--- In email@example.com
, "Elizabeth Apgar Triano"
> Has anyone published a book via one of the POD services, for example
> XLibris? Would you recommend any particular service based on that
> experience? Where would I be able to see books that have been
> this manner, besides online?
I wish I had seen this when you posted it back in March, but I had a
serious case of Vertigo then and wasn't online very much.
I SELF-published VISUALIZING MIDDLE-EARTH through Xlibris. They are a
publishing services provider, which is fancy-speak for "vanity press".
When I published VME, however, they had a free publication program
which is no longer available.
I don't care to rehash the technical discussion about what constitutes
self-publishing, etc. This book did not pass editorial review. It
Remarkably, VISUALIZING MIDDLE-EARTH is still selling 30-40 copies a
month today, but I had to do all the publicity and promotion for it.
So far, two foreign publishers have inquired about translation rights
and I just signed a contract to have it translated into Hungarian last
Nonetheless, I agree with some of what David Bratman said back in
March: self-publishing should not be any fiction writer's first
choice. Nor should it be a non-fiction writer's first choice unless
it's absolutely clear the potential market for the book is too small
to justify the expense a traditional publisher would have to go
I strongly recommend AGAINST using the POD vanity presses unless you
are really, really prepared to spend a lot of time and money on
promoting your book. Being listed in Amazon doesn't mean anything.
They will not promote your book for you.
And it's almost guaranteed that an Xlibris or iUniverse author won't
get any signings at major bookstores (Borders, Barnes and Noble,
Booksamillion, Waldenbooks) without representation.
To get the signings, you need a publicist. Publicists cost money.
Some are better than others. I like my publicist because her company
On the other hand, I'm not happy with Vivisphere, the small press
which published UNDERSTANDING MIDDLE-EARTH. They came to me but
because I was without an agent at the time, I negotiated the contract
myself and I didn't see how little support they would actually give
me. I should have picked up the phone and made some calls before
signing that contract.
Small presses get a bad reputation because of experiences like mine,
but then, big companies get bad reputations, too.
Do everything you can to get an agent and a publicist. The agent will
work on commission. The publicist will not. Both will work for YOU
and look out for YOUR best interests. That is absolutely critical to
keeping your peace of mind. You need to know someone is on your side
when you publish.
Do everything you can to get a traditional publishing house to sign
you up before you go to a POD publishing house. Xlibris pays its
royalties on time without any prodding from me. That is good. But
most self-published books really do NOT sell many copies. A lot of
self-published authors experience severe disappointment and
frustration. And they don't get royalty checks every three months
like I do. Think about that.
I knew many Xlibris authors who, lacking the resources and connections
I had, could not sell their books. They were angry that Xlibris
wasn't out there helping them sell those books. They didn't
understand what they were getting into.
If you don't have a real agent sit down and say, "Here is your
contract, it's a good contract, sign it, sign it now, and let's go to
the bank", you're in trouble. I got lucky with my self-published
book. Most people don't.
I just signed a contract last week which my agent negotiated for me.
VISUALIZING MIDDLE-EARTH will be translated into Hungarian.
You want to know what irks me more than anything else about these
books? A major publishing house wanted to publish UNDERSTANDING
MIDDLE-EARTH, but by the time my agent got involved, it was too late.
Now I have to write another book and start all over again....