Daily Archives: November 24, 2009

Side-by-Side Comparison of Two Book Publishing Methods

To quote the home page of PPG’s book publishing website: “When most people think about having their book published, they envision the traditional method of searching for a publishing company, sending them a query letter along with one or two sample chapters, and then waiting several months for a response as to whether or not their manuscript will even be accepted. That’s one way to publish a book, but it’s not the only way….” In this article, we’ll take a brief look at traditional book publishing versus modern supported self-publishing.

 Traditional (Trade) Publishing
 Modern Supported Self-Publishing
  • Traditional book publishers are organizations of highly-qualified people who have joined together to publish a specific selection of books each year.
  • Supportive self-publishing companies consist of highly-qualified people who will assist you in publishing your book by supplying you with the tools you will need.
  • Most trade publishers receive thousands of manuscript submissions every year from which they select fewer than one dozen new authors to work with—a discriminatingly low acceptance rate. One of the primary reasons for this low acceptance rate is that they have preset budgets and objectives for what they can publish each year.A common misconception is that traditional publishers always and only reject manuscripts that are poor in quality when, in fact, that is not the only factor involved. Budget and manpower play a huge role in which projects they can/cannot accept, particularly for the smaller presses. Unfortunately, this means many talented authors are overlooked every year.
  • Most supportive self-publishing companies will accept the majority of manuscripts submitted to them. The reason for this high acceptance rate is that the authors (self-publishers) are the ones who pay all the costs associated with publishing their books. The support company merely compiles all the publishing tools these authors need in a convenient “one stop shop” package so they don’t have to do it themselves.
  • When a traditional book publisher agrees to pay for the publication of your book, they are essentially buying the ownership of your book. They agree to pay for its publication because they believe they can make a profit from owning and selling it. (On the flip side, if the book doesn’t sell, they are the ones who take the loss on their original investment.)
  • When you choose the supportive self-publishing route, you are choosing to pay all your own production and marketing costs in exchange for complete creative control over your work. You also keep all the rights to your work which may prove profitable if/when that book begins to sell well. (On the flip side, if your book doesn’t sell, then you may not be able to recoup your original costs. That loss is yours as the self-publisher. That’s the risk you take if you choose this route.) 
  • Due to the volume of material they must consider, a trade publisher’s manuscript review process can take anywhere from three to six months; and most will reject multiple submissions (a.k.a. simultaneous submissions), meaning they will automatically disregard manuscripts that have been sent to more than one publisher for consideration. If your book is accepted upon review, the production process can take up to another six months to complete.
  • Once you submit your electronic book cover/interior files and payment to a supportive self-publishing company, you’re pretty much ready to go. It’s that easy to get started. The production process, itself, can be completed in as few as eight weeks.
  • If/when your manuscript is accepted, the traditional publisher takes care of all the necessary legwork, such as: obtaining ISBN numbers; managing publishing contracts; designing your copyright page; finding/organizing editors and graphic artists; typesetting your book; dealing with printers and distributors; submitting your book to the Legal Deposit at Library and Archives Canada (LAC); et cetera.
  • Supportive self-publishing companies will manage most (if not all) of the following background details for you: obtaining ISBN numbers; managing publishing agreements; designing your copyright page; finding/organizing editors and graphic designers, etc, for you; typesetting your book; and dealing with POD printers/distributors. (Click here to access PPG’s convenient checklist of the various tasks self-publishers must do for themselves.) 
  • Trade publishers will pay you royalties on whatever books they and their distributors sell on your behalf. You can also buy author copies of your books from them at a significantly reduced price to sell on your own. (Think of them as your book manufacturer/wholesaler, and think of yourself as a retailer.)
  • Supportive self-publishing companies will pay you royalties on whatever books they and their POD distributors sell on your behalf. You can also buy copies of your books from them at a significantly reduced price to sell on your own. (Think of them as your book manufacturer/wholesaler, and think of yourself as a retailer.)
  • If/when your manuscript is accepted for publication, an experienced editor is assigned to work with you to polish and perfect your book. This is a mandatory part of the traditional book publishing process.
  • Some publishers (i.e. vanity publishers) do not require their authors to go through an editorial process … and this is a serious issue, in my humble opinion. Everyone can benefit from copy editing and proofreading. The more sets of eyes you have to review your book, the better. (This is a notable viewpoint that sets supportive self-publishing apart from vanity publishing. It is described in more detail in the below-linked article.)I founded PPG because I strongly believe it is possible for authors to self-publish a professional product if they are willing to go through the same steps a traditional publisher goes through to polish and perfect a book. However, what sets PPG apart from other support companies is that we will refuse to publish anything that, in our judgment, has not been properly edited/proofread. It doesn’t look good for us or the self-publisher unless it’s done right.
  • Most trade publishers still use traditional printing methods, meaning they will print a large run of your books—usually from 500 to 2000 copies to begin with—on an offset press, and they’ll try to sell those off before printing anymore. Because they print this way, their production cost per unit is quite low, so they can charge less for each book. (i.e. The same book may retail at $9.99 when printed the traditional way while it may retail at $12.99 when produced using modern digital “print-on-demand” methods.) The down side is that it costs a lot of money to warehouse all these books; and once you’ve printed that many, you’re stuck with them. There’s no changing them even if you find typos after the fact … which happens more often than not, believe me!
  • Most supportive self-publishing companies use a modern digital printing method called “print-on-demand” (POD). An electronic copy of your book is stored with a special POD press that allows as little as one copy to be printed at a time. This is helpful because you can easily resubmit your book’s e-file to the POD printer if you need to make any corrections or updates along the way. This new method of printing also eliminates expensive warehousing costs. That said, because the books are being printed only a few at a time, the production cost per unit is a bit higher, and this is reflected in the price of your book. (i.e. The same book may retail at $9.99 when printed the traditional way while it may retail at $12.99 when produced using modern “print-on-demand” methods.)
  • Traditional publishing companies actively market and sell their frontlist books on behalf of their authors. They are well-connected.
  • As a self-publisher, it is up to you to market and sell your own books. It is up to you to get well-connected. (Blogging is a great way of doing this!)
  • Because trade publishers produce new books once or twice per year (spring/autumn selections), the shelf-life of each book is typically six months to a year. After that, it moves from the frontlist to the backlist and becomes less of a priority than the new releases.
  • As a self-publisher, you are not confined by someone else’s publishing schedule. You can publish a book at any time of the year, and you can be assured your book will always be given top priority because you are the one in charge of marketing it.

