Foreword by Melanie Rigney
NO MORE REJECTIONS
by Penny C. Sansevieri
© 2007. All rights reserved.
No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or
by any means, mechanical or electronic, including photocopying and record-
ing, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission
in writing from author or publisher (except by a reviewer, who may quote
brief passages and/or show brief video clips in a review).
ISBN: 1-60037-084-5 (Hardcover)
ISBN: 1-60037-089-6 (Paperback)
ISBN: 1-60037-090-X (eBook)
ISBN: 1-60037-091-8 (Audio)
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who has heard the call of writing
and to those who listened …
This book is for you
Where Did These “New” Publishers Come From? . . . . . . . 7
What Exactly is On-Demand Publishing? . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8
How They Make This Work . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9
Can POD Work for You? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13
What You Get in Return . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14
Your Book, Your Resume . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15
SECTION ONE 19
Hiring the Right Publisher for You . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24
Check Your Contract Carefully . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28
GET PUBLISHED TODAY
SECTION TWO 97
Music and Fair Use . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 103
Using Places and People in Your Book . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 104
Intellectual Property Law. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 105
Patent Law . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .105
Trademarks . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .105
Trade Secret Laws . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .107
Work-for-Hire . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .108
Protecting Your Work from Theft . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 109
Copyrighting Your Work . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .109
Front cover . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 116
Back cover . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 117
Spine . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 117
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 118
Layout . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .119
Text and Body Copy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .120
Folios . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .120
Typefaces and Fonts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .120
Serif versus Sans Serif. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .121
Type Size . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .122
Chapter Headings . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .122
Cover Images . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 123
What to Look for in a Good Content Editor . . . . . . . . . . 130
What to Look for in a Good Copy Editor . . . . . . . . . . . . 131
What Can I Expect from My Copy Editor? . . . . . . . . . . 132
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 133
How to Make the Most of Your Time with Your Editor . . 134
SECTION THREE 147
Determining Your Goals . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 149
Thinking Outside the Book . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 151
Different Ways to Market Your Book . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 152
Media Campaign . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .152
Speaking Engagements . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .152
Internet Marketing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .154
Special or Premium Sales . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .154
GET PUBLISHED TODAY
A Few Final Words 213
MESSAGE FROM THE AUTHOR
I started writing the moment I could hold a pen. I worked on
school newspapers, entered poetry contests, and imagined what
it would be like to hold a book I wrote in my hands—so much
so that I would often make up covers and pretend they were my
pages and smelling that “new-book smell” we writers all love.
After writing more short stories than I knew what to do with, I
pages later, was born. Little did I know, writing
the book was the easy part.
As I began the process of sending my book off to an agent
get published. The competition was intense and the information
out there on the submission process was, well, a tad confusing:
I wanted was to publish a book. Was that so hard? Apparently,
dreams. Like most
what did it mean when they said “not right for us”? Did that
mean it was perfect for someone else? Was this literary-agent
code for “your book is dreadful, please do the world a favor
and never write again”? I was confused, discouraged and a tad
distraught. Then, one day, I tucked the pages of my manuscript
in a box marked “book” and placed it on a shelf in my closet. I
knew right then my dreams of being published were over.
Some months later, I was reading The New York Times when
I happened upon an article about a little-known company called
iUniverse. They were publishing authors by the dozen using
something called “print-on-demand,” or on-demand publishing.
I immediately began gathering all the information I could on
my life changed forever. It might sound dramatic, but that day,
I went from being a discouraged writer to a published author. I
remember pulling the dusty, generically marked box from my
time with would be given a voice, and other people would read
I had dreamt of becoming a published author for as long as
I could remember. My childhood fantasies, mixed with a bit of
adult delusion, involved immediate fame, fortune, a front-row
seat at the Oscars, and a date with George Clooney. And while
I could have hoped for.
It would take an entire book to thank everyone involved in
the process of creating Get Published Today. Of all the sections
There are scores of people who contribute both in their
support and the willingness to share their own creativity. The
students in the classes I teach and their tireless efforts to see
their work in print, and my clients both past and present whom
I am enormously fortunate to work with. I am honored that they
entrust their work to me.
