Oh my god. Pardon if I piss anyone off for saying this but.
No one should pay ANY money to be published. If you pay money, that's a vanity press. And they are getting PAID, essentially, whether you get paid back or not.
When Stephen King was poor and submitted "Carrie" to the publisher, they paid him an 'advance'. Dig? He got paid money before the book came out. Not the other way around. Even Stephen King would be up a creek right now, if you'd told him he needed even a thousand dollars to publish "Carrie". There'd have been no Stephen King, people.
You'd do better to PAY people to read your book. *grin* And that's not a bad idea.
----------"Not a bad idea, number one: PAY people to read your book."
Think of it THIS way: You just paid your distributor to be a printshop that prints you some books. A printshop doesn't market your work, does he, he just makes paper copies.
I noticed a comment about a small group going to some 'distributor.' Someone suggested they aren't a vanity press because they 'chose' you. They didn't have to. Maybe, I'm confused, but if you offer someone money to do something for you, generally, if they can, they'll take your money and do the physical task you ask.
By the way, I checked out that book on Amazon. The way it's set up, I never see any of the poetry. Testimonials and acknowledgements are great, but why would I buy a book I couldn't even see one page of poetry? I can do that in a store, but I'm online here, why isn't Amazon thinking of this? Something to think about. Perhaps the 'thank you's in an ebook or anything that ISN'T the copy shouldn't go at the front of the book. I don't know how they decide, in the "take a look inside" Amazon function, how many pages they show you, but if it was MY book, I'd want you reading the copy, not the how de doos. *grin* Again, just an idea. I'm thinking aloud here. I'm not pointing fingers.
It's like on the X-factor. You have TWO minutes to impress a judge. If that.
Back to promoting...and the use of bricks and mortar distributors/publishers
Promoting is not creating a hard cover book. _I_ could make books. Physical ones. Anyone can make books, you can learn how to do it, or do it with real good photocopies or computer printers and covers and thread or glue. Who knows, that might even make the book stand out more so..
------------"Not a bad idea, number two: Create an exceptionally nice handmade version of your book."
Have a book bee with your creative friends and do a book for every author in your group. Take them to your creative friends' crafts sales and pull out a pen and wave around the one author's book and ask if people want you to make them one. You've also just made business for your craft friend. Excellent thought.
Back to brix and mortz. Unless you can convince me someone is 'promoting' your book...well, I tell ya. Give ME a thousand dollars and I'll make books for ya too. *grin*
Come on people, I wanna hear some solid solutions here. And it starts with a well made story, of course.
The fact we can now make NON paper books, takes the cost to nothing. Amazon will take your book--you have to 'create' it and this is nothing more than html pages in a format you upload--and make it available to the public.
But meantime, they are busy selling cameras and iphones and lord knows what all else. Someone show me what 'processes' a place like Amazon--or any of these 'website distributors' are doing for you, and I'll shut right up.
I was once in the printing industry. We don't NEED printshop anymore; we have print-on-demand shops. Someone asks you for a "physical" book, the print-on-demand printer prints it. One book. Ships it, maybe. You both make money. You don't waste any resources. You keep no inventory. Anyone who tries to convince you, a startup writer, that you need book inventory, is not thinking with the times. They're thinking with YOUR pocketbook. And that's not fair.
It's not fair. You end up frustrated and you quit writing.
I'm serious about figuring this out. And I remember some poor kid signing a seven year contract--Publishers America? or something like that, a vanity publisher in the real early days--she couldn't get out of it, and they take the money for the books she creates, for seven years.
All the creating she does for the next seven years, they get a piece of. So please, don't let me hear anything about anyone 'signing' contracts.
Tell me what you have tried. Tell me what has worked. Tell me what they TOLD you would happen and what actually happened.
Don't spend any money. This is about getting people to read your book. But you NEED to promote it in any number of ways.
Which I'm gonna find out.
Heather, amazed this is still happening.