Although the publishing industry is currently a bit topsy-turvy, there has never been a better time in history to publish a book. Digital technology and online retailers like Amazon and iTunes have leveled the playing field and traditional publishers are no longer the gatekeepers and arbiters of what is deemed worthy of being published. In fact, some "self-published" books are now faring better than many conventionally published titles on both a critical and commercial level.
If you have a book inside you clambering to get out, we may be able to help. Whether you have written the next great American novel, or a comprehensive family history, the desire to share our stories in as many ways as possible is how we are defined as a civilized society. This is the very ethos of Story Arts Media and I proudly accept a limited number of commissions each year to provide authors with a full array of self-publishing services on a very personal basis. I may even occasionally be smitten by a title submitted in this manner, in which case I might offer you a publishing partnership under the Story Arts Media imprint.
In any event, whether you self-publish it or I publish it, the book still needs to happen. Let's ignite it!
Full Disclosure: Story Arts Media is not an author's services company per se, but we know more about "new media" than many of them, AND we implement it on a daily basis for our own products. I am also an occasional consultant for print and digital vendors, which keeps me very current. In the old days I was what was known as a "book packager" for several large publishers including Doubleday and Harper & Row. I would suggest a book idea, and if they liked it I would produce it from start to finish (often even the printing) and they would then publish it under their imprint. It was as close to independent publishing as you could get back then, and I loved it. But I like today's publishing environment even better, and if I'm not working on titles for Story Arts Media, I might as well be working on yours!
You probably already know that there is an entire self-publishing industry out there. Some of the services being offered, and the companies behind those services, are excellent, and some... less so. But this is the kind of business where you almost always get what you pay for. Story Arts Media is not a high-volume provider, and we are by no means the least expensive, but we do consider ourselves one of the best. We are a genuine publisher, not a vanity press. We respect the art of publishing and are dedicated to producing the most professional products possible.
Here's where we start:
Editorial Evaluation: I will read your manuscript and give you my honest opinion on what it may need, and whether or not I think it has commercial possibilities - or if you should simply self-publish it as a labor of love. The cost for this assessment is $500 and generally takes only a few days. You may not like or agree with what I have to say, and I may not feel like going any further, in which case we both are free to call it a day. But should you choose to use me to edit your book, and I accept the commission, I will credit you back $250 of this evaluation fee.
Developing the Plan: At this point, if we have both decided to move forward with your book project we will have a discussion about expectations, desires, budget, etc., - sort of like getting married! I will present you with a game plan, complete with a budget and a customized pro forma based on everything we need to do to bring your title to life and achieve a positive ROI. There's still time to chicken out at this point and go back to your day job, or you can commit to the plan and proceed (but please, still keep that day job!).
What happens next and what it might cost:
Editing & Book Doctoring: If you want your book to be taken seriously, it is essential to have your manuscript edited by a professional editor. I will closely edit your book for spelling, punctuation, formatting, grammar and overall content. I will look for awkward transitions, repetitiveness, poor word choice and weak characterization. I will suggest fixes for structural problems and plot holes, and I will make sure you are adhering to accepted elements of style. The cost and time needed for this level of editing varies a great deal depending on the length, condition and complexity of your manuscript. Figure around 2¢ to 4¢ a word for well-crafted copy, and from 5¢ to 10¢ a word for manuscripts needing extensive doctoring or rewriting. I will give you the estimated cost in advance after my initial evaluation read.
Design & Production: A professionally designed book cover can be as important to the success of a book as the actual content. Let's face it, most of us DO judge a book by its cover, and we often decide if we want to read it simply by how it looks inside. How does the book feel as we page through? Is the interior design pleasing? Does it add to the overall experience? Is the type easy to read, and do our eyes flow naturally through the text without getting tired. How are illustrations presented? Chapter heads? Page numbers? Much of this may seem inconsequential and subtle, but get it wrong and you'll notice it forever. Books that aren't professionally designed scream "self-published, amateur, don't buy me." We've been designing award-winning books and periodicals for over 40 years, and we invite you to wander through this web site to get a feel for our work.
We offer two design/production packages based a novel-type book of no more than 100,000 words and fewer than a dozen interior illustrations or photos. Books of greater length or with a complex design are quoted separately.
1) eBook only - $1,500 for custom color cover and pre-programming prep of B&W interior pages.
2) Print & eBook - $2,500 for custom color cover and press-ready design/production of B&W interior pages.
Metadata and Visual Assets: From registering copyright, to securing an ISBN and LCCN with complete metadata, to outputting a UPC for the cover, to taking a simple author photograph, to shooting a fully illustrated book, to photo research and procurement, to video enhancement of an eBook, to production of a video trailer, Story Arts Media can handle all of your metadata requirements and visual content needs.
eBook, Audiobook and Print Solutions: We now live in a digital world. With the advent of the Internet - and amazing mobile devices like smartphones, tablets and eReaders - the very concept of what a book even is has changed dramatically. There are now more as many electronic books (eBooks) sold in the U.S. as print books. And most print books now incorporate digital POD (print on demand) output in addition to traditional offset production. Electronic books can be enhanced with animation, music and voice audio, embedded video, slideshows, active links, etc. And then there are audiobooks, where the "reading" of a book can become a musically- and character-enhanced listening experience.
All of this is fantastic! - and if sourced correctly it's not that expensive to present your book in many iterations. In fact it's actually much cheaper to publish a book now than just a few years ago. It just requires special design and production skill sets, and an absolute up-to-the-minute knowledge of available technology to fully leverage the possibilities. Story Arts Media has been an innovator in this arena and will happily guide you through the options.
Sales & Marketing: Once you have your finished product(s) in hand it's time to tell the world! We believe there are three keys to successfully publishing your book:
1) Have it available for sale in as many places as possible, in as many iterations as possible both print and digital, to bookstores, libraries and schools; on Amazon, iTunes, Barnes & Noble and myriad other channels like digital book clubs, classroom services, independent online platforms, specialty shops, box stores, etc.
2) Create a simple web site to act as a "discovery" hub for everything related to that title. It is a place where you can direct anyone who is interested to discover what the book is about, watch a promotion trailer, read about you the author, read reviews and perhaps post one of their own, read a sample chapter or listen to a podcast, interact with social media, and most important - find out where and how they can buy the book in all its forms.
3) Brand YOU, the author, through consistent marketing efforts with email, social media, blogging, conventional media, interviews and reviews to create a fan base and ultimately a sales base for your book (and any that may follow!).
Every title requires its own unique marketing plan and it is essential to manage expectations with a realistic approach to growth and sales. But if you're willing to put in the effort, Story Arts Media can help supply the tools to successfully publish your book. Ready?
Contact us today.