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Miheer

Information about reliable publishers

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Hi all!

I am an engineering student from Mumbai, India. I had joined this forum during summer of ’08 and since have been following various discussions about happenings in the US and worldwide. It has been a great learning experience for me.

One of my acquaintances writes on socio-cultural trends, different political theories etc. He is converting some of his notes into a book, and wants to publish it.

The problem is: there are usually not enough readers for this kind of work in India, so no publisher will be interested in the economic risks involved. More importantly, this is a bit of a risky affair — it may land into the hands of politically undesirable persons and bring a vindictive backlash.

English-speaking countries are a desirable choice — but there too, new-comers have to search for too long, have a long waiting period even after a publisher accepts, etc.

So self-publishing is another alternative. Here again we have no information / prior experience of whom to rely on, etc. Money has to be sent by credit card, and if the publisher turns out to be bogus or even not up to his claims, we will have to accept the loss.

I will be thankful if those members, who have any information about this issue, share it with me. We are particularly interested in self-publishing. Because of web-advertisements, we know a few people like Author-house, Lulu.com etc, but no idea whom to choose.

We also hear that there is a body of people known as ‘literary agents’ in the US / UK (we have no such thing in India). Information about these would also be welcome.

Thanks and regards,

Miheer

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It is straightforward now to physically have your book printed using POD, or Print On Demand, one at a time. You're not like to lose your money if you pick an established company for that part of it, and it doesn't require a large capital expense anyway. You might find this useful as a discussion of POD/self-publishing: http://www.sfwa.org/BEWARE/printondemand.html

The key problem, really, is marketing.

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Yes, PRINT ON DEMAND is an amazing technology!

The end result is slightly less professional than traditional publishing--but only slightly. As I understand it, the presses used in traditional publishing usually print at a resolution of 1200 dots per inch. Print on Demand prints at 300 dots per inch. Most people would never notice the difference.

And it's so inexpensive!

I use Lulu.com. They are thoroughly honest and reliable. They have printed my novels (in paperback) for between $7 and $ 11 per copy (depending on length). After reading their Help pages, you will probably find their services easy to use.*

In traditional publishing, the publisher normally prints a minimum of 2,000 books at a time--with costs in the tens of thousands of dollars. With Print on Demand, you can order just 1 book at a time, if you choose!

As Phil points out, the remaining problem is marketing. In traditional publishing, the company does marketing for you. With Print on Demand, you do it yourself--or, with Lulu, you can choose some relatively inexpensive options. Lulu leaves it up to you.

* Lulu's presses work with .pdf files. You can upload your book's interior text as a word processing file (.doc, etc.) and let Lulu convert it to a .pdf, or -- for a little more control over the results-- do as I did, use Adobe Acrobat on your own computer to do the conversion, and upload that. (I've found that if you let Lulu convert to .pdf, the page breaks will probably not be the same as you planned.) You can also upload the book's cover as one .pdf wraparound cover, or as two separate files, one for front cover and one for back.

Adobe Acrobat is an expensive program--BUT you can do as I did, go to Amazon.com and buy a used copy of an older version. I bought Acrobat 5.0 for just $20 or $30 !

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I just took a look at the page Phil linked to. Some of the comments I found a little misleading--at least, with regards to Lulu.com.

With Lulu, at least, YOU CHOOSE the terms. In ALL cases, the copyright still belongs to YOU. You are free to do as I did -- print copies and buy them myself -- in which case Lulu gets NO royalty whatever -- their profit comes from the (very reasonable) $ 7 - $ 11 per copy that I paid for printing.

If you opt for one of Lulu's distribution packages, they do get a royalty -- I think, 20%. Meaning you get to keep 80%. Christ Jesus :angry2: , that's a GREAT deal compared to traditional publishing -- in which the bookstore gets 65%, and the author gets only 5 or 10%!

It IS true, though, that using Print on Demand you are likely to sell only a few dozen or a few hundred books.

But that's infinitely better than not getting published at all!

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Hi there,

You can find a quick and dirty guide to self-publishing at Diane Durante's Forgotten Delights website. She provides a link to her publisher which, in turn, has links to a number of self-publishing resources.

Good Luck

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Thank you Phil, Bill and mcvideo for all the information and advice.

My acquaintance will most probably go for lulu.com

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