Coffee heat rising

Thinking about publishing a book?

My business partner and I just finished editing a book manuscript for a client of a client. Our client is a book packager (an outfit that puts books together for publishers); the subclient is an on-demand vanity publisher preparing to print a book written by the author of a fairly laughable conspiracy theory.

On-demand publishers have their uses and are worth considering if you have a book that will supplement a business enterprise. For example, a friend of mine ran a lucrative business providing in-house communications seminars to large corporations. She wrote a book that summarized the basic principles described in her presentations, which she sold in large numbers to her corporate clients—and also to the general public through the Barnes & Nobles and the Borders of this world. While the book would have been profitable on its own (she had something to say that people wanted to know), it vastly enhanced her company’s revenues.

You may have a subject too limited to your business or your specific interest to sell to a traditional publishing house, but it nevertheless would be useful if presented in a book. Before the advent of on-demand publishing, you could have the book printed and bound through a vanity press, but then you’d be faced with the many headaches of warehousing, marketing, and distribution. Most people who go this route end up with their cars parked in the street, because the garage is stuffed to the rafters with unsalable books. But lo! an on-demand publisher can produce only the number of books you think you can sell at your next dog-and-pony show, or that you want to give away to your 100 best customers.

If your book is adequately edited (so you don’t look like a screaming fool) and decently designed (not a matter to be neglected), a self-published product can be a valuable adjunct to any number of enterprises.

What you should NOT do is pay a vanity publisher to bring out a book that no one else in their right mind would publish. There’s a reason these outfits are called “vanity presses”: they profit nicely from the wannabe writer’s ego. Remember: when you’re a real writer, you don’t pay someone else to publish your golden words; they pay you!

And also remember:
Every writer needs and editor.