A Question for Fellow Writers About Book Publishing - Music Banter Music Banter

Go Back   Music Banter > Community Center > Media
Register Blogging Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read
Welcome to Music Banter Forum! Make sure to register - it's free and very quick! You have to register before you can post and participate in our discussions with over 70,000 other registered members. After you create your free account, you will be able to customize many options, you will have the full access to over 1,100,000 posts.

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 08-14-2022, 11:06 AM   #1 (permalink)
Music Addict
 
innerspaceboy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2015
Location: The Organized Mind
Posts: 2,005
Default A Question for Fellow Writers About Book Publishing

I'm looking for some expert advice from authors who have published through professional publishers outside "The Big Three." I'm hopeful someone here will have some valuable insight to impart.

I recently self-published a book on my music writings to Google Books. Amazon was unable to publish it due to its length, (details below).

I'm considering print publication through a promising publisher in my city. The company was founded by the same fellow who founded a prestigious national atheist/secular freethought organization headquartered in my city of which I am an active member, and they've published socially-progressive works by authors like Isaac Asimov. This aligns well with my writings about the free and open culture movements so it sounded like a good potential match. I've authored a formal proposal satisfying all of their requirements but have not submitted it yet.

My concern is that there are numerous significant hurdles I would have to face to go to print. I'll enumerate them below as succinctly as I'm able.

1. The book is 1,715 5" x 8" pages. This was too long for Amazon to print in either a single physical volume as well as in an ebook due to technical specifications for epub. I'd have to see if the regional print publisher could do it, or if they'd break it up into a multi-volume box set, which would require redesigning the cover layouts. If so, I would prefer to return to the designer who produced the original cover layout as he really understood my vision. Hopefully the publisher would honor that.

2. The PDF has a minor anomaly. When I prepared the working document there were a handful of blank numbered pages as a result of images re-flowing with the text. I removed the numbered blank pages from the exported PDF to ensure that no other images moved out of place. Consequently, those page numbers are absent from the PDF. If the print publisher wished to correct this, or to resize the pages, I would have to provide the working LibreOffice Writer document to tidy up and to repopulate the TOC. This could potentially introduce a flood of new errors with the image re-flow and it would have to be re-proofed from scratch.

3. A few images in the book were sourced from the web and were included with articles for the purpose of commentary/criticism. I'd have to make sure that these constitute Fair Use.

4. My book incorporates numerous web links for referenced content. It appears that the publisher also publishes digitally to all major platforms, but I was not happy with the compromised layout when I exported an epub from my working document, so I'd hope they would honor my request to electronically distribute in the PDF format. Also, my research revealed that Amazon rejects ebooks containing html as there is the potential for them to contain links to malicious websites/viruses. If that's true, my book would again not be publishable through Amazon.

I'd also have to see whether the print publisher would require that I retract my Google Book version for them to host their own copy via their official distribution channels. That's not a problem, just something I'll need to address.

What are your thoughts? These are serious and labor-intensive concerns. I also hope that I wouldn't have to compromise my creative control over the work, but that would likely be a question for the publisher's staff if and when my proposal is accepted.

I'd really appreciate any insight the community here can offer. Writing the book was the most complex undertaking of my life and I'm concerned that a print edition would be too much for me to handle. And I'm not sure how my commitment to utilizing free and open source software to author the working document would be received by a professional publisher who may not be directly familiar with the software.

What do you think? Thanks for any wisdom you can share!
__________________
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chula Vista View Post
You are quite simply one of the most unique individuals I've ever met in my 763+ months living on this orb.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Trollheart View Post
You are to all of us what Betelgeuse is to the sun in terms of musical diversity.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Exo_ View Post
You sir are a true character. I love it.
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Batlord View Post
You, sir, are a nerd's nerd.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marie Monday View Post
Just chiming in to declare that your posts are a source of life and wholesomeness
The Innerspace Connection | Essential Recordings | Top Archives | Hot 100 Albums | Top 550 Artists
innerspaceboy is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 08-14-2022, 02:18 PM   #2 (permalink)
Born to be mild
 
Trollheart's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: 404 Not Found
Posts: 26,586
Default

I have no experience of being published, but I do know some who have, on another forum. With your permission I'll post your questions there. They are usually very helpful so, with no slight intended to anyone here, you'd be far more likely to get the answers you need through them than you would here, where few if anyone is going to have the knowledge you need.

