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Frequently Asked Questions
How long does it take from the time I send you a
finished manuscript until I receive finished books?
What forms will I need?
Why should I have you complete these forms for my book?
How do I know if I need editing?
How do I know if an editor is qualified to edit my work?
How do I get my book into large bookstore chains?
Who should review copies be sent to?
Is Cypress House a printer?
How many copies should I print?
Should I print in hard cover or paperback?
Is Cypress House a Vanity Press?
What is meant by camera-ready?
What is the difference between a distributor and a wholesaler?
What types of marketing and promotion do I need?
Why won't you send me a sample book?
What are galley copies, pre-publication copies, and advance copies?
What's a blueline or silverprint?

 

How long does it take from the time I send you a finished manuscript until I receive finished books?

It usually takes three to six months, depending on several factors. Forms filing and permissions for quoted material can add a month or more to a schedule, but for most books figure one to four weeks for page design, typesetting, cover design and proofing. Paperback printing generally takes 25 working days; hard cover printing generally takes 35 working days. Add five working days for the blueline proof, another five for a cover proof and five to ten working days for freight. Other tasks like editing, indexing, and interior illustrations (or a custom illustration for your cover) take additional time. We have turned books around in less than thirty days, but many printers charge extra for rush jobs.

What forms will I need?

The first form you will need to file is the ISBN (International Standard Book Number). The ISBN is used for identifying your book, much the same way that a social security number identifies you. Each edition and binding of every title must have a different ISBN number. It is how bookstores, wholesalers and distributors keep track of your book and place orders.

In order to receive an ISBN, you must contact the U.S. ISBN Agency (www.isbn.org), 121 Chanlon Road, New Providence New Jersey 07974, Toll-Free (877-310-7333) and request an ISBN application and instructions. When you return your application, a $269.95 fee for standard 10 day turnaround or $344.95  for priority 72 hour turnaround will be required.

You will then receive a list of ISBNs, all beginning with the publisher identification prefix uniquely assigned to your company. At this point all you need to do is assign one of the numbers to your book. You don't need to start at the top of your list of numbers, just be sure each book you publish has a different number assigned to it.

Once you have assigned an ISBN to you product you should register your title(s) with Books in Print for a free listing at www.bowkerlink.com

Several other forms (LCCN, CIP, SAN) are optional but recommended. In his book, The Self-Publishing Manual (available from us or your local bookstore), Dan Poynter discusses forms at length and provides assistance in completing and filing them.

Why should I have you complete these forms for my book?

You can save some money by doing them yourself, but if your time is limited you may not want to spend it filling out forms and answering arcane questions. We can do it faster because we've filed so many forms, and your time might be better spent writing another book.

How do I know if I need editing?

Most writers don't know if they need editing. They're too close to their work to see the flaws. That's why we encourage writers to have us evaluate their work, and why we keep our fee for evaluation so low. We offer a thorough and professional evaluation for $250 ($350 for books over 100,000 words in length). We provide a detailed, multi-page analysis of a book's content, structure and sales potential. If we think that a book needs editing, we'll do a free sample edit of a page or two along with a bid to edit the rest.

How do I know if an editor is qualified to edit my work?

Unfortunately, editors are not required to be licensed. Anyone can say he or she is an editor. References are important, and a degree in English is a sign of language skill, but nothing beats a sample edit and a chat by phone or in person. We frequently provide sample edits from more than one qualified editor and point out the differences in style and approach, because a sympathetic working relationship between author and editor is vital to the creative process.

How do I get my book into large bookstore chains?

Each chainstore has a slightly different preference. For instance, Barnes and Noble likes to order through their preferred wholesalers, though the Community Relations Coordinators at each store also have the power to buy direct from the author or publisher. (Please note that this latter method has sometimes caused enormous delays in payment!) You can also present your book to the corporate offices in New York in hopes of setting up a separate account.

Who should review copies be sent to?

We recommend that review copies be sent to Kirkus Reviews, Booklist, Library Journal, Publishers Weekly, and Choice. Reviews and listings in these prestigious "trade" publications are seen by thousands of journalists, other prospective reviewers, library book buyers, bookstores, schools, literary associations, as well as the reading public.

Review copies should also be sent to large-circulation newspapers and magazines: the New York Times Review of Books, the Washington Post Book World, the Miami Herald, the L.A. Times, the Cleveland Plain Dealer, the Detroit Free Press, the Chicago Tribune, the Denver Post, Newsweek, Time and People.

One third of your review copies (or more) should be sent to publications whose scope includes the subject of your work. A chronicle of the development of supersonic aircraft, for example, should be sent to Aviation History Magazine, while Sports Illustrated might be inclined to review your biography of a famous athlete, and Architectural Digest your study of Victorian restoration techniques.

Is Cypress House a printer?

No. Cypress House is a print broker. We work with major book manufacturers in the US and around the world to provide you with quality printing and binding at competitive prices. We fine-tune your specifications, comparing turn-around time, print options (such as text stocks, spot varnish or foil stamping or die-cutting), geographical location (to save on freight costs), and price. We then review all materials going to the printer, prepare a detailed work order, review the cover and text proofs, and track your books from the printer to their destination. Because we've been brokering printing for close to fifteen years, we have developed excellent relationships with our print suppliers.

How many copies should I print?

We tend to be conservative in this regard. While the unit cost of a 10,000 copy press run is significantly lower than the unit cost of 1,000 copies, if you wind up with 7,500 unsold copies in your garage, unit cost savings are meaningless. On the other hand, printing fewer than 500 copies is usually not cost-effective. Before we suggest an optimum press run, we like to know as much about your publishing plans and marketing strategy as possible.

