AREI is dedicated to helping the afterlife researchers, developers, educators, and practitioners accomplish their work and disseminate it. One of the primary ways of disseminating the work is by publishing books. Many of the workers who have written books are now self-publishing. AREI has published a dozen books for authors, including all the steps of the publishing process from writing and translating through producing the printed editions and Kindle electronic publications. The AREI staff and members with experience want to help AREI members who are considering publishing their books with all stages of the writing and publication process.
Sunday, March 25, Zoom Online Meeting on Publishing
On Sunday, March 25, AREI held a meeting titled “DO YOU WANT TO PUBLISH A BOOK BUT DON’T KNOW WHERE TO START?” for members.
If you are not an AREI member, we invite you to join AREI so you can attend the meeting: Link to join AREI
The panel included the following AREI officers and members:
- Susanne Wilson talked about global publishing scams and red flags to look for before paying thousands of dollars
- Craig Hogan explained the steps of publishing your own book for free with Amazon Createspace
- Mary Holden talked about changes in the global publishing industry
- Joe Higgins talked about his experiences publishing with major publishers and self publishing
- Susan Barnes presented updated information on the costs/benefits of publishing with leading organisations.
You can watch the video of the Zoom meeting here:
To learn more about the AREI Zoom groups, go to http://victorzammit.com/zoom/.
Susan Barnes’ Publishing Research and Experiences
Susan B. Barnes, Ph.D., CSNU, shares her experiences as she investigated publishing options:
The journey starts on the Internet, where I typed “find a publisher” into a search engine. A site with the same name appeared and it asked what type of book I was writing. My answer was “spiritual.” After searching their database for a minute, the name Westbow press came up. Westbow is a Christian publisher and their publishing packages range from $1,000 to $4,400. The packages do not include editing. The company takes a significant royalty for the book. For instance, a softcover book listing at $15.95 sold through Barnes & Noble earns a 10% royalty, or $1.60. However, you own the copyright. The press called the same day as my inquiry and were very pleasant to deal with. Additionally, they followed up with several emails. When I asked about editing, the service price was between $2,000 and $3,000 for my book, which was extra.
Next, I checked with Balboa Press because I have friends who have used them. Balboa is a self-publishing press associated with Hay House. To be published with Hay House, an author needs a literary agent. However, publishing with Balboa could bring your book to the attention of Hay House. The packages ranged from $1,000 to $15,000. They also called me almost immediately after filling out the web form. On the phone, I was offered a discount; however, this was not confirmed by an email. I did receive an email inviting me to a free month at their artists learning center. After checking with my friend, I found that she paid $12,000 to Balboa for publicity, which she said was not worth it. Otherwise, she was very happy with the press.
The other publisher that distributes spiritual related books is Llewellyn Publications. A visit to their website revealed that authors could submit work directly to the press. An author needs to submit a marketing analysis, book description, and three sample chapters. This is very similar to the way academic publishing works. I submitted a proposal and received an immediate response that it was received. Within a week, Llewellyn responded to my proposal saying my book was too similar to other books they have already published. If I write another spiritual book, I definitely would consider submitting to them. Next time, I will make sure I do better marketing research.
After traveling along the path of vanity publishing, my main concern was getting the book edited. So I went to the Editorial Freelance Association to check on editing prices. To hire a freelancer to do the work would again cost over $2,000. My thought was to have the book professionally edited and then publish with Lulu.
Eventually, I returned to the Lulu site and filled out their form. Lulu has been in business for 10 years and published books for my prior university. I had confidence in the company. I noticed that Lulu also provided editing services for less money than the other options. Their senior publishing consultant called me within 48 hours. I told him what I wanted and he suggested their Debut package which included editing and all of the production work. The price was about $2,000 and he offered me a discount. They have an Authors Learning Center and I was given a free month subscription, otherwise its about $10 per month. The Center provides information to authors on how to market their book. Even better, they could publish the book in three months.
Throughout this process, it amazed me that no one asked the title or subject of my book, with the exception of Llewellyn. Knowing how Lulu works this did not surprise me with them. However, the others did. Especially, since my topic does not fit well with Christian books. When I mention this, I was told that if the book did not fit, they would find me another publisher.
The bottom line is that Lulu takes under $4 per book they print and sell and the author gets the rest. On a $16 book, the author receives $12 instead of $1.60. Do the math and see whether or not self-publishing works.
A writer named Mike Fishbein has produced a freely available Acrobat document titled “The Ultimate Amazon Self-Publishing Checklist” that AREI recommends (from www.mfishbein.com). You may download a copy from this link: Download
Self-Publishing with CreateSpace
The easiest, cheapest, most foolproof way of publishing books, CDs, and DVDs today is through use of CreateSpace, a company that has a special arrangement with Amazon.com. You can upload your book in an Acrobat format to CreateSpace for no cost. CreateSpace will prepare the book for publication and submit it to Amazon.com. You collect up to 70% of the selling price of the book and have no obligation to CreateSpace , no fees involved, and complete ownership of the book. You just have the royalties appear in your bank account. Link to CreateSpace . AREI will help you use this service.
How Many Books Can You Expect to Sell?
The most optimistic estimate is that most books sell between 2,000 and 3,000 copies in their lifetime. The average traditionally published book sells only 250-300 copies in its first year. For more on the number of book sales, read the information by a publisher at this link:
This is a statement from Publisher’s weekly about book sales in one year, 2004:
In 2004, 950,000 titles out of the 1.2 million tracked by Nielsen Bookscan (79%) sold fewer than 99 copies. Another 200,000 (17%) sold fewer than 1,000 copies. Only 25,000 (2%) sold more than 5,000 copies. The average book in America sells about 500 copies. Those blockbusters are a minute anomaly: only 10 books sold more than a million copies last year, and fewer than 500 sold more than 100,000. (Source: https://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/columns-and-blogs/soapbox/article/6153-a-bookselling-tail.html)
Calculate Books Being Sold by the Amazon Rank
This is a handy calculator that lets you know the number of copies a book is selling based on its Amazon ranking:
Review Media You Need to Contact
Good reviews can help the sales of your books enormously,” the Publisher Guide to Review Media writes. Send copies of your book to the review media to have the book reviewed and listed. Most magazines prefer to review books before publication, and you should make every effort to send your earliest copies of your books to these sources. This is the link to a list of five review media.