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Question
I am in the process of writing a book based on my experience of having twins. I have contacted a publisher who is well known for publishing baby books etc. I need to understand , should my book be sucessful , how payment works via a publisher and whether it would be better to self publish. There are many sources through which to market my book therefore would self publishing be a better option ?
The publisher I contacted suggested I send in a chapter or two but I plan to approach others first to proof read my ideas. Thanks

Answer
Dear Charlotte,
Thank you for your letter. That's exciting that a publisher asked you to send in some chapters. It could be a once in a lifetime opportunity, so best wishes to your success.
Here's how the payment system works: The author signs a contract for betwen 5 - 15% royalties on the cover price of the book. Your attorney will negotiate the final deal. Sometimes publishers offer an advance, which is the equivalent of what your royalties would be for the first print run. You get the advance before it goes to press. Then, if it goes into a second printing, you will get the 5 - 15% after the copies sell. The money will come in checks that are mailed semi-anually or quarterly.
If you self-publish, you pay the up-front fee to print the book, which is usually somewhere around $5,000 for 500 copies. The printer delivers the books to you and you go out and sell them. You keep the difference between what you paid and what you make selling the books.
If you're a marketing genius, you can sell all the books and make a profit. However, many authors end up giving books away for free or keeping them in cartons in their garages.
It's usually always best to have a good publisher, because that gives your book clout and representation.
The only time self-publishing is better is if someone has a ready-made audience, for example, if they can sell books to their students, clients, or followers.
If you have any follow-up questions, feel free to write back. Here's my page for writers:
http://steamboats.com/writing.html
Sincerely,
Nori

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