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How Independent Publishing Works and What It Costs

How do you get a book published through an online publisher?

What does such a publisher actually do with your work?

Many writers are ready to publish and then run into the practical brick wall of what to do next. Traditional publishers are glutted with work - they only produce so many books a year and are usually booked up years in advance, even if you can get them interested in your work. If you want to get published right way, if you have run out of patience with the world and want your book out there as quickly as possible, you will need to go elsewhere.

Fortunately for you, we are in the Golden Age of Independent Publishing. Thousands of websites exist which promise to publish your work for you for a fee. Some are more reliable and easier to work with than others. But at the end of the day, they all do much the same thing with your precious manuscript.

To give you more of an idea how the publication process works at Clarendon House Publications, here are the step-by-step actions. Clarendon House has some unique features as a publisher, as you will see:

1. I would check over your manuscript prior to any other step. My recommendation would be that you have it professionally proofread - if this has not been done, you could avail yourself of my proofreading services, which are usually much cheaper than the going rate. I can also edit the work for you if needed.

What’s the difference between proofreading and editing? Proofreading looks for and corrects any errors in spelling, grammar, punctuation and clarity; editing recommends changes in structure, tone and style. While proofreading can be done relatively cheaply, good editing is normally a collaborative process which involves working closely with you to make sure that your voice and message are strengthen and reinforced - which makes it a bit more expensive usually. You and I would work out a reasonable price for this if we agreed that it was needed.

To give you a more concrete idea of prices, the current rate for proofreading is between £8 and £10 per 1,000 words. Thus the average novel of about 80,000 words would cost between £640 and £800 to proofread. However, I offer a basic proofreading service for only £5 per 1,000 words, reducing that cost to £400 for an average length novel.

Editing starts at £12 per 1,000 words and has no real upper limit in the outside world. Clarendon House can usually do a basic editing service for £10 per 1,000 words.

In addition, if you want to use my unique technology of stories, the physics of fiction which I call ‘Fictivity’, you could sign up with me for that. Fictivity basically applies the fundamental laws of fiction to your work, assessing its approach to character and plot, its style, its message and whether or not it is totally effective in what it sets out to achieve. No one else in the world can offer this particular service, which makes it a little more expensive, but we can discuss something that would work for you.

2. Having ensured that the work has been properly proofread and edited as above, I would then format the work for publication - making sure that the pages are in the right order, chapters begin on the right hand page, correct page sizes, correct page numbering and fonts etc. This is laborious work but rather simple, and so is not very expensive. Clarendon House usually does formatting as part of its editing service.

3. If needed, I would suggest some cover designs and then design and finalise the one you liked the most. This includes the 'blurb' on the back cover (which is effectively a 'sales page’). Good cover design starts from about £500 per cover, though of course it depends on want you want, where you go and who you hire.

4. I would then 'walk the book through' the publication process and acquire a proof copy for you and I to check. This a 'hard copy' (though the book itself is usually a paperback) on which you and I would both make written notes if we see anything that needs changing.

5. I would then take the proof copy and correct the publishable manuscript based on those notes.

Some online publishers charge separately for these parts of the process, but I would normally include them in an editing cost.

6. This would then be published. You would then be able to order more copies if you wish.

7. I would take steps to place the book on Amazon in every possible country, and other sites. Once the book is available internationally, the publishing process ends, but the marketing process has not really begun. We could discuss that when we get to that point.

At all times, all copyright to your book would remain with you.

All of the above may take a few months, back and forth, as you can probably now appreciate.

That means that a ‘raw’ (i.e. unproofread, unedited) manuscript of about 80,000 words would cost at least £1,860 with most online publishers. Clarendon House can usually publish your book for less than that.

Alternatively, the How to Write Stories That Work -and Get Them Published! e-course covers most of the above and is available here.

The marketplace has changed. Instead of vast numbers of authors trying to get published through a few dozen traditional publishers, writers are now paying to make their books accessible to the general public (which is what publishing is all about, at the end of the day). The internet has changed and is changing everything. The traditional publishing houses did not charge a fee to publish a work, that’s true - but they doled out pitifully low royalties on each copy sold and owned the book and the copyright to it; good independent publishers charge fees up front, but empower the writer to charge whatever he or she thinks that marketplace will take, and make no attempt to own the book or its copyright.

In this changing world, the author is placed at the cause point.

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