More on Publishing

I have been looking at many of the independent publishers lining up. Some of them look better than others. I am most interested in those publishers who earn their money by selling books to the public, instead of charging the writers, even a nominal fee.

There are plenty of publishers like Trafford and X-Libris that charge their writers thousands of dollars up front, and have a reputation for publishing everything from anyone who would pay their fee, without regard for the quality of the manuscripts. They make their money by charging the writers. And for years, they don’t care two cents whether anyone buys the books they publish. I have seen some of the work that places like Dorrance publishes, as authors have sent me their books to be edited, after they had been published. They were upset that they could not sell any of those expensive books.

Then there are the multitude of independent publishers who are attempting to compete, on whatever level they can, with the Big 4 Corporate publishers in this country.

In one way, it is wonderful to see so many people attempting to start a business that might actually work out, as apposed to sitting and never doing anything about their dreams. As a writer however, you must be prepared to thoroughly research the market of publishers. You need to look to see which publishers have been around for more than a few months, and which ones put any sort of attention towards editing the books that go through their presses. You will want to know which publishers design appropriate and eye-catching covers for the books they publish, and which publishers know how to market those books. Once you have written the perfect manuscript, and had it edited by someone who knows what he or she is doing, there is still no guarantee that anyone will buy your book.

Marketing, marketing, marketing; this should be the topic of the first conversation you have when you talk with an agent from any of the publishers. How do they get their books out to the reading public.

As I have said in other posts, I have been following Smashwords with interest for the past couple of years. I read their advertising and the various permutations of their website, as I am considering publishing a book of mine through them.

I was disappointed to see that Smashwords does not edit the books they publish. Where they are insistent is that the formatting and coding for the e-pub files they produce for e-readers are excellent, and, they want to see a well-designed cover for each book.

Mark Coker is not making his money from charging the authors. He makes it by the small commission each book Smashwords sells. Laudably, the bulk of the money on each sale goes to the author who has written the book.

Most writers would love to be published by almost any of the major publishers. The sad truth is, the major publishers do not want to invest in unknown writers. They no longer have editors who do in-depth editing on manuscripts by unknown writers, and they no longer put any real advertising dollars behind a new writer. Because of these things, they are not about to pay that writer more than a $2000.00 advance. Very few books from such writers actually earn back the advance, so the writer is very unlikely to see any royalties from his book. That is why going through a small publisher looks very, very interesting to a lot of writers.

I needed to know, what is Smashwords publishing? I bought myself a Nook e-reader to find out. There is a gratifying number of free e-books on Barnes and Nobel, most of them published by Smashwords. Yes, there is a lot of junk in the mix, and then there are some real gems. These are thoughtfully written and edited books, with good story-lines and well-developed characters. They are books that are truly a pleasure to read. I will be reviewing some of those books on this blog. Please, stay tuned for more.

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About Genevieve

Genevieve is a ghostwriter, specializing in memoirs, biographies and novels for her clients, since 2002. She loves her work, Her blog is a hodge podge of whatever happens to be on her mind when she sits down to write. Her essays may be about anything from family life, to politics, to good grammar. Come read it at and leave a message.
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