Saturday, October 18, 2008

Publishing

Enjoy this beautiful mountain view while you read. This view is of the mountains just north of Flat Top. The house you can see on the left side, middle of pic, is the house directly across the street from the Christian Church of Anchorage, my church home.

Publishing a Book I often get asked how I got my book published. I started out by sending my finished story to publishing houses in the Lower 48. I would estimate I sent it out around fifteen times and I received a lot of impersonal rejection slips. To do it properly, you have to send it out individually, not to more than one publisher at a time. Sometimes it would take 3 - 6 months to get back a rejection slip, so it takes a long time. Unless you are famous (like a movie star or politician) or already have other books published, it's hard to break into the market.

I finally sent my story to some independent publishers in Alaska. I received one nice note back from Four Paws Publishing that stated they liked my story but couldn't take it on as they already had a book in the works similar to what I had done. That was my one and only personal response.

You start wondering at that point if the story is any good at all? Does it need tweaking? Have I sent it to the right places? Have I just been unfortunate with timing? About that time I heard a radio announcement from Publication Consultants in Alaska. I had never heard of them before but the ad stated "Interested in publishing your book? Call us now!" So I did.

I sent my story to them for their review and to my surprise I received a call back rather quickly saying they were interested and we made an appointment to meet. I found out that my publisher has three different plans for publishing. One is where they buy the book outright and make all the decisions about publishing the book and receive all the money from the sales. Another is where the publisher and author split the costs to publish the book with both parties splitting the sales. The third option is for the author to pay the costs, the publisher just consults, receives a fee and the author then retains all sales.

Mine was his first children's book. He was thrilled that I would be able to do my own illustrations and we agreed to split the costs - he had certain areas where he had final authority for making the decisions about how to do it with my consent. I found him very easy to work with and trusted him completely. He put me on a schedule for drawing all the illustrations and suggested/demanded that I change the ending. I didn't want to but he was convinced it would sell better if I would make that change. We also went through the story word by word and other suggestions were made and accepted. I do believe that he helped me to make a better story than I had done by myself.

The illustration part was tedious. I enjoy drawing, but not when I'm put on a schedule that I have to meet every week. I wasn't always on time, but nearly so. It took approximately a year from the time we agreed to publish a book together till when we received the boxes full of completed books. It was very exciting.

For a long time he scheduled me to attend different author events where I had to talk about my book and sign copies for sale. I don't always like this part because I'm not really my own best promoter. He and I have had a lot of fun over the years....he started calling me his daughter because I do look like I could fit into his family and I began calling him Dad. Since then he has added numerous authors to the publishing group and has 100's of titles he sells. Many of the other authors think that I really am his daughter.

Overall I've been very happy with our relationship and sales of the book. In hindsight I wish that I had insisted on a different type style for the cover, but other than that I'm happy with the outcome. Part of our agreement is that my next book has to be offered to his publishing company first, so my book Carina will be published by Publication Consultants also. After that I'm contractually free to send my writings to other publishers and I have dreams of writing for the Christian Romance market. I've read lots of them and think I could do just as good or better.

Another benefit to working with this publisher is that it has allowed me opportunities to illustrate. The cover I painted for Through the Eye of the Glacier, End of the Trail and Sourdough Scott's Bedtime Fairy Tales were all a direct result of my contact at Publication Consultants.

6 comments:

tainterturtles said...

Very interesting Patty. Working with books everyday, it's nice to hear the author/illustrator side of the story. I happy to see you are using your God-given talent to write and illustrate. I like your idea about writing for the Christian genre. Inspirational fiction is very popular with the women in my community.

Aunt Krissy said...

So are you going to get back to the love story? With that stuck up man? What was his name? Jerk?

also I'm up to a high school level now. I think it has to do with spelling!

PAK Art said...

His name is Marc. And I don't appreciate you calling him a jerk. And no, I haven't gotten back to Marc and Marnie at all. I'm not lazy - I've just got too much else going on! Blogging is taking up more time than I thought it would!

tainterturtles said...

Hummm, love story, Marc...this sounds interesting!!!! You are so right Patty. Blogging does take up a lot of time.

Alicia said...

So whats all this talk of "Marc" and "love story"?

PAK Art said...

I've been working on another story, something I want to submit to the christian romance fiction market. My main characters are Marc and Marnie. However, Kris didn't like my male character - thinks he is stuck up. I prefer to think of him as flawed. but of course, he'll come around and be wonderful by the end of the story.