Tag Archives: publishing

An Idea Shared is an Idea Improved

A few years ago, I decided to make Prevail Press a different kind of publisher. I was excited to be able to provide the kind of help I was looking for myself as an author. Typically, I would embark on such a venture on my own, but this time I was prompted to try a different path.

Integrity had to be the watchword, so I gathered several people;

  • Tom and Debi Walter: Tom is a successful businessman, and he and Debi run a marriage improvement ministry.
  • Bob and Bonnie Anderson: An engineer and humor blogger, as well as an author shopping a book around to traditional publishers and agents.
  • Bill and Colleen Hufford: A retired businessman and both are civic-minded.

I laid out my plan; open Prevail Press to authors traditional publishers let down. To become a new kind of publisher that is neither traditional, vanity, or self-publishing, but had aspects of each.

Then I asked them to be my Board of Directors. While I am confident of my integrity, I knew having independent parties with whom I would be accountable and transparent could only help. I looked to them for equal parts integrity, encouragement, and business sense. Color me thrilled when they agreed even though it didn’t include compensation.

We’ve met several times, and wonderful ideas came out of each meeting. And so, Prevail Press began and a few authors with great books found us. Yet I did encounter problems.

Social Media is hard on start-ups. My Facebook posts describing Prevail Press were re-colored as just another vanity press. Not true on several counts. Vanity Press accepts any book, we do not. VP makes their money on authors, we do not. VP depends on order-minimums, we do not. It became discouraging, I’ll admit it.

I’m not a big fan of getting email spam, so I don’t want to create an email list (eventually, when we have enough authors to call for regular, fresh content, we’ll revisit that decision). Promotion is mostly networking authors who help each other promote; the more authors, the wider the reach. Tom suggested a weekly blog, which you’re reading right now.

We met again last Sunday. I had some new promotion ideas (you’ll see them soon) and shared some issues. It was for the sake of transparency, but when they all began piping in, “I can handle that.” “Give me that issue,” “I have that one…”  I am not an emotional guy, and I think I hid it well, but tears burned my eyes. There is such STRENGTH in groups! They cared enough to lift things off my shoulders!

We also spitballed a new operating model, making a good deal even better.

Writers who contact us will get a FREE evaluation of their manuscript. No reader’s fee, just personal feedback about what works and what doesn’t. My evaluation team will access the suitability of your book for Prevail Press. Even if not selected, you’ll get feedback for improvement or affirmation of quality.

If we all agree you’re a match for Prevail Press, we’ll move forward. For the low price of $100, you’ll get:

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Never go it alone!

  • An ISBN for each version of your book, print and Kindle.
  • An Author’s Page on Prevail Press
  • A professional book design
  • A round of editing
  • A single book cover design
  • If greater editing or a different cover design is necessary or desired, an introduction to partner professionals who offer reasonable rates.
  • All publishing details handled
  • An introduction to the other Prevail Press authors
  • Consultation on building a platform

That’s a $2000+ value for just $100. Why? Because no one should go it alone. To really serve authors struggling to find a publisher, cost must be low.

Thereafter, author keeps 90% of royalties, Prevail Press a mere 10%.  Traditional publishers reverse that ratio.

Some authors are diehard self-publishers. That’s fine and more power to them. If you’re not well-versed in self-publishing, if you don’t want to go it alone, go to www.prevailpress.com and click Submission Guidelines.

Let’s take this adventure together!

Change Your Stripes – Part 2

Do you write non-fiction books? Heck, do you write non-fiction BLOGS? Then you should write a novel.

What better way to demonstrate how your non-fiction topic works in someone’s life than, you know, actually demonstrating it someone’s life?

elephant
This might take changing your stripes too far.

Depending on your topic, a common approach is to afflict your main character with the problem your topic corrects. Establish a mentor figure who coaches your main character in your topics step-by-step solutions to reveal how well your solution works.

Two such didactic (teaching) novels spring to mind. Eliyahu Goldratt’s The Goal, and my own novel Do Angels Still Fall?

In The Goal, the main character runs a failing manufacturing company. At home, he is also having problems with his marriage. An old college professor runs into the main character and ends up drive-by mentoring him in process improvement. The mentor isn’t always around, the hero has to fumble through his own discoveries and even begins to apply them also to his marriage. Who knew the Theory of Constraints could be so interesting?

In my novel, a Guardian Angel is given charge of a rambunctious young boy who is allowed to see and interact with his angel. This is new to the angel, as well, who makes a rash promise, prompting him to wonder if angels still fall. In his interactions with the boy, the angel corrects his misunderstanding of God, who is not the angry deity we too often believe he is. As a Sunday School teacher and father of three, I wrote this to introduce people to the God I know and love.

Another writer is writing a time travel novel so his main character can apply principles he learned late in life to his younger self.

There is no set formula, just write a compelling story that teaches (subtly or not) your principles. Readers who love your non-fiction books will not only buy this for themselves, they’ll buy it as a gift for those they love.

