By Isagani R. Cruz/ from Philippine Star. Thank you





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Publishing your first book
MINI CRITIQUE By Isagani Cruz (The Philippine Star) Updated November 03, 2011 12:00 AM Comments (1) View comments






You have your manuscript all ready to share with the world. What do you do? You go to a publisher. (I’m speaking only of the Philippines. If you want to be published abroad, you have to go to a literary agent, but that’s another column.)
The thing to remember is that no publisher is like any other. Every publisher is unique.
For example, one publisher will take the manuscript from you and tell you to just wait for the launching. This publisher will take care of everything, from editing, designing, marketing, and selling your book. Another publisher will consult you at every stage of the process, asking you to revise certain portions of your book, giving you samples of cover designs, working with you on the program for the launching, and so on.
In publishing, size matters. A publisher with hundreds of titles might be willing to risk several thousand pesos on your book, but may not have time to pay the kind of attention to your book that you think it deserves. A publisher with limited capital will probably want to use cheaper paper and might not launch a full-blown advertising campaign for your book, but will be there for you and only you.
In publishing, trust matters. A publisher may believe so much in your book that he or she will mortgage his or her house just to pay printing costs. Another publisher may not believe that your book will sell and might ask you to pay part or even the whole of the printing cost.
In publishing, reputation matters. A multi-awarded publisher may want to publish your book if it is of high quality and promises to be a strong contender for a National Book Award. A publisher known for widely-read romance novels will not be interested in your trailblazing book in nuclear physics.
Choose your publisher carefully. Go to a bookstore and check out a book similar to yours. Which publisher published it? Get the contact number from the copyright page of the book. (That’s usually the page immediately after the title page.)
A publisher will always ask you to sign a contract. The contract, however, may not be ready at once, but you will have one at some point in the publishing process. Be sure to read every single word in the contract. This is very important. You do not want to find out later that you will not earn anything when the book is translated, published abroad, turned into an eBook, or made into a movie. You also do not want to find out later that you owe the publisher money because you added something to your book while it was being designed. (Designing means putting the words in the form that you see them on the pages of a printed book. Every time you add words to or subtract words from your book, the publisher pays the designer extra.)
Since you are not likely to depend for your food and shelter on your book, do not argue with your publisher about royalties. Remember that 20 percent of net sales is not necessarily bigger than 5 percent of the selling price. I can assure you that, in general, you can trust Philippine publishers to give you your due.
What you should think seriously about is copyright. If you are a new author, you probably should not worry about selling your copyright outright to the publisher. I say “probably,” because new authors sometimes hit it big (think J. R. Rowling or Bob Ong). This really depends on the book. If it’s that great book in nuclear physics, sell your copyright and just wait for your Nobel Prize. If it’s a novel about vampires, you might want to retain the copyright, or at most share it with the publisher.
What you don’t want to do is to insist on owning the copyright no matter what. Nine out of ten times, the publisher will just tell you to go home. Publishers have worked with the biggest and best authors, and most of these authors do not have as big an ego as you have. No publisher will want the aggravation of dealing with a difficult but untested writer.
How soon after you give your manuscript to a publisher will you have the book launching? There is no rule. It could be next week (I know of a case where a book was printed overnight), or it could be three or even five years from now (yes, there are such cases). As a writer, your job is really to see to it that the reading public will profit from your insights, imagination, and experience. It is the publisher’s job to see to it that you (and, of course, the publisher, too) will profit from the book.
Once the publisher says that the book is ready to go to the printer (you will hear the word “camera-ready”), you can tell your friends that you have become an author. If they are true friends, they will come to the launching and will buy many copies of your book. Perhaps.
FOR NEW WRITERS ONLY: On Nov. 24, Thursday, at 2 p.m. in the Filipinas Heritage Library, I will conduct a workshop on “How To Write A Book,” sponsored by NBDB and Central Books.

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