Publishing In a Box?

Discussion in 'Publishing' started by VenomWars, May 1, 2017.

  1. VenomWars

    VenomWars New Member

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    Brand new here, so let me first say this is an amazing site and I'm so glad to have stumbled upon it!! I have been working on a manuscript for years and now I'm at the point to finally take the big step to have it published and take on the steps of promotion, etc.

    As I'm new to this, I have been looking for resources to help with Cover Design and everything that goes into Publishing. I came across this company and already had a great conversation with them: Publishing In A BoxHome Page | Publishing In A Box Basically they take on everything for $6K.

    I was curious, has anyone heard of them or worked with them? Obviously their niche is more non-fiction (their other business is Book in Box, where they actually write the book and do all the publishing), but since I have the manuscript, I figure as long as the cover design is top notch all of these other services will be great as well!

    I'd love to get any feedback. I will definitely be coming back more and more for the expert opinions I've been reading through so many threads. My book is fantasy, targeted at the young teen group. Thank you in advance.
     
  2. Devor

    Devor Fiery Keeper of the Hat Moderator

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    I haven't heard of this one before, but there's a few of these kinds of sites going around.

    You can get quality cover art, editing, and the rest for about $1k just by finding people on freelance sites. Hypothetically, you could find one company to provide all of these services, but I can't imagine how they get to a number of $6K.

    Yes, you could spend thousands just on Cover Art. But don't. Books can become best sellers with simple covers. Quality doesn't equal complexity. The price difference is between finding someone to manipulate stock art and commissioning a massive painting. The end result can be beautiful either way.

    And depending on the length of your book, if you feel that your writing isn't good enough for about $700-900 in editing to get you to your goals, you may be better off investing in a writing course.

    Do the best you can for your first book - for everything you do in fact. But let's be real for a moment. A traditional publisher would pay an author $5K as an advance, cover their expenses, and put a book in every decent-sized bookstore in the country.... and the royalties usually won't pay out the advance.

    It's doable to make a living writing, don't get me wrong. But it's highly unlikely that your first book, self-published, will do well enough to return a six thousand dollar investment.
     
  3. Russ

    Russ Istari

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    So I had a look at their website and beyond the usual hype there is actually not much information. By you mentioning a price, I assume you filled out the form and sent it in. Can you share with us the contents of their response?

    I agree with Devor that the price is quite steep for a self-pub project. I would need to know a lot more about the quality of editing and cover art they were going to offer before I would go near that price. There are editors who are worth that price by themselves, but they are few and far between.

    I also had some concern about this statement on their site:

    Many authors sell thousands and tens of thousands of copies through bookstores. To suggest what this quote does is misleading at best.
     
  4. T.Allen.Smith

    T.Allen.Smith Staff Moderator

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    I concur. $6k seems overly steep. Unless you've got bags of money hidden under the floorboards, I'd steer clear.

    You're better off researching and contacting freelance editors and artists. That can also be a daunting tasks. How do you know if an editor or artist can do what they claim?

    Here's a good place to start:
    ABOUT WRITER BEWARE ® - SFWA
     
  5. Devor

    Devor Fiery Keeper of the Hat Moderator

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    For sure. I've commissioned artwork a few times now, and the risk that you're paying for a dud is quite real. It might not even be the artist's fault. Sometimes you're giving them ideas that just aren't good or don't translate well when you try to explain them.

    I haven't paid for editing just yet, but the stories about people arguing with their editor make it sound like a nightmare. But I did have a good experience working with an editor on a short story I wrote a while ago.

    In both cases you've got to have a good . . . how should I describe it? A good "maker's instinct," let's call it, to get to the kind of end result that works.
     
  6. VenomWars

    VenomWars New Member

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    You asked what is included for the $6K, and it's listed about 3/4 of the way down the page under "PROFESSIONAL PUBLISHING PACKAGE". They list 10 different things included.

    Sounds like the overwhelming feedback is the price is way too much for what's offered!
     
    Russ likes this.
  7. Russ

    Russ Istari

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    Ah yes...thanks for that. If I read it correctly It does not include editing and there is an upcharge for books over 75k words. That is far too pricey for what you get.
     
  8. skip.knox

    skip.knox Staff Moderator

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    I dug a bit further and looked at Book in a Box. It's all breathless hype. The founder goes on at length at how he came up with this brilliant idea of how a person could write a book without actually having to write it. It's a full anecdote. His core idea he presents as if it were some unique insight, then goes on to describe how successful it was.

