How Book Publishing Works

We realized that there are so many questions by first time authors concerning the publishing industry so we have posted some of the articles we have written concerning the most asked questions. Feel free to browse the articles for a candid insight to a very complex and sometimes “defying good sense” business.

Articles About Publishing

I Know What I Want; Why Don’t I Self-Publish?

Reality Checks in Book Publishing

Legacy Publishing’s Ten “Best-Kept Secrets” that
New York Publishing Houses Don’t Want You to Know!

I Know What I Want; Why Don’t I Self-Publish?

With self-publishing, it sounds like you have more control, but in reality, you have too much control. The book publishing process is complex, and most new authors do not have the needed expertise to effectively publish and market their own books, profitably, in the current publishing industry.

Now perhaps you’re thinking, “It doesn’t take much to put a cover on a book” or “I’ll just do my own research.” We have found that while the self-publishing books and manuals currently on the market can be an excellent source for names and addresses of vendors to contact, those vendors have no time or inclination to properly guide you on how to make your book professionally appealing or successful. Could a book even teach you the skill behind cover design? Do you know how to match the cover to the contents inside graphically? Do you know how to intrigue the buyer? Do you know which two colors to avoid using when designing your cover?

Unless you are experienced in the world of publishing, it is unlikely that you will have the knowledge to decide on difficult industry-related decisions. To properly publish a book, you must prepare the manuscript editorially, design and produce the book, register the book with all of the appropriate databases, get competent book reviewers, prepare proper press releases and gain media attention, and market your book to distributors, wholesalers, booksellers and the retail demographic. It is nearly impossible for a first time author to see his way down the self-publishing path without inadvertently missing large opportunities for sales or unknowing making mistakes that hinder book sales. For example, the following are some basic questions you’ll have to answer to publish your book: Do you know where to get the best wholesale prices for printing of your books? Do you have any contacts with distributors and/or wholesalers to make your books available in bookstores? Do you have 10 or more titles in print to help you get the best rates with vendors in the book industry? Do you know the things book stores look for to eliminate self-published books?

The “Print on Demand” concept was developed to eliminate costly inventory of books waiting to be sold. The premise is sound as it leaves more money available for marketing by either the author or publisher; unfortunately, the quality is not of the same standard as offset printing. You must not mistake a publisher, who deals in all facets of the publishing process, for a printer whose main area of expertise is printing a book. At Legacy Publishing, our 18 years in the publishing industry and familiarity with affiliated companies will give you the same benefits as if you had published that many books by yourself!

Since “Print on Demand” is generally less concerned with designing covers and interior layout and assisting with marketing and promotion of the book, the author does not receive the same quality and services as he would with a true publisher that has a vested interest in selling large quantities of books. Their main focus appears to be printing for the author as requested. A “Print on Demand” publisher will offer the author services such as page layout and cover design but the company may only have a few generic cover designs for the author to choose from. Also, as they generally spend little time on the interior layout, it may look unprofessional and of sub-standard quality.

In researching “Print on Demand,” we have also found that these “publishers” charge the author for all set-up fees to produce the book, but do not provide the author with any books to recoup this initial investment. When it is time for the author to purchase books from them at wholesale prices to sell at the retail level, the wholesale price is extremely inflated. The increased wholesale price creates an over-inflated retail price which will be more than the market will bear, and will make the book difficult to sell.

At Legacy Publishing, we work closely with our authors to ensure that they are actively involved in all decision making but guided by a professional staff with extensive experience in the field of publishing, as well as creative writing, marketing and graphic design. These are just some of the things to consider before diving headfirst into unknown territory. It’s your dream…Let Legacy help you get there.
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Reality Checks in Book Publishing

By Amy Welsh

Breaking into the field of publishing as a writer has been an enlightening yet somewhat sobering experience. Fresh out of a bachelor’s program in Creative Writing with a previous career in Public Relations, I understood how to make my voice heard on any subject and positively influence public opinion on my work but was lacking in knowledge on the tedious process of publishing that begins after a manuscript is accepted by a publishing house. These truths that I discovered are intended not to discourage, but to eliminate the element of surprise from your publishing experience and allow you foresee potential problems before they become detrimental.

Reality Check Number One: 200,000 new titles are published annually.
It is a safe bet that the tattooed bookstore clerk, the person that is directly responsible for the sale of a book, doesn’t even know your book exists. A book has to be registered in almost a half a dozen different databases six months prior to publication for it to come up on the clerk’s computer screen when they “look it up”.

Reality Check Number Two: You must sell a book five times.

  1. You sell your manuscript to the publisher.
  2. The publisher sells your book to a distributor.
  3. The distributor sells it to a wholesaler.
  4. The book is then sold to a bookstore owner.
  5. The book finally reaches the hands of the customer.

Reality Check Number Three: Distributionand feedback are inefficient.
A bookstore may not have just any particular title on hand when approached for purchase. Imagine there are five million books in print. What bookstore carries multiple copies or even one copy of each title? A bookstore has to have a reason to have your book take up space in their store while they pay the overhead.

Reality Check Number Four: Book publishing has no test-marketing apparatus.
You test market a book by publishing it. Unfortunately, there is no data tracking method that gives you information on who is buying your book, what convinced them to buy it, or if your marketing efforts were influential concerning their decision. Your publisher has to make the business decision of putting marketing money into a book only by sales results.

Reality Check Number Five: Books are not technically “essentials”, i.e. water, clothing…
You must convince a consumer that they need this book to learn something that they need to know, or that this will be more entertaining, thought-provoking, or enthralling than the latest film.