Many thanks to the “behind the scenes” people who brought
their own amazing level of support and creativity to this book:
my incredible Editor and “right hand” Paula Krapf who is more
valuable to me than she will ever know. Her help, guidance
and perfectly timed sense of humor always keeps me going. To
Melanie Rigney for her wisdom, insight, and friendship, Jeniffer
Thompson for her constant support of my work and my mission
and to Nancy Hendrickson who supports and challenges me
everyday with her wisdom and commitment to the company.
There are many more people that I need to thank, and thankfully
too many to list here. I am fortunate to not only be in this
industry, but to be surrounded by many amazing people who
always make me look so good. To them I say: Thank you. This
To my friends and family who always love and support me
I have many blessings in my life. To list them all here would
be endless. I am and always will have a grateful heart for my
work and my mission and I am enormously fortunate to be able
to do what I love. I wish you the same kind of happiness.
The criteria for this book was simple: To be included,
publishers must have a standard of excellence that is unwavering.
During the creation of Get Published Today! I intentionally
excluded some publishers I did not feel met those standards. My
goal with this book was to pass along only those publishers I felt
has been made to make Get Published Today! as accurate
and complete as possible. However, the text and information
contained in this book should be used only as a general guide.
Furthermore, the information contained in this book consists of
publisher contact information, Web sites, and promotional tools
that are only as current as the printing date.
It is not the purpose of this book to be the single marketing
tool in your library, and we always recommend the use of other
books on book marketing, some of which are suggested in the
Get Published Today! contains advice on publishing,
marketing, promotion, and selling books. The use of this book
is not a substitute for publishing, business, tax, accounting,
consulting or other professional services. Consult the appropriate
publisher nor the author, or the contributors mentioned in this
book, bear any liability for the incorrect or improper use of this
book or the information and advice contained herein. If you do
not wish to be bound by the terms of this paragraph, promptly
return this book for a complete refund.
Today, a seismic shift is going on in the publishing business.
Print-on-demand is shifting the paradigm for traditional
publishers and alternative publishers alike. The advent of the
Internet is disrupting traditional publishing and the momentum
has not yet been written. Each day more and more authors are
Publishing never used to be about choices. In the past , there
were few options: you could wait years for your manuscript to
up your own publishing company. Today , the opportunity
within your grasp thanks to the emergence of print-on-demand
As you begin to explore this publishing opportunity, I believe
share what we have learned from our experiences. The book you
making its debut on the publishing scene. A leading expert in
this part of the publishing business for the past xx years, Penny
offers a message to help authors get their works published
pile herself, Penny understood the disappointment that came
with traditional publishing. She wanted to spare as many authors
as she could from experiencing these potentially devastating
emotions. Penny sought to educate and inspire authors who
themselves were in danger of languishing in obscurity. She has
been instrumental in helping several thousand authors get into
print. If I had handpicked someone to write on this topic, I could
not have selected anyone more knowledgeable, experienced, and
forthright than Penny.
that accomplishment alone will not make you a successful
author. You must then turn an educated eye to marketing your
any of this alone. Look to those of us who have been tempered
by the heat of publishing battles, and we can help you along your
— Melanie Rigney
Owner, Editor for You and former Editor,
amazing accomplishment that is? True, while you hear about the
hundreds of thousands of people who write each year, think of
all of those people you never hear anything about—hundreds
of thousands of stories that never get recognition or never even
Take a moment to pat yourself on the back.
explore the fascinating new industry of print-on-demand together
and get you on the road to becoming a published author.
On average, HarperCollins receives more than 10,000
submissions a year. Of these, only 75 books, or 1 percent, get
THE TRUTH ABOUT PUBLISHING
There are several ways to get your book published these days.
One way is to go the traditional route: submitting query letters
to agents, then waiting for their responses. Self-publishing has
always been an option, but it is often too costly and complicated
book you always dreamed of holding in your hand.
Before you turn up your nose to the idea of on-demand
publishing, consider this: The typical New York publishing
were printed in 2004 (this number grew approximately 14%
over 2003). During our recent survey with the various print-on-
demand publishers, we found that most of them published in
excess of 24,000 titles and this list was growing every single
day. Lulu alone gets 1,500 new submissions each week. Print-
on-demand has grown at a level no one could have anticipated.
