Entering the World of Online Fiction Book Publishing
Digital technology is in the forefront of every marketing venture these days, including publishing. If you have a work of fiction that you’d like to see published, print on demand (POD) is certainly worth you time and effort to consider as a viable option to traditional publishing.
Print on demand makes it possible for a complete book to be printed and bound in an extremely short amount of time. The traditional method of printing and binding thousands of books promotes waste and isn’t very cost-effective.
If you’re considering the POD method to self-publish your fiction book, there are many online publishing service sites that will help you market your book. They’ll also print and bind the book per each order and provide listings in online bookstores.
These online service providers will charge a fee for handling your fiction book. Their services do not include mastering, formatting or editing – although they will usually run a spell check on your document.
As a first time author, POD can be the answer to publishing your initial work of fiction. You don’t have to contract with a publishing company and wait for an editor to review and pass approval on your work.
Print on demand has become especially popular in academic circles to avoid the high expense of producing and storing a large print run of books. POD is also becoming more accepted with fiction and non-fiction circles as a way to get their books out fast and for little cost.
There are a few differences in POD and “self-publishing services.” For example, traditional self-publishing gives the writer control over all facets of the publishing process, including cover art and pricing. If you choose POD, you’re limited to the publisher’s offering of services.
If you’re thinking about the print on demand route to publishing your work of fiction, visit some of the most popular POD online sites to see what they offer. They include, BookSurge, iUniverse, Xlibris and Blurb.
You should definitely consider the POD method of publishing your fiction if you simply don’t want the hassle of going through the submission process of commercial publishers. And, if you’ve tried the “normal” route with no success, POD may be the best option to catapult your work of art for the world to read.
Maneuvering the Fiction Book Publishing Process
Publishing a book of fiction is an art that includes knowing how to maneuver the publishing process to your advantage. Getting a publisher to approve your fiction takes know-how, determination – and a little bit of luck.
Knowing how to submit your fiction manuscript is a key factor in whether your work will ever see the light of day at a bookstore. But it’s easier to submit a fiction proposal to a publishing house than a work of non-fiction because the fiction must be a finished product.
Sadly, though, most major publishing houses won’t even consider taking on a novel from an unknown writer unless it’s submitted by an agent. They just don’t have the people to evaluate every manuscript than appears on their desks daily.
An agent’s fee can cut into your sales if your fiction is accepted, but they’ll also be able to drive the best deal and will know the ins and outs of the publishing business and be able to negotiate what’s best for you.
You can search online for lists of agents who represent your genre of fiction – or purchase a “Writer’s Market” that contains up-to-date listings for agents.
When you’re ready to submit your manuscript to an agent, be sure you send a cover letter telling her a little bit about yourself and the book. Also, send a plot synopsis that’s no more than two pages. Be sure it’s interesting enough to make her want to read more – and never send anything to an agent or a publisher until it’s free of typos and spelling errors.
There are a number of well written, informative books and tip sheets available online and at bookstores that will step you through the submission process. Guides also exist that can help you write an effective synopsis.
If you’re submitting a manuscript to a publishing house, be sure to send a query letter first. Most publishers have guidelines for the fiction they’re interested in, and they can be found online or requested by snail mail. Stick to the guidelines when submitting a query letter or they’ll never look at your work.
Competition in the fiction publishing industry is fierce, but if you have a great story to tell and have written it well, don’t be afraid to present it. A publisher or agent will be much more apt to approve your work for publication if you, the writer and creator, is enthusiastic.
Self-Publishing Your Fiction Publishing
Every aspiring author who has struggled to have their work accepted by an agent or a publishing house – only to have collected enough rejection slips to paper a wall – turns to thoughts of self-publishing.
If you’re thinking of publishing your own fiction, you owe it to yourself to find out everything you can about the self-publishing business. Besides the vanity presses, there is now print-on-demand (POD) that has emerged as a viable competitor in the self-publishing business.
Another element of publishing your fiction is knowing how to market it. Knowing how can mean the difference in selling a few books as opposed to thousands. Be sure your marketing efforts are professional and mistake-free.
If your promotional materials contain typos and misspelled words, the people handling your fiction will assume that your book is unprofessional and will be reluctant to promote it.
The Internet contains online discussion groups for various genres of fiction. Be sure you search out these groups and become involved with them. You’ll find out what people are reading and what they like and may discover ways that you can polish your work to appeal to more readers.
