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Advice/Q&A
January, 2008


Word Wright

Neubauer's Nuggets
No problem is too big or too small for our Joan
By  Joan R. Neubauer

Each month, award-winning author Joan R. Neubauer answers questions from you, her readers. She will answer questions about writing, promotion, publishing, and any other aspect of the publishing industry you can think of. Send your questions to her at submissions@fwointl.com Subject: Neubauer Nuggets, and maybe yours will be the question she answers next month.


Dear Joan,

I wrote a book called Shaking The Rattle: Healing The Trauma Of Colonization and it was published by Theytus Books in 1996. In about 2001-2002 I established Shadyhat Books and Arts and had the book back in print through Insta Books Canada, which is print-on-demand because it was sold out, and Theytus was not interested in re-printing. It has been used in colleges and universities for courses as well as personal growth.

This book is an anthology of short stories, poetry, and narrative essay on healing and recovery from addictions and abuses, and it includes Native spirituality. It is not a how-to book.

I did have the book for sale online with a company that I have since found out is selling it for $20.00 plus shipping, and there is no guarantee how much shipping will cost. The book is not $20.00. It is $16.95, and I want it sold for that. I didn't write the book to make millions, I wrote the book to help people. And I am not making millions, because I do not get the extra money; the company does.

My question: Do you know if Amazon.com takes books that are print-on-demand? If so, how do I get them the information on that book? (My book was on Amazon.com when it was in print through Theytus.)

If that isn't possible, do you know how to get the word out that it is still in print, under a new ISBN# and new publisher?

Hope this isn't too confusing.

Thanks,
Helen

Dear Helen,

Yes, Amazon.com does indeed list POD (print-on-demand) books. In order to do that, you need to go to Amazon.com and set up an account, and set up yourself as the publisher. All that really entails is filling out their online forms. Then you can upload the information about your book. Basic information is pretty easy, but when it comes to uploading cover images and interiors, it could get a little technically involved, so if you’re not very computer literate, you may need some help with those things.

They will then inform you via email that they did indeed get the information and will be sending you an order in a few days. From then on, you do your own fulfillment and get those books out the door. However, bear in mind that even though you may put a price of $16.95 on your book, Amazon may heavily discount it, and the consumer may end up paying $12 for it, and you may only receive as little as $8. At that point, you have to ask yourself if $8 is enough for your book. Will you make any profit at that price? Plus, don’t forget, Amazon does not reimburse you for shipping costs.

While you may not like your book retailing for $20 at the other site, you have to take into consideration that there are costs associated with fulfillment, and while it sounds like they’re making an additional $3.05 on your book, they’re probably using that money to cover their costs.

As far as getting the word out on the new ISBN and publisher, go to Bowkerlink.com, and set up an account for yourself as a publisher, and list your new ISBN with them. Remember, R.R. Bowker is the place your ISBN came from, and they’re the people who will list your book in Books In Print.

Good luck and let me know how it goes,
Joan


Dear Joan,

I’m stuck in a Catch-22 situation. I want to write for newspapers and magazines, but everywhere I want to publish wants clips. I can’t get clips unless I have clips. Where do I get started?

Dear Catch-22,

I think every writer has found themselves in this situation at one time or another, but take heart. As they say, “Where there’s a will, there’s a way,” and here’s your way.

Start out by writing for publications that do not require clips. You can find them by going through Writer’s Market. If something looks good, highlight it. Within a very short time, you’ll have a whole list of places to send your work. When you start seeing your articles in print, cut them out and make copies. These are your clips. Even if you have to write for free or get paid in copies, it’s worth it because it will allow you to move on to the next step in your career.

Once you have two or three clips in hand, query those other publications you’d like to write for and send copies of your published work. At the beginning, since you’ll have so few clips, send what you have, but never more than three unless they ask for them. As you accumulate more, you’ll want to categorize the clips by topic. So, for example, you may have three clips on camping, two articles about cars, and six on nutrition, then you want to sell another article on nutrition to a magazine, pick out your best three articles on nutrition to send.

In this business, we never stop building our résumé. After 12 books and hundreds of articles, I continue to keep my clips in three-ring binders with plastic pages. So keep publishing, and keep saving those clips.

Let me know how it goes,
Joan
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Joan R. Neubauer is an author, publisher, public speaker, and editor. Her latest books are A Serpent’s Tooth and Shadow Dancing. For information on topics that Joan speaks about or to invite her to speak to your organization, you can contact her at Joan@WordWright.biz

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