Monthly Archives: May 2011

Tide Cracks and Sastrugi: An Antarctic Summer in 1968-69 by Graeme Connell

A memorable historical non-fiction book coming soon to PPG…

Tide Cracks and Sastrugi: An Antarctic Summer in 1968-69
by Graeme Connell

What makes a person pack a bag and head off into the vast white, frozen, inhospitable desert of Antarctica? Is it adventure, tales of heroism and sacrifice, science or simply because it is there? In a mix of nerve-tingling drama, history, anecdote, and the physical and emotional unknown, Graeme Connell talks about his odyssey on the continent at the bottom of the world. Tide Cracks and Sastrugi: An Antarctic Summer in 1968-69 is a glimpse of a small country’s Antarctic activity at the tail end of the first decade of modern exploration. It is also a snapshot of a young, disillusioned small town newspaper journalist who seeks change to embrace all that life has to offer for himself, his wife and family.

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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.

Copyright Simplified

First and foremost, let’s recap what we discussed in an earlier blog entry titled Protecting Your Copyright by explaining exactly what copyright is. Merriam-Webster’s Online Dictionary describes copyright as:

Noun
The exclusive legal right to reproduce, publish, sell, or distribute the matter and form of something (as a literary, musical, or artistic work)

As the original creator of your manuscript, you own 100% of all the rights to reproduce, publish, sell, and/or distribute your words in whatever manner you see fit. Your manuscript belongs to you and you only from the moment you write it.

Now you’ve decided you want to publish that manuscript into book format with the hopes you’ll earn some money (or educate people, or entertain people, or whatever your personal reasoning for publishing it). There are a few different routes you might take toward having your book published, and each of these book publishing methods affects your copyright ownership a little differently.

Some authors will submit their manuscripts to a traditional (trade) publisher for consideration in the hopes it will be published free of charge to them. What they may not realize is that whoever is paying for the publication of a book is the one who owns the primary rights to that book. Trade book publishers don’t agree to pick up the bill simply out of the kindness of their hearts. They are business people who are buying a product to try to turn a profit for themselves, and that “product” is the primary copyright ownership of your manuscript. In this business model, writers retain only basic “publishing rights” that recognize them as the author of the book and pay them a small percentage of the retail price in royalties (usually only up to 10% per copy sold). The trade publisher keeps the rest because the trade publisher owns the book. And, as the owner of the book, that trade publisher also reserves the right to sell off additional rights for additional profit down the road.

Authors who choose the vanity publishing route usually retain 100% ownership of their written words; however, if the vanity publisher has produced the cover artwork for them, the vanity publisher usually (nine times out of 10) retains the rights to that artwork. This means authors must always go through the vanity publisher to have their marketing materials and books printed.

A contract with a vanity publisher will usually also give that publisher “non-exclusive online distribution rights” throughout North America, the United Kingdom, Europe, and possibly even Asia. All this means is that the publisher reserves the right to sell/distribute copies of the book through their online channels (i.e. Amazon.com) for the duration of the contract; however, because it is a “non-exclusive” contract, the author (and any other distributor designated by the author) is also free to sell copies of the book within those regions, too. If it was an “exclusive” contract, then that publisher would be the only one allowed to sell the book online within those regions.

Last but not least, authors can also choose to publish through a supportive self-publishing house like PPG where they will retain 100% copyright ownership of both their words and their artwork. That said, much like the contracts with vanity publishers, a contract with a supportive self-publishing house will also include “non-exclusive online distribution rights” throughout North America, the United Kingdom, Europe, and possibly even Asia for a specified term. This gives authors much greater exposure worldwide without limiting their ability to sell wholesale author copies on their own.

For a more detailed comparison of these three book publishing models, click here.

Eventually, once you’re selling lots of books and making a name for yourself with the general population, you’ll begin to see the true value of retaining majority copyright ownership … because this is when more business people will come knocking and asking to buy additional rights to your book. Maybe someone in Europe will want to purchase the “exclusive French language rights” to your title so he or she can be the only one to reproduce, print, and distribute it in French to the Francophone population for a profit. Maybe others will want to buy the “exclusive North American film rights” so they can adapt the book for film in this region. You can divvy up the rights to a book in so many different ways, it would be impossible to list them all here. But this gives you a very basic idea.

What are all these rights worth? In any industry, a thing is worth what someone will pay for it. It could be worth millions to the primary owner of the book, so it’s a good idea to retain as much of that ownership as you can right from the start. And then, when the movie producers and foreign publishers start calling, hire a copyright lawyer to help you determine the best price for each sale of rights.

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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.