2 GET PUBLISHED TODAY
publishing. You want to get
your book published? You want to make a name for yourself?
This is how you can do it.
Imagine this: You decide to
one of these new print-on-demand publishing companies. But
you not only publish it, you publicize it. The rest, as they say, is
They can also attract the attention of a bigger publishing house.
Publishing companies like—no, —to work with authors
that are actively involved with publishing their books. The No.
1 reason is that publishers are less inclined these days to take
risks on unknown authors who have
forged their own path through print-on-demand or traditional
self-publishing and they are successful at selling their books,
they know two things: They have found authors who know how
to market their books, and books that have found an audience.
A traditional New York publisher considers a book that sells
authors. One fallacy among writers is that when you sign with a
traditional publishing house, you no longer have to handle all of
THE TRUTH ABOUT PUBLISHING 3
the promotion of the book yourself. Not true. The fact is, while
expect to sit on your laurels and wait for the royalty checks to
come rolling in. In fact, publishing houses will usually promote
authors that much, unless word catches
on and the media creates a bandwagon effect. In fact, did you
know that when published traditionally, your book has the shelf
table, or, even worse, the shredder. Ever heard of a little book
called ? Well, it only took off after it
was found sitting outside a bookstore by the dumpster. The story
goes that someone in the publishing industry was walking past
15 million adults did some form of creative writing in 2002.
Only 1 percent of those 15 million had works published.
industry that you want to scream, then prepare to scream a bit
more. The truth is,
4 GET PUBLISHED TODAY
of all books published in the United States each year are put
books published each year are written by previously unpublished
authors. Does this mean there are fewer quality books out there?
No. What this means is that publishers are less inclined to take
risks on unknown or untested authors. They are, however, more
inclined to look at an author who pushes their product and has a
as close to a guarantee as you can get. If used correctly, print-
on-demand publishing can help leverage the odds in your favor
by circumventing traditional publishing and getting your work
In traditional publishing only 10% of the books published
publishing. It used
to be that if you self-published, it was as though you were
publishing industry and the narrowing window of opportunity,
THE TRUTH ABOUT PUBLISHING 5
number of books that were self-published that have since
They were all self-published.
Determined to see her book in print, Amanda Brown
POD publisher. The title?
A BRIEF HISTORY
really wanted was for you to
With the odds stacked against them, authors were clamoring
for some other way to get into the exclusive and sometimes
unforgiving industry of publishing. Self-publishing worked well
for a lot of people, but for most, it was cost-prohibitive. Self-
publishing can cost anywhere from $15,000 to $45,000 for a
single book with a print run of 2,000 to 5,000 copies. A few
enterprising people saw the potential of self-publishing and
began to sense the possibilities that the ever-expanding Internet
had to offer. Several of these companies have been publishing
since the inception of the World Wide Web, others followed
shortly thereafter. Some of these companies were founded by
who saw a phenomenal potential in the business. Despite their
differences, these companies have one thing in common: They
8 GET PUBLISHED TODAY
are in a constant state of change. There was so much happening
so quickly that none of them expected the volume of writers who
would beat a path to their virtual doors.
Somewhere between publishing the traditional way and
self-publishing is on-demand
publishing with a twist. It used to be that if you wanted to
circumvent the publishing houses, you had to take on everything
from printers to cover designers, ISBNs to distribution. Feeling
dizzy yet? Sure, there are still self-publishing houses (called
vanity presses). They churn out about 6,000 titles per year, and
authors pay anywhere from $10,000 to $20,000 to publish their
books. That is often enough to discourage anyone who has not
spent a great deal of time in the industry. It seemed publishing
options were pretty limited until the Internet explosion. Enter
on-demand publishers is hiring them to publish your work. You
make the initial contact and have them send you a publishing kit
(in some instances, you can view an entire kit on-line), which
you explore their Web site and start your publishing process.
Print-on-demand publishing is not going anywhere anytime
soon. Many POD publishers launch from 400 to 500 new books
A BRIEF HISTORY 9
sure that this is a reason for you to launch into skeptic-mode,
there are a number of things to consider. First and foremost,
what makes it possible for these companies to offer this type
of service to you is a little something called POD, or print-on-
demand. Print-on-demand is exactly that: Books are printed as
someone (meaning you) will not be stuck with 10,000 books
this digital technology to help facilitate the publishing of books,
hence the name print-on-demand
of this is the vehicle that will help you go from manuscript to
book without having to become your own publisher or start your
own publishing company.