Let me know if that's okay with you.
__________________
Trollheart: Signature-free since April 2018
Trollheart is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-14-2022, 02:57 PM   #3 (permalink)
Exo
All day jazz and biscuits
 
Exo's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: NJ
Posts: 7,292
Default

ISB, I love you, but...who here has published a book? Lol.
__________________
LastFM

SUPREME POO BAH MODERATOR EXTRAORDINAIRE
Exo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-14-2022, 03:11 PM   #4 (permalink)
Call me Mustard
 
rubber soul's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2017
Location: Pepperland
Posts: 2,558
Default

Yeah, you're better off checking the various writing forums for your question, Innerspaceboy. You could probably join one of those forums and get your question answered rather quickly. Writingforums.com has a publishing section so I would suggest joining to get your question answered. The chief administrator is a bit of an elitist (which is why I more or less banned myself) but the rank and file I'm pretty sure remain pretty friendly. Anyway, good luck.
__________________
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pet_Sounds View Post
But looking for quality interaction on MB is like trying to stay hydrated by drinking salt water.
rubber soul is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-14-2022, 03:17 PM   #5 (permalink)
Music Addict
 
innerspaceboy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2015
Location: The Organized Mind
Posts: 2,005
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Trollheart View Post
I have no experience of being published, but I do know some who have, on another forum. With your permission I'll post your questions there. They are usually very helpful so, with no slight intended to anyone here, you'd be far more likely to get the answers you need through them than you would here, where few if anyone is going to have the knowledge you need.

Let me know if that's okay with you.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Exo View Post
ISB, I love you, but...who here has published a book? Lol.
Thank you both! I had TH in mind, as he is quite the prolific writer with his member journals. Even if he hasn't been properly published, I would value his insight, as I would the thoughts of a few other key contributors to this community.

I don't have many resources other than the active Google searching I've been performing, so I figured it couldn't hurt to at least post my position here on the outside chance that someone would have something valuable to say. I appreciate anything the group can provide.

And TH - yes; by all means feel free to share my questions to the community you have in mind. I appreciate the offer!
__________________
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chula Vista View Post
You are quite simply one of the most unique individuals I've ever met in my 763+ months living on this orb.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Trollheart View Post
You are to all of us what Betelgeuse is to the sun in terms of musical diversity.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Exo_ View Post
You sir are a true character. I love it.
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Batlord View Post
You, sir, are a nerd's nerd.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marie Monday View Post
Just chiming in to declare that your posts are a source of life and wholesomeness
The Innerspace Connection | Essential Recordings | Top Archives | Hot 100 Albums | Top 550 Artists
innerspaceboy is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 08-14-2022, 03:24 PM   #6 (permalink)
Born to be mild
 
Trollheart's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: 404 Not Found
Posts: 26,586
Default

OK, done. They're nice people over there, always ready to help another writer, so I expect I'll get some responses. Quite a few are published authors and some work in publishing, so there should be a breadth of opinions covering both positions. I'll let you know what they say.

Thanks for thinking of me, but I have zero experience personally in publishing. I just write shit and post it. That's the level of my expertise. I even had some major problems when I tried, for my own interest, to collect my best short stories together in an ebook and send it to people. It did not turn out well. I can write, but I can't publish to save my life.

I'm sure the guys will have advice for you though.
__________________
Trollheart: Signature-free since April 2018
Trollheart is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-14-2022, 03:32 PM   #7 (permalink)
Music Addict
 
innerspaceboy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2015
Location: The Organized Mind
Posts: 2,005
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by rubber soul View Post
Yeah, you're better off checking the various writing forums for your question, Innerspaceboy. You could probably join one of those forums and get your question answered rather quickly. Writingforums.com has a publishing section so I would suggest joining to get your question answered. The chief administrator is a bit of an elitist (which is why I more or less banned myself) but the rank and file I'm pretty sure remain pretty friendly. Anyway, good luck.
Thank you, RS! That's very helpful! I joined the forum, explored the parent threads, and posted to their publishing discussion topic. Hopefully someone there will lend a hand.

Thanks! If anyone else has insights, I'm all ears. I really appreciate it!
__________________
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chula Vista View Post
You are quite simply one of the most unique individuals I've ever met in my 763+ months living on this orb.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Trollheart View Post
You are to all of us what Betelgeuse is to the sun in terms of musical diversity.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Exo_ View Post
You sir are a true character. I love it.
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Batlord View Post
You, sir, are a nerd's nerd.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marie Monday View Post
Just chiming in to declare that your posts are a source of life and wholesomeness
The Innerspace Connection | Essential Recordings | Top Archives | Hot 100 Albums | Top 550 Artists
innerspaceboy is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 08-15-2022, 06:23 PM   #8 (permalink)
Born to be mild
 
Trollheart's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: 404 Not Found
Posts: 26,586
Default

Here's one response; don't know how helpful it will be.

