Budding Authors - A word to the wise.

Discussion in 'The Book Club' started by Arthur3bums, Mar 9, 2009.

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  1. As many of you (or maybe not as many) know, at the back end of 2007 my book was published. It was with a certain smuggness that I looked on the world anew..............my name in print...............grrrrrreat!!!!
    Now, it cost a £500 contribution to the publishing cost which, is not bad when I've heard some of the horrific amounts people have paid in total 'vanity publishing'.
    The problem I've experienced is a lack of marketing from the publisher, they simply banged it on their website and........awaaaay the lads......end of story. I got a favourable review out of the Editor of Soldier mag but, the publishers refused to place an ad at the time as the issue they saw had a rather nice but scantily clad young lady on the cover which 'forced the muppets to conclude' "Soldier is not upmarket enough for our business" Twwwwaaaaattttttttts ......would be a term we in 3RTR would have used to describe them.
    The limited marketing I've managed myself, has brought some success but, not nearly enough as, I've just received my first 'statement' from the publisher and well, off over 300 copies sold, I ended up with £4.00p royalty as I've bought X books myself for signing or marketing which were deducted from my royalties.
    Be very careful of the deal you strike, mine was that the first 100 books attracted no royalties, any books I buy myself at a discount - no royalties. Any other books, 10% nett but, beware again, if the book is sold bulk at a knock down price......very small royalties. This is all extremely frustrating as the many emails I've had and posts about the book on Arrse have all been very positive and people laughed and loved the book.
    Therefore, I have decided to do what I should have done at first, I will stock the book myself from my own Arts website and offer it as a signed copy but at a slightly higher price than the publisher, at least that way I may make a bit of money out of my labour of love!!!! I shouldn't have listened to my publisher but gone with my gut feeling!!!
    My second book 'Armoured Farmer - Return of the jelly' where, in 1984 3RTR/NATO go to war against the Soviet Bloc (with a few laughs along the way) is now at Chapter 9, but, this time I will spend more time getting it 'mainstream' through a publishing house. So, those of you who want to be published don't be discouraged but.............be careful. If anyone ever want's tips or advice, I've now learnt a lot of lessons so please feel free to contact me.
     
  2. Put it on your site or ebay and I'll buy it. No Duff. Or PM me your paypal details and I'll order a signed copy from you.
     
  3. That's a shame, I thought it was a fantastic read. Best of luck with marketing your second book, I will definitely be buying one.
     
  4. Hear hear. I'll buy a copy on principal..
     
  5. All
    Thanks for the positive comments. The book is now, since last night, in 'The Shop' on my website. It's sadly slightly more expensive than direct from the publishers to cancel out some of the shipping costs from them to me. But, well it's a signed copy if it comes from me. Thanks again.
     
  6. Arthur

    This is going to sound really cheesy but i have to ask anyway. I read all my books now via an ereader, the sony one actually. What's the chance of an electronic version (PDF would do fine), glad to pay, keen to read it but i just dont buy hard copies any more. We served a while' together' at Bovvy at what was the Signal School at the time so dead keen to support you and keener to read the book and have a good old laugh. Drop me a line via PM if its a possibility and let me have some payment details.

    Thanks
     
  7. E-versions for a small publisher are too expensive. It’s almost impossible for an author to write one as the final version would have been hacked by the proof reader and after the author makes his final adjustments & comments is returned to the publisher for typesetting. My book is a different animal to the final draft I have saved on my computer.

    I had similar problems with my book. My contract too was contribution based (tax deductable) but my margins were better at 15%. I also get books direct from the distributer at a huge mark down - about 40% of the retail price. It sounds good, but as A3B says, the promotion of the book is pretty much up to you. My publisher sent details to most newspapers and publications that might be interested, as well as local media, but only Soldier mag ran a review (gawd bless 'em!). My other reviews were from my contacts and me sending my own copies of my book (the postage was almost the same as the cost of the book!) It is very frustrating but sometimes its the only way to get published.

    There are a huge amount of army books out there at the moment, and they are selling well with great reviews, but there is a big difference in that they are all ghost written by writers who have agents or by established journo's who want to "do" a military book (Damien Lewis for example) in the hope it will help their own literary career. If a squaddie writes his own book it is much harder to get noticed - even though it is always a better read. Perseverance is the only way to go, and expect to retire on your royalties. My modest print run has almost sold out and I can't see another batch getting printed. I am tempted, just like A3B, to buy up the remaining books and use them for myself (also to ensure I have a few virgin copies in the years to come).
     
  8. Arthur...

    May I ask if you could PM me your Publisher details? the reason I ask is I am Co-Author of a hopefully soon to be Published Book that has been with the 'publisher' since the end of November last year!

    Thanks for any help...
     
