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SNEAK A PEEK 9780986486968 Publish a Book in Canada

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Sneak a peek inside How to Publish a Book in Canada ... and Sell Enough Copies to Make a Profit! | Read the reviews here: http://www.polishedpublishinggroup.com/htpabic.html

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SNEAK A PEEK 9780986486968 Publish a Book in Canada

  1. 1. Sneak a Peek!
  2. 2. Table of Contents Preface . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15 SECTION ONE: THE ECONOMICS OF BOOK PUBLISHING IN CANADA . . . . . . . . . 33 Where to Begin? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34 Ten Questions Aspiring Authors Should Ask Themselves . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34 The Types of Book Publishing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35 Traditional (Trade) Publishing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35 Vanity Publishing (Book Printing for Self-Publishing Authors) . . . . . . . . . 41 Supported Self-Publishing (Assisted Self-Publishing) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 47 Why Would You Want Support in Self-Publishing? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 51 Curatorial Process Comparison . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 55 SECTION TWO: UNDERSTANDING COPYRIGHT IN CANADA . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 63 An Elementary Introduction to Copyright . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 64 What is Copyright? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .64 How Do I Obtain Copyright Ownership of My Work? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 64 How Do I Protect My Copyright? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 64 How Long Does Copyright Last? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 65 Copyright Infringement . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 66 Fair Dealing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 66 Copyright Simplified (Understanding Publishing Contracts) . . . . . . . . . . . . . 66 Sneak a Peek!
  3. 3. Traditional (Trade) Publishing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 67 Vanity Publishing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 67 Supported Self-Publishing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 68 Who Owns the Artwork? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 69 SECTION THREE: BOOK SALES AND MARKETING . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 71 Are You the Best or Are You the Best Price? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 72 When to Sell Based on Quality, Not Price . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 73 How to Price an eBook . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .77 Sell the Benefits of Your Book–Not the Features . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 79 Have Your Elevator Pitch Ready to Recite at a Moment’s Notice . . . . . . . . 81 Include a Call to Action in All Your Marketing Materials . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 82 Traditional Sales Techniques . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 82 Media Tours . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 83 Book Signings . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 84 Book Launches . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 85 Community Craft Fairs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 86 Christmas and Farmers Markets . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 87 “Think Outside the Bookstore” and Get Inside Other Retail Outlets . . . . . 90 What Constitutes a Bestseller in Canada? How Do I Become a Canadian Bestseller? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 92 Online Sales Techniques . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 96 Blogging for SEO: Search Engine Optimization . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 96 Online Articles (Online “Advertorials”) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 97 Blog Entries . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 98 Blogging is Word-of-Mouth Advertising on Steroids! . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 99 Increase Online Traffic by Ten Times in One Month Using Social Media . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 100 Create a Facebook Author Page to Promote Yourself and Your Books . . . . 102 Be Sure to Tweet Your Author Events on Twitter . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 103 Build a Strong Network on LinkedIn . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 104 Sell More Books Using Eventbrite . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 104 Sneak a Peek!
  4. 4. Post a Video Reading on YouTube . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 105 Pay-per-click Advertising Campaigns . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 107 SECTION FOUR: THE MODERN BOOK PUBLISHING PROCESS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 111 Book Publishing from Conception to Publication . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 112 Supplies You Will Require . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 112 Writing Your Book . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 113 Three Great Tips for Overcoming Writer’s Block . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 113 Working with a Ghostwriter to Write a Book . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 115 Protecting Your Copyright . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 117 Obtaining a Publishing Quote: Choosing Your Book Publishing Package . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 117 What Is the Total, Final Word-count of Your Manuscript? . . . . . . . . . . 118 How many graphics will be included in the interior of your book? How about the cover? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 118 Will Your Book’s Interior Be Colour or Black and White? . . . . . . . . . . . 119 What Trim Size Will Your Book Be? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 119 Submitting Your Manuscript . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 120 How to Format the Manuscript (Word) File . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 120 How to Format all Associated Graphic Files . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 121 How to Send Further Important Instructions to the Editor, Proofreader, and Designer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 122 ISBN Numbers, Barcodes, and Legal Deposits . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 123 Copyright Page . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 123 Publishing Agreements . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 123 Professional Editing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 123 Why Even the Best Writers Use Professional Copy Editors . . . . . . . . . . 124 Working With a Copy Editor to Polish a Book . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 125 Professional Graphic Design . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 127 Browse a Bookstore to See What You Like . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 127 Interior Design . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 128 Cover Design . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 131 Sneak a Peek!