When communicating with people online, be sure and include a “signature file” on your correspondence. A signature file is a pre-written file that is automatically attached to the conclusion of an email message.
The signature file can contain information about your work of fiction and where the reader can purchase it. It’s a valuable advertising method of getting information out about your book.
Once the word is out about your book, the print on demand method helps to reduce the cost of publishing and printing by only printing and mailing the books as the orders come in.
Vanity publishers print a number of books for a fee. After the printing, the author is free to market her fiction without the restrictive contracts required of mainstream publishing houses.
If your self-publishing venture is successful, consider sending the results of your efforts to an established publishing house for your next book. It may be enough to rattle their cage and make them want to take a chance on you.
The Profit Potential of Fiction Book Publishing
Most fictions writers know that the chance of becoming a multi-millionaire from publishing a book has about as much likelihood of happening as winning the lottery. The success of writers such as Tom Clancy rarely happens.
It’s becoming more and more difficult to realize true monetary success from having a work of fiction published by a major publishing house. That’s why self-publishing endeavors (such as print-on-demand) have become so appealing to authors.
If a book of fiction is published through the traditional publishing house, an author can expect an advance in payment based on what the “experts” anticipate the earnings of the book will be. Advances can vary from a few thousand dollars to into the millions of dollars if you’re the caliber of a Tom Clancy.
When the check is issued, it’s the author’s to keep, no matter how many sales of the book may occur. The publisher then subtracts the monetary advance issued to the writer from the royalties the book earns.
Royalties are based on a percentage (usually between 4% and 8%). After the advance is subtracted from future royalties, the author will begin to receive a royalty percentage on every sale of the book.
Most writers are happy if they receive a total of $50,000 on their first book. Depending on how the first book sells, it may be easier to negotiate your next one with a publisher.
If a book of fiction is published using the POD method, the author will receive profits based on a per sale basis. A larger amount of profits occurs if the sales are generated from the POD service’s web site. The author can also purchase a number of the books from the web site and market them himself.
Another way to profit from publishing fiction is to sell it as an ebook online. The profit received is 100%, but the author must have knowledge about how to generate sales for the book online.
There are several downloadable programs that you can access to learn about the ebook business. Selling books online is becoming an increasingly popular way to self-publish all types of writing.
Research all methods of self-publishing and then decide which would be the best way for you to see your fiction in print. There is no lack of information both online and in informative books that can help you in your venture.
How to Market Your Work of Fiction
In the olden days of fiction publishing and marketing, the author sent her precious package of verbiage to an overworked and underpaid editor of a publishing company and waited for an acceptance (more often a rejection) letter in the mail.
If the book happened to be chosen and accepted from the slush pile of manuscripts, the author was notified and small check was sent as an “advance” for what the publisher hoped would turn into a fiction best seller.
The publisher was in charge of all the marketing efforts and all the author had to do was sit back and wait for the commissions from sales to start pouring in. If the book proved to be a success, the lucky author might be sent on a promotional tour of the book.
Things are notably different today. Authors of fiction need to be proactive in the marketing process of their books. They have to create the buzz and make sure it gets out to bookstores, is endorsed by other authors and hyped on as many online sites as possible.
If you’re promoting a self-published book of fiction, one of the most important things you can do to ensure its success is to go the extra mile on the book cover. It doesn’t have to look “fussy” – in fact, a simple design has a much better chance of success than a busy one.
Whether your book of fiction is self-published and distributed to book stores or print on demand (POD), it should contain no typos. If a publishing house is handling the marketing of your book, be sure you read the galleys carefully before you release it for publishing.
You are your own best fiction marketer. Take some time to send out copies of your book to major reviewers like The New York Times and Publishers Weekly. If you do happen to get a review from one of these highly credible publishers, your sales will increase and your popularity among publishers will climb.
Marketing your fiction can be almost as daunting as a blank computer screen when you first begin to write your book. But the time you invest in promoting it will ultimately determine the outcome of the amount of sales you’ll realize.
Use every source you possibly can to promote your book of fiction, including the media, online web sites and small book stores that welcome an author’s presence at book signings.
Above all, remember that you know your fiction book better than anyone else, so you are the perfect one to market it. You can use unusual methods or tried and true ones – just so you keep trying and never lose faith that your book will become a success.