For those who don’t know, every Sunday I do a promo post. I will basically promote anyone who sends me their book. No, I don’t read them, because frankly, I wouldn’t have the time to read all of them and because although I read a lot, I read by taste, or for research, and if reading becomes a duty I’ll be out of a delightful relaxation.
Anyway, if you are interested in sending a book for promotion, just send me the Amazon link to bookpimping at outlook dot com.
I won’t say I promote every single book sent to me. Some of them are so strange or twisted that I do not think my blog readership is right for it, and even instapundit, where I put a link to the promo post every Sunday night, is not likely to find many readers. But l do promote most of them.
Now, it doesn’t mean my readers send me precisely what I asked for. Let’s be frank. If you told my readers they had to breathe air, some of them would lock themselves in an hydrogen chamber, and others would try to breathe water, and yet others would hold their breath until they turned blue.
So I often get entire manuscripts, or I get links to the author’s blog where the book is serialized, or alternately I get the name of the book, and maybe the real name of the author (but not the pen name.) I get links to other people’s books, some of whom get upset at being promoted on a blog whose opinions they don’t agree with. (Don’t blame them exactly. I remember a friend being horrified at being a finalist for the Prometheus because she was afraid it would blow her political cover.) Etc. Etc.
Most of the time I take what I’m sent, try to find the book on Amazon. If I can find it I link it there because I earn a commission, which helps pay for the time I spend on my blog. If it doesn’t exist on amazon, but is — say — being serialized on a blog, I link that.
I’ve gone to insane amounts of effort to link a book when given cryptic information.
But I’ve never been so angry as I was last Sunday, when I realized one of the books sent to me was published by a vanity publisher.
The vanity publisher is not exactly a scam. They do print your book and publish it on their website. What they don’t do is make any effort whatsoever to sell your book. Why should they? I read up on their fees and they’re bigger than some advances for beginning authors from traditional publishing. So, why would they try to sell your book?
I was so angry I put a screed on my blog, and one at instapundit. And a flood of questions came back to me “BUT,” people said “How am I to do everything I need to do to get the book published? Where do I find an editor, a copy editor, a cover artist? How do I get the book typeset? Who will guide me through the publishing process? I’ve tried traditional publishing and it didn’t work.”
Well, first, in traditional publishing you need to be very careful. Investigate the house and what they publish, etc. If you go traditional, expect to spend a great deal of time waiting on an answer. And expect to have to learn to do promotions yourself, unless you get very very lucky. (Yes, you have to be good, but you also need to get lucky.) And please, with very few exceptions don’t go with tiny publishers, because it doesn’t get you anything over going indie.
But if you prefer to go indie… well!
The word for traditional publishing is “money flows to the writer.” If they ask you to pay, they’re vanity publishers, and make their money off writers, not customers.
If you go indie, on the other hand, you will pay, either in time to learn how to do things, or in money. And it might take a while to make the money back, but you retain your rights, and your ability to promote, and to write more in the same vein. (Of course in indie, as in traditional, if money is your object, you must write more than a book. It’s a long game.)
But it’s cheaper to pay for the services you need, one at a time or all together, and to keep control of your work than to hire a vanity publisher, and lose control of your book at great expense to boot.
So, below are people I know to be reputable and give you good service and help you on your journey.
Sgt Mom, who blogs at Chicago Boyz runs a little publishing business and will guide you through the entire process if you let her, and get you on your way. I’m not sure what her rates are, but I understand they are affordable. Leave her a comment at her post and discuss it with her.
For covers, there’s the wonderful young lady who did the cover for Odd Magics for me: Caitlin Walsh. The link takes you to a page with her availability and prices.
If her style is not the kind you want, feel free to ping Cedar Sanderson at her blog Cedar writes.
For deep editing, where he will check your facts, and make sure it all makes sense, try Patrick Richardson at stoppinginflyover at gmail dot com.
For copyediting, and making sure that your punctuation is consistent, and your quotes and ellipses make perfect sense, and your capitalization is properly capitalized and correct, I can’t recommend Sarah Clithero too highly. She can also index your book and probably has hidden talents I’ve not had a need for. Her email is: sarah.clithero at protonmail dot com.
And after your book is ready to go up, contact Kortnee to make sure you have the right keywords so your book is discovered by those looking for a book like yours. She’ll also help you with ad campaigns and with analysis of the whole thing.
I’m sure I’m forgetting five or six other people who offer these services. I didn’t have time to contact Jack Wilder who does the covers for my Dyce Daring books (written under Elise Hyatt) so if you want his kind of cover, ask me and I’ll poke him. (Or look for him in Larry Correia’s books on Facebook.) His covers are magnificently suited to cozy mysteries.
Feel free to ping me if you do this stuff, and I’ll be glad to do another of these posts.
But do not, under any circumstances go to vanity presses and pay them a bunch of money. Because if they make money from you they do not need to sell your book. And they won’t.