Changing my mind about Self-publishing Part 4: intake to the alternate Publishing Path cont’
After the call, my contact at iUniverse sent over a selection of three packages that fit what we discussed. Each included an “editorial evaluation”, which would open the door to their Special Recognitions Program— if it got a positive assessment. One plan was fairly stripped down, no frills, quick to see it in print idea, but had a restriction in the Special Recognitions Programs eligibility: I knew very little about the program then, but that didn’t seem good. The other two plans looked better for the aspirations I had for the book: Both had a number of features geared toward making sure the book gets into good enough shape to have a better chance to survive on a bookseller’s shelves (e.g. review of the cover copy), and the more flush of the two included features that made the book financially more attractive for stores to put it on the shelves in the first place, especially the returns program similar to the one that traditional distributors give. Given the cost for these important extras was not great (around a grand then) I decided on that plan.
When I’d browsed the iUniverse site earlier, I seen quite a number of plans offering various configurations of different services and add-ons—this or that help in editing and marketing, others with help for websites, and so on—things that sounded nice, but seemed excessive for now: I wanted to take things slowly, and make sure I was fully informed and clear eyed before making any large commitments: did I actually need this or that service? Fortunately, my contact at iUniverse had understood my position well enough after our call to not have wasted my time even offering them.
The agreement arrived via email. It dealt mostly with the logistics, each party’s responsibilities, the copyright owner, guaranteeing ownership of content and the like —the tedious legal end of publishing—as well as some discussion of available book sizes and formats, such as soft or hardbound and eBooks, only mentioning that editing and marketing options existed but are not included. I hadn’t known then, but iUniverse won’t suggest those additional services until after the manuscript has first been vetted for prohibited content and accepted for publication, and then only for books with packages like mine, which include an Editorial Evaluation—if and only if the book gets a sufficiently good assessment on its evaluation to actually warrant more work. After asking a lot of questions about the logistics of POD, bookstores, returns, who pays for those (not me) and the like, I signed the agreement.
Very soon, the complete faith I had had in my book and my skills as a writer were both seriously challenged.