 

Book Sales & Marketing: Setting Realistic Expectations for New Authors

Some time ago, I worked for a small Canadian literary publisher. It was an eye-opening experience for an aspiring author with no prior concept of how book publishing, sales, and marketing all worked. Beforehand, I had romanticized about my future life as a “discovered” author whose only job was to spend time leisurely creating my next masterpiece, in whichever exotic locations I found most inspiring, while my publisher bustled about in the background, managing all the logistics—sales, marketing, distribution—on my behalf. Of course, my books would be flying off the shelves with very little effort on my part, earning me millions of dollars in royalties in the process. My biggest concern would be somehow answering all those fan letters and selecting the perfect attire for each upcoming sold-out book signing.

Wouldn’t that be nice? Come on … even you men out there who grinned at my feminine reference to finding the perfect outfit. Wouldn’t it be nice if that’s all there was to it? (And, yes, there’s still a part of me that says, “Some day!” with a glimmer of hope in my eyes … I’ll admit it. Lol.)

Back to Reality

My first real eye-opener came that spring when I was asked to mail out the annual royalty payments to our authors. One look at those statements and I was shocked, to say the least. Even our top authors—the ones with two or three titles already in print—were only earning up to $3,000 in royalties for the year. The new, unknown authors were receiving up to $500 for their frontlist titles. For the year. It makes you wonder how on earth anyone can earn a living at this, doesn’t it?

The good news is that it is possible to earn a living at this … over time. The reality check is that there are much better ways to do it than sitting back and waiting to collect royalties from a publisher—particularly a traditional (trade) publisher. Authors can expect a much higher rate of return when publishing through a supportive self-publishing house like Polished Publishing Group than they can expect from a trade publisher. (For a better understanding as to why this is, please read this comparison of the book publishing business models.)

A Realistic View of Success

If you are able to sell 5,000 copies of your book and it becomes a Canadian bestseller straight out of the starting gates, I applaud you! (And I’m damn jealous of you! I don’t mind you knowing that.) If you don’t, that’s okay. Don’t fret. The fact is, very few authors do. It takes an investment of your time and money. It takes preparation. It takes a well-thought-out plan of action. It takes work. And it takes realistic expectations about how many books you can expect to sell in certain situations.

The most successful authors are the ones who buy wholesale copies of their books and go out there and sell them on their own rather than relying on royalty payments for income. (Authors always earn more money per unit for the wholesale books they sell on their own. It’s a fact.) Here are a few examples of how and where new, unknown authors can sell their books and what results they can expect in each case:

* A book signing is a great way to celebrate your new book and announce it to the public. Make sure to send out invitations to all your friends and family members as these are the first people who will come out to support your new book. If you do this, and you have a big enough crowd at your signing, you can also expect to attract some additional buyers to your table. If you sell from 25 to 30 copies of your book at a book signing, the event was a success. Give yourself a pat on the back!

* A book launch party is another type of celebration that can yield similar, if not better, results than a signing. With the right amount of preparation—invitations sent out to friends and family coupled with advertising and door prizes—a new author might even sell from 30 to 40 copies of a book in this environment.

* New authors who wish to sell a few books here and there, throughout the year, might also consider renting a table at a community craft fair. If you sell from 5 to 10 copies of your book at a craft sale, consider yourself successful.

* Consistent and persistent online advertising is an easy way to attract extra book sales with very little effort. Keyword-rich online articles are one effective way to promote a book. Another excellent online advertising tool is Twitter. By creating a hashtag-rich tweet (a keyword-rich phrase of 140 characters or less) that directs traffic to your book on an online store, and by “tweeting” it daily on Twitter’s newsfeed, authors can realistically expect to sell one or two extra books per month to people who did a search for those particular key words. It stands to reason that you’ll sell more books as you publish more books. Advertising has a cumulative effect for those who are consistent and persistent in their pursuit of sales.

* More and more, professional business people are recognizing the value of publishing a book to highlight their expertise in their given fields. These authors can earn supplementary income by selling books alongside their other products and services. Many also set up speaking engagements and/or workshops and sell their books at the back of the room.

The Value of Print-on-Demand


The above five examples will hopefully provide some realistic expectations for new authors who are trying to gauge how many books they should print the first time around. Depending on your audience and the type of book being sold, it might be wise to start out conservatively and print only 100 copies to begin with. Once those have sold, print another 100 copies. And so on, and so forth. That’s the benefit of today’s print-on-demand technology. It’s definitely author-friendly because it eliminates having to store large quantities of books in a garage that may or may not sell down the road.

Eventually, the authors who are out there selling their books might also be able to sell off the rights to their work for additional income. That’s where the real money comes in: film rights, foreign language rights, etc. (We’ll touch on that in another blog entry on copyright another night.)

In the mean time, I’m working on the sure-fire way for new, unknown authors to sell 5,000 books immediatelyand at a great enough profit to quit their day jobs! Once I figure it out, I’ll blog about it immediately. I promise you. Until then, I hope this article has provided you with some realistic expectations. Please also feel free to browse our sales and marketing section for all kinds of “real life” ideas to help you sell more books. Good luck to 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.