    His idea? Have the "author" tell this person what she wanted to say, then this person (the founder) went and wrote it. Brilliant! Ground-breaking!

    Twaddle. It's called ghost writing.

    So, I figure if the founder of Book in a Box is mostly air, his second enterprise, Publishing in a Box, is unlikely to be meatier.

    Save your nickels.

    Besides, finding your own pros has important benefits. You will learn how to communicate the core of your story to an artist, to encapsulate it for an interview, to talk it up, strip it down, and in doing so you will come to see where you might improve next time. If you keep turning your work over to someone else, you will never gain that perspective.
     
    T.Allen.Smith likes this.
  9. Michael K. Eidson

    Michael K. Eidson Shadow Lord

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    The services offered in the Professional Publishing Package from Publishing In A Box:

    Book Cover Design
    Interior Layout (Ebook and Paperback)
    Distribution and Royalty Set-Up
    Ebook Creation and Distribution
    Paperback Creation and Distribution
    Copyrighting and Cataloging
    Publisher Imprint Creation
    Author Photo
    Author Marketing Materials
    Image Inclusion and Clearance

    As someone else above pointed out, editing is not included, and if your novel is over 75K words, you have to pay additional fees. Proofreading isn't even included unless you pay an extra $1K.

    Check out some of the following links, and see how their prices for individual services compare to the $6K that Publishing in a Box charges for doing "everything."

    SelfPubBookCovers (SelfPubBookCovers: One-of-a-kind premade book covers where Authors can instantly customize and download their covers, and where Artists can post a cover and name their own price.) sells original book cover art starting at $69. Each cover is only sold once, so it will be unique to your book.

    For publishing as paperback, check out CreateSpace (CreateSpace: Self Publishing and Free Distribution for Books, CD, DVD). There are other POD outlets, too, of course. For options regarding formatting a Word document for uploading to CreateSpace, check out this page: Distribute Your Book through Amazon.com, Bookstores, and Online Stores - you can find Word templates here set up for the dimensions of the book you want to publish. There's also some talk about including images with bleed, if you have illustrations. If using cover art for a print book sold via CreateSpace, you can get a free template to ensure your art will work with their system: CreateSpace: Self Publishing and Free Distribution for Books, CD, DVD - if you use your own images for print publications, make sure they are 300 dpi resolution, whether for the cover or as interior illustrations.

    If you use images that are not your own, make sure you have properly licensed them first. This can be iffy if you don't acquire them from a reputable stock image house. Also be sure to credit the artist in the front matter of your book, according to the terms of your license.

    Draft2Digital will format your Word document according to your style guide. Check here to see their process: Draft2Digital | Step By Step - which they do for free. They create multiple ebook formats. They can also help with formatting your book for print. Beyond the formatting, they will distribute to various sales channels, for which they take a cut, but only when books sell.

    Smashwords (https://www.smashwords.com/) can also help with distribution of your ebook - for a cut of sales. And of course there's Amazon's KDP: https://kdp.amazon.com/

    Want your own imprint? Buy your own ISBNs: https://www.myidentifiers.com/get-your-isbn-now It's $125 for one ISBN at the time of this writing, or under $30 each if you buy in a lot of 10 or more. If you publish in multiple formats, you're supposed to use a different ISBN for each. You can buy bulk ISBNs if you plan to do a lot of publishing; once you buy an ISBN, it's your decision what book it gets assigned to, and when, which can be years down the road if necessary. Some self-publishers don't use ISBNs for their ebooks, but you pretty much have to for print books, and you may be limiting your distribution if you don't use them for your ebooks.

    When you register a book with Bowker, you are assigning a specific ISBN to a specific edition of a specific book. After registration with Bowker, your book will be listed in their "Books in Print" database automatically - no additional fee. Libraries and bookstores have access to this. If they like the description of a book, they can attempt to contact the publisher of record directly. If you bought your own ISBNs, then you are the publisher of record. If you sell books to brick-and-mortar bookstores, note that they will want to buy them from you at a big discount off the retail price, and you'll probably have to agree to buy back any unsold copies.

    I heard of one company going under because they couldn't afford to buy back a ton of books that had been sold to bookstores, after the bookstores had sat on them for some period of time and then decided to return them for refund all at once. If you want your books to be sold through bookstores, I'd recommend caution if you don't go the route of traditional publication. Even if some company says they will handle distribution through bookstores, do they take the risk of having to refund money if the bookstores return unsold books, or does that risk fall on you? Read the contract carefully!

