by Angela Lauria March 23, 2015
In this episode, Dr. Lauria explains how the way you publish can influence the outcome you get with your book. She provides instructions in how to select the right method of publishing for you and an outline of the options that are currently available to non-fiction authors.
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In this episode you will learn:
- How different publishing decisions yield different outcomes
- When it makes sense to give up 90% of your review
- The difference between self-publishing and author-funded publishing
- Whether you should try to get a traditional contract
- How to pick the right people to work with on your book
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Hey everyone welcome back to ^Page Up^ on this episode we are going to be talking about how to find the right type of publisher for you, so most people don’t realize that is a choice and that is exactly the problem the people who do realize there is a choice are looking between the traditional publishing route and self publishing and those are really two ends of the spectrum. I want to talk to you about the full continual today and more importantly how the way you publish influences the outcome you get for your book.
So when you understand this you will be able to select the publishing approach that is going to get you the outcome you want for your book. So in my ten step process for writing a book that makes a difference which I am going to include in the show notes so if you go to the offer incubator slash two you will be able to see the ten steps that’s makes a difference. So what step nine is in the ten steps is creating your master piece and what’s that about is actually looking at the publishing from the perspective for what you want from the outcome from your book.
So for most people the cost the financial cost of the time and also the royalty split with the additional publisher just isn’t worth it, it just not worth it to give up ninety percent of your royalties and to wait eighteen months to two years to get your message out there, but of you want what traditional publishers have then that’s an easy wait that’s an easy exchange.
Most people are doing it because they think that traditional publishers are going to get them more prestige. Sometimes that’s true but the reason why it is so hard to get a traditional publishing deal is that publishers don’t have the same level of influence that they use to have in the landscape, so the truth is there are so many books coming out each month that differentiating yourself that is a problem even for publishers and so they just not putting the marking muscle behind most books.
So I guess we will start today by just talking about these first two of this polar opposite the traditional publishing versus self publishing which I define in a very specific way you will see lots of definitions out there. So with the traditional publisher very often you will find an agent that process can take anywhere from three to six months to the rest of your life as long as you want your agent will then pitch your book proposal to different publishers and they will often require changes to your proposal. That pitching period it can last between three months and twelvemonths and then if your book is picked up there is another often six to eighteen months that it will take for that publisher to release your book.
They will pay you some advance money that’s advance on the royalties that you are going to earn later as a publisher they really want you to use royalties to go into marketing your own book, most people don’t realize that traditional publishers do distribution and they will give you some marketing help in terms of your book back copy distribution copy they will put you in their catalogue they might include you in press release but for the most part you are the one that is going to sell your books and you can get any amount of money for in advance from fifteen hundred dollars to five hundred thousand dollars, but mist new nonfiction authors get between fifteen hundred and five thousand dollars against royalties. So here is what is interesting about that number is the way that publishers work is they guess how many copies of yours that they are going to sell in the first ninety days and them they give you a payment based on what the royalty will be for that first ninety days so what they are doing is that they are saying how many copies are we going to sell let’s just pay her in advance.
What most authors with a traditional publishing deal will give up about ninety percent of the book revenue to their publishers who don’t get a ten percent royalty in exchange licensing their intellectual property to the publishing company so the publishing company now owns your ideas owns your words here and they will give you ten percent of what they make in this licensing deal. For most authors that works to about a dollar a book just for rough math lingo about that number might be a dollar thirty seven ninety eight cents something like that.
There are a lot of factors that go in to determining how much you get for your book but when you boil it down to the end of the day it is about a dollar a book. So if you were offered an advance of five thousand dollars that’s basically the publisher saying in the first ninety days we think we will sell five thousand books and if you sell that out that’s called self rule so if you sell out that five thousand books at the end of the ninety days three thousand of your books aren’t returned by the stores then you will begin to get that dollar a book paid out quarterly or usually paid our twice a year by the publisher so every time they sell a book they put a dollar into a bank account for you and then send it to you a couple times a year.
So that trade off the reason you would do that is because those dollars are going to add up to a greater number and a greater impact than if you self published and then maybe made I am going to do a easy math here and say ten percent a book the truth is you probable making more like eight but I like easy math so if you were truly self publishing and you were making ten dollars a book and let’s say you sold a hundred books you would make a thousand dollars.
