Despite what you might think many authors CHOOSE independent publishing- commonly known as self-publishing, instead of going down the traditional publishing path. Reasons vary, but include the following:
1. queries and submissions take forever
2. marketing via the author is still required
3. splitting royalties gets old
4. tracking sales can become an issue
5. pressure to meet projected sales in order to keep advances is a burden
6. reserve held against royalty accounts for returns (unsold books returned to publisher) actually a reason most authors aren’t familiar
and my personal favorite
7. overall lack of control of the product – your book
I left my publisher for some of the same reasons, as did my business partner. I personally pulled three titles. But once that decision was made, time was of the essence. We decided that if we were going to do this, we were going to do it our way – the writers/author way. It was for this reason that we started our own small press. Progressive Rising Phoenix Press, LLC was founded this year, 2013. We’re not a traditional publisher – don’t even claim to be. We’re authors working together for the good of all, marketing cooperatively. We know strength in numbers is smarter than working alone, gives us industry recognition under a label. I guarantee that’s where most small authors miss the boat –truly working together to sell titles, that’s different than a plug, true cross- selling.
Cross marketing is so important to what we’re tying to build, strength in numbers. In fact, I’d go as far to say that it’s an authors responsibility. Everyone pulling his or her weight benefits all. Ten heads are better than one. Just ask our authors – we ask them. Why? Because we know their creative minds have brilliant ideas and they count. We know the industry is changing. That’s not news. It’s our job to try and keep up.
We took six months off. We didn’t do events or even promote our own work, in order to build our label. We networked to figure out what options we had and what industry requirements were needed. The issue was returnable books, mandatory for large vendors. How would Indie press deal with those? There were choices out there, but they were combined with risk.
Solution? We used certain printers who offered specific things for authors and vendors, retailers, wholesalers, depending on the fan base required. We plotted the market, overall goals, projections of potential sales. Going with a small press gives you options and strength in number. There’s far too much additional information to share within a blog, but there are some basic differences between a small press and self-publishing alone of which an author should be aware. Please feel free to contact me regarding questions. I’ll share what I know, still learning, but we’ll get there. Options – yep, you’ve got em!
Fundamentally, here are some resources to begin scoping out!
*CS = CreateSpace
*LSI= Lightning Source Ingram (Lightening Source division of Ingram)
*Returnable Status= Returned books that do not sell
Here are some basic differences to understand between CreateSpace and Lightning Source:
CS – Cheaper books for author / direct sells.
CS – 100% Royalties less production, Royalties Defined as Sales Price Less Printers Share
LSI – Returnable Status option – Mandatory for brick and mortar vendors (C.S. non-returnable) R/ Yes R/N R/Destroy
LSI – Multiple Print options
CS doesn’t offer hard covers posted for distribution sale (they will produce) for an extra fee, but will not sell. Children’s books: can not put titles on spine or produce glossy pages, dust cover, saddle stitch, staple, perfect (again perfect bound important for children’s books name on spine), plastic comb. Nice choices for the author.
LSI- has every available print option you’d like- title on spine must be a certain page count, trim size etc. expensive due to inks, pricey but available quality, industry compliant.
C.S. picture books, a little cheaper per print page (good for children’s) gets pricy to SRP = suggested retail price (listed price)
LSI- Paper back (trade paper), Hard Cover- files are considered two separate files. Two fees.
LSI- will offer a Multi-Volume set of books sold under one ISBN. Ex: The Selected Works of William Shakespeare.
* Othello * Hamlet * Romeo and Juliet *King Lear * Macbeth * The Merchant of Venice (Once again…options).
By the way, BookPartners and its organizer, Tim Mallot are an excellent choice for author copies of books and books for direct purchase for special events. They are a great source for hardcover, glossy print children’s books requiring title on the spine. Their books are perfectly bound and shipped direct. We love them!
Amanda M. Thrasher