  5. 5. Author Proofing Rounds . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 135 PPG’s Graphic Design Style Guide . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 135 Fact checking and Indexing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 136 Professional Proofreading . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 137 How to Price a Paperback Book: Setting Your Retail Price . . . . . . . . . . . . 138 Who’s Printing Your Book for You? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 139 Who’s Selling Your Book for You? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 141 How Many Copies Do I Have to Sell to Make a Profit? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 143 Complimentary & Promotional Copies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 146 Review Copies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 146 Library Copies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 146 Distribution . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 147 North American Distribution Channels . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 147 United Kingdom Distribution Channels . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 147 Online Purchases of PPG Paperback Books . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 147 Online Purchases of PPG eBooks . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 148 Royalties . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 148 SECTION FIVE: MODERN BOOK PRINTING AND NON-PRINTING OPTIONS . . . 149 An Elementary Introduction to Printing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 150 eBooks . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 150 Print-on-Demand (POD) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 151 Digital Printing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 152 Offset Printing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 153 SECTION SIX: FINAL WORDS OF ADVICE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 155 Authors Are Entrepreneurs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 156 Your Book Will Never Be Good Enough for You: Learning When to Let Go . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 157 When to Write? When to Sell? How to Get It All Done? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 159 Handling Criticism . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 161 Sneak a Peek!
  6. 6. Author Mastermind Groups . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 162 Bibliography . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 163 Index . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 167 About The Author . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 173 “The Land of Lollipops” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 175 Sneak a Peek!
  7. 7. SECTION ONE: The Economics of Book Publishing In Canada{ { “The economic race should not be arranged so that everyone ends at the finish line at the same time, but so that everyone starts at the starting line at the same time . . . . The society that puts equality before freedom winds up with neither, but the society that puts freedom before equality will end up with a great measure of both.” ~Dr. Milton Friedman as quoted by Arnold Schwarzenegger in his introduction to the 1990 PBS documentary, Free to Choose (Schwartzenegger, 1990) 33 Sneak a Peek!
  8. 8. 9. Do I want to keep 100 percent copyright ownership of my story (words)? 10. Do I want to keep 100 percent copyright ownership of my book cover? After deciding which of these points is most important, the next step is to prioritize those choices. For example, the authors who value both recognition and profit should now decide which of those is most important and put it at the top. From there, move down the list and compare the remaining points until a personal hierarchy of values has been created. Now it’s time to look at the various book publishing business models and see which one best matches that personal list of needs. THE TYPES OF BOOK PUBLISHING There are three primary book publishing business models for Canadians to choose from, whether they wish to produce an electronic book (eBook), paperback, or hardcover book: (a) traditional (trade) publishing (literary book publishers such as the one I worked for, fall into this category); (b) vanity publishing (which is basically book production for self-publishing authors); and (c) supported self-publishing (also sometimes referred to as assisted self-publishing or hybrid publishing). Each of these business models has its pros and its cons. In order to determine which business model is best for you (for your particular book project, for your personal hierarchy of values), it is important to understand the characteristics that differentiate trade publishers from vanity publishers from supportive self- publishing companies. Traditional (Trade) Publishing Many writers still envision this process when they consider having a book published: seeking out a Canadian trade publisher that will consider their type of work; mailing a query letter and sample chapter or poem to that publisher with a self-addressed stamped envelope attached; and then Section One: The Economics of Publishing in Canada 35 Sneak a Peek!