If you were with a traditional publisher and you were only getting a dollar a book and you sold a hundred books then you would be getting a hundred dollars so you wouldn’t need to believe for every hundred books you sold the publisher would sell a thousand what would make you make that(8:04) well they have a bigger distribution net work as a self publisher your book will not get to all the places the traditional publishers can get your book so the traditional publishers have a sales team they work with book buyers they get your book placed at Cosco’s, book stores at whole foods they already have relationships with those book buyers and then they are out there hacking your books and getting them tape up un those places and if your book sells through this ten to one number can actually work but what you need behind it is a pretty massive marketing campaign.
So you will hear people talk about your author platform. Well your author platform is really about the people who follow you who know you who are going to buy your book so for most people they know I will talk sometimes about who you would invite to your birthday party. Say you are having a big 40th birthday bash or 50th birthday bash there would be a list of people maybe forth fifty a hundred people that you would invite to this birthday party that’s your author platform right now the people who we know would buy your book the same sort of people who might come to your birthday party. What the traditional publisher wants to know is that there are tens of thousands of people that are interested in you who are following you and who will buy your book that’s why you see so many TV reality stars with book deals because the publishers know that the distribution is there and so they can pay a much juicier royalty up front that advance royalty, right.
So those authors are still getting a dollar a book but instead of offering then fifteen hundred or five thousand dollars they can easily offer them a hundred thousand five hundred thousand even a million dollars because they know how big their following is, does the publisher know? Well they are going to look at your twitter followers they are going to look at your face book fans they are going to look at your email list and they will know what percentage of people following you will want your book.
If you go look at Bethany Franco or Beyonce social media’s campaign you look at their social media profiles and on instagram and twitter and you will see there are millions of people following them that gives the publisher confidence to pay those high level advances and the thing about the high level advances it means those books are most likely going to sell. Here is the funny thing if those people self published they might reach the same audience but because they need in store distribution they need distribution in those larger venues like airport book stores.
That number works out that ten to one ratio works out if Bethany Franco just put her book out on Amazon she would not make that thousand dollars that she would make with a traditional publisher. So what you have to think about is do you need the distribution net work that a publisher has can you leverage that because you have a platform and a following. Do you know how in the first ninety days you will make sure people are going to book stores to buy your book, can you get on the Daley show or the Jimmy Kimble show.
How are you going to get the word out you can see how Beyonce or Bethany Franco won’t have a problem with this will you? if the answer is yes you can jump all the way to the other end of the scale and you can look at self publishing now for me having been in the publishing industry for twenty something years for me self publishing is strictly talking the do it yourself version it is the home depot version of publishing so that means that you are going to either find an editor and hire someone or maybe get a friend to do it for free.
You are going to learn how to do the book cover may be on hick monkey or some website actually Amazon actually has some tool that you can use to create your own cover or you are going to find someone may be on Fiverr or on 99 designs and they are going to do your book cover, you are going to find people or learn how yourself to get an ISPN and how to format a book properly to be uploaded you are going to decide how you are going to print your book you are going to do each of these steps yourself and there are lots of great researches out there I couldn’t begin to list all of the self publishing books but I would be remiss not to include Don Pointers manual of self publish it is the bible for self publishers and he really teaches you every step along the way and let me tell you it is not rocket science.
There are a lot of details but you know if you got a college degree if you got your head on your shoulder you couldn’t work through the nine hundred pages of Don’s book you can figure out all these steps and you can put a book up now here is the story I want to tell you. I have been thinking lately about raising urban chickens and I am really excited about the idea of getting fresh eggs every morning I can tell you how excited I am about this and I realized that the area is an amazing place I am sure if I went to you Tube right now and I Google how to build a chicken coop that I would find all of the instructions I need for how to build a chicken coop and I would even find list of what I need to buy what tools I need to buy what supplies I needed to buy and I have a home depot near me and they told me I can do it they can help.
So I can go to that home depot with my list of things that I need to buy and I can come home with my wood and my hammers and nails and whatever else it takes to build a chicken coop and then I can go build a chicken coup in my back yard and hopefully I can go put chickens in it, but if I were to hire somebody let’s say to build a hundred chicken coops I bet it would be much easier for that guy to build a chicken coop than for me, now that’s not to say I shouldn’t do it because there is something rewarding about a DIY project there is something that feels so good to look in your back yard and see that chicken coop and be like I build that with my own two hands.
