Good Reading : Febuary 2009
writers’ life answered your questions So how does it work? Here is a brief run-down on what you can expect when you self-publish, and who it is most suited to. How does self-publishing differ from traditional publishing? When publishing traditionally, the author sends a manuscript to a publishing house, or several publishing houses, for consideration. Once chosen for publication, the publishing house will buy the rights for the book, and generally give the author an advance for the royalties. The publishing house then edits, designs, publishes and markets the work. all the associated costs are taken care of by the publishing firm. Self-publishing companies offer various packages to assist authors to publish their work for a fee. The author must incur all the costs to publish and market their work. However, the self-published author has the potential to profit more on the sale of individual books as the publishing firm doesn’t take a cut. The author also owns the rights to their work. Why self-publish? Self-publishing can be an appealing option for an author in possession of a manuscript they’ve toiled hard to create as it gives them a great amount of control over the publishing process. It is the author’s decision how the book is designed and marketed, as well as the timing of the publication. Some self-publish if they only want a small print run. They may have a family history they would like bound for family members. an author may have written some poetry they would like to give to their nearest and dearest. Self-publishing can be an option for those who want to have their cherished words bound as a keepsake. Others may know their market well, and already have a captive audience who they are assured will buy their work. Who is self-publishing best suited to? People who have a niche market often succeed with self-published books. These are generally non-fiction books with an instructive nature, such as ‘how to’ books. Often people who conduct informative workshops and seminars self-publish books which they are able to sell to their captive audience. This can be quite profitable for those who know their book will sell, and requires little marketing and public relations. fiction requires a great deal more marketing, and therefore money, on the part of the author. However, as in the cases of brunonia barry and Christopher Paolini, the rewards can be substantial. What do self-publishing firms offer? Self-publishing firms offer a range of options and packages. This may include proofing and editing, publishing, printing and marketing, or they may just include a couple of these aspects. Some people are just looking for their book to be printed, and are happy to do the marketing and promotions themselves. Most self-publishing firms are eager to meet the needs of their clients and are generally flexible with their services. It’s best to do your research and shop around for a firm that best suits your needs. 18 goodreading i february 2009 Glossary of terms Author The creator of a piece of work. This may be an individual, a group of people, or even an organisation. ContrACt A legal contract between a publishing house and an author outlines the details of publication. It may include such issues as copyright, rights and royalties. Copyright The legal right an author has over the way their original work is used or reproduced. Every original work is automatically copyrighted to the creator and this is a separate concept to territorial rights (see rightS). DeSigner The person responsible for a book’s layout, structure, sequential format and cover. eDitor The person who works with an author to ensure a manuscript reads coherently and is ready for publication. This may include making changes to content. A proofreader, by contrast, is employed after the work has been edited to detect textual and grammatical errors in a manuscript. ghoSt Writer A ghost writer is employed by an individual to write anonymously. Their work is accredited to the individual who employs them. MArketing This refers to all the activities involved in promoting a book to the public. This may include buying advertising space for the book. print-on-DeMAnD This refers to a type of printing technology that enables books to be printed in very small quantities. publiCity The exposure a book gains. This may be created through ensuring it gets reviewed or distributing media releases about the book. publiSher A publisher manages the publishing process from commissioning and editing to distribution. It is a publisher’s role to make a book available to the public. rightS The rights of a work include where and how the book can be sold by the publisher. Determining which rights are sold to a publisher can be negotiated and are included in a contract. At the time of writing, Australia’s territorial rights are protected. This means that an Australian writer can sell the right to publish his or her work to different publishers in different territories. For example, if you were to buy a copy of the new Colleen McCullough book The Independence of Miss Mary Bennett in Australia, it would be a HarperCollins book. If you bought it in Canada it would be published by a company called MacArthur & Co and in America it would be a Simon & Schuster book. At the present time it is illegal to import an international version of a book and sell it in Australian bookstores if an Australian version exists. The US and UK markets are similarly protected by copyright laws. A productivity commission is currently considering the value of Australia’s laws protecting territorial rights. royAltieS Royalties are the payments authors receive from the sale of their books. This is a percentage of the sale and is negotiated with a publisher prior to publication.
December January 2009