Some of this column will be an excerpt from “$uccess, Your Path to a Successful Book,” by Maralyn D. Hill and Brenda C. Hill. This was originally published in The Big Blend Magazine.
The publishing world can be overwhelming, but don’t let it deter you if your passion is to be a published author.
It seems that changes in the publishing industry are happening as quickly as your new computer is outdated. We will attempt to cover some of the basics, but like anything else, we suggest that you research your particular area of interest.
- What are your goals in publishing your book? In our case, the first joint effort, Our Love Affairs with Food & Travel, chefs were anxiously awaiting publication of their recipes. It was a big factor in our decision to use Print-On-Demand Publishing (POD) and be able to turn it around within four months. This commitment to the chefs was our goal.
- What is the best timing for your subject? For example, if you are writing your memoirs for a family holiday gift in the summer, POD or self-publishing your book will have it ready before the winter holidays. This approach can assist you in planning your timing.
- Are you on a budget? The difference between Print-on-demand (POD), self-publishing and a more prestigious and costly literary press was more than double, if we accepted the publisher’s proposal. This was a major cost difference.
- How much editorial license are you willing to give up? For us, the traditional publisher, who would have taken twelve to fifteen months to publish, had the final say on the title, editing and cover. We self-edited first, then used a professional editor, and designed our own cover. It was important to us to maintain this license.
Traditional publishing is what we may all dream about, but is not realistic to expect, unless you are well-known. You can be just as successful using POD or self-publishing if you are willing to market your book.
You will hear agents and many reviewers say that independent presses and print-on-demand (POD) publishers are scorned. They used to be lumped with “vanity” presses and many still are. As more reputable firms are on the scene and wannabe authors are realizing their manuscript needs to be professionally edited and have a marketing plan, these author-subsidized methods are becoming better received. Even prestigious contests have categories for self-published authors.
An additional fact is that mainstream publishers are closing down. There are six major publishers left. All but one insist on incoming books having an agent. Jerry Simmons, author of “What Writers Need to Know About Publishing,” states that of 1500 new titles a year from the big six, 150 of the titles generate 90% of the revenue.
No matter which method you want to use, you need a marketing plan. You will note that this is a common thread throughout my columns. If you can’t figure out who your market is and how to market your book, it will not go flying off bookstore shelves or Amazon or publisher’s websites.
The majority of you will probably benefit from going with an independent publisher.
You deserve to be a published author and that is achievable. With passion and perseverance, you can be a successful published author.
Maralyn Dennis Hill, The Epicurean Explorer, is the former President of the International Food Wine & Travel Writers Association, Editor-at-Large for CityRoom, and contributes to numerous publications.
Maralyn’s articles are geared to luxury markets, spas, corporate retreats, business events, and culinary tourism.
Maralyn’s says: I was born to travel and tell the tale.
Image courtesy Christa Richert.
About Maralyn D. Hill
Maralyn Dennis Hill, The Epicurean Explorer, was born to travel and tell the tale. From local cuisine to Michelin Star, simple to gourmet, Maralyn enjoys it all. Discovering flavors, spices, and trends worldwide, from Bocuse d’Or to being a judge at the Turks & Caicos Conch Festival, Oregon Chocolate Festival and others, or interviewing chefs, she is intrigued by all aspects of spa and culinary tourism. As a professional food, wine and travel writer, through guest spots on monthly radio shows, to being editor and contributor to over eight publications, print and online, she reaches several million on a continual basis, domestically and internationally. Maralyn’s years of writing incentive programs and meeting planning expanded her talent for digging below the surface for the unusual. She thrives on discovering different cultures and customs and feels it’s the best geography lesson ever. Also, she derives great satisfaction applying her organizational development skills. She has co-authored three books and hosted a television show for Time Warner Cable from 2002 to 2006. She is past president of The International Food Wine & Travel Writers Association (12-2008 to 12-2012) and continues as a board member and co-chair of the Conference and Media Trip Committee. Maralyn is always ready to explore different flavors of various cultures and share their tale. People she meets along the way are the best part.