Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The price of fame...

I realized last night that I forgot to cover this in the query letter blog or in any of my previous writing tips and tricks blogs so I figured I should... If for no other reason than to be all inclusive.

So how much should I pay for the publisher to read my book?

A reader fee is what some agents/publishers used to charge authors to read their books. Nowadays, this is a scam. I have never in my entire career been asked to pay anyone to read a word that I wrote. Nor would I willingly pay someone to read it. The reason I haven't paid- I did my homework. Reading fees are not charged by most legit houses/agents. So how much should you pay? In my opinion- Nothing.

Okay, if that part is free, how much should I pay for book doctoring?

For starters, a publisher is not going to charge you for edits. If a publisher contracts your work, an editor will be included in most contracts. It pays for the publisher, if they are going to throw their name on the top of your book, to make sure that it is in the best possible shape that it can be in so they usually are very happy to supply their own editor to make sure that it is up to their standard. That said, it isn't a terrible idea for you to go ahead and make sure that your book is in the best possible shape that it can be in before it gets to the hands of said publisher to ensure that you GET the contract. Whether your work just needs looked over by a couple of critique partners with sharp eyes and bloody pens or you need to hire an editor to do this... that depends on you. There are good editors out there doing freelance work. Book doctors are a whole different realm and no publisher that I have ever heard of that was not pulling some sort of scam charged for editing. If they tell you that you need to pay for edits, do some homework before you sign that contract.

Well, how much do I pay the publisher for my cover art?

The publisher pays for that, too. It should all be in your contract and if you read the submission guidelines on the publisher you are interested in, most of them are pretty upfront about their terms and conditions. Again, it is in the publishers best interest to control this because their name is going on this book. If they allowed every author to have control of the cover art, they couldn't keep a company standard. It only makes sense from their point of view to have the cover art be in their realm.

So what do I pay for if I get a contract with a publisher?

Some marketing. It would be good to put up ads on some of the sites that promote and sell books like yours, for instance, although I am sure your publisher will be doing this as well. Running contests (so giving away copies of your work or gift cards/baskets) and buying some marketing supplies is always a good idea (think mugs, magnets, things of this nature...). But the actual nuts and bolts (reading the book, editing, cover art), this is the stuff that they do.

What about self publishing?

Ah-ha. This means you take on all of it. You pay someone to edit it. You pay whatever charges are entailed in copyrighting your work, publishing it on the venues you are making it available on... buying cover art and marketing. You own the book, the art, the rights and therefore stand to make all the profit when it rolls in. But the reason you are in the position to make all the profit is because you did all the work.

The purpose of this blog was that someone had told me that publishing with a publisher was very expensive and I just wanted to point out that like everything else... Do your research. There are people out there that will happily take your money if you don't know that you don't have to give it to them. There are also really good companies out there, completely on the up and up, working hard to help authors. But you can't tell them apart without knowing what to look for.

Some other resources:
Nathan Bransford's blog on Book Doctors
Writers Beware
Preditors and Editors

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