While this may seem like the “perfect” solution, there
are still a few things you need to consider. First of all, print-
for acceptance. While a number of published POD books
do exceptionally well, with some even getting picked up by
traditional publishers, there are still hurdles to overcome. The
it needs to look
your kids and make sure the book you want to publish looks
and reads like a traditionally published book. Take the time and
invest the money in building a good team. Hire an
professional opinion on your cover design. Do your homework
10 GET PUBLISHED TODAY
Because these books are printed one at a time, they are
also slightly more expensive to reproduce. This means that
your 200-page book might cost an additional $2 (or more)
each, than it would cost you to use an offset printer if you were
depending on your ultimate goal for the book. If the sole purpose
of publishing your own book is for back-of-the-room sales (i.e.
be decidedly higher if you go with an offset printing company.
the room to store about 2,000 copies of your book, then print-
on-demand might be a better alternative, even with the higher
Keep in mind that unlike off-set printing, printing costs do
not drop in POD runs when you order a large quantity of books.
you an additional $200 “since the presses are already running,”
as printers will tell you. This is not the case with POD. The
but the printing costs remain the same.
An equally important issue with print-on-demand is that there
is typically no return policy for these books. And a returnable
product is extremely important, especially in publishing. There
is no other word that will give a publisher sleepless nights like
the word “returns.” Book returns are the scourge of the industry
and have been the downfall of most publishers. Why? Because
returns mean fewer book sales. Returns mean books that might
not be able to be sold again. In fact, many books that are returned
come back with tattered covers and coffee-stained pages. Still,
A BRIEF HISTORY 11
On average, publishers get 36% of their paperback books and
42% of hardcover books returned to them. When these books
come back they are often in non-saleable condition.
The fact is, people return merchandise. I know it sends
shivers up your spine to think that someone will not like your
book enough and want to return it. But take heart: The return
ratio averaged from 10 percent to 25 percent in 1995 and
it personally. Americans love to return things. But those return
Costco) are much higher, and when items are returned to these
stores continue to accept these returns because their vendors
want in so badly that they will accept their fair share of product
According to Lightning Source, a print-on-demand printing
facility and a Division of Ingram Book Group, its volume for
printing print-on-demand titles increased from six million units
printing about one million books per month.
12 GET PUBLISHED TODAY
There is a light at the end of the returnable tunnel. In 2003,
several POD companies may offer to take returns of your book.
paid by the author. When books are returned, the total amount
an author should not have to pay any kind of “fee” to be part of
a returns program, and they should not be penalized beyond a
forms of return policies later in the book.
Finally, be cautious of marketing campaigns offered by these
publishing giants. Some may offer to make up your bookmarks
have the time or the resources to support their entire library of
authors. Remember, with the amount of books they are cranking
out each day, it would be impossible for them to have their hands
in each and every marketing plan. When it comes to getting your
or that of your publicist, if you decide to hire one.
I really hate the term “vanity press.” Anyone who has spent
any time at all marketing
—Penny C. Sansevieri, President and CEO,
Author Marketing Experts, Inc.
A BRIEF HISTORY 13
Sure it can. New authors make it work every day. The beauty
of print-on-demand is that your book will never go out of print.
You may run a marketing campaign that makes it the hottest book
in it and begin marketing it again. One of the great things about
print-on-demand is that you can easily (and fairly inexpensively)
test-market a book or idea before putting a big-bucks marketing
campaign behind it. Also, the hope is, and always will remain,
love to get picked up by one. And it does happen. It happens
more than we realize. The thing is, by the time the book gets
republished under a new publishing company, everyone has long
Print-on-demand might not work if you have your heart set
on seeing your book in every single bookstore in the country.
Even traditionally published bookstore
that you focus on alternative markets. Go after the areas no
one else is tackling. Doing something different, something out
of the ordinary, will help you and your book stand out in an
7% of the books published generated 87% of total retail
14 GET PUBLISHED TODAY
of your hard work. Well, you get a book. And believe me when
experience you will never forget. I cried, I screamed, I called
than what you really want. If on-demand or self-publishing is
not for you, then by all means continue traditionally. But if you
believe enough in yourself and in your work that you feel you
can not only get it published, but also sell it, then read on.