  9. 9. anxiously awaiting a response, within three to six months, as to whether or not the publisher will take on the project. More often than not, the unknown author’s work is declined; and he or she must move onto the next submission with the next trade publisher in the hopes the book will eventually be accepted. Sound familiar? Those new to the book publishing industry often view this as a personal rejection of their work. Many give up hope of ever being published at all. The truth is, writing quality is far from being the only determinant that trade publishers use when deciding whether to accept a manuscript for publication. Most receive hundreds (even thousands) of manuscript submissions each and every year from which they select fewer than one dozen new authors to work with—a discriminatingly low acceptance rate. Obviously, budget and manpower play a huge role in their decisions (as it certainly did at the press where I worked for three years), but one must also consider that many of Canada’s literary presses, in particular, are funded by operating grants. These government grants contain strict guidelines as to what types of work they can or cannot publish. As a result, these publishers’ hands are sometimes tied, and otherwise gifted writers may be overlooked. Canada’s trade publishers are academic scholars who are looking for books with a strong literary merit. They want the scholastic novels and poetry, and the government grants that sustain them encourage them to accept more Canadiana than anything else. So, you may have written an exciting non-fiction account of your adventures in an African jungle that you know people would love to read; or you may be a subject matter expert who has written an informative “how to” book that could help hundreds of people succeed in your area of expertise. You might want to celebrate a professional milestone by publishing a business history book. You may have penned a cathartic account of a traumatic event that you wish to share with others to help them through something similar; or you may have written a cookbook or a children’s book or any number of different things that fall outside the realm of academia. The chances are, these types of books simply won’t fit with a traditional publisher’s program, nor the requirements set out by their How to Publish a Book in Canada 36 Sneak a Peek!
  10. 10. grant provider(s). You’ll be rejected as a result—despite your acceptable writing abilities and saleable idea. I’ve always found this kind of a shame. There are so many different people in this country with so many different reasons for picking up a book. As I mentioned earlier, I’ve always preferred reading non-fiction biographies, autobiographies, and “how to” types of books myself. It seems to me Canada’s trade publishers would benefit from opening up the scope of their programs a bit wider—from recognizing that very few Canadians read Canadian-focused literature and poetry alone. Not only would this help launch the careers of some of our country’s up-and-coming authors who are currently seeking publishing opportunities in the United States after one too many rejections at home, but it might also generate new revenue streams for the publishing houses themselves. Unfortunately, our trade- publishing sector and its various players appear to be stubbornly set in their traditional ways. One established practice that causes some of the biggest financial burdens for these publishers is the bookstore return policy mentioned earlier on. Another is their heavy reliance on government grants to support their businesses. In “Time to Lead: The Shaky State of Canadian Book Publishing”, Anna Porter (2011) sums up the prevalent mindset I can vividly recall from my days at the literary press. On the one hand, she declared, “I’ve needed both [endurance and patience] to endure people who believe that the publishing business in Canada needs less government and more incentives for foreign investment.” Then, on the other hand, very soon after, she somewhat contradicted herself when going on to complain, “Our government has tried to keep the locals going by providing modest subsidies . . . . but they’ve served the purpose of keeping book publishers working at subsistence-level pay, employing people at equally ridiculous wages, and paying taxes for the privilege.” And what is the obvious repercussion of this chiefly socialistic mindset? Porter inadvertently nails it right on the head when she laments that it’s Section One: The Economics of Publishing in Canada 37 Sneak a Peek!
  11. 11. “hard for local publishers to get lines of credit so they can compete with foreign publishers when they try to retain those few very successful authors by paying them what they deserve.” The fact is this: if you’re unable to pay your best authors the proper royalties they deserve because you lack the necessary resources to do so, then they’re going to leave you for greener pastures. Of course, they would! For whatever reason, many in Canada’s traditional publishing sector seem to take the idealization of the proverbial starving artist a little too far. On the one hand, Porter openly deplores the poverty-level pay that is so common in this industry; but, on the other hand, she seems to wear it like some kind of badge of honour: “Fortunately, there are people in this country who value what they contribute to our lives above what they take out of the economy. (That, I hope, answers the question a distinguished lawyer once asked me: If that’s all you make in a year, why don’t you change professions?).” I personally find this perplexing. When and why did it become so noble to be broke in this industry—to remain broke over the long term despite putting hours and hours of hard work, blood, sweat, and tears into one’s passion? Aren’t starving artists supposed to eventually rise up to achieve mainstream success for all their efforts? Isn’t that the whole point of their initial sacrifice—of choosing their art over the standard nine-to-five job the majority of people settle for? Also, why can’t you earn a decent profit while contributing to society simultaneously? In fact, isn’t it that much easier to be a significant contributor to society when you actually have enough income coming in to allow you to give something significant back? Porter closes her article saying, “The real question is: What kind of government policies do we need to keep our vital publishing houses functioning?” That brings to mind another question or two of my own: Wouldn’t we all be better served if our focus was on finding new revenue streams and better ways of doing business rather than harping on who’s getting better government subsidies than whom? Instead of placing blame on others and relying so heavily on social assistance to keep afloat, isn’t it always much more effective, in the long run, to take responsibility and How to Publish a Book in Canada 38 Sneak a Peek!
