How to Get Published

By - August 23, 2011

There are many ways to get published now, including a new and expensive way I'll get to in a moment. For starters it is cheaper than ever to self-publish. I did this myself with Secrets of Lucky People and Beyond Mental Slavery. In each case I used a different POD (publish on demand) publisher, and even with editing that I paid for on "Beyond" it cost less than $1,000 both times.

Then there are my e-books. They have never been best sellers, but Ana just did the accounting, so I know they made a couple thousand dollars in the second quarter of 2011. I spent about $200 one time years ago to set up the accounts at ClickBank ($50 each), and I used to use a PDF conversion service, but since finding a better free converter there have been no expenses. None. Of course we already had websites to sell them on, but zero cost could still be achieved with a free blog for promotion.

Kindle--that's the Amazon ebook reader--is perhaps the easiest and cheapest way to get published. It is free to set up an account, and once you play with their document converter for a few hours it becomes relatively easy to publish and sell books through their system. NO ISBN is required, and you get to name your price (though they recommend keeping it between $2.99 and $9.99). They pay a healthy 70% royalty for sales in the United States, compared with a more typical 7.5% of retail from a traditional publisher. My royalties for July were about $250, but I haven't added, edited or done anything with the book I have for sale there in many months.

Of course it is fun and enlightening experience to get published traditionally. I was approached by a senior editor at Wiley & Sons to write 101 Weird Ways to make Money because of my website, or more specifically because of the 5,500 subscribers to my Unusual Ways Newsletter. Keep that in mind if you want to get a book contract--publishers are now looking for authors who already have an online following.

Getting published the traditional way not only looks good on your resume, but means more exposure. Barnes and Noble ordered my book for every store. They never ordered one copy of my self-published books (most self published authors rely on and Barnes and Noble's website). I also never would have been on FOX News without the help of my publicist at Wiley.

Now for that new and expensive way to get published. I'm reporting this because I love to see new and innovative ideas, even if they are not directly useful to me.

First, some information about the industry: One of the reasons most traditional publishers are losing money these days is that they take all the risk. They not only pay for all of the printing and marketing costs, but they still pay advances to top authors, with no guarantee that they'll sell enough books to recover their costs. A creative solution to this is to turn the formula around and make the author take the risk. That's just what Clint Greenleaf did with Greenleaf Book Group.

Why would an author want to take the risk on himself or herself and pay as much as $30,000 to $60,000 in production costs up front? To make more money. Top authors might traditionally get 20% of the wholesale revenue from a book, but Greenleaf's authors can make as much as 70%. In other words, those who know or believe that their book will sell well can make a lot more money with this arrangement. Celebrities and others who think they have a "sure thing" are lined up to get published with Greenleaf.

Fascinating idea.

Other Pages

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First Television Interview

My Standing Desk

How to Get Published