Here's my one cent. If he goes with a professional publisher, he's got to get past two gate keepers. First, can they make money off him? In other words, will a bunch of folks (in their opinion) want to read this? Second, can an editor work with him? Unless he happens to be famous, the publisher and not him will be calling the shots as to length and content. Most, I suspect, will work with him, but only up to the point where it simply is not worth their time and effort. He's got to be a team player, so he might not get the cover he wants among other things.

Putting anything out on the 'net before making sure it is your best is not a great idea. Short of being a proclaimed writing prodigy, you will need an editor. He might consider this advice if he's not engaged some professional assistance and pull the book now in order not to tarnish either it or his name.

I get the feeling he's going to self publish in order to be satisfied. So why not split his opus up into several books to deal with the size issue?
__________________
Trollheart: Signature-free since April 2018
Trollheart is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-15-2022, 06:48 PM   #9 (permalink)
Music Addict
 
innerspaceboy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2015
Location: The Organized Mind
Posts: 2,005
Default

Thank you so much, TH. It's so kind of you to gather that input for me.

From what I've found researching it these past few nights, the fact that the content was originally published as a blog and later self-published as a PDF both count against me in the eyes of a publisher. Generally they want "first-publication" rights.

And the person you quoted is probably right that I would have to relinquish most of my creative control to an editor.

Someone else said that the purpose of a book is to be a self-contained vehicle for thoughts and knowledge. They said that if you need links, you should write a blog, not a book. Another contributor said to convert all of my web references to MLA/Chicago citations instead.

Re-flowing the content to multiple formats depending on the device to avoid users having to pinch/zoom would be a task for a publisher and not for me, but again there I'd have to surrender creative control.

I'm still gathering some additional information, but so far I'm considering retiring the project. Those who read it cover to cover really praised my work, but my writing is for a very niche audience and might not be marketable to the general public. That would make winning over a publisher quite an uphill battle.

Thanks once again, everyone.
__________________
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chula Vista View Post
You are quite simply one of the most unique individuals I've ever met in my 763+ months living on this orb.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Trollheart View Post
You are to all of us what Betelgeuse is to the sun in terms of musical diversity.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Exo_ View Post
You sir are a true character. I love it.
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Batlord View Post
You, sir, are a nerd's nerd.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marie Monday View Post
Just chiming in to declare that your posts are a source of life and wholesomeness
The Innerspace Connection | Essential Recordings | Top Archives | Hot 100 Albums | Top 550 Artists
innerspaceboy is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 08-15-2022, 08:59 PM   #10 (permalink)
Born to be mild
 
Trollheart's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: 404 Not Found
Posts: 26,586
Default

Just some more advice posted tonight. This lady works in publishing so she knows what she's talking about.


The first question is, is this publisher he's talking about a license publisher where he would be signing a contract granting them an exclusive license to production rights in exchange for royalties or is it a printer publisher that works with self-pub authors for greater distribution? And if it's the former, does this license publisher do reprint deals (license properties that have been published/self-published before -- had the production rights exploited)? And also if it's a license publisher, does it produce other titles that are anything anywhere in the neighborhood of what he's got? Do they do illustrated books? Oddly shaped/designed print books? Print is expensive, so when you add on to the production costs because it's an unusual production, the publisher has to estimate that into their cost estimates about producing the work. A work as long as this might indeed need to be broken up into multiple volumes.

If it is a license publisher, usually the license contract will give the publisher total control over the production aspects as well as pricing. He won't have a say because he's not paying the costs of producing the work. And if it's a license publisher, and this seems to be a non-fiction work, they will want to know how the work will attract an audience (which presumably he'll document in the proposal.) They will want to know why anyone would want to read this stuff from him specifically, whether he has an audience base/platform/channels to publicize already and what they are, etc.

If instead it's a printing publisher that contracts with authors to do production and wider distribution at joint cost or cost of the author, then it's a different kettle of fish, but even so, such a publisher will probably have specific areas that it assists self-pub authors with and not be interested in other types of non-fiction work.
__________________
Trollheart: Signature-free since April 2018
Trollheart is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Similar Threads



© 2003-2023 Advameg, Inc.