  12. 12. control over one’s own destiny? The fact is, you’re either an entrepreneur in business or you’re a victim; it’s impossible to be both at the same time. And if you want to make any kind of a profit selling books, you need to be an entrepreneur. When you stop to really think about it, deep down you know that’s the truth—harsh as it may sound at first. Authors whose work is accepted and published by trade book publishers obviously enjoy the lowest personal risk in terms of financial investment: $0. In fact, many people (myself included) often start out submitting their books to these publishers simply because it’s free of charge and appears, at first glance, to be the best road toward success as a Canadian author. In this business model, the publisher assumes all financial responsibility and risk. Sounds like a great deal for the author, doesn’t it? Yes and no. Here’s the trade-off. Trade publishers don’t pick up the bill simply out of the kindness of their hearts. When they agree to pay for the publication of a manuscript, what they are purchasing is the copyright ownership of that work (whether permanently or temporarily, it varies per contract). In other words, the writer must now relinquish much of his or her creative control over to the publisher. The publisher has final say on editing and design. The publisher has final say on how the book is to be produced and marketed—because it is the publisher who now owns the book. Take a look at the copyright page of any book you pick up in the bookstore. Is the publisher’s name listed there or the author’s name? Whoever’s name is listed on that page is usually the primary copyright owner of that book. In terms of profits, trade authors retain only basic “publishing rights” that recognize them as the creator of the written words, and they are paid only a small royalty for any sales made by the publisher—often as low as ten percent of the retail price of the book. (This percentage will vary with each contract.) As the owner of the book, the publisher keeps all remaining profits. To put this into perspective, let’s say a book is priced at $15 per copy retail. Ten per cent of that is only $1.50. Even if the publisher is able to sell 1,000 copies of the book in one year, the author will only earn $1,500 in royalties that year. Section One: The Economics of Publishing in Canada 39 Sneak a Peek!
  13. 13. It makes much more sense for authors to approach this with an entrepreneurial mindset: buy copies of their books back from that publisher at a wholesale price of $7.50 each and then try to sell them all direct themselves. Even though they won’t earn royalties on these wholesale author copies, they will still stand to earn more per unit if they sell them at full price without a middleman between them and their buyer. Make sense? (Even with a middleman, like a bookstore or retail outlet, the author still stands to earn more per unit by selling their own wholesale copies.) For those who balk at the idea of self-promotion because they believe it is their publisher’s sole responsibility to promote their books on their behalf—and that all traditional publishers will take care of it for them all the time—think again. Even the Association of Canadian Publishers (2013) will tell you otherwise: “Many publishers have a publicity department that will handle this while the book is on the front list. However, once the next season is published, or you have published the book on your own, the job of getting publicity exposure for the book falls to the authors themselves.” In addition to the loss of copyright ownership, zero free professional sales support, and minimal free marketing and publicity, another potential disadvantage to this type of book publishing is the timeline. It can take anywhere from three months to a year for authors to learn whether or not their manuscripts have been accepted for publication; and, if accepted, it can take another full year for their books to be published—sometimes more. It takes a long time to cultivate the gold standard in literary book publishing. Trade publishers put each and every manuscript through a very thorough and professional process of substantive and stylistic editing, copy editing, graphic design, and proofreading to ensure a polished and saleable end result. There are several eyes on every raw manuscript and galley proof all the way through the process to ensure that ninety-nine percent of every last error is caught and corrected before it goes to print. For those who regard recognition and limited financial risk above all else in their personal hierarchy of values, and whose manuscripts fit well with How to Publish a Book in Canada 40 Sneak a Peek!
