Effective January 2014, the Blog-Zine is cosed to new posts and is going dark. The blog and its archives will stay "up," though, so please feel free to peruse the archives and discover all of the great books, authors, articles, and other features that have joined me here over the years. Thanks to all who helped make my Blog-Zine adventure a raging success! Read on!

10 August, 2008

Passing: Part IV - A Book By Destiny or Design?

Like Nike says, Just Do It...

Bite the bullet and pick a cover designer. You may be a skilled graphic designer, in which case you'll probably design your own book cover. But if you're not and you've been gathering information on the various design options available to you, then pick somebody, already. Pass along any ideas or concepts you might have, along with the barcode you purchased, and any other information the designer requests that might help him/her get a good feel for your project. Establish a working time frame by which you can generally expect to see some sample covers, take care of the other little pesky details (payment arrangements, etc.), and...wait.

(An Aside: If you've gathered any book blurbs or reviews from experts in the field(s)your book deals with or from other authors, pass this information along to your cover designer, to be included in the cover design. By the same token, though, you don't want a cover damn near filled with text, either. Everything in moderation, so include the blurbs or review(s) that pack the most punch.)

Meanwhile, get busy having your manuscript professionally edited and proofread. Ideally, you'll have already started looking into editing & proofing services and checking references, etc. So now you can come to terms with the editor and proofreader of your choice and turn your baby over to them (edit first, then proof). If you're just now looking into this area, no biggie. Ask some of your writer friends for references, search the net for editing services, and check the acknowledgments pages of books you've read. Many authors thank their editors there. Establish a working time frame by which you can expect to have your baby back in your hands, all polished up and spit-shined, and...wait.

(Another Aside: When your manuscript comes back to you from the editor, go through it with a fine tooth comb and make sure everything is to your specifications. Mark any oversights and return that puppy to him/her so they can fix it/them. Good, professional editing can be affordably costly. But even so, think about what was going through your head the last time you cracked open a book that had so many editing, grammar and typo issues that you couldn't get into the story for noticing them. Think about your bank account, too, though. Getting a good deal is equally as important as avoiding getting fleeced. Compare prices and quality of services, the same way you compare prices when you grocery shop. When you think your manuscript is "perfect" and ready to go to print, turn it over to a proofreader or two or three. You wrote it, so nine times out of ten when you read it, you'll see what is supposed to be there, not what is actually there. Count on missing some things that an objective eye will catch. I catch something different every time I read something I've written that I thought was "perfect", even on my blog!)

Moving along...

How will your book reach the masses? Will it be available for sale online exclusively or in brick & mortar bookstores, as well? Do you want to work with a book distributor or a book wholesaler? What's the difference?

Book distributors do just that - distribute books. They often have some sort of sales stategy(ies) and/or a sales workforce that actively sells titles to bookstores, chains and various online retailers. Book wholesalers, on the other hand, usually do not "sell" your book. That's your job, and as you do it, you direct your buyers (bookstores, etc.) to the wholesaler, through which they can place orders. However, wholesalers do sometimes offer various promotional packages for purchase and these packages provide additional sales/promo services. It all kind of ties together though, because wholesalers can and do order books through distributors, when they need to. So it isn't like, if you go with a distributor, wholesalers won't have access to your book, or vice versa.

Another difference is that distributors mostly require an exclusive contract, which means that if they're selling your book to book retailers (online, too), no one else should be. You can probably sell it yourself, via your website, but that's about it. Wholesalers usually do not require exclusivity, so you could, theoretically, place your book with a couple different wholesalers, online retailers, and sell it via your website, etc. Also, distributors will probably want to evaluate your project (ARC/galley/marketing plan submission) and decide if they want to add it to their product line, which means your project could be declined for whatever reason. Wholesalers usually aren't as stringent, as they're making your book available on a broader scale, but not really associating themselves with its success or failure. And you might also be required to pay a modest fee to become a wholesale book vendor.

A net search on "book distributors" and/or "book wholesalers" will yield some great leads to get you started on your quest for information. Don't be shy about asking questions and requesting more information. Make sure you have a clear understanding about fee scales/percentages, payment & contract terms, required or suggested book quantities, and any other criteria specified, before you sign on the dotted line.

I know, I know...more research...but, this ain't over...

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