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Self publishing or not

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Hi I’m not sure if somebody has posted this or not! I wrote my first book and reached out to a publishing company who will illustrate, edit, do covers etc for a flat rate but I am having a hard time deciding if I want to hire my own editor & illustrator  because it maybe cheaper. I’ve been reading a lot of information and I know if this company format my booK to KDP I may not be able to get it to a big company? Or if I use kDP myself I may not be able to get it to a big company Is that correct? I think my PB will be better as a board book but I know they are expensive and KDP doesn’t do board books! I’m so confused. Advice is greater appreciated!
#1 - August 18, 2020, 04:57 AM

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Hi Shamia,

Are you definitely planning on going the self publishing route or are you considering traditional publishing?

With traditional publishing, you would submit to editors (or agents if that is the path you would like to take.) But you would just submit the text if you are not an illustrator, and if they are interested in your book, they will find the illustrator. And again, you would not pay to get it published.

Here is a link for a discussion on self publishing if you are interested in it: https://www.scbwi.org/boards/index.php?board=95.0

Best of luck!
#2 - August 18, 2020, 07:43 AM
Freaky Funky Fish ( Running Press Kids, Spring 2021)
Tell Someone (Albert Whitman, Fall 2021)

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Shamia, I would recommend getting your story critiqued here on the boards or via a manuscript exchange with another writer. You learn much from giving and receiving critiques. I would try to learn as much as I could from books or courses before hiring people. The thing is, when you're new to all this, you don't know what you don't know, and it would be difficult for you to evaluate whether a company is doing right by you or not.

Here's a helpful post: https://www.scbwi.org/boards/index.php?topic=88900.msg1104199#msg1104199

I also found books by Anastasia Suen and Ann Paul Whitford very useful for the writing of picture books. Best wishes on this writing journey.


 

#3 - August 18, 2020, 08:12 AM
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Hi I think I am going the self publishing route but the company is only going to help me self publish that’s it! And I have reached out to critique groups on here and haven’t heard back. I have had people edit and critique my manuscript.
#4 - August 18, 2020, 08:27 AM

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Unfortunately, there are a lot of "publishers" who prey on new authors.  The fact that they edit, illustrate, and do covers for a flat rate sort of sends up some red flags to me.  It sounds like they're making their money off the author rather than off book sales.  Which makes them a vanity press.  So... I'd be a bit wary of them.  Not necessarily bad... just be careful.  Their goal isn't to make your book a sales success, like it would be with a traditional publisher. 

I would ask if you have a marketing strategy?  Because if you're self-publishing, you're doing more than just getting the book ready and printed on your own.  It's also up to you to get it where people will see it.  Otherwise you won't make up the money you put into it, no matter how good a story it is. 

If your book really needs to be a board book, then you should really consider a traditional publisher.  The POD's don't do board books (unless something changed I'm not aware of).  And buying a large batch printed in China that you then have to sell yourself out of your garage is A LOT of work.  Particularly if you don't have a background in sales or publishing.  You're going to sink a lot of money into it and it's not at all a sure thing that you'll make up your costs. 
#5 - August 18, 2020, 11:21 AM
« Last Edit: August 18, 2020, 11:31 AM by karen-b-jones »
Karen B. Jones

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Hi  no nothing yet just thinking of self promoting etc. I just want the book out there and sell some copies
#6 - August 18, 2020, 11:26 AM

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The only thing that gets a big company interested in a self-published book is really good sales, like 5,000 books sold. So if a big company's interest is your ultimate goal, self-publishing isn't a likely path there.

In self publishing, you are the publisher, marketer, author, and even possibly designer. It's a good idea to make sure you can handle all roles or decide some of those aspects aren't important to you. Many people print a few copies o fa book for family and friends and don't care if it has few sales. Good luck figuring out where you stand and what you want.
#7 - August 18, 2020, 06:53 PM
Website: http://www.debbievilardi.com/
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Thank you!!
#8 - August 18, 2020, 07:25 PM

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this company format my booK to KDP I may not be able to get it to a big company? Or if I use kDP myself I may not be able to get it to a big company Is that correct?

Hi Shamia and yes, the above is correct. Once you use the service provider to help you publish the book, it's published and so it's best to assume a Trade Publisher won't be interested. So make very sure that self publishing is the route you wish to take.
As I understand it, if this service provider buys the ISBN for your book, they are the "publisher of record". You don't want that, in self publishing. There have been horror stories of these co's charging writers to buy back the publishing rights etc when the book never sells.
It can seem cheaper to use one of these companies to put together your book but then you have no idea what credentials their editing service has, nor the skill of the Illustrator they choose (typically the service uses Illustrators who work very quickly, cheaply and have a generic art style). When you hire these professionals yourself, it will likely cost more but you will know what you are getting for your money. The cost of an Editor will hinge on how much work the text requires and a decent Illustrator might start at $5K and up.
About the actual co you are looking at to create the book, check them out on the Writersbeware blog and do a search here (top right hand box) using the co's name.

As for Board Books, from what I've heard Trade Publishers put out very few of them because of the smaller number of sales there will be compared to PB's and the cost involved. Typically they are created purposely in house (for a specific need) or an existing/popular PB is used.

You can also do research on the ins and outs/ups and downs of self publishing on this board.
 Best of luck! :)
#9 - August 19, 2020, 05:03 AM
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Thank you I will continue to do research! I think self publishing is the way I want to go, I want to be in charge of illustration because some of the companies I’ve seen the books all look the same.
#10 - August 19, 2020, 06:11 AM

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Thank you I will continue to do research! I think self publishing is the way I want to go, I want to be in charge of illustration because some of the companies I’ve seen the books all look the same.

I wrote this article for people considering self-publishing. It may challenge some of your assumptions:  https://www.underdown.org/self-publish.htm

#11 - August 22, 2020, 03:32 PM
Harold Underdown

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Twitter: http://twitter.com/HUnderdown

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