I contacted the editor. She talked to me for about twenty minutes about the book before I sent it to her. Turns out, she was no longer doing freelance editing. She was now Director of Publishing at a small press here locally and their company would be interested in looking at my book and possibly publishing it. My initial thoughts on a traditional publisher were that it was a shot in the foot financially for a writer. Traditional publishers offer a 15% royalty on average for writers on book sales. She mentioned they did higher royalties and I was immediately interested. I haven’t seen a contract offer yet, but it’s still much better at first glance than a traditional publisher. It may be she’s referring to ebook royalties and not print, but the royalties she mentioned sounded inline with the ones you get from Amazon and the ebook aggregators who publish to Apple and Barnes & Noble. I knew this since I’d already self published to both and those were the rates.
Now, they’re not one of the big six traditional publishing houses, so it stands to reason they’ve got their eye on how to compete in today’s market and offer an attractive package to savvy writers. Honestly, a 50% run on a print book is worth the investment if they’re going to edit my book as well. I don’t know how they would manage a 70% royalty to the writer on a printed title, though. There’s more overhead with printing, even on a print on demand (POD) basis that would make that a very tight margin for a publisher, so I’m kind of guessing I won’t quite be getting that. With a typical POD basis, I was looking at getting maybe 30% of the cover price. CreateSpace (a division of Amazon) gives a 37% royalty on books purchased thru Amazon (where most sales would likely come from) and a 57% royalty on print titles thru the CreateSpace estore. I’m thinking for a smaller publisher than CreateSpace, a 50-70% royalty would be a little high. Then again, maybe I’m wrong and they’ve really been able to bring down the actual physical costs of printing a hard copy of a book. But really, I think she meant ebook rates and not print rates. I need to see a contract to be sure, but if nothing else, something better than 15% is going to peak my interest.
The thing I’m chomping at the bit about is speed, of course. It’s been a little over five weeks since I submitted book one to the publisher. I know, that sounds like a reasonable enough time to get an answer, but consider what route I would go thru with a traditional publisher. First, I would submit the book. The soonest I would get a reply from a large publishing house would be six to eight weeks, although it could reasonably take several months longer…and that’s just to get what would likely be a rejection slip on what would be a 15% royalty (max) if they published. I’ve actually got the ear of the Director of Publishing. She doesn’t mind hearing from me once a week and giving me an update on progress. I simply would not get that thru a traditional publisher – in fact, I’d probably be dependent on my agent for all correspondence and negotiations with the publisher. Well, I don’t have an agent, so I’m already skipping one piece of the process with a direct line to the publisher. Of course, the biggest factor in all of this is I was just looking to pay someone to edit my book for me; getting an offer to have it published (and hopefully get some kind of advance on it), well, I can only say it sounds like something I’ve dreamed of since I was in high school. I think I can wait a few weeks to see how this all plays out.
In the mean time, I finished my second book in the series (also submitted that to the editor) and compiled a short list of the future books I have planned in the series also with a short synopsis of each book. One of the things that had interested her in my initial conversation was my intentions to write sequels. I think they’re looking for regular writers who produce often. I’m only too happy to oblige! Of course, if they pass on publishing, I’m really not out too much except a little bit of time. I have another local contact I can hire to edit the books and still self publish if it comes to that. The bonafide credentials of being a published writer (as opposed to self published) has its advantages though, so I’m hopefully it will work out.
Have to be honest here. I’ve also been pursuing a copywriting business venture, but I’ve been rethinking the whole thing since I’ve really gotten back into writing. I think I may just have to let it go. It’s a shame, especially since I’ve put quite a bit of money into it, but the more I heard from my copywriting guru, the more it sounded to me like I should be writing novels and screenplays as opposed to doing copywriting. I’m going to take that gamble and run with it for a few months and see if it gets me where I want to go. I’m only a small advance from a publisher away from convincing the family to let me give it a shot! Copywriting business is still an option, but I’m putting it on hold right now. Kind of feel this is my best opportunity to pursue a real future in writing. Best I grab it while I can.
Felling optimistic. Hope you are too.