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Behind the Curtain. (The Bells stopped Ringing.

I had this book published by SBPRA on a shared publishing contract. I put up some of the money and they were supposed to do the rest.
Someone liked it to buying a donkey, where you end up pulling the shafts.
Absolutely true. I did more work that was really necessary, although the staff were very pleasant about it all. But to do the extra mile I had to pay. I was publishing on a shoe string, I am retired and not that flush as it happens.
It's a very good book, but I am disappointed with their after sales service, and the lack of promotion for my book. Has anyone any suggestions for getting it better represented?
Beware of their offer, it's not all it seems.

Asked by: Kay Millward

  1. Jonathan Hopkins on May 24, 2020

    The problem with self-publishing, which is basically what you've done, or even having your book traditionally published by a small press (I've done both) is Promotion. As you've found, unless you're fortunate enough to have your book published by one of the major players, and even if you have, so I've read, to sell any numbers you must spend a lot of time 'advertising' your own work, something many authors find hard going.

    When you've been brought up to hold self-deprecation a virtue it's difficult to say to complete strangers 'this is who I am - take a look at this marvellous thing I've written' without sounding like a boasting prat.

    But that's basically what you must do, and there are more subtle ways to advertise yourself : join and comment on blogs which relate to your subject matter, set up your own website and post articles which readers who might also enjoy your book would be interested in, cultivate relationships with any local bookshops you might have - they tend to favour local authors, particularly if your book is of local interest, etc. It's not so much pushing your book at potential readers, as such, but showing you are interested in them as human beings.

    These things worked with my self-pub, to a degree, but the trad pub didn't sell so well because I mistakenly expected the publisher to deal with them, and at the time I had other issues stealing my spare time.

    Completing a book is a major accomplishment, but publishing is only a small part of its life story, I'm afraid.

    Best of luck

  2. Edward Richardson on May 22, 2020

    If you cannot find a publisher who is prepared to publish your book, then you must consider if it is worth publishing at all.

    As with most things, there are exceptions; if the book is only intended for a limited circulation (say to your own family and friends, or for a company or local organisation) then the low numbers mean you have to go to a small press – and pay a high price for such a short run.

    My home is near Peterborough, and a high quality book printing company is based there. I have used them several times for short-runs (twenty-five copies at a time), The results are excellent, hard glossy cover and a glossy dust jacket, good quality paper (which helps ‘bring-up’ the photographs). Excellent work, and at a cost of twenty-two pounds per copy. The purchaser pays twenty-five pounds; which includes postage and packing within the UK.

    It is the usual law of supply and demand.

    But let us go back to beginnings. What has your agent recommended? Have you approached any ‘mainstream’ publishing companies? Would a publisher in another country be interested?

    You do not mention how many books you have had printed, or indeed, what quantity your agent suggested to the publisher.

    All this is of purely academic interest at the moment – for until COVID-19 is tamed, how far can anyone progress? I have been using the ‘lock-down’ time for more writing (and a little extra reading), and the garden is looking best ever!

    If I am really honest with myself, the garden will produce more profit over the next twelve months than my writing…

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