A Learning Process

So many have thoughts of “making it big” when they think about writing a book. We see people like Steven King, Dr. Phil, and John Hagee, with dozens of books published and raking in the big dough, but that isn’t how it works with those of us with no “Title” behind our name. Those people have agents that represent them and even some well known authors may have “ghost writers.” Don’t hold me to that statement as the Gospel but I have seen a couple that finally admitted it.

Many publishers will not take unknown authors and sadly many bookstores will not carry our books due to that fact, we’re unknown. Their bottom line financially is uppermost in many bookstores, and in a way I guess I can’t blame them but it sure plays havoc with us little guys.

Here’s how all of this works. We write our story and start searching for a publisher. As stated before, the big publishers won’t accept your manuscript unless its presented through an agent, and the agent gets a percentage when/if your book sells.

Your manuscript is accepted and the publisher sends you a contract. Read it! Especially the small print if there is any. Understand it! It will tell you exactly what services they will render. Will you get free books, a trailer video, what about an e-book, do they publicize your book on Amazon, Books A Million, etc? Do they do the copyright work, do they use tinplate’s or have their own art designer? Most importantly, do you get to approve of any and all changes made within the contents, and do you get to choose the cover design?

If they are given free reign as to the contents you don’t want them! Your story will be changed to their liking and can end up totally different from what you wrote. I have one book published that they chose the cover design and there was nothing I could do about it. Being the area of the country where they are located, I have a Catholic cover! It is nothing like what I wanted and there’s nothing I can do!

Once you sign the contract and pay the publishing fee, ohhhh yes, you are going to fork out money to get your book published! It is not cheap! Various self-publishers have various priced packages. Others have basically a flat rate or a fee based on the number of pages of your book. One publisher I used didn’t charge a fee and regretfully I know why! “You get what you pay for” is absolutely true and the entire process was a disaster and a huge fight. They left out 30+ pages as a starter. Beware!

I always, hear that, Always, go with a publisher that advertises as a Christian Publisher because I write Christian books. I read the comments others have made to see if this publisher truly is a Christian Publisher and the experiences others have had in working with them. I’ve witnessed too many authors that say they’re “Christians” and open their book to see filth! A Christian Publisher states clearly what they will and will not accept.

The Publisher gets a percentage of the sale price of your book. That percentage is stated in the contract. One way the sale price is determined is by the number of pages in your book once it has been formatted.

The bookstore, or place you do a book signing, will get a percentage of the sales price.

You get the left-overs. Believe it or not, I received a royalty check (my percentage) for 34 cents on a $24.99 priced book! The used books sell for much less and you get the crumbs.

The only way you get 100% of a sales price is if you sell the book yourself. And you do have to buy your books – usually at a discounted author’s price.

I hope I haven’t burst the “get rich” bubble but as I stated early on, I’m being very honest and transparent. The sense of accomplishment, the hard work put into our “babies” is well worth it in my opinion. In my case, when I get discouraged if a book isn’t selling particularly well the Lord reminds me, “You’re planting seeds.”

Don’t leave yet, happier times are coming.







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