Reality Check Number Six: A massive promotion budget won’t buy thirty seconds on any prime time sitcom.
Most books are sold by word-of-mouth networking. Who should be the most passionate person about the value of the book? The author.

Reality Check Number Seven: Most books have little staying power.
If a book does not sell in 4 to 6 weeks from the time it hits the shelf, the bookstore will pull it to make room for the next book that might sell. That is after you have put many hours into marketing and had your distributor convince your wholesaler (and in turn, your bookseller) to put your book on the shelf to be carried for potential sales.

Reality Check Number Eight: Every book is unique, but almost none can be treated as such.
Most books are promoted, displayed, and treated in much the same manner depending on the marketing budget you can afford to do for each store. The campaign usually consists of a cardboard display, category display, or just spine forward on the shelf.

Reality Check Number Nine: Bad air drives out the good.
Publishers and/or bookstores tend to jump on the same bandwagon, i.e. when a topic is hot you will see numerous titles about it and they will be displayed in the most prominent places. Meanwhile, better quality books on the same subjects are removed from the shelf as room is made for the latest hype subject.

Reality Check Number Ten: The bad gets worse.
Mistakes can happen in an overloaded system, especially when monopolies form and the companies have no reason to move faster, make fewer mistakes or improve customer service. That is why you wonder why they can’t get the author’s name spelled right, the subject is about a totally different book and it takes six to eight weeks to make a minor correction.

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Legacy Publishing’s Ten “Best-Kept Secrets” that

New York Publishing Houses

Don’t Want You to Know!

1. Major publishers may receive up to several hundred manuscripts a week.
Unless they have already published your work, the odds a major publisher will even look at your material aren’t very high. Most major publishers do not even receive unsolicited manuscripts. Therefore, your hard-earned work may go directly to a dumpster or you may receive a token rejection letter without it even being read.

2. Publishing with Legacy Publishing still gives you the same benefits as publishing with a major publisher.
Even though Legacy Publishing is not large in size, we still follow the same registration procedures as major publishers and use the same network to get books in major bookstore chains. Your book will be registered with Books in Print and available to wholesalers, retailers and libraries throughout the world. Your book will also be for sale online directly at Amazon.com. Legacy Publishing pays royalties on sales of books sold through bookstores and other retail outlet just like the major publishing houses. We may not have a New York address, but we have over 18 years of experience and over 500,000 books in print.

3. By publishing with Legacy Publishing, you gain a different perspective.
You will be able to see the complete marketing picture from a publisher’s point of view and the potential buyer of your book. Legacy will consult with the Author as to the best method of presenting their material to the target demographic for which the book was originally written.

4. At Legacy Publishing, you receive the kind of personalized attention that you may not get with other publishing houses.
Legacy Publishing only accepts a certain number of books per year so we can offer more personalized attention to each book. For over 18 years, we have been providing personalized attention in the areas of editorial consulting, cover design, layout and marketing to promote our published books, and we will lend our experience to assist you with each step of the process.

5. At Legacy Publishing, we believe in “Author-Involved” creation of the book.
We make every effort to produce a professional book while keeping the artistic integrity of the Author’s work in the forefront. According to a Writer’s Digest poll: 60% of the largest publishing firms do the final editing, 23% select the final title, 20% will not even consult an author on the cover design, and 37% do not involve authors in promoting their own material. We, at Legacy, believe authors should have final editorial approval, input, and be satisfied, if not thrilled, with cover and interior design.

6. When you publish with Legacy Publishing, you are involved in each publishing step, from the first draft to the bookstore appearances.
We believe the Author is better able to direct the spirit of the material so that he best communicates his message to potential readers. Our goal is to assist the Author in delivering the most professional book possible without compromising artistic integrity.

7. Publishing with Legacy Publishing may be the only way to get published.
You may not be able to get anyone from large publishing houses to seriously look at your idea. Many well-known authors were rejected by major publishing houses numerous times before they ever were published. Many times those same publishing houses sought out the author they initially rejected once the success of the book caught their attention. Publishing with Legacy Publishing may be your only realistic solution to getting what you have to say out to the public, so they can decide if your book has worth.

8. With Legacy Publishing, you get to keep a larger percentage than you might expect with other royalty publishers.
It’s not a matter of greed, but ask yourself why you might settle for 4%-6% in royalties from a large publishing company when you can have more! Unlike Print on Demand, we provide you with copies of your book from the first print run to jump-start the first sales from your warm market (friends, relatives, business associates, etc.), attend book signings and begin marketing your work.

9. Publishing with Legacy Publishing will save you valuable time.
Even if a large publisher did accept your work, it takes an average of 18 months before the first copy reaches the market place. This can become costly, especially if you can’t afford to miss a market that may quickly pass by. With Legacy’s staff and expertise and hands-on involvement, the same book can be in the marketplace in as quick as 90-120 days.

10. Publishing with Legacy Publishing eliminates the waiting and wondering.
Waiting for a letter from a publisher that may never come can be a frustrating and embarrassing experience. Publishing with Legacy Publishing is a proactive process!

Even though Legacy Book Publishing is not large in size, we still follow the same registration procedures as major publishers. Your book will be registered with books in print and available to wholesalers, retailers and libraries throughout the world. Your book will also be for sale online directly at amazon.com. Legacy publishing pays royalties on sales of books sold through bookstores and other retail outlet just like the major publishing houses. We may not have a new york address, but we have over 18 years of experience and over 500,000 books in print.
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