Click here to read another great article comparing traditional (trade) publishing, vanity publishing, and supported self-publishing.

There are obviously pros and cons to each form of book publishing, and there are many varying opinions out there as to which way is best. What are your thoughts on this longstanding debate? I would love to hear from you.

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PPG is a professional book publisher dedicated to serving serious-minded authors around the world. Visit our group of websites today:

PPG Book Publishing Website: http://www.polishedpublishinggroup.com/
PPG Publisher’s Blog: http://blog.polishedpublishinggroup.com/

As a user of this website, you are authorized only to view, copy, print, and distribute the documents on this website so long as: one (1) the document is used for informational purposes only; and two (2) any copy of the document (or portion thereof) includes the following copyright notice: Copyright © 2009 to [current year] Polished Publishing Group (PPG). All rights reserved.



Handling Criticism

When I published my first book, everything was quite new to me, and I had an expectation (possibly an unfair one) that my friends and family members should support me 100% and compliment me on my book no matter what they thought of it. Luckily, that did happen with my first book. Everyone around me was very supportive.

Unfortunately, when my second book came out, it was a different story. I received an unexpected criticism from someone dear to me that left me shocked, hurt, and unsure how to react. I’ll be honest, it took me a couple years to come to a place where I was willing to put myself out there again. During that time, I had to rethink my expectations of those closest to me and find a way to remain confident in myself and my craft regardless of others’ opinions.

In retrospect, I’m glad I experienced that criticism so early in my publishing career because it taught me a valuable lesson about how I should measure the true merit of my work. A few times, I’ve had to ask myself the question: what is the truth here? Is it the joy and enthusiasm I felt when I held a printed copy of the book in my hand for the very first time? Or is it the self-doubt I felt when someone criticized it later on? Which one of those two moments will I use to determine the value of my book?




A wise woman named Lisa Nichols once said, “Oftentimes, you give others the opportunity to create your happiness, and many times they fail to create it the way you want it. Why? Because only one person can be in charge of your joy … and that’s you. So even your parent, your child, your spouse—they do not have the control to create your happiness. They simply have the opportunity to share in your happiness. Your joy lies within you.” A beautiful sentiment, don’t you think? I believe the same can be said for self-confidence and faith. 

I went into my third book with a new set of expectations that took the pressure off both me and those around me. It’s always nice when people acknowledge a new book with a hearty “congratulations,” but I’ve decided that’s where their obligation ends. I no longer base a book’s worth on whether or not others read it, agree with it, enjoy it, or discuss it with me after the fact. The truth I try my best to hold onto is the joy I felt when I held that first printed copy in my hand. I hope you will do the same for you. I hope you will find a way to hold onto your enthusiasm even if you come up against any criticism along the way … whether it’s from friends, family members, reviewers, or anyone else.

Keep writing! Keep the faith!