You have to decide right now for your book do you want a DIY craft project or do you want something professional do you want the guy I would build a hundred chicken coop to build your chicken coop and neither one of these is a bad decision they just get different results so if I bought my supplies at home depot I can guarantee you as soon as I started trying to cut the wood or I don’t even know what you do to build a chicken coop but go with me on this metaphor if I started trying to figure out you know whatever my first step from my you tube video is I can guarantee you that there is something I forgot to buy I got the wrong size screw driver or I got wood nails instead of metal nails or I don’t know.
So I would need to probably make multiple trips back to home depot now the guy who has already build a hundred chicken coops he has already made those trips so he could sort of leverage them so he is got a probable make only one trip to home depot and he is going to have all the right things there. He is not going to have to double check his supplies because he knows what he needs he has done it before you need to be prepared if you are self publishing if you are taking the reigns of this journey which is a perfectly valid thing to do.
You need to have a plan in place for the fact that it is going to take you a lot longer and it is probably not going to look as good as the guy who has built a hundred chicken coops and you probably going to make some pretty big mistakes so maybe you will select the wrong type of wire for your chicken coop and your chickens will get injured and you replace your chickens. Or maybe there is a super easy way to clean a chicken coop if you build an extra trap door for cleaning that you didn’t know about because maybe it wasn’t in those videos or you didn’t exactly know how to engineer it so you skip that stuff.
That is what will happen with your book if you self publish it might look pretty good you can invite people over and look what I did but you are just not going to have the same experience as a company or a person who has done this before dozens or hundreds of times and that’s just worth knowing that’s just worth thinking about is it worth the effort if you are just going to do this all on your own to make those mistakes is that something that you want to learn from then maybe you will do, you will be the guy who builds a hundred chicken coops you will be on the other side of it and you just will need to get through your first one because this is a new skill you want to acquire. I want to assure you, you can do it. it is absolutely learnable it is absolutely figure out able. Is that a good use of your resources that’s a question you want to ask.
Now the other reason why I recommend self publishing to people and this always surprises me but there are some people who like to control every aspect of their book so they know exactly what they want their books to look like they want to give the book their title even if their title you know a traditional publisher will say it wouldn’t sell it is a title in their heart and they want it. they want to control the marketing copy and even if there is a better way to write the copy they don’t want to write it the better way they want to write it their way they want to control the editing and even if a editor could make the book better they don’t want it better they want their book they want to build their chicken coop their way.
And if that is you again I would go back to those out comes you want for your book do you want this to be a learning experience a DIY project something fun in your life that you can say you have done or do you want to change people’s life make a difference and earn some income from your book and from your related products and services and that is an either or decision and both are perfectly valid.
The problem is most people don’t make the decision they decide that they want control of their book but then they want an outcome that would require a professional and then they are disappointed when they don’t get the results they want from their books, so I just want you to get really clear if you want a professional chicken coop you need to professionals and if you want a DIY you need to downs load lots of videos from You Tube and go to home depot both of those are great choices just know that the outcome is the determined by the way you published.
You cannot do it on your own for the very first time with no experience in the publishing industry and expects to get results that people who have been doing it for twenty thirty forty years get it’s just not going to work that way. My chicken coop that I built would look like a craft project and there would be mistakes that may cause arms to chicken and that might make my life difficult but I might be really be proud of that I would be expecting it to be a professional grade chicken coop because it is my first one, right it is my first one.
So I want you to decide do you want to be a learner do you want to just figure this out and have fun with it doesn’t change people’s lives or get into people’s hands who cares you would have learned a new skill or do you want to really commit to your future readers that you are all in and that you are going to get them change that they need by working with a team of professionals so let’s talk about what that team would look like if you go that route. So you see with the traditional route you got two years and you got them taking most of your money and if you do get a deal and that route for most people who don’t have a platform not a great thing.
The self publishing route perfectly fine if you want a craft project or a new hobby not fine if you want to write a book and make a difference so what we want to focus on, on page up is people who wants to write a book and make a difference with their book and in that case what you want to talk about is everything between self publishing and traditional publishing. So what that means is you don’t want to go the self publishing route you don’t want to go the traditional route you want to find options in the middle.