A self-published success story: Irma Rombauer spent $3,000
to put together a little recipe book to assist families who cooked
at home. It was .
The following books all started out POD:
by Laurie Notaro
Life Lessons for My Black Girls by Natasha Munson
by James Conroyd Martin
A BRIEF HISTORY 15
of sending a resume to a prospective employer that was full of
typos or inaccuracies, would you? Nor should you publish a book
this way remember: there are 500 books published each day in
marketable, readable and of indisputable quality. There is little
or no quality control through print-on-demand publishers, so you
must determine your own measure of quality. First and foremost
editing later in
you can do for your book. But editing is an art, it takes a special
eye to be a good and accurate editor and having mom edit your
own surgery, you should never even consider designing your
own cover. Do you know what I consider to be the best cover
the book itself has to translate on the cover and because readers
a cover that captures their attention and drives their interest to
cover designs and have one that you love -- but seem to have to
you plan on being available for “cover translation” on every sale
you make on every single copy of your book.
somewhat of a bad rap. Why? Well because authors, eager to
see their work in print, published what I affectionately refer to
16 GET PUBLISHED TODAY
you did. Susan Driscoll, CEO of iUniverse, has been quoted as
saying that generally, only 1% of print-on-demand is marketable,
generally due to low quality and lack of
to aspire to anything, aspire to being that 1%.
ARE YOU READY
I carried it about in my pocket and took surreptitious
Take a few moments to answer the following questions:
• Why do I want to write a book?
• Do I know how much my book will cost to produce?
• Who will buy my book?
• How much do I think they will be willing to pay for my
• Do I have a passion for my work and will others feel my
• Can I wear the many hats of an entrepreneur?
• Can I engage others to help me produce and sell my
• Am I too proud to ask for help?
• Am I willing to spend years promoting my book?
18 GET PUBLISHED TODAY
• How can I make my book different from others already
• Can I set clear goals and follow a plan?
One of the best assets people can have is to know their
limitations. Face it: We all have them. Knowing what they are
and dealing with them in advance will put us a step ahead of the
process. Not acknowledging them and not dealing with them
Answering these questions will be a real eye-opener for most.
Honest answers will indicate areas that you really need to focus
on. This focus can help you get as much out of this book as you
be amazed at your progress.
POD SUCCESS STORY
, through a POD publisher. After selling
her book to Villard, the book made it onto The
media endorsements to push it
over the top.
Get Published Today! came out,
several of the companies I interviewed have implemented new
contracts and additions to their existing services. The fact of
constantly evolving. The life of an on-demand publisher can be
rewarding and sometimes even rocky. Some POD companies
have started with the best of intentions, yet seen their hopes and
dreams vanish in a fog of sheer “overwhelm.” The demand is so
great for these publishers that, as the song goes, “only the strong
survive.” And even then, I found their services were changing so
that want to make it big in the publishing world realize that they
must be in a constant state of adaptation. Some companies are
even so cautious that they will readily admit that what is today
might not be tomorrow. If the demand is there, they will make it
happen for an author. Their success depends on your success.
Keep in mind that while I tried to give each publisher
fact. Regardless of my personal publishing choices, I do not
endorse one publisher over another, largely because what one
22 GET PUBLISHED TODAY
company offers might be perfect for my book but less than
perfect for yours.
vary considerably depending on the length of the book, genre,
because this will become a very integral part of your marketing
plan. As we discussed earlier in this book, POD books are slightly
book that is overpriced, which makes it very tough to sell. And
while some bookstores will disagree with me, I found one of
my biggest initial stumbling blocks was the price of my book.
Once I built a reputation for myself and the stores knew my
books would sell, this became a non-issue. But it is better to not
marketing your masterpiece. Another thing to keep in mind while
reviewing these publishers is whether they list with Ingram1. I
found that my listing with Ingram and Baker and Taylor really
helped boost sales. Many of the bookstores I spoke with will
Ingram or Baker and Taylor.
of these companies at all. They give you the option of submitting
the listing yourself if you get your own ISBN (getting your own
later, bookstores might not be your best primary consideration
as a sales venue for your book. That said, getting a bookstore to
carry it is still worth its weight in gold. One of the main reasons
I found that Ingram is
Ingram is one of the largest book wholesalers in the United States. Its database of books is linked to
most bookstores around the country.
for a coveted listing in its catalog. Weigh your options and see
A listing with Books in Print is another great advantage.
