How To Get Published
Question Short answer
Can I do my own publishing using DTP? No, DTP is a way of designing and typesetting, not a way of publishing
Do I need an agent? Only if you want to get published in the UK and US.
Does a book need to be registered somewhere? No. All you need is an ISBN (International Standard Book Number), which you can get free from the (State) National Library of South Africa. Contact Magret Kibido on +27 (0)12 4019718.
Does copyright protect ideas? No, only the expression of ideas. To protect an idea you need a trademark or a patent.
How does a publishing contract work? Like any contract: it imposes legal obligations on both parties. In this case the author has to deliver a manuscript; the publisher has to publish and market the book at her cost.
How long should I wait once I have submitted my manuscript before I phone the publisher? A month
How long will it take from the time I deliver my manuscript to publication? Nine months, on average
How many copies does the average general book in South Africa sell? 2000-3 000
How often are royalties paid? Once or twice a year, in arrears for sales of the previous period.
If I use a publisher, who controls the copyright? The publisher, but it normally reverts to you when the book goes out of print.
Should I bring my manuscript in personally and wait for an editor to see me so that I can explain the plot or contents face to face? No
Should I share my ideas with a publisher won't he steal it? He won t steal it but don' t share ideas write something first, otherwise no one takes you seriously
Should I use colour in my book? Not unless absolutely necessary. It is much more expensive but of course some books demand it by their very nature.
What discounts do booksellers get? For trade (general) books, about 47%; for educational books discount is lower
What is a backlist book? A book that has been around for more than a year
What is a frontlist book? A new book
What is a reasonable royalty percentage? 15%, but it varies depending on publisher, type of book, and the leverage you have.
What is a trade book? A general book selling into the consumer market
What is an imprint? It is a trade name or brand or logo, like Penguin or Juta
What is the best way to approach a publisher? Use a written proposal
What kind of style should I follow in the book? Use a style guide in a consistent way, either a general one like the Oxford Style Manual or one provided by the publisher.
What software should I use for writing my book? Microsoft Word
When and how can I get the rights to my book back from the publisher? After the book goes out of print
When do I need copyright permission? When quoting a substantial portion of another work
Where can I get information about publishers? On the PASA website
Where does one get ISBN numbers? The State Library
Which people in a publishing house do I deal with? Mainly the commissioning editor
Who owns the copyright on a work? The author, unless he cedes the copyright
Why does one need a publisher? For financing, technical expertise, and marketing

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