Saturday, February 28, 2009

Frequently Asked Questions About Publishing

How long does it take to get a book published?
On the average about a year. Six months to write a nonfiction book or revise a novel after a publishing contract has been signed and six months for production from editing the manuscript to finding your book in a bookstore.

Why does production take six months?
The actual production process of revising and editing, copyediting and proofing the galleys could be quicker. But enough time has to be allowed for obtaining endorsements, distributing ARCs (advanced reading copy) and bound galleys to reviewers and promoting the book to booksellers, libraries and such. Many major review publications like Publishers Weekly, insist that they receive the review copy at least four months prior to publication. Many newspapers will not review a book currently available.

What is the typical advance and royalty?
There isn’t one. The advance can range from $0 to over six figures. Royalties can range from 5% to 15%, based on the net price the publisher receives to retail. The percentage can also be on a sliding scale based on how many books have been sold, the more books, the higher the royalty percentage.


Friday, February 20, 2009

Getting a book published by a commercial royalty paying publishing house is a tremendous accomplishment. It has been said by Writers Digest that 24 million Americans consider themselves 'writers' and yet less than 5% have published anything.

When we surveyed literary agents (for our book) they said they agree to accept only one out of every 500 writers for representation. The most common reason they decline to represent a writer is poor quality of the writing. You know what didn't even show up on the radar as a reason to decline a new client? The fact the writer was unpublished.

About 15% of novels published by the commercial royalty paying publishing houses are debut novels. There is hope for new writers. There is no bias in the industry against new authors. There are just millions more writers trying to get published than the book industry can support. And it's not the publishers or even the booksellers who are holding back the flood gates. It's the writers themselves, they're just not good enough.

Before you flame me from here to h-ll and back. Think about it. There are millions of people who play golf, but only a handful of golfers who are good enough to be professional.

Millions of people sing, but only a few are good enough to sing professionally.

Millions of people dance, but few, very few, have the talent to dance professionally.

Having a book published is not an entitlement. Authors aren't published because they deserve to be published, because they worked hard or because they have survived misery and abuse. Books are published because the publisher has deemed there is a viable market for the work.

Does every good book get published? No. Are the best selling books the best telling books? No. Are authors who have been published better writers than those who haven't been? Not necessarily.

Don't sell yourself short. Hold out for a real commercial publisher.