  9. Gundulph - my book took a year to get published once I signed the contract. Has yours gone through the editing process yet?
     
  10. The Special One (I bought and read your book actually, very good, I am in Sarajevo and know those routes well)...

    To be honest we spent so much time editing and formatting the manuscript that there really shouldn't be anything for the publisher to change and if he does change much it could ruin the stories, we have tried explaining that, we are struggling with getting our info across for the cover artwork at present! and we keep asking when are we going to receive the Proof Copy but we just don't get any concrete answers on that, we've come to the conclusion after speaking with convoy_cock from Picking Up the Brass that this seems to be the norm. Publishers must hate serving or former Squaddies as we are used to good comms!
     
  11. AlienFTM

    AlienFTM LE Book Reviewer

    This time, give it to me a lot earlier and I'll do a better job of tidying it up.
     
  12. Just to clarify Gundulphs comments fellas.

    When we originally signed up to self-publish, we understood that there would be a 60 day lead time, from submission of our manuscript to the book being available for sale. This actually turned out to be 145 days. If you're from a military background, you're used to people doing what they say their going to do when they say their going to do it, so it definitely generates frustration, particularly if your delivering your side of the bargain on time (money/manuscript/book cover design).

    If your going to self-publish, choose really carefully. I won't mention names on here, but feel free to drop me a line.

    The difference between that experience and the one we had once we were published (Monday Books) was massive. It's a bit more of an easy life, really. We only have to focus on the writing and the publisher deals with pretty much everything else. It's a good two-way street with lots of back and forth consultation and email/verbal discussion. Obviously, Picking Up the Brass was a finished article (to some degree), but producing Eddy Nugent and the Map of Africa has been really enjoyable. We've worked to deadlines, but it's never felt too pressured. When we self-published, we pretty much did everything ourselves, from the marketing of the book to dealing with the printers and book wholesalers. It's all quite doable if you've got half a brain, but it's a lot of admin and it begins to feel like a second job.

    £4.00 seems a bit paltry for your 300 books mate. It has to be said though, unless you're selling JK Rowling amounts you won't ever be giving up the day job.
     
  13. I've had some lengthy PMs with my new pal Gundulph.
    My self publish hasn't exactly been that...........my book is very much print on demand so I had no minimum quantity to order/buy it just keeps on going. My decision to self market is based on my one and only sales report (not itemised) in well over a year since launch, states 300 copies sold. My private feedback from happy readers plus knowing that the Tank Museum at Bovington have ordered on a few occasions but in multiples, has made me query the validity of the figure. My £4.00p was after deductions where I'd ordered a few........6 copies to be exact, of the book for private disposal, at 75% of the RRP and they were deducted from my royalties. But, that's exactly the catch, cost, by the time you take the 75% purchase cost and then add the shipping cost per batch to me proportionally, the margin has basically disappeared. Royalties are based on nil for the first 100 copies sold and nil for any copies I buy and that's fair then it's 10% nett of what they sell and what price they sell it at.
    The next tome when finished will be marketed differently and, hopefully by an agent who's confident of it's potential. It has to be said that Armoured Farmer was, at best, only ever designed to be a tool to encourage people to reawaken their own memories. It was never the glorification of A3B in concept............I'm simply not that pompous, nor was it ever designed to make me rich......simply a good laugh over truthfull events, which other people could, in some way relate to. Everyone who's given me feedback seems to echo that I've achieved my aim and, I'm very thankful for that. I've discovered so many pitfalls in publishing and if I can be of help then, the more the better. Cheers to everyone.
     
  14. Hey there mate!!

    My name is Francis, I am a former 1 Para offi-sah! (88-95) and i have just completed my first novel, Friendly Fire! It is the story of a Muslim Army officer who ends up capturing his estranged twin brother in Afghanistan, a brother radicalised by prison whislt serving a crime the other himself commited, hopedfully a thinking mans andy McNab!

    It has been accepted by an agent and we are currently looking for a publisher (apparently wizards and schools for witchraft and wizardry are all the rage at the moment!) so hopefully will get some resutls soon.

    I'd love to chat about your experiecnes of the publishing world so please get back and hopefully we can hook up. I'm brand new to this excellent site, having spent the last three days reading the full PRIVATE GOLDEN story! My God- that's a book in itself, i wish I had that imagination.

    Speak soon.
    Francis - No need to salute when you speak to me- no bugger ever did even when i was in! :D
     
  15. My advice would be to never publish privately; find a good literary agent who works for a share of the profits and listen to his advice. If your book is good enough to be published, he will see that it is profesionally edited and will strike the best possible deal with a suitable publisher. The more money you make, the more money he makes - so he will work hard for you and is wise to all the pitfalls. He will also chase up any cash that is owed and secure advances for future books. Vanity publishing is a rip off.

    PM me if you want any links to good literary agents.