I want to tell you what some of those options are. So the first option moving up from the DIY version is that you can hire a team of experts you can say money is no cost I am getting the guy who builds a hundred chicken coops I am getting people with lots of experience. I want to caution you about there what most people do in that case is that they hire a great editor they hire a great cover designer they hire a great interior designer they hire a great virtual assistant who have experience on the print on demand publishing platforms and all of these people are working for them they are great talented people but what the problem they are all marching in different directions they all have different backgrounds they all have different goals so if we go back to our chicken coop story one guy might have a thing where he says no, no never build chicken coop before when you do that wood rot the chickens get confused you need to only used pressurized seal to build your chicken coop and another guy is like no it is the only way to go it is bio degradable it is the healthiest for chicken and yes you have to replace it every five years but it is so worth it.
Well this is what happens when you hire a collection of professionals that have not worked together and are not working towards the same goal you might hire a book coach who is telling you one thing you might have a business coach who is telling you another thing your cover designer is pulling you in another direction and this is what I see all the time from people who invest in having their book done they call it self publishing but all of their experts are working against each other and the author doesn’t even know it why, because they have never done it before of course they don’t you should be an expert I am an expert in chicken coop building and so hiring the best of the best seems like a good example but it is actually a trap.
So that is the first option I am going to tell you very, very hard to do that well if you are going to do that I hope you an amazing book coach who sort of rally all the troops and can who can confirm that they are all going in the same direction. The next option is to work with an author from the publisher that’s a publisher that has on its staff editors they have designers and these people are working all in the same direction. Now the thing about author finding publisher in the olden days when I first started in book publishing they were called vanity presses and they had a very, very bad name the thing about vanity presses and author from the publishing is that you could be publishing anything and they would accept it there is services business you can give them the crappiest book in the world they are going to tell you it is great they are going to build you a cover they are going to edit it to the best of their ability and they will get your book out there.
But how do you know if your book us worthy if your book is good at this same level you would with a traditional publisher that is the dilemma that most authors that are going the self publishing rout that is the dilemma that they face how do I know this is good. So you can also work with a boutique publisher and what you what you would look for is something that’s called high bred model that’s a model where the publisher will work for some money or some commitment to a certain book purchase for instance a minimum book order and instead of taking all of the royalties they will somehow split the risk with you.
So what you get with a boutique publisher or a Indi publisher or a niche publisher those are just other names for them what you will get and what you want to look for is someone who is taking the risk on you so it is a little harder to get in there because they only going to make money if you make money so trying to find a high bred publisher is a great approach and there are some great publishers out there who are will take the risk on you and they maybe will split the royalties with you so they are investing their resources up front to get your book done, you are investing your resources from a writing and a content and that more of a semi oasis publishers out there hard to find hard to get those deals but if you keep your ear to the ground I know plenty of authors who have gotten them.
And so then there are some other models out there who you have I call the incubator experience and so our company the author incubator for example and other companies out there that do this where they are author funded but built into the program is making sure that your book is the right book. So I will talk about our model a little bit here so you will understand that.
What we do is we actually work with authors to make sure their book is getting them the outcome they want so we actually start with the outcome, do you want speaking gig do you want more clients do you want leads what is the goal for your book and then we have a team of editors and designers and administrators who are going to do all those steps that you might hire people to do but they are marching in the same direction and more importantly the goal is to get you the book that is going to get you the outcome so in our case you are paying for the results or the outcome you wants for your book for many of our client that’s five to fifteen thousand dollars a month in revenue from their book and making a difference in people’s lives.
So in our case you are paying for the outcome and you are not paying for the publishing services that you would with Vanity Press that would publish just anything, so that gives you a little sense of the continue from DIY self publishing to working with a traditional publisher there are lots of options in the middle your mission should you choose to accept it is to figure out the outcome you want for your book and to match that outcome with a publisher.
So once you have matched the outcome with the publisher head on over to the authorincubator.com/2 that’s this episode the author incubator.com/2 and in the comments let me know what figure out I will respond to every comment so I am going to wish you super luck on figuring that out early in your process that’s one of the keys to success and in our next episode we are going to talk about writes block.
What is actually stopping you from writing this book and how is writers block actually awesome, so a lot of people think what’s stopping them is writers block no, no, no it is something else completely you got to tune into the next episode to find out.
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