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Writing Books/About publshing my novel


Respected Vincent M. Wales ,

I am Dr. Abidi from Karachi, Pakistan.  Although, by profession I am a medicine doctor but writing has always been my passion. I have been writing stories and articles since my childhood but was only able to put it in front of the world in March, 1999 when I got the honour to become the author and web designer of the largest personal website (http://www. made by any Pakistani ever and finally I've had the chance of presenting my articles, stories and novels in front of thousands of visitors and readers from all around the world. By the response I got from Pakistanis as well as from Non-Pakistanis, I was further encouraged to write more. This motive finally resulted in the creation of my latest English e-novel “HIJAAB WAALI” (The veiled girl) in the year 2002.

I never expected that that this e-book which only exists “online” will get such a remarkable response and encouragement not only from the people of Indian and Pakistani community but from almost all the communities regardless of their ethnic or religious reservations. Thousands of readers have read it through my website and this number is only increasing.
Now, the real reason of contacting you for your expert advice is that unfortunately, due to my limited financial resources or lack of proper communication with the publishers, I've been unable to publish my book in print “paper back” form. A BIG number of my readers email me daily and ask if they can buy my novel in paper book form from anywhere and it only makes me more desperate about getting it published as soon as possible. From the great response I've got from my readers, I have complete faith that if God is willing, my book, if published, has much greater chances of getting a “big hit” world wide, specially among the youth. Last week, some publishers from Indonesia contacted me and asked that they want to publish my novel in Indonesian language but the royalty they are offering is very less. They say they will only give me 100 US$ as advance and 6% royalty of the retail price on each book sold.  As this is my first experience, I want to ask few things from you.

The questions I want to ask from you are:

1-   Do you know any contacts of publishers which might be interested in publishing & distributing my novel?
2-   I want to know more about the royalty issues, i.e. what is the average royalty (%age) an author gets on his in-demand fiction novel of about 260 pages.
3-   What should be my present strategy which could help me to publish my novels as early as possible?
4-   Do you think it's reasonable for me to get only 100 US$ as advance payment from those Indonesian publishers and then 6% royalty on each book sold?
5-   What about piracy & copy right issues?

I know my questions are lengthy and detailed but so are the queries in my mind.

I hope with your advice, I would be able to know more about the matters to publish my book.

Thank you

Respect and regards

Dr. Ikram Abidi

Visit us at:

Dr. Abidi:

Congratulations on the online success of your writings!  That's always great to hear.

If I may, I'm going to answer your questions in reverse order, and please understand that everything I'm saying is going to be with regard to United States law and United States publishing.  How things are in Pakistan, I honestly couldn't say.

In the U.S., copyright law says that as soon as you put something down in "permanent" form (including online), you have established a copyright for that piece of work.  While online piracy is certainly an issue, I wouldn't worry so much about someone else making money off of your work.  That would be difficult to do.

Again, since I have no idea what publishing in Indonesia is like, I can't say whether their offer of US$100 is fair or not.  Certainly, here in the U.S., that would be a pitiful amount of money as an advance.  Almost an insult.  On the other hand, it's better than zero.  As for the royalty, 6% seems low.  In the U.S., an author can justifiably expect to get 10% on paperback sales and 15% on hardback.  (Which answers question #2 ahead of schedule there!)

If you want to publish your novels quickly, there is one option I can recommend to you.  There are several companies that provide what's known as "publish on demand" services.  Essentially, you pay them a fee to publish your work.  They make the book available for purchase online and you get a pretty good royalty off of it.  The drawback to this is that you don't have much of a chance in the world of getting these books into bookstores.  But if you want to go strictly with online sales, this is very viable.

As for contacts... no, I really can't help you with that.  Publishers are notoriously fickle, and only you can best decide who would be right for you.  If you want to pursue conventional publishing, I'd advise you to try to get a literary agent (and there are books and online articles that can help you with that process) first.  That will increase your chances considerably, as well as make it much easier on you, since you're not exactly "local" to the publishers here.

I wish you the best of luck, and if I can answer any more questions for you, please let me know.


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Vincent M. Wales


I am a speculative fiction novelist (fantasy, science fiction, and so on). While I may be able to answer questions on non-fiction, my specialty is fiction. Please keep that in mind when asking questions.


For four years, I taught a series of fiction writing classes in Sacramento, CA.

BA in fiction writing.

Awards and Honors
My 2004 novel, ONE NATION UNDER GOD, won BEST FICTION in Fresh Voices 2006, BEST FICTION and BEST YA FICTION in the NCPA Book Awards, and placed as a finalist in BEST BOOKS 2005. In 2002, my novel WISH YOU WERE HERE won awards for Best Fantasy and Best Fiction/Drama in the 8th Annual SPA Awards. My latest work is a trilogy titled THE MANY DEATHS OF DYNAMISTRESS (a superhero memoir). The first book, RECKONING, was released in 2013 and won the SF category in the 2014 San Francisco Book Festival, took second place in the 2013 Royal Dragonfly Book Awards for the SF/Fantasy/Paranormal category, second place in the SF category of the 2013 Reader Views Reviewers Choice Awards, and was finalist in Foreword's 2013 Book of the Year Awards, Fantasy category. The second book, REDEMPTION, will be released in early 2015 and the final book, RENAISSANCE, is scheduled for release in late 2016.

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