Go ahead, get started! And keep checking back here for writing hints.

www.prevailpress.com

Why I Do What I Do

I blame Bonnie. And a whole lot of other people I care about.Prevail Press

Writing should never be a singular pursuit. Oh, sure, the actual writing part is man-to-machine, but zeitgeist of writing should, for the sanity of all, be a group endeavor. For this reason, I have founded several writing groups. A writing group is a bunch of writers encouraging and possibly critiquing one another, not everyone working on the same project.

Currently, I’m a member of the Writing Block (so named because several of the founding members lived on the same block and who doesn’t like a play on words?). We’ve been together for—ready?—15 YEARS! That’s longer than primary school.

Some members were novelist, bloggers, a poet for a while, and people with the vague notion they should be writers. Up until a few years ago, several had written books and a couple used a vanity press to publish theirs (and still have boxes of books in their garages), I published mine through my private publishing company, and none had gone the traditional publisher route.

Then Bonnie Manning Anderson finished Always Look for the Magic and began shopping it around. Let me tell you something about this book. It’s fabulous! A middle-grade book, it transported me to Depression Era America into the lives of wonderful kids battling to help one of them be a magician. Adventure abounds. She sent it out and sent it out, and no bites. Heartbreaking.

I attended a church Leadership Meeting and over lunch discussed all the books so many people were writing and found myself frustrated for their future plight. In todays publishing world, you must have a platform or a radical idea that can sell millions of books to secure a contract. There are three options: Traditional publishing (almost impossible to obtain), self-publishing (difficult but not impossible), or vanity press (expensive and not nearly as helpful as they claim to be).

We needed an alternative and I was inspired to create it. My publishing company had been private, for my ghostwriting clients only, but what if I opened it up to anyone? What were the important points?

  • Keep the cost low and recoverable (as a ghostwriter, I never took clients who couldn’t make up the cost with book sales; I’d do the same thing here).
    • Solution: Author only pays for the time of the provider, so book design, cover design, editing, administration, etc. I wouldn’t take a dime of royalty until all costs were recovered.
  • Take only quality books to preserve the brand.
    • Solution: Create an acceptance review board to determine quality.
  • Avoid any appearance of profiteering.
    • Solution: I won’t lock authors into using our services. If they have others who can do the work, as long as I approve, that’s good enough.
  • Make it as attractive to authors as I can.
    • Solution: After cost recovery, Prevail Press gets 10% of the royalty and the author gets the rest (typically 60% of retail cost). No printing minimums, only have printed what you need. Amazon makes this easy. Author owns copyright and can withdraw any time they want to.
  • Ensure Integrity:
    • Solution: Establish a Board of Directors who can oversee finance, advise me on operations and hold me accountable.
  • What about Marketing?
    • Solution: This is a tough one, but by developing a network of authors, we can help promote one another’s books. Much will still be on the author, but we can help get the word out.

Our first book was Bonnie Manning Anderson’s Always Look for the Magic, and several more after that. I hope many more to follow.

That’s your introduction to Prevail Press. The rest of the month I’ll focus on the author journey and writing tips. Your questions are welcome!

Find us at http://www.prevailpress.com.

 

 

 

It’s Scary Out There!

As an author, since Gutenberg got busy, there has never been a harder time to find a publisher. Maybe you know this. Maybe you’ve been shopping a book around.

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A whole lotta nothin’

Traditional publishers are no longer traditional. They take fewer risks, offer fewer services, and often their “advances” are made back by requiring authors to buy copies at a profit to the publisher.

Books that would have found a Madison Avenue publisher just 20 years ago are sent packing, in favor of sure-fire blockbusters, people with platforms, or pandering books best read at Twilight…

What do you do?

Self Publishing – Difficult, often unprofessional, and more expensive than you might think.

Vanity Press – Expensive, many empty promises, and dashed hopes. Your book will be lumped with truly awful books, because Vanity Press publishes anyone who pays their high prices.

Time for a New Kind of Publisher – We fall in-between these and offer the best of both.

First, we don’t publish just anybody. Your book must be well-written and reader-friendly.

Second, we aren’t trying to make a profit as a publisher. WHAT? That’s right. We’re building a community of authors who help promote one another. While we do charge, it’s only to cover the time others put into your book. Thousands of dollars lower than Vanity Press and less than self-publishing (assuming you do what you should do as a self-publisher), we’re a new kind of publisher who is championing authors. As owner of Prevail Press, I want to make money off my book sales, not my author’s entry into publishing.

What Kind of Books?

Great question. What kind do you have? Fiction, non-fiction, how-to, cookbooks, short stories…

…and even screenplays. I can’t find you a producer, but why have it just sitting on a shelf? People do buy screenplays.

Do you have an idea I haven’t listed? I’d love to hear about it!

Check us out on www.prevailpress.com!