    There are websites that can generate bar codes for your print books, so they can be sold in bookstores. One such website is bookow: https://www.bookow.com/resources.php

    For copyright info, check out: https://www.copyright.gov/help/faq/faq-register.html - this mentions Circular 4, which talks about copyright fees, if you decide to register your copyright.

    For help with your bio and book description, check out fiverr.com - https://www.google.com/search?q=fiverr&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8#q=bio+book+description+site:fiverr.com Fiverr can also help you find other freelancers to help with proofreading and the like, and the good ones will have high ratings from others who have used their services. Don't expect their charges to only be $5. :)

    All the above comes out to less than $1K, possibly much less. For your remaining $5K, you can get professional editing, proofreading, and author photos, and still have money left over for advertising.
     
  10. psychotick

    psychotick Dark Lord

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    Hi,

    Never heard of these people but it sounds predatory to me. Six grand and no edit? That's ridiculous. You can do everything they offer for a few hundred. Bottom line - they sound like a boutique publisher. And the clearest sign of that is that they're charging you upfront and apparently accepting your work without having even so much as read it. They seem to have no standards, which means they will publish anything.

    In this new world of self publishing, you the writer / author, have to have the standards for them.

    Look, let's start at the begining. Has your book been beta read? Been thoroughly looked at by other authors etc? Because if not - it's not ready to be published. No publishing company can change that. So if this hasn't been done, find some beta readers and get started. Find some writers groups as well and get critiques of bits of your writing. None of that should cost anything save for the sweat on your brow. Next edit. When you are completely satisfied that the book is the absolute best you can make it - get it professionally edited. A thousand bucks should cover this. Or if you happen to have friends / family who are professional editors etc, get them to look at it.

    Next interior design - that's pretty much nothing. You can do it yourself. It basically means putting your book into a single file - Word as standard - with the text justified, one page break at the top of every chapter and no others, a cover page, title page, credits page etc. Use the headers feature and create a TOC. And don't forget to either indent all your text at the start of each paragraph or leave a blank line (or you can do both as I do).

    Cover design - two words - buy one. They aren't that expensive. My latest cover is under a hundred bucks. And there are plenty of places where you can simply get a premade. Eg: Premade Sci-Fi Book Covers - The Book Cover Designer or SelfPubBookCovers: One-of-a-kind premade book covers where Authors can instantly customize and download their covers, and where Artists can post a cover and name their own price. Let your fingers do the walking.

    Now create your blurb. You really have to do that yourself. But it shouldn't take long and you can get people to review it.

    Now publish. Go to Amazon Kindle, and follow the instructions. This is completely free. And you don't need to pay for ISBN's. They are provided for free by Amazon and Smashies - just tick the box. Then once you're done with the digital book, you an start looking at creating a paper version through CreateSpace etc. But your company was right in one respect at least, they aren't essential and you'll sell very few paper copies compared to digital ones. But it's not only about ego in creating a paper copy. It's about making your book look prefession. Your end goal is to make your book when it arrives on the digital shelves look as good as a professionally trade published book, so that readers will not realise it's an indie work.

    Greg Curtis
     
    Devor likes this.
  11. pmmg

    pmmg Shadow Lord

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    As a good general rule, money should flow from them towards you, not from you towards them. If someone is asking for money to publish your work, they are not likely legit.
     
    Last edited: May 3, 2017
  12. FifthView

    FifthView Istari

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    These two companies seem to me to be....boutique.
     
  13. VenomWars

    VenomWars New Member

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    Thanks!

    -------

    Greg/Other contributors;

    Thanks for the thoughtful and detailed replies!

    Yes, i have had several "First Readers" or "Betas" as you call them. The overall feedback has been very positive. Especially from one 11 year old who sent me a letter and asked when the sequel was coming out!!

    I have also had two full edits from a family friend (lifelong English/Journalism teacher), but i am very open to having another set of eyes on it before it is birthed, and am happy to invest in that type of service.

    My main goal is twofold, 1. Write a good and entertaining story for all ages. 2. Create a book that is a tribute to my family and the desert world we have lived in.

    And as romantic as it may sound, if i sold only one copy I would still consider it a huge success. Just finishing this book and creating something is the true win. (Anything above that is gravy!)

    I feel like the artwork would be key, especially as young readers are apt to pick up something that grabs there attention. So i don't want to dismiss the importance of that.

    I'll keep checking back in, and reviewing some of the options you have suggested.

    Cheers,

    MIke B.
     
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