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PPG is a professional book publisher dedicated to serving serious-minded authors around the world. Visit our group of websites today:

PPG Book Publishing Website: http://www.polishedpublishinggroup.com/
PPG Publisher’s Blog: http://blog.polishedpublishinggroup.com/

As a user of this website, you are authorized only to view, copy, print, and distribute the documents on this website so long as: one (1) the document is used for informational purposes only; and two (2) any copy of the document (or portion thereof) includes the following copyright notice: Copyright © 2009 to [current year] Polished Publishing Group (PPG). All rights reserved.



Publishing & The Creative Process

Three books in, I’m beginning to recognize a familiar pattern concerning my emotional state during the book publishing process. I wonder if other authors experience something similar.

For me, there is a calm sense of accomplishment once I’ve completed that first draft and sent my book off to the editor. Believe it or not, that confidence and faith even survives the editing and graphic design processes despite those annoying little setbacks and frustrations that pop up from time to time. When I first hold the completed book in my hand, I can’t help but feel excited and very proud of myself.

For whatever reason, a day or two later, my confidence in the project takes a nosedive. It suddenly hits me: “Oh, my God. Now I have to share this with people. They’re going to read it.” I feel vulnerable at the thought of it, as though I’ve just stripped down naked in front of 1,000 people and invited them all to take turns pointing out my flaws. A daunting prospect, to say the least!




That insecurity can last up to three or four weeks, until the next book starts to take shape inside my mind. Then the feeling subsides, and I’m fine again. This happens to me every time I publish a book—I’m not sure why—but I’ve come to accept it as a natural part of my creative process. (On the plus side, the confidence always returns, and another book idea always comes in.)

I would like to hear from other published authors about your experiences. Do you go through something similar? How long does it last? Is there anything you do to ease the emotions, or does the mood just pass with time?

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PPG is a professional book publisher dedicated to serving serious-minded authors around the world. Visit our group of websites today:

PPG Book Publishing Website: http://www.polishedpublishinggroup.com/
PPG Publisher’s Blog: http://blog.polishedpublishinggroup.com/

As a user of this website, you are authorized only to view, copy, print, and distribute the documents on this website so long as: one (1) the document is used for informational purposes only; and two (2) any copy of the document (or portion thereof) includes the following copyright notice: Copyright © 2009 to [current year] Polished Publishing Group (PPG). All rights reserved.



Writing & The Creative Process

A common question I hear from people at book signings is, “How do you even begin to write a book? Do you set aside a little time every day, or do you just write when the mood hits you?”

Each of my books was a little bit different….

My first book, A Letter to My Son, took me around ten years to complete. In hindsight, the majority of that time was spent procrastinating rather than writing due to fear of the unknown. I didn’t see that clear path ahead of me. I didn’t know how to get published and wasn’t all that sure it would ever happen, so I felt no strong sense of urgency to finish the book. Then, one year, I experienced a life-changing event that had me questioning myself and my life purpose. It was the catalyst that motivated me to finish my book once and for all … to find a way to publish it … to keep that promise to myself. Once I found that resolve, all the information and resources I needed to publish the book found me. And I did it! (Smiling.) What a proud moment! 

Each book that followed came a little easier simply because I knew the process ahead of me. Isn’t that the way life is? The first time you try anything is always the hardest. But, if you push through that initial fear and prove to yourself that it’s possible, it does get easier. Needless to say, my second book, A Letter to My Daughter, took me only two months to write. My third book, 11:11, took me around six months.




When I was younger, writing was more a pastime than a career aspiration, so I only wrote when the mood hit me. After my first book was published, and I became a little more serious about things, I found a structure that seems to work very well for me to this day….

I treat writing the same way I treat my regular job. I set aside a certain number of hours each week, and I make sure I’m seated at my desk on time. Sometimes, when I sit down to write, I have no idea what I’m going to say. It might take half an hour to get that first awkward sentence out of my mind and “unlock the floodgates” of creativity, but I’m always pleasantly surprised with how much I have at the end of the session. It appears the intention to create is the very thing that attracts the creationevery single time. Another thing I do is set deadlines for myself. In January, I might say, “I want the first draft of this book completed by the end of June.” And then I stick to that schedule. I keep that promise to myself. That’s what seems to work best for me.

I would like to hear from some of my fellow writers out there. What is your creative writing process? I’m interested in learning what works for you.

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PPG is a professional book publisher dedicated to serving serious-minded authors around the world. Visit our group of websites today:

PPG Book Publishing Website: http://www.polishedpublishinggroup.com/
PPG Publisher’s Blog: http://blog.polishedpublishinggroup.com/

As a user of this website, you are authorized only to view, copy, print, and distribute the documents on this website so long as: one (1) the document is used for informational purposes only; and two (2) any copy of the document (or portion thereof) includes the following copyright notice: Copyright © 2009 to [current year] Polished Publishing Group (PPG). All rights reserved.