Ever wonder what you can expect as a new author? Wonder what the real numbers are? Click through to find out the advantages and disadvantages of different types of publishing houses (and learn a few trade secrets)!
Creating a Book fromConcept to PublicationPublishing Online and in Print
Touching on the Basics• What is publishing?• What does publishing mean to you? – What is your goal in becoming published? – What is your five year plan?
The Types of Publishers• Self-Publishing• Small Publishing House• Vanity and Subsidy Presses – (NEVER USE THESE PUBLISHING HOUSES)• Large houses: These are your “big six” trade publishing houses. – Who are The Big Six? • Hachette Book Group • HarperCollins • Macmillan • Penguin Group • Random House • Simon and Schuster
Large Publishing Houses• What does it take to be acquired by a “big six”? – Agent – Lawyer – Pitching – Proposals/Synopsis – Strong Querying tactics
Advantages of Publishing With a Large House• Paperback sales (Q1 2012) is the leader in book sales at $299.8 million, but these appear to be on the decline. – This decline has been affecting our brick and mortar stores and has been forcing a change in the marketing/business plans for all book sellers including the largest book sellers: Costco, Walmart and Barnes and Noble. • Amazon is the largest bookseller in the world.
Advantages of Large Houses• Large houses have the financial stability to buy your way into large retailers. – What? Yes. Booksellers must buy to be in certain locations in stores— Hot Spots. • It costs on avg. a dollar a book to get your book onto these shelves. – Publishers rarely do this for first time authors.• These companies will invest in you.• They provide you with publicists.• They provide you with marketing teams.• It is in their best interest (as well as yours that you are pushed to your fullest potential).• You will be given a set number as a print run.• You are often paid an advance for your work. – Please ask questions if you are given this option.
Disadvantages of a Large House• The Acceptance Rate of getting into a Large House is around 1%.• Every year large houses (not just the big six) put out 150,000 books a year.• They are slower to change. – This is a major problem in todays book markets. • This year, e-books outsold Hardcover books for the first time (AAP). – Last year adult e-books brought in $282.3 million in Q1 » A 28.4% increase from the previous year. – YA and Children’s e-books performed even better increasing 233% in one year to $64.3 million in Q1 of 2012. – Q1 hardcovers sold $229.6 million… • That being said, these ‘big six’ are beginning to change their digital platforms.
More Disadvantages of a Large House• What happens when you are picked up by a large house and your numbers are lackluster? – Your books are remaindered and you are likely dropped from that house. – If your books fail to sell, they are pulled from the shelves and your books falls into the abyss *unless you have digital rights in your contract*.• High levels of stress… – In these houses and environments you are expected to create X books a year. If you fail to produce said books, you are dropped.• You are expected to do large amounts of marketing and promotion (and spend your money doing so).• Their contracts are usually in stone. There is very little wiggle room unless you are one of their bestselling authors.
Large Houses: The Numbers• The book’s list price is about 6 times the cost of production. Let’s make it $24.95. – You make $2.49 a copy, but don’t forget your agent (who gets 15% of your cut). So you walk away with $2.12. – The average first print run (for a new author) is 15,000 copies. • From this your agent will get you a 50% advance (or $15,783). • If you sell less than half of your print run, you will end up owing the publisher money. • If your books end up on the “Bargain Table” you make $0.00 royalties. • If your books sell at Costco (or wholesalers) they sell your book at 55% of original price— So instead of making $2.12 you are now only make $1.37• When you publishing in mass market paperbacks your royalty rates are only 6-7% of the cover price (then subtract your agent fee). – So on a book that lists at $7.99 you will make: $0.48 times 15,000 (assuming you sell your full print run)= $7191 and then subtract 15% for agent and you walk away with $6112.35 – Yes, you can get multiple print runs (which is what the large houses want). However, most print runs are not less than 15,000 copies.
Small/Indie Publishers Being a Small Fish in a Large Bowl Vs. A Large Fish in a Small Bowl
What does it take to be acquired by a Small Publisher?• This is the New Frontier and Reality of the publishing market place. – In order to be considered by a large house/agent it is becoming a reality that you must work your way up through the ranks.• To be considered at any house you must present your best work, a great query letter, and a strong synopsis (or a great proposal).