Should I print in hard cover or paperback?

This is up to you, of course, but bear in mind the following:

(1) It costs more (between $1 and $3 per copy depending on quantity printed) to publish in hardcover and hard cover books do not sell as well as paperbacks.

(2) Hard cover books retail for more (around $10 more per copy) than paperbacks. More money can be made on hard cover books.

(3) If a book sells well in hard cover, it will have even stronger sales in paperback, or you can license the paperback rights, but licensing hard cover rights for a previously published paperback book is quite difficult.

Is Cypress House a Vanity Press?

Absolutely not! We are book packagers and print brokers. We provide typesetting, design, consultation on marketing and promotion, and editorial services to authors, publishers and self-publishers around the country. One of our specialties is helping folks launch their own publishing company. For selected titles, we also offer packaging and distribution under our Cypress House or Lost Coast imprints. (We are also a royalty publisher under our QED Press imprint, specializing in health and healing titles.)

We do quality work at a fair price, while a vanity press does poor work at an exorbitant price! Cypress House books have been reviewed in Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, American Bookseller, Choice, Kirkus, NAPRA and many other trade and retail magazines. Ads for Cypress House appear in The Writer, whose staff refuses to accept ads from vanity publishers because they "don't feel there is a way to protect writers from the shoddy practices that go on."

We charge a fraction of what a vanity press charges and yet, unlike them, we do not retain any rights or derive royalties from the sale of your book. When you publish with us, all rights and inventory belong to you. Nor are you locked into having us handle every aspect of the publishing process. Although we are pleased to design covers, provide editing, and assume marketing and other publishing responsibilities, you are not obligated to have us do so. Shop around and compare prices and the quality of service delivered.

In Persist and Publish by R. E. Matkin and T. F. Rigger, University Press of Colorado: "Vanity and subsidy presses charge top dollar for their services. A few years ago, we ran a comparison which showed that, for a 285 page book, softcover, 2,000 copies, a subsidy press would charge $12,000. Working with a book manufacturer, the identical book bids came in at less than $8,000. And the subsidy publisher had the nerve to say that they were sharing the cost of production--the $12,000 was only half the cost."

We emphatically agree! In The Self-Publishing Manual (10th Ed.) Dan Poynter, who has recommended us to many authors who have become our clients, writes: "By definition, a vanity press takes advantage of misinformed authors. What vanity publishers have done to the many authors that I have talked to, I call fraud. What you do want should be called book packaging or co-publishing. But, even the worst offenders don't call themselves *vanity* publishers.

What is meant by camera-ready?

Some people think that camera-ready means a finished manuscript, but printers mean something entirely different when they refer to camera-ready copy. A book is camera-ready if every page is typeset and formatted on a page exactly as it will appear in the printed book, which means true quotes rather than inch marks, true em and en dashes rather than hyphens, running headers and footers (with odd-numbered pages on the right side and even-numbered pages on the left), crop marks to indicate trim size, and type resolution and density optimized.

What is the difference between a distributor and a wholesaler?

A distributor sells books to the trade via a team of sales reps who visit accounts around the country. The distributor takes a percentage of the sale, usually between 25% and 30% of the net invoice. A wholesaler is a passive middleman, selling books to stores, special markets and libraries on a non-exclusive basis. It gets confusing sometimes, because several wholesalers use the term, "distributor," in their names!

What types of marketing and promotion do I need?

A marketing program may provide minimal or comprehensive coverage. What's best depends on the book, your goals, and the amount of time and money you can allocate.

For starters, we recommend creating media materials (eg., a press kit) and sending thirty advance copies of your book to prospective reviewers, with follow-up via phone, fax or mail. Then do three mass mailings chosen from the selection offered by PMA (Publishers Marketing Association). Reviews and mailings bring your book to the attention of journalists, librarians, booksellers, literary associations and the reading public.

It's important to schedule as many book signings, media appearances and speaking engagements as you can. Advertising, too, is invaluable in a complete promotional campaign, using print media, radio, TV and the Internet. An extensive marketing effort would also include outreach to book clubs, book wholesalers and distributors. Consider writing a synopsis for evaluation by TV and film producers, and pursuing the sale of other subsidiary (reproduction) rights. Outreach to bookstores, libraries and associations via telephone, broadcast e-mail and broadcast fax can also be very effective.

Why won't you send me a sample book?

Because every book we produce is different, we cannot send you a sample of a "typical" book. We encourage you to browse our catalog and purchase a book we've produced. The money you spend supports other independent presses, and you know you're not getting a specially-produced "sample." All our books come with a money-back guarantee! You can also visit us and browse our shelves.

What are galley copies, pre-publication copies, and advance copies?

Galley copies are copies of the finished, camera-ready pages sent to reviewers. Pre-publication review copies can be galley copies, or quick-printed, paperback copies of your book (usually with a simple type-only cover). Advance copies are finished copies of your book which are sent out to reviewers in advance of the publication date.

 

What's a blueline or silverprint?

A blueline is a proof made by exposing a negative to photo-sensitive paper. The type and graphics are blue (and disappear if you leave the proof sitting on a sunny windowsill!) Although changes can be made at this stage, only minor, absolutely necessary corrections should be considered; more extensive changes are costly and may result in your book being bumped from the printer's schedule. Printers usually allow one or two days to turn around blueline and cover proofs.

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