Today Writers in Business welcomes Beth Rogers of Rutledge, AL. Beth is a writer, graphic designer and most recently a publisher. She operates Around the Loop Publishing from her home office and offers a complete line of book services for writers including establishing a marketing plan, editing, design and layout, printing and suggestions on order fulfillment.
What is the timeline to get a book publishing through Around the Loop Publishing?
I like to suggest to authors that they be prepared for a six month timeline, at least. Obviously, sometimes it may take a lot less time, but I want them to be prepared. Rushing any part of the project can make a big difference in how the final product looks.
When you think about all the things that need to be done, after the author is finished, it makes sense. When the manuscript is done, it needs to be given to someone to be read and edited. The storyline flow should make sense, spelling and grammar errors need to be corrected and verb tense needs to be consistent. Logical errors need to be corrected as well- for example, a minor character may be named Chad in chapter three, and by chapter five the name may change to Brad. (Errors like these can be easy to miss, but sometimes they leap out at readers after the book has been printed- I’ve seen whole websites dedicated to catching and publicizing these errors.) The person doing the proofreading and editing should not only be knowledgeable in grammar and writing, they need to be familiar with the author- they don’t need to change his ‘voice’. When the editor is done, the author usually has to do a rewrite, and then the editor goes through the manuscript again. This may take several times to get everything correct.
While the editing and rewriting are being done, the design for the book cover and contents should be completed. The person creating the designs should be familiar enough with the book to make sure the cover brings out part of the story, or matches the intent of the story.
Once the editing is complete and the design is ready, it’s time to ship the files to the printer. Then they have to check the files to make sure there aren’t any problems before they send the book to press. They’ll send a final quote on what they’ll charge to print the books; after they receive the go- ahead, the books are printed. We’ve been fortunate to get books printed as quickly as two weeks, but it can take longer.
Cover design is an integral part of creating a marketable book. Your web site states, “Just as the front door to your home gives visitors an idea of who you are and what your home is like, the cover should tell a very small part of your story, to intrigue potential visitors, and get them to pick it up and flip through the pages.” How do you help writers create their book covers? What pieces are important in the overall design?
The fonts, images and colors chosen all play an important part of the cover design- I can’t honestly say that one is more important than another. Any bookstore will prove this- walk through the section of mysteries and you’ll see what I mean. The cover shows something that says ‘mystery’- it may be colors that combine to jar you, or an image that is disturbing.Romantic novels use fonts with a flourish.
I like to use the book “If I Did It” by OJ Simpson as an example of one way the design can truly tell something about the book. Anyone who has ever seen it knows what I mean - the author meant one thing by the title, but the people who ended up with publishing rights had a totally different take on the story. To see what I mean, look at the cover of If I Did It. Just by looking at the way the title is presented, you know exactly how the Goldman family feels- a very simple design, but anyone seeing it has no doubt about it.
How do you charge authors for the services you provide? Is it by the hour or by the job?
I know most other publishers pay a fee to an author, and then take over the entire process for the book. They then reap the lion’s share of the profits from sales of the book. This really limits how many books get published every year, and I am sure there are lots of good books which don’t get published, simply because a publisher won’t sign a new author.
On the other hand, I work with the author to do whatever tasks are required. As a general rule, I ask for a couple of sample chapters from a prospective author. By reading his work, I can judge how much time and effort the process will take, and I prepare quotes with that in mind.
One author I’m working with now has someone who can do the editing and proofreading. My main tasks for this author will be cover and interior design. I’ll help them find a printer that fits their needs, and I’ll help write press releases, contact bookstores, newspapers, and radio and television stations, and I’ll supply the ISBN number.
They pay me for the tasks they need me to do, and when my job is finished, the book and its profits are all theirs.
To me, a book is a part of the author’s life, like a family member. That’s where it should belong.
Around the Loop Publishing provides personalized services, competitive prices, southern hospitality, hometown respect and courtesy. You can get professional results and outstanding customer service by visiting Beth at Around the Loop Publishing.