Books in Print is essentially a database of books available for
purchase. If you opt not to list with Ingram, some stores might
still consider stocking your book as long as you have a listing
with Books in Print (check out its Web site at www.booksinprint.
com). Although I have never tried to obtain a listing there myself,
So what do all these publishing terms mean?
Print-on-demand (POD): a technology that produces one
book at a time as opposed to printing them in a large print run.
Self-publishing: when the author fronts the cost for the
entire production of the book from cover design to distribution
and everything in between. Self-publishers will usually do larger
print runs than their POD counterparts. Print runs can range
anywhere from 2,000 to 30,000 and up, depending on your print
budget, target marketing campaign, and storage space.
Vanity publishing: when an author contracts with a
not much different from self-
the intricacies that might make this more worthwhile, such as
editing, distribution, or warehousing.
24 GET PUBLISHED TODAY
POD and familiarized you with
publisher is right
First and foremost, whom you end up selecting will usually
depend on your book. For example: Do you have a book with
accommodate that. Do you have a book with lots of tables,
print-on-demand formats. Once you determine
the exact needs of your book, you will start to formulate the
criteria for your “ideal” publisher.
After you have narrowed your selection to three or four
publishers, take a closer look at their Web sites, preview their
contracts (more on this later in the chapter), and get a sense for
how they operate and how accommodating and knowledgeable
their representatives are. While much of their communication is
phone. In fact, something I do when researching POD companies
times to ask them the same question. If you get a consistent
effectively trains and communicates with its staff. If you get
a different answer each time you call, you might want to look
elsewhere. Keep in mind that if you decide to publish with a
the next caller might be a customer interested in buying your
The second factor I use to discern whether a company is right
for me is its Web site and how user-friendly its ordering process
is. Most (if not all) of these POD companies will have bookstores
whittled your choices down to three companies, take the time
to order a book from their Web sites. This will accomplish two
you versus how long the company says the book will take, and
quality on the cover and interior pages. See if the binding is
the end result is. And last, but certainly not least, keep in mind
that someday a new reader might be trying to order one of your
submission process. Most of the work is done via the
Web site, and there are myriad places to get your questions
it to them via the U.S. Postal Service or another shipping service),
submitting all of the pertinent information such as an author bio,
publishing fee. The
nothing should be left in question. Consider this: The information
that you put in there will somehow, somewhere, land on your
book. Take your time. Visit a bookstore and look up books in
copy, but learn. Learn from the pros—the authors who have
26 GET PUBLISHED TODAY
As we discussed earlier, many POD companies now offer
marketing packages. While researching this book, I purchased
did. Some of the packages were great, and others were largely
ineffective. Why? Because an author often assumes that one
simply not true. You can purchase all the marketing packages
in the world, but they will fall short of your expectations if you
do not follow up. A fax-blast package, for example, is only
marketing plans, know that even if your press release is sent to
For example, one author came to see me about her book: she
had purchased a press-kit package that included faxing her
press release to 700 media contacts around the country. You
might think, . But more is not
the list of contacts her press release was sent to. She requested
it from her publisher and it was sent over almost immediately.
When I got the list, I noticed there were editors from every
except her book was a romance novel that had no place in any
of the above publications. The likelihood of them mentioning
her book was probably nil. As a matter of fact, she ran the risk
with each other. Send them a useless lead, and sooner or later
To give you an example, I recently had lunch with an editor
who told me she gets about 200 faxes each day from a particular
on-demand publisher who sells a fax-blasting program to its
authors. She said she gets so many of them she has told her
staff to discard anything from that particular publisher. She said
the demographics of her magazine. My advice to you is: Get the
marketing packages if you want them, but understand that they
must follow up on them. If you decide to have your press release
faxed around the country, get a list of potential recipients before
you commit to a package. If a publisher is unwilling to give you
topic-related contacts than 200 random names.