  14. 14. a traditional publisher’s program, then the trade book publishing route may be the right one to take. There is definitely something special about receiving a letter of acceptance in the mail from a respected scholarly person that says, “You are one of very few people chosen for our publishing line-up this year. We want to work with you.” This is also probably the best road to take for those whose personal beliefs are more closely matched with pure socialism than capitalism. It will feel more comfortable to you in your heart of hearts. For those with different priorities—quick turn-around, personal satisfaction, profit, maintained copyright ownership and creative control, professional saleability—then there are other book publishing business models to consider. There are other choices available. Vanity Publishing (Book Printing for Self-Publishing Authors) The vanity book-publishing model was introduced as the capitalistic alternative for writers who were tired of waiting around to be accepted by a traditional book publisher and had decided to self-publish themselves instead. As noble as the vanity publishers’ intentions may be (to provide another viable alternative to aspiring Canadian authors), they are the least respected book publishing alternative of them all within publishing circles (i.e., traditional publishers, reviewers, booksellers, and distributors)— and with good reason. These companies are more aptly described as book printers than publishers, and they’ve earned their notoriety by accepting and printing 100 percent of the manuscripts that are submitted to them without much consideration to quality or content—the opposite extreme of trade publishing. A vanity publisher will take what they receive and print it as is, no matter what it looks like. Not only does this reflect poorly on them as a service provider, but it also reflects poorly on the writer. Books that are haphazardly produced in this manner simply cannot compete in the marketplace against a professional trade publisher’s finished product. There is a noticeable difference between the two. Section One: The Economics of Publishing in Canada 41 Sneak a Peek!
  15. 15. Some of these companies run a “self-service” type of operation that allows self-publishers to upload their book files online (or via email) and then draft them into either eBooks or various other formats themselves using a selection of generic template builders. Other vanity publishers are actual print shops with in-house design staff that will take your raw materials (manuscript, graphics, et cetera) and do all that formatting and typesetting for you—a slightly more professional approach. However, at the end of the day, they all share one commonality: although their staff may be fairly knowledgeable about printing and electronic file formatting, they are wholly unseasoned when it comes to the essential publishing practices (such as professional editing, graphic design, and proofreading) that ensure the polished end result every serious author is after. Vanity publishers never actively encourage their clients to improve the quality of their work in any way, and this is truly a disservice to the serious-minded authors who wish to present themselves to the public as professionals and experts within their fields. Another issue with today’s vanity publishers is that the majority are either located in the United States or else they’ve cast their Canadian nets so wide that they’re catering more to the American marketplace than their home turf in an effort to increase their profits (i.e., authors end up paying for their publishing services in US dollars which costs them more in the long run). Yet, perhaps the biggest problem Canadians face when publishing through an American-based publisher is that most of these companies assign American ISBN numbers and barcodes to their books. This puts Canadians in limbo in the sense that their books are not properly recognized by Legal Deposit at Library and Archives Canada (LAC) as they should be. So why would any Canadian want to be properly recognized by this organization? “Providing a publication to Legal Deposit at Library and Archives Canada (LAC) ensures its permanent preservation for present and future generations” (Library and Archives Canada, 2013). It’s about your legacy as a Canadian author, and that’s important. All the professional Canadian trade publishers do it; and self-publishers should be doing it, too. How to Publish a Book in Canada 42 Sneak a Peek!
  16. 16. Most vanity publishers advertise that the authors who work with them will retain 100 percent copyright ownership of their books; however, they neglect to mention that the print-ready files for those books will be kept “under lock and key,” inaccessible to those authors. In other words, they retain the copyright ownership of the artwork they created for the author (e.g., the book cover). This means those authors must always go through them to have all their marketing materials and books printed; and, because most of these publishers use only print-on-demand (POD) printing technology, those authors stand to lose money on the larger print runs that really should be completed on either a digital or offset press designed specifically for larger print runs. (These types of printing options are described in more detail later on in this book.) It costs money to print a book. That’s why many vanity publishers want to keep your files to ensure that you will always print through them—because that’s how they make their profit. They are printers first, after all. So that’s really all you’re paying for when you pre-pay the publishing package you found online that sounded something like this: “Publish your book in 30 days for as little as $799!” That price excludes professional editing, graphic design, and proofreading which is why it’s so cheap and can be completed so quickly. It is the bare bones minimum they can charge to entice you to print your book with them while still taking home a profit for themselves. Everything else is up to you when you choose this unsupported self-publishing route to produce your book. Most vanity publishers will offer different sizes of publishing packages with additional add-on services that will cost a little more for those who are interested: editorial evaluations, social media marketing tips, inclusion of your book title on their next media release, et cetera. Yet, what good is any of this unless you’re dealing with staff that is properly trained to provide you with a professional editorial evaluation, can actually teach you professional sales techniques using social media, and can put a saleable product into your hands at the end of it all? I’ll come right out and say it: Section One: The Economics of Publishing in Canada 43 Sneak a Peek!
