Thursday, May 11, 2006

Finally decided

April 13

I have finally decided which POD Company is going to get their hands on my book. I have humming and harring over this for weeks, looking at various websites, talking to loads of different companies, trying in vain to get comparisons with the different services they offer. This has been no easy task as they all offer such different things. In the end it was between two companies - AuthorsOnLine Ltd and Authorhouse.

The AuthorsOnLine site is brilliant with all the information you need on what they offer, how much it will cost etc, etc. The one thing it didn't say though was print costs. These turn out to be 1p per page, plus 70p for the cover. The Authorhouse site by contrast is next to useless with no information whatsoever. They invite you to send off for a publishing guide to their services, which is basically of copy of what is already on the site! I then got several American style emails wanting to know all about the book, what my plans were etc and inviting me to a seminar. I thought I would go along, as nothing ventured, nothing gained, and it was last night at the Hilton Hotel in Paddington, London. Last week I rang them up to ask a load of questions re print costs, royalty structures etc, and was promised an email with the information. A week later I was still waiting, so I though go to the conference and find out there. There they promised once again to send the info, and despite my emailing to remind them, still nothing has arrived.

Authorhouse are a big multi-national company based in the UK and US, who say they have published over 30,000 books, and last year alone printed and sold 1.1 million copies. I suspect that these figures are exaggerated, since Lightning Source; their printer printed a total of 28 million books last year - meaning that in 1 in 28 books would have been theirs - a very high figure considering that Random House and other large mainstream publishers also use Lightning Source for their low selling titles.

They also made a big thing about the Waterstones package that they offer - for £700 you can get the book formatted, cover designed from a databank of images etc, plus 3 copies of the book in Waterstones, Oxford Street for a period of 90 days, on a special Authorhouse stand. I went to Waterstones en route to the conference last night, and was dismayed to see that the stand is slap bang in the middle of the fiction area. My book is non fiction, so how are people going to find it. They will not be looking in the fiction area for a book like mine, but the non fiction area.

With AuthorsOnLine there is no bull s******* and no rubbish. They know exactly where you are and they make no false promises and do not give you unrealistic expectations. They have the same distribution and pay more royalties. So really there is no comparison and no competition. Everything Authorhouse can do, Authors on line can also do, including, they say, sending copies to magazines like Nexus and Kindred Spirit.
I had a bad feeling about Authorhouse right from the start, and all the way up there, and while at the conference last night felt very uncomfortable and uneasy. Now I finally understand why. Coran and I will have a read through the book then this weekend, and then it will be on its way. It is finally happening, and I really will get to see it in print. I can't believe it is actually happening.

With a bit of luck it will be in print by the end of the summer - and you can all have a signed copy at our get together in the autumn. Needless to say I will also mention you all in the acknowledgements.

Can't wait to get it all done now I have finally decided. Not sure what I am going to do with myself though - it has been my life for the last five years, so will be very strange.

I have decided that I shall be issuing it under my own name of Pigsty Press, in honour of the Old Light Cottage, which used to be a pigsty. Have loads of ideas as to how to sell it - through the Authors on line site, and also of course our own. It will also be on and .com, plus you will be able to order it from book stores and libraries (will have to register for public lending rights, so I still get paid!). I would rather people buy it from the publisher or myself if possible of course, because that way I earn more, but sales are sales. I have already emailed Cygnus book club to see what their policy is regarding books that they sell, and am waiting for a reply. Review copies can be sent to Nexus, Kindred Spirit etc, and also Paradigm Shift. I can maybe write another article to go in the magazine as well. My friend Michele who lives in Canada can put it on her website, and maybe I can persuade someone to post on HP as well, recommending it. I can also of course sell it through St Michaels and all those on our mailing list. One idea I also had was to get the local paper involved, maybe with a competition where people write in and first one out of the hat gets a free copy. The rest could maybe send in a coupon or something for £1 off. There are all sorts of ways to promote it when I think about it, and now I realise why I sold kitchens for all those years also - to give me the confidence and the expertise to go out there and do all this! Exciting times ahead then .......

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