Book Publishing by Publish America
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On this page we address the following issues:

  • PublishAmerica adheres to the traditional publishing concept: we assume all financial risks and all expenses related to producing, manufacturing, and publishing a book.

  • The author pays no publishing fees.

  • Bookstores do not automatically put a book on their shelves. All stores have full access to our books, but in order to actually stock them, they must believe that the book will sell. Author: there is work to be done!
Advice for Writers
Willem Meiners

1.  Is this a great millennium, or what?
When will I see my book in print?
3.  How does my book end up in Barnes and Noble or on Amazon?
4.  Will a bookstore carry my book?
5.  What are my obligations as an author?

Question: Is this a great millennium, or what?
Answer: Some writers tell us, incredulously, they can't believe their luck. After all, many of them have queried publisher after publisher, often without receiving any response at all, and always to no avail. So how can PublishAmerica do what other traditional publishers cannot do?
    The answer is quite simple. Other publishers could do exactly the same, if only they would. Our bet is that in the next few years more than a few of them will change their mind about "unmarketable writers", now that digital printing technology enables them to save substantially on overstocking. This new century promises to be the era of the yet-unnoticed writer.
    There is so much talent out there. The information and education age has left deep, positive and lasting marks on the creativity of millions. It is fascinating how many talented people can write a good story, and turn it into a good book. It doesn't require rocket science to predict that tens of thousands of these so far hidden talents will see their books in print in the foreseeable future.
    And it's not a day too soon. Gone are the times when unknown authors had to consider vanity- or selfpublishing, the costly rough-and-tumble alternative to traditional publishing. If a book is good and well-written, traditional publishing is becoming available again. Lower hurdles, smaller obstacles. After all, it was enough of a challenge to write the book to begin with. If their talent is real, those who succeed in completing such a daunting task, deserve to find the road towards publication wide open.

Question: When will I see my book in print?
Answer: The formal answer is that production commences within a year. The unofficial answer is, between a few weeks and a few months. The sooner we can release a book, the sooner we receive a return on our investment.     At the heart of each new book is the author, particularly if it is the author's first published book. All first books are reflections of the author's own life experiences, more so than an author's third or fourth book. The emotions of the book's main characters are often similar to the author's own emotions, and main events are generally also similar to events that took place in the author's life. First books typically have a strongly autobiographical content, regardless whether it's fiction or nonfiction.
    As a logical consequence, if a book is to create a following, it's going to be a following of the book and the author. Hence the emphasis we place on putting the initial role of local marketing front and center. The publisher knows the venues of how to inform the rest of the world. But that's going to be of little consequence if the author does not make some all-important local noise first. By definition of human nature, there is no national following without a local following first, and local precedes national, always.
    Therefore, the book industry puts initial local marketing front and center, there where the author is excellently positioned to directly communicate with his audience. Because the book is closely and often intimately linked to the author's personal life experiences, fears, hopes and dreams, it's the author who today is designated to spearhead local promotion. Our local direct mailing campaign will help pave his road: we always inform an author's circle of fam, fans, and friends about the book's upcoming release, and they soon become invaluable helpers in spreading the word of mouth.
    Once we feel that all necessary elements are in place, the actual book production can be a matter of weeks. To most authors, correcting the page proofs is a joyous experience as it is the first time that their work is now coming to life in book form, formatted to size and all. To some, it can also be a little intimidating when they realize that this is what the public will soon see. That's why it is very important that the author makes page proof corrections with the utmost care. Once an author signs off on the proofs, that's how the book will look in print.



Question: How does my book end up in Barnes and Noble or on Amazon?
Ever noticed that barcode on a book's cover? It contains a lot of hidden information. Most of all, it tells the bookstore cash register the book's ISBN and who its publisher is. The International Standard Book Number is like the book's fingerprint. It is issued by the publisher who, in turn, had the number issued to them by ISBN headquarters. Without an ISBN, a book goes nowhere. With it, it is recognized worldwide: it indicates title, author and publisher. Clearly, each ISBN is unique.

