of Indie U

Earlier this week, we talked about full-service publishers, and we're going to follow that up with e-book services. As you might expect from the name, this type of publishing involves the creation of e-books. So, let's take a look at whether or not this might be the best publishing option for you.

What is an e-book service?

Photo courtesy of go XunuReviews at FlickrAn e-book service takes your manuscript and converts it into a digital format. Unfortunately, this definition leaves quite a bit up to the discretion of the service. Let's take a look at the pros and cons of e-book services.

Pro #1: Quick Service. Most e-book companies can convert your manuscript in less than an hour, depending on the number of graphics you have in your book. This can be a great asset to indie writers who want to produce a large number of books over the course of their careers.

Con #1: Quick service can often lead to mistakes, and it often comes at the sacrifice of quality. E-book services tend to offer formatting options only, which means you'll have to hire an editor, a cover artist, and a layout designer, among other professionals.

Pro #2: An e-book company can create digital formats that are compatible with different e-readers. This means you can get the right format for the Kindle, the Nook, Sony Reader, and other devices all from the same company.

Con #2: Like many facets of the self-publishing business, e-book services don't have a regulating agency. That means that any old Joe can open up an e-book service. While e-book services can create different formats, those Joes may only offer one type of formatting. That's one of the main reasons why you need to shop around to find the best service.

Pro #3: Low-cost publishing. When you're starting a business, you need to find inexpensive ways to produce a top quality product. Using an e-book service is a fraction of the cost that you will pay to use a full-service publisher.

Con #3: As with other businesses, e-book companies tend to outsource their work to overseas markets. This often leads to underprivileged workers doing what most Americans would consider slave labor. You can still get savings by using an e-book service even if you use an American-based company.

Pro #4: Be on the forefront of the industry. As with full-service publishing, this is another area where there isn't a con. Traditional publishers are still trying to figure out digital rights and publication, but e-book services have been working with the literacy for years.

Tips for Working With an E-book Service

Photo courtesy of goXunuReviews at FlickrIf you plan to work with an e-book publisher, keep the following things in mind:

  • Check the qualifications of the people who will be handling your account. Some companies, like eBook Architects, have founders who have actually pioneered developments in the e-book world.
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  • Look for e-book publishing companies that are willing to offer you a warranty. These companies will guarantee their work for a set time so that you don't have to worry about errors. If you find one that you can contribute to the company, the e-book service will correct the error at no cost to you.
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  • Compare publishing services and ask about a discount for return business. Some companies will give you a discount if you use their services for more than one book over the course of a year.

E-book services can be a great way to get your book ready for publication; however, many indie writers believe that producing an e-book is one of the easiest tasks to perform as a publisher. If you have a technical mind, you can check out the information at Lulu blog. The amazing Suzan Harden also gave some great tips for creating an e-book when she was our guest blogger last month. You can also find some insight from Michael Hyatt.  

Using an e-book company can be a fast and effective way to get your book up for sale, and it may be just the thing you need to launch your writing career. I'll be back later in the week with more indie publishing options. Until then, happy writing.

Sunday
Sep112011

Publishing Options for Independent Authors

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Option 1: Full-Service Publishers

By Tara McClendon, the Despicable Muse of Indie U

Over the years, I've had the opportunity to work with a variety of writers. Some of them knew from the beginning that they wanted to indie publish. Others tried to sell a book through traditional methods and failed. No matter which path these individuals thought they were going to take, they all found themselves facing the task of trying to decipher the publishing process. You very well may be at this point yourself.

For this next series of posts, I'm going to dive into the options for indie publishers. And, let me be honest, I will include some print options that many "real" writers and industry professionals sneer at. Before we get started, I do want to toss out a disclaimer: I am not endorsing any specific method for publication. Of course, that does mean I can give you the negative sides as well as the positive, because I'm not trying to sell you on any one type of publishing. You will have to evaluate the pros and cons and determine which option will best fulfill your goals as an indie writer.

Full-Service Publishers

 

Photo courtesy of Helen Cook at FlickrFull-service publishing companies try to bridge self-publishing and traditional publishing options. Companies, such as Outskirts Press, market their businesses as giving you complete control over book publishing, but this isn't always the case. Let's take a closer look at what you can and can't get with these companies.

Pro #1: You can usually get professional help with your book. This can be a great asset to newbie indies who aren't familiar with all the ins and outs of producing a book.

Con #1: Most companies won't tell you what qualifications their "professionals" have. Usually, these companies will have staff members who at least have some experience in the industry; however, you most likely won't be working with a professional editor who has worked in traditional publishing.

Pro #2: You get to control how much you want to charge for your books, which can directly influence how much money you make.

Con #2: Setting your own prices can be beneficial, but this is only part of the equation that will determine whether you're able to sell your book. If you set your prices wrong, you may hurt your sales.  

Pro #3: Most full-service publishers offer an array of services.

Con #3: Each full-service publisher sets its own list of services, so what you get with one company for one price usually varies from those offered with other full-service companies. For example, Abbott Press connects your book with Writer's Digest, a nationally recognized resource for writers. Others will register your book for an ISBN and help you list your books with online vendors and other booksellers.

Pro #4: You have a larger voice in your book's production when you work with a full-servicePhoto courtesy of David Joyce at Flickr publisher.

Con #4: The more voice you want, the more you should plan to pay. Full-service publishers will work with you to create your book's cover and layout, but you aren't going to have an unlimited say in the process. The people who work on your project will usually have guidelines that will outline what you get for the money you plan to pay. Some companies believe that your ability to approve the final look is enough control for most writers.

Pro #5: Retain the rights to your work.

This one actually doesn't have a con. When you work with a traditional publisher, you often give up certain rights. I know an author who can't publish additional work based on his original idea without violating his contract with the traditional publisher. Unfortunately, the publisher has decided not to move ahead with more books; however, it has not released the author's rights. If he wants to be able to write the sequels to his story, he'll have to get legal help, which he can't afford.

Using a full-service publisher can be a great option for writers who want to spend less time on production and more time writing. While many of these companies produce quality work, I hope you can see that you will need to look beyond each company's marketing to determine whether a company is the one you want to hire.

We'll be looking at some of your other indie publishing options as we continue with this week's series. In the meantime, you should review your business plan for writing and determine the areas of book publishing that you know you will need help with as you continue your writing career.