There are some savvy ways to determine how healthy the
want to consider:
See what others are saying about the publisher. If you
authors who have published through them. You can do this by
doing a quick Google search on their names. Smart authors will
most likely have Web sites and you should be able to contact
them through their sites.
28 GET PUBLISHED TODAY
Advertising will tell the real story. Every publisher you are
considering is going to seem to be offering the best deal in town,
Web site, move
on to another. Misleading ads might be a sign of some other
issues that have yet to surface.
number of things within the
be aware of. In his book
focuses on some items that are important for authors to consider
before signing on the dotted line:
1. Rights: You want to be absolutely certain that you
retain all rights to your book. All rights means all of the
hard cover/paperback books, and electronics. Be certain
you are only granting revocable permission for a POD
publisher to produce and distribute your book as orders
are received under a nonexclusive publishing agreement.
If the POD publisher you are considering requires you to
assign any right to the
time, be sure to ask what they are going to do in exchange
for this time constraint and how such an assignment will
2. Copyright: It is in your best interest for you to personally
your copyright protection with the Library of Congress.
By doing so, you know without a doubt that the copyright
is in your name, and you will receive and retain the
copyright when it is recorded and granted.
3. Fair usage: Be prepared to provide your POD publisher
with copies of permission granting correspondence for
any copyright-protected material you have included in
4. Cancellation: Look for a hassle-free termination clause
in the agreement that allows you to withdraw from
the publishing arrangement upon written notice (an
acknowledged e-mail should be acceptable) to have
your book removed from the POD system and its online
5. Nonexclusive: This means that in addition to your
POD publish your book by
other methods of publication—including another POD
publisher. However, having two POD books that are the
same with the exception of the
the publisher—could create confusion when booksellers
try to order your book. The nonexclusive provision is
publishers and perhaps issuing a revised edition. Also,
the nonexclusive provision is another way to keep your
6. Control: You must understand completely what aspects of
for you by the POD publisher. Certain book-production
minimum and maximum number of pages, the page size,
paper weight, and the minimum width of margins. If the
30 GET PUBLISHED TODAY
POD publisher provides the service of formatting your
book for you, be sure you know if you have any recourse
other than accepting what they have done. You must also
factor in any surcharges that could apply to formatting
your book the way you want. For example, some POD
your formatting as long as you follow their guidelines.
proofreading of your book is your responsibility.
Your POD publisher is not responsible for editing or
proofreading your book. In fact, most POD publishers
will not change a single word in your book without your
written instructions to make the change.
8. Graphics: With some POD publishers, there is a surcharge
for including illustrations, charts, tables, footnotes, and
if you have already positioned the graphics on the pages
where you want them to appear. If your book is loaded
with graphics, request a written quote for any additional
charges that might apply.
9. Formatting: Most POD publishers have similar formatting
regard to page size and margins. Be sure to follow the
instructions and call your
you have any questions. An improperly formatted book
will create problems during the conversion process.
10. Production time: This could vary from a few short
weeks to many long months of waiting until your book
is available for sale. How long often depends on the
the conversion work in-house or farm it out to a third
include making a certain number of changes as part of
copy over the allowed number of changes could incur a
the cost is to correct typos after your book has been
approved. Some POD publishers will correct a few typos
at no charge, even after a book has been added to their
regardless of how minor the changes might be.
13. Revised editions: There could come a time when you need
in your POD book. Be sure to ask the POD publishers
your book. The fee should be considerably less than
material will require a new ISBN and perhaps another
being reworked with new material.
14. Royalties: Be absolutely certain you understand how your
earned royalties are calculated. Some POD publishers
32 GET PUBLISHED TODAY
pay authors a percentage based on the selling price of the
book—usually, the percentage is higher on retail sales
placed directly through the bookstore
than the percentage on wholesale orders placed by
booksellers. If the net selling price is being used as
the marker, be sure to understand how much expenses
include. Also, ask if expenses are likely to increase in
the foreseeable future—when an increase in expenses
however, your royalty earnings will decrease because the
net selling price debits the expenses.
15. Assignment of royalties: Some POD publishers will
allow an author to assign royalties to a third party, who
royalties can be essential if the book is the product of
a group effort. A few will accept a pre-assignment of
royalties to a spouse, offspring, relative, or close fr