Answers to your questions about why you need a publisher to publish a book

    Hello! Our third book was published, and in the comments to the post you asked why, in fact, we need a publishing house. In our case, doubly, because we work with paper, and we have a distribution network - so why then a publisher?

    The answers there are pretty obvious on the first layer - well, this is not our business. But if you dig further, you can learn a lot of marvelous things. I dug, having half-mastered a myth. It turned out that they quite calmly share data and stories about what and how to do with books. It turned out that we have approximately similar launch processes (only they have books, and we have games), but there are nuances.

    Therefore, welcome to the post "that you did not know about the Russian book market." And yes, there are a couple of strange things.

    Innocent question: what does the publisher do?

    It takes on risks, provides book and layout preparation services, distribution, PR and promotion.

    What are the risks?

    If you brought the manuscript to the publishing house, and the editorial board liked it, then the publishing house may offer you to publish a book according to the scheme “we take a license, you get royalties”. That is a standard story. Royalty, by the way, is 10% for paper and significantly higher for the electronic version. It is calculated from the cost of shipment from the publisher, that is, about half the price of the shelf. When there are two authors, the royalties are divided in half, but the total is slightly higher than 10%. I heard from Max Kotin about the limit of 15% in other publishing houses, but I have not seen. Perhaps it was the dashing 90s.

    So, the publisher is investing in preparing the book for printing (a little less than six months), the cost of circulation and promotion. In total, it turns out about more than a million domestic rubles (but most of this is done by work). If the book doesn’t go, you don’t lose anything, because you didn’t pay either for the editor, or for the corrector, or for the preprint, or for printing the print run. Only get a small amount of royalties.

    So far, everything is like in the desktop world. Only the percentage of input at the MIF in non-fiction is slightly larger, and the percentage of "take-off" is slightly lower. Their approximate estimate is 10: 1, that is, out of 10 books, there remains one for the additional print run of the print run. The other day after this question, they raised statistics for the 1st and 4th quarters of 2018 - every fourth book with additional print runs. But there are less successful periods.

    Our exact estimate for the last year is 27% of the games spent on the additional print run, the forecast for this year is 34%.

    What is a good book in Russia?

    3,000 books sold per year are cool. 10 thousand is a bestseller (let me remind you, I spoke about 20 thousand before, both estimates are subjective and received from different experts). This is about paper, since paper is the main format of the publisher. Although it’s in our case with “Business for Your Own” thanks to you, who were wildly unwilling to bend for delivery at least 1,500 rubles, the electronic versions of the book sold 3 times more physical ones. This is an extremely rare case for the market.

    In the case of a board game, it’s a similar story, but we think in cycles. The turnover of the circulation and, in rare cases, the portfolio is important to us. This year, we see that 1000 boxes are sold in the first month after the launch of the product (and it happens two weeks after the box appears in the first store, because the boxes go all the way to Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk). It used to be three weeks, now specifically Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk, Vladivostok and Novosibirsk are launched a little later. So, 1000 pieces in the first month of promotion is an increase in promotion, in fact, the transition to category A. Circulation for six months is similar. The circulation for six months has not been sold and we do not need the game to form the line - we are discontinuing it. An example of a game that we hold with relatively small sales is the Manhattan Project (but right now the last print run has passed, but there is no new one yet).

    The first draws we make on the game 2-5 thousand pieces. On books, the MIF makes 3-5 thousand of the first circulation on business and self-development, and a little more (4-6 thousand) on the parent-child theme. There are more circulations in the art segment, but top authors stand out very much there. Pelevin may have 70 thousand first circulation, for example. With the appropriate budget for the promo. If the book has already shown itself to be cool in Western markets and there are serious expectations of networks, the first circulation of non-confession may be 10 thousand pieces.

    What are the book preparation and layout services?

    This is something that you can buy separately on the same Ridero, from freelancers or in an advertising agency, but is included in the package of the publisher. And it is done more efficiently and with an answer for the final result than outside (because there are no “chocks” at the joints).

    Editor- he is like a product manager. In our case, he follows the logic (“this chapter here, this nafig, but it’s not clear here, but here we need to add another chapter, on page 115 give a table with numbers instead of poetry, oh, not so healthy, let's give fewer numbers”) and etc. That is, the most useful person, if you wrote not scientific. The editor makes sure that the finished book is good. For the reader, not for you. Judging by the contract, sometimes there are misunderstandings with the author, so in the basic version there are tough points about the fact that the editor from the third iteration of edits is always right. My editor was Tatyana Rapoport for the third time, and everything turned out fine. Thanks again to Olga Svitova, it seems that it was she who analyzed individual sentences in the spirit: “this is what you wanted to say, but what the reader will think.”

    Science editor- So, if you write scientific, Comrade Major always breathes in your ear. More precisely, the person who fumbles in the subject. The MIFs themselves find university professors on the topic (usually doctors of science) and agree with them. You can probably find a scientific editor yourself, but there will be something like a guarantee that both of you are responsible for the accuracy of the text. Here is an example of a book with a scientist.

    Then the corrector- he checks for errors and corrects them. With proofreaders, I always have a sad experience because of a spoken language that just pisses them off. And they also love replacing exact terms with synonyms (and this happens after the third proofreading of the text after the editor), which brings sweet notes of insanity to the text. Watch for the hands of the corrector. It can be dangerous. Nevertheless, often it is the corrector that helps to get another point of view and to analyze very complex formulations. So when the desire to kill him passes, you begin to realize with your head that this is a good person. Nice and kind. The cycle happened all three times: first you see a bloody mess of edits in the place of your text, and then you understand how they helped you. The proofreaders in this book are Nadezhda Bolotina and Anna Ugryumova. Two, because I'm an evil geek who can bring anyone. Thanks.ass . "

    The cover designer is a subordinate of the art director (whom you will not see), who draws the cover according to your wishes - if you are lucky - and fits it into the style of the publishing house, series, and generally customer expectations. Our practice is to go around the bookstores with your books and put them on the shelves, and then take a closer look. Here, for example, our Elina, who wants to write a book about sales, she recently received a mental injury in the “Read-city” from the illogicality of their calculation. When I tried to attach a book layout, choosing between blue and red cover. Daria Kazakova did it for us, and Alexey Bogomolov received it - we didn’t communicate much, but everything went very quickly and professionally.

    Typesetter- it's just a typesetter. I also have a tooth for it for the letters ё torn out of the text and hard hyphens (sometimes not very good in language) in the electronic version. All the books on the tablet are like books with logical markup, and my third is with a hard-skinned style. Perhaps this is because the tables are inserted with text, not pictures. And it was important for him to keep the pages. But in general, the layout of the MIF is quite good, according to Chihold with its modern improvements. This book is made by Ekaterina Matusovskaya. Our communication was limited to a nod to the