In our last blog, we left off at selecting the poems you are considering for your book, choosing a theme, and working on the editing process. If you are still working on that, no worries! Editing is a long process that can't be hurried, and poetry editing is particularly tricky. If you know that you're not a great speller, it would be best to get someone who is proficient in finding spelling errors to go through your poems and find any mistakes that you overlooked, and pay them for their services. One of the biggest complaints about self-published books is that so many of them are poorly written. But, before we go any further with the book-writing process, it's important to talk about the "B" word...Budget.
You need to determine a specific budget for your book publishing goal before seeking out a publisher. There are many companies and operations offering their services on social media, some for very hefty fees. Shop around and ask many questions before signing up with any of these businesses. There is the question of whether a first-time author should seek out a traditional publishing company or opt to self-publish. The reality of that is, only you can decide what is best for you. If you are seeking to establish yourself in the academic world, know that there are many in that arena who don't acknowledge self-published poets as legitimate. Although some feel that their stance is elitist, if you want to be recognized by that group, seeking traditional publishing may be the best choice for you.
I chose the self-publishing route, working within a specific budget along with the company I chose after doing extensive research and speaking with other poets who had also worked with them. I looked at what different publishing companies were offering for the amount of money I had to spend, and made my choice after carefully investigating all of their claims. I came out under budget with an excellent product, and have since recouped my original investment. From now on, any books I sell out of hand will be profit minus my wholesale cost. Another point to consider is how you will raise the funds to publish your book? Will you:
- Set aside an amount weekly/monthly/bi-monthly towards your goal?
- Borrow the money via personal loan or credit card?
- Crowd funding?
Only you can determine which method will work best for your situation. Take your time, then decide.
What items should you include in calculating the cost of your book? For starters, consider these bullet points:
- Book Cover
- Draft Printing (for copy editing)
- Copyright (optional but recommended)
- Formatting (if you are not an expert with professional formatting)
- Bookmarks (optional)
- Proofreading (recommended)
Formatting and Book Covers are the most expensive parts of your book, but they can make the difference between getting the attention of a potential buyer, or losing their interest before they ever know what you have to offer inside. Prices for Editing and Proofreading vary, even if you know how to do it, it's a good idea to have a professional eyeball it and give you his or her honest opinion of what works and what can be improved upon.
That's all for now! Your homework is to: Determine your budget; research potential publishers, (meaning go to their websites, make comparisons on what they are offering) A caveat---beware of any publishing company who contacts You, or has extensive monthly payment plans that run into thousands of dollars. You will have to overprice your book to recover the money you spent! Also, think twice about any publisher who offers to act as a middle-man between you and the printer, says they can help you get your book published, or says you need no money up front You stand to lose lots of money. In the next blog, we will talk about Formatting and Book Covers. Until then, keep writing!