I would be very grateful for any input from authors here who have had some experience with getting a novel published print on demand and where the publisher took a percentage of the sales and turned out a good product. I'm prepared to supply cover designs.

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Lots of good advice here on small print houses-- keep us posted on what you do, I.J. I just received my copy of Hell Screen and it looks great! It will be worth the effort to keep the series alive.
Thanks much, Donna.
Submissions begin on the 1st November. We only accept a maximum of 5 authors in any one year. Rejection is high but then again so is quality.
Thanks Darren. I'll keep you in mind, though I can't seem to access the site. Why only 5 books? Surely POD/electronic publishing isn't all that complicated.
"Surely POD/electronic publishing isn't all that complicated"

There are hundreds of POD publishers out there (go to Preditors and Editors for some fine examples) who will publish anything and everything and many more that will charge a lot of money for the privilege. Caffeine Nights Publishing is neither. I thought I gave the clue away when I used the word quality, maybe I should also have added discerning. Publishing five new authors a year allows time to treat each book and author selected the quality of service their endeavours requires. We are a new company and maybe I have made some errors of judgement but personally I like to support each author with a decent PR push for their work. After all it is my time and money that is supporting this venture and I have a vested interest to see a return on that investment. Last year we received numerous submissions and most of it would undoubtedly have been picked up by many of the POD publishers who will print the details of a bus ticket without caring about the impact it has on the already tarnished reputation of POD. Most submissions simply were not good enough.

Our books go through a process of editing, re-reading, re-reading and re-reading before they get anywhere near final proof. Our covers are professionally and individually designed in consultation with the author but we have final say on artwork. We have set up excellent distribution channels for eBooks as well as printed and will be rolling eBooks out in the last quarter of 09. Finally, where possible with UK based authors we will be providing a filmed author interview and/or book trailer for each title. By choosing five authors it enables us to retain control over the quality of product, reputation and brand. Sure I could set up a company to fleece authors and bang out any old crap, but I chose the hard road instead by providing a service which is not too common with POD companies and a level of support for authors to ensure that each title receives individual attention.
Yes, I see. But in my case, I'm a published author with a track record and excellent national reviews. No, I know that's beside the point here. POD implies less time-consuming production and marketing. A big house requires a year to get a book from ms. to store shelves. And their distribution problems are huge. POD simply prints a copy when it's paid for by a customer and mails it.
Hmm. My current publisher puts out ebooks, and paper copies by POD. It takes a year or better, depending on where you've been put in the publishing schedule, to get a book on the market. We've gotten my first one through two rounds of editing, but we've still got the cover art and the galleys to go. Plus whatever copyediting and proofreading is done that I'm not part of. Once the galleys are done, they'll begin sending out ARCs for review. My previous publisher, who also puts out print books by POD, also ran along a similar schedule, requiring a year or more to get a book to market. The fact that they use POD to print the paper copies doesn't mean they take the quality of their books less seriously.

If you want a publisher that just runs your manuscript through the spellchecker and calls it editing, there are those out there too, but the good ones put their own time and effort and money into producing the books. My current publisher accepts less than one percent of what's submitted to it, which is on par with the big houses. Their profits come from the books they sell to the public, so they have to take care to produce a quality product people will want to buy.

So it depends greatly on if you're looking for a publishing house, or a printer. A printer is going to charge you for their services, I think around $120 for the set-up fee. It would essentially be self-published. A POD publisher that puts out a quality product is going to operate more like a big publishing house, with the exception of print runs. If you go with a POD publisher, do your research. There are a lot of start-ups that vanish under a sea of debt within a year or two, and take their authors down with them--there are a lot of horror stories about authors whose publishing rights are being held up while the publisher goes through bankruptcy, or who can't get their rights back at all because the publisher simply disappears.

My publisher isn't currently open to mystery genre submissions, but they've recently acquired another POD publisher who had a nice mystery list. I can ask around and see when they'll be open for submissions, if you'd like.
Thanks much, Pepper. This is for a straight historical fiction novel.
The recently acquired POD publisher does historical fiction. I'm not sure when they'll be open again for submissions, but I can try to track down who the editor in chief will be, and you can discuss what you want to do with them. They'd be in a better position to tell you length of time to publication, though if you only want it in ebook, the time can be significantly shorter.
Pepper, if you have a publisher's name, I can check it out. Much obliged.
IJ, can I pm you or email the info?
Pepper, I'd love the info. My e-mail may be listed here. Otherwise I can be reached at heianmys.com.

That is very kind of you. Thanks.


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