Advantages of a Small Publisher• You don’t need an agent to get into a small publishing house.• The turnaround time in acceptance/rejection is shorter (Varies but approximately 4-8 weeks for an answer). – This is also the case in getting your book onto shelves.• Better royalties.• Strong relationships with your editor.• More attention. You succeed therefore they succeed.
Advantages of Small Publishers• More freedom in your publishing process. – You pick the number of books you want to write in a year. – If you don’t like something you have a little more (not much more) wiggle room in negotiating. (Again, tread softly)• Smaller publishers can be a fantastic way to build your brand as an author.• Use them to get your foot in the publishing door. – Getting published is a tough process. • Expect Rejection. • But know that your odds of getting picked up are much higher by a small press vs. a large house.• They publish varying lengths.• Some will get your book into Paperback, but it is often done as POD.• Your book never goes out of print due to lackluster sales.
Disadvantages of a Small House• There are the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. – Make sure you do your research!• Here today Gone Tomorrow.• Smaller marketing budgets.• You will not make it onto the shelves of the major booksellers.• Usually no advance given to authors.
Small Publishing Houses: The Numbers• On average you will make 30-40% of net royalties.• So, if your book sells for $4.99 on Amazon, your publisher will walk away with 70% or $3.49 of that you make (35%) $1.22.
Budget• How much money do you have to spend?• Marketing• Assistance (research, correspondence, fact- checking, etc.)• Editing• Permissions• Cover Design• ISBN• Formatting• Printing
Marketing• Who are you writing for?• Do you have a “platform”?• How will you and your book “get found”? – In 2010, 328,259 books were published in the US – that’s almost 900 books a DAY• How much time will you devote to marketing daily?• How much $$$$ will you spend on marketing?• ALL marketing falls on you
Distribution• E-book, print or both?• ISBN required?• Copyright• E-book – The Amazon juggernaut? – Smashwords, etc. ?• Print – POD – Print run – Bookstores and returns
Write the Best Book You Can• Write• Re-write• Take classes• Re-write• Get beta readers• Re-write• Read again• Re-write
Professionals• Hire professionals to: – Edit – Design your cover – Format your book • Amazon vs. Smashwords • E-book vs. Print
Upload, Sell, Repeat• Blurbs and reviews• Upload process – What happens when you get kicked out• Kick your marketing into gear• Measure results• Get started on the next book…each book sells the next one and the one before
The Complete Numbers• Let’s say your book is selling at 9.99 at each of the different publishing houses: Type of Publisher Royalty Rates Sales Net Profit Large House 10% (hardback) 15k $12,602.25 Large House 7% (paperback) 15k $6112.35 Small House 35% (e-book only) 15k $36,713.25 Self-Publishing 70% 15k $105,895.00
The Real Numbers• Here is what the numbers actually look like (on average) for the $9.99 book. Publisher Royalty Rate Average Sales Net Profit Large House 10% (Hardback) 10k $8491.50 Large House 7% (Paperback) 10k $5944.05 Small Publisher 35% (e-book) 3k $7342.65 Self-Publishing 70% (e-book) 500 $3496.5
A Word on Contracts• Always talk to a Literary Lawyer. – There are some in Missoula. Their fee is $350 to negotiate your contract. • A Lawyer is not a Literary Agent and a Literary Agent is not a Lawyer. Don’t expect either to do the job of the other.• There are some publishers who will negotiate while others will rescind contracts when you attempt. So PROCEED WITH CAUTION. – Make sure what your fighting for is important enough that if they pull the contract you are okay walking away.
Contracts• Rights that you DO want to negotiate for: – Do not allow a publisher to reserve “First Rights” – Try and retain Non-English/Film/Merchandising Rights• Do NOT allow: – Indefinite contract lengths. • Most contracts are valid for 2-5 years (ending only when a letter is sent to publisher notifying them that you are asking for your rights to be returned).
THANK YOU• For those of you who have come, please feel free to contact me after class if you have questions. • Happy Writing!