As soon as we contract a book, we issue an ISBN. At that point, we submit the book to our wholesalers and distributors, such as Ingram, who process it in their computer systems that have direct connections to bookstore computer systems nationwide. That is how a book becomes available to virtually all American bookstores. 

Beside the behemoths, Barnes and Noble and Amazon.com, there are also many independent bookstores, including numerous Christian bookstores. By looking into the book's ISBN, they know how to order fast by ordering a book directly from the publisher or through their wholesaler (as most stores do). Finally, there are the web-based book vendors. Some order directly from the publisher, most order through a wholesaler.

Now, a word of caution is in order. Bookstore availability is not necessarily the same as bookstore shelf display. For a book to be stocked by a bookstore, someone high in the hierarchy must decide to order it. Typically, it's not the store manager who makes such decisions, unless they run an independent store. Larger chains such as Barnes & Noble have "buyers" who select which titles are to be stocked. Oftentimes, they want to see some noise happening before they move.

Local bookstores like to be able to demonstrate that there is demand for a book. If they can show demand, their superiors (those "buyers") may permit them to stock. And since a book on display helps increase demand, a ripple effect begins. This is why it is so important that authors turn themselves into the center of all local attention. Face it, you're no John Grisham or Nora Roberts, not yet. So you must not only beat the drum, but be the drum major as well. All successful marketing begins at home.

Many authors are very creative at this. There are book signings with PublishAmerica authors in bookstores all over the fruited plain, every week. Virtually not a day goes by without one of our authors being profiled, interviewed or mentioned in newspapers, magazines, radio, or TV. Some authors become very accomplished public speakers about their book's topic, or about book writing in general. Others carry flyers and business cards around that they hand out anywhere they go. And then there are some whose efforts get a big boost when they discover that a movie star has agreed to a reading of their book as a potential movie script, or that their book has actually made it to the big screen.

Today's author must be active, and he must be innovative. As is the case with all objects of art and creation, there are hurdles to be scaled: there's 250,000+ other authors out there whose new book will be released this year, there are bookstore managers who are reluctant to stock unknown books, and, plain and simple, there are jealous peers to deal with, folks who don't want you to be successful. So what else is new? Nothing at all, but it's good to back up words of caution with a reality check.


Question: Will a bookstore carry my book?
The key question is not whether a book is in print and available, but whether the store manager believes that your book will actually sell. Many PublishAmerica authors will tell you about their successes with regard to having their books placed in bookstores large and small.

Bookstores cannot possibly put all new releases (more than 250,000 per year!) on their shelves. It would require them to add roughly thirty feet of additional shelf space every day, Saturdays and Sundays included, and that's not happening, understandably. They will typically only put books in their store that they believe will sell. As indicated above, this is sometimes seen as an extra challenge for authors without a celebrity status, i.e. most of us.

Question: What are my obligations as an author?
An author's obligations are few, since he/she already contributes the lion's part by having written the book. We are very conscious of that fact. No book was written overnight. It has cost most authors a year or longer to write it, and often many more years to let the creative process well up.
    We are also conscious of the fact that seeing your book in print is a life-defining moment. It is something an author never forgets for the rest of their lives. It is something to enjoy and celebrate. Therefore, the obligations should be minimal.
    The author has really only one obligation: to provide us with the completed final-version manuscript. We'll take it from there.
    Does this mean that the author must sit on his/her hands after signing the contract? Not exactly. We expect the author to actively promote the book whenever and wherever possible. Once the book is in publication, and booksellers have access to it, author promotion becomes important. PublishAmerica often offers special post-publication promotion opportunities at a fee. Those are optional and at the author's sole discretion, e.g. when we attend important trade shows such as Book Expo America or the Frankfurt Book Fair in Germany.



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