  17. 17. it’s worth very little to you, if anything at all. The vanity publisher is the only one truly benefitting from these additional revenue streams—which rather defeats the purpose from the author’s standpoint, don’t you think? There’s another disadvantage to this book publishing business model for any aspiring authors out there who may have considered obtaining a government grant to help cover your costs. You won’t get one if you go the vanity route to produce your book. In fact, no non-traditional publisher of any kind can qualify using our current government standards. The leading national government bodies that offer writing and publishing grants to Canadians have very strict guidelines as to what types of projects they will support, and the provincial bodies tend to follow their lead. The Canada Council for the Arts “The Canada Council for the Arts offers a range of grants for professional Canadian writers, collectives and publishers. In addition to providing support for the creation, translation, publication and promotion of Canadian literature, the Writing and Publishing Section funds author residencies, literary readings and festivals, as well as new areas of activity such as rap poetry, storytelling and electronic literature.” (Canada Council for the Arts, 2013) When asked for clarification as to what types of projects might qualify for this assistance, the program officer of the Writing and Publishing Section with the Canada Council for the Arts stated that all self-published works are ineligible. “It’s about the curatorial process,” I was told. Only work that is paid for by a traditional Canadian publisher that is recognized by the Canada Council and Canadian Heritage will qualify for a grant. Authors who pay to have their own work produced—even if they’ve put themselves through the same professional editing, design, and proofreading process as a traditional publisher would put them through—are automatically disqualified for financial support. How to Publish a Book in Canada 44 Sneak a Peek!
  18. 18. Canadian Heritage “Canadian Heritage is responsible for national policies and programs that promote Canadian content, foster cultural participation, active citizenship and participation in Canada’s civic life, and strengthen connections among Canadians” (Canadian Heritage, 2013d). These programs and policies are broken down into a number of different topics or branches of concern, and support for book publishers falls under the Arts and Cultural Industries subsection aptly titled “Books” where one can find details regarding the Canada Book Fund. “The principal objective of the Canada Book Fund is to ensure access to a diverse range of Canadian-authored books in Canada and abroad. The program seeks to achieve this objective by fostering a viable Canadian book industry that publishes and markets Canadian-authored books” (Canadian Heritage, 2013c). The Canada Book Fund offers financial assistance (operating grants) to publishers and organizations only—not to individual writers themselves. Also,ofthepublisherswhomightqualifyforagrant,“Onlybookpublishing firms are eligible for Publishing support or Business development support. At the time of application, the applicant must have completed at least 36 months of operation as a book publisher” (Canadian Heritage, 2013b). Book publishing firms are specifically described as companies involved in the “professional activity involvingthe selection, development and editing of manuscripts; contractual agreements with authors or copyright holders; production and marketing of printed books under the firm’s imprint; and the assumption of the risks associated with these activities” (Canadian Heritage, 2013a) In other words, any printers and publishers whose business model falls outside the traditional Canadian book publishing model (by charging publishing fees to their authors) are automatically disqualified for financial support. You won’t receive financial support or charity of any kind from a vanity publisher, either. This book publishing business model is pure capitalism Section One: The Economics of Publishing in Canada 45 Sneak a Peek!
  19. 19. at its heart. They are in it to make money producing high volumes of books, plain and simple. One upside to the vanity-publishing model is its timeline. Manuscripts are accepted immediately upon receipt of payment and can be printed in as little as one or two months’ time. Another advantage is that these printers pay a significantly higher royalty rate than trade publishers do on any copies of the book they’re able to sell on behalf of the author. Of course, just as it is in the traditional book-publishing model, authors can also purchase copies of their books at wholesale prices and sell them on their own for the best profit margin of all. One final, notable benefit to this book publishing model is that, because authors maintain primary copyright ownership of their books (their words, at least), they reserve the right to sell off additional rights for additional profit down the road. This is where the real money is—in the sale of rights. (Copyright and the sale of rights will be described in more detail later on in this book.) The majority of vanity publishers I’ve come across during my career follow the same bookstore return policy as the traditional publishers do out of the unfounded fear that bookstores won’t buy non-returnable books. (Yes, they will buy what is saleable, what their customers specifically request from them—if only one book at a time.) Yet, some others have come to see it differently and will allow their authors to make that choice for themselves. Unlike trade publishers who divide their books up into front list and back list selections with each new publishing round, and who tend to produce only their latest front list in the spring or the fall, vanity published books can be produced at any time of the year. It’s always and only a front list book. For those who are publishing their book solely for personal gratification and need it completed fairly quickly, then the vanity book publishing route is probably the best one to take. This is a great option for family history books, special scrapbooks intended as gifts for loved ones, and other non-commercial projects such as these. For those with different priorities—profit, maintained copyright ownership How to Publish a Book in Canada 46 Sneak a Peek!
  20. 20. and creative control, professional saleability—then there is another book publishing business model to consider. There is yet another choice available. Supported Self-Publishing (Assisted Self-Publishing) Supported self-publishing incorporates the flexibility and copyright retention of vanity publishing with the professional quality of trade publishing. It delicately combines capitalism (free enterprise, profit) with utopian socialism (voluntary charitable giving) to provide Canadian authors with a much more balanced approach to book publishing. Balance is better because it arms authors with all the tools they will need to sell enough copies of their books to earn a profit. Think of a supportive self-publishing house as a skilled project manager for self-publishing authors. Writers are considered both the author and the publisher of their books because they are recognized as the creator of the written words plus they pay for the production of the book while retaining 100 percent copyright ownership of both their words and their completed artwork. The supportive self-publishing house merely assists them in producing a polished end result by supplying all the tools they will need (contracts with professional editors, designers, proofreaders, and indexers, et cetera) and facilitating the entire process from start to finish. Professional copy editing, graphic design, and proofreading is mandatory in this book publishing business model just as it is in the traditional model. A qualified supportive self-publishing house will employ only high caliber talent (referred to as professional work-made-for-hire vendors in each of the contracts) with at least five years’ experience in their fields—preferably more—that are pre-screened and approved by the publishing company rather than its authors. When it comes to non-fiction books, professional indexing is also mandatory; and it is highly recommended that authors employ additional fact-checking services to ensure the accuracy of their statements. Supportive self-publishing houses use modern printing techniques such as POD and modern marketing and distribution services (online presence) Section One: The Economics of Publishing in Canada 47 Sneak a Peek!
  21. 21. in much the same way today’s vanity publishers do. However, an added bonus is that all finished files are returned to authors once publication is complete, in case they wish to print larger quantities of their books on a digital or offset press and sell them in traditional markets. The company will recommend printers to its authors and help them to write the first one or two quote requests to put them on the right track for future reference. When writers pay for professional support in self-publishing their books, they gladly maintain a strong degree of creative control throughout the publishing process. The author–self-publisher has final say on everything from editing and design to production and marketing of the final product. This, combined with all the other services, ensures a quality result that is able to compete in the marketplace—which can make a world of difference when it comes to selling books and earning any kind of profit down the road. As a supportive self-publishing house with its authors’ best interests in mind, Polished Publishing Group (PPG) marks all the books it sells on their behalves as non-returnable. For the authors who wish to print copies of their books and offer them as returnable to the bookstores themselves, they can; although, it is worth noting that, for new (unknown) authors in particular, often the consignment route is a better one to take. (The bookstore return policy and consignment option will be described in more detail in the Sales and Marketing section of this book.) Unlike trade publishers who divide their books up into front list and back list selections with each new publishing round in the spring and fall, the supportive self-publishing business model allows authors to produce books at any time of the year much like the vanity publishers do. The biggest benefit here is obvious: as long as you’re still actively selling your book, it’s still a front list title for you, isn’t it? Front list books sell. It’s all in the marketing, all in the presentation. A supportive self-publishing house will accept and publish the majority of manuscripts handed to it upon receipt of 100 percent prepayment for the project, but there are books that will automatically be declined. If it is How to Publish a Book in Canada 48 Sneak a Peek!
  22. 22. an obviously non-commercial project (such as a family history book) or it is obviously riddled with all kinds of typos and errors, it will be declined. No company can be everything to everyone, and this is not the publishing business model for those types of projects. Supported self-publishing is intended for authors with an entrepreneurial mindset who wish to earn a profit from the commercial sale of their books. Why 100 percent prepayment? There are three very good reasons for this. 1. The publisher has to secure each professional vendor (entrepreneurs in their own rights) for each project with a 50 percent deposit before any of the work can even begin. 2. The additional money is held to ensure funds are always available for the little issues that may come up with regard to shipping and administration, and so vendors can be paid in full immediately upon completing their portions of the project. 3. Possibly most importantly of all, this payment is an author’s commitment to himself or herself. Many authors have already procrastinated on publishing their books for several months or years as it is. It’s amazing how 100 percent prepayment of a book publishing package will suddenly motivate them to get it done, once and for all, rather than completing one section only to procrastinate some more. The publisher of PPG understands the nature of authors—because she was an author first before she ever became a publisher. As such, every last detail of PPG’s publishing process was perfected with the nature of authors in mind. It will cost authors more than “as little as $799!” to publish a book via the supported self-publishing business model because authors are paying for more than simply printing. It will also take more than “only 30 days!” to put their books through the proper, full publishing process that will polish it to ninety-nine percent perfection for them. On the plus side, it will take far less time than it takes through a traditional publisher (expect a minimum Section One: The Economics of Publishing in Canada 49 Sneak a Peek!
  23. 23. of three and a half months to complete one project from the time all the proper files, the contract, and the prepayment has been received). You might also be pleasantly surprised by just how affordable it really is when you browse the PPG online store (Polished Publishing Group, 2013b). Another upside is that supportive self-publishing houses pay a significantly higher royalty rate than trade publishers do on any copies of the book they’re able to sell on behalf of the author—up to 40 percent of all profits earned on the sale of the book (Polished Publishing Group, 2013c). So, as it is with every other publishing model, authors can purchase copies of their books straight from their publisher at wholesale prices to sell on their own. There are five additional advantages to the Canadian supportive self-publishing business model employed by PPG: 1. Canadian ISBN numbers: PPG will put the author–self-publisher’s primary contact information on each book’s Canadian ISBN application form to ensure the ISBN number is linked to the true copyright owner of the book—the author–self-publisher. 2. Canadian-tailored payment options: All transactions that are completed through the PPG Online Store are done in Canadian funds, thereby removing the hassles and extra fees associated with exchange rates. The total price our Canadian authors see on their online store orders is the actual total they will pay, and nothing more. 3. Author-tailored printing options: When authors choose PPG to support them in self-publishing, not only will they retain the copyright ownership of their books, but PPG will also give the final print-ready files to the rightful owner—the author– self-publisher. This means that, at any time authors decide to print larger runs (100+ physical copies) of their books to warehouse and distribute on their own, they can feel free to shop around for the best deal (whether it is the best price or the best service they’re after) with all the printers in their area. For How to Publish a Book in Canada 50 Sneak a Peek!
  24. 24. convenience, PPG offers a handy, ECO-friendly POD service for all small orders, which also allows authors to take advantage of PPG’s online distribution services. 4. Modern ECO-friendly, affordable book publishing options: PPG operates in a paperless, virtual office environment. The company’s publishing processes are completely electronic which boosts productivity and makes information sharing much easier and much more affordable from any location anywhere in the country with Internet access. 5. Charitable giving to Canadians: It is as important to lend others a helping hand once in a while as it is to help oneself, and PPG pledges to donate a minimum of 10 percent of its net profits each fiscal year in the form of a variety of publishing and/or writing grants toward supportive self-publishing package(s) for aspiring Canadian authors. Yet, that’s not all. We want to give back to the Canadian economy as a whole; so, rather than keeping all the tax benefits of this type of donation to ourselves, 20 percent of what we give will be divvied up among our paying Canadian authors (from that same fiscal year) as charitable donation and business expense receipts they can use against their own Canadian taxes. Obviously, the amount we give will grow as we grow, and the recipient qualifications will be determined and modified along the way. For now, in our fourth year in business, we are offering a $5,000 publishing grant in the form of a contest that is free and easy to enter for any aspiring Canadian author over the age of eighteen. Please refer to our Facebook page for details (Polished Publishing Group, 2013a). Why Would You Want Support in Self-Publishing? There are a lot of great reasons why you should choose supported self-publishing ahead of going it alone with a vanity publisher–printer, Section One: The Economics of Publishing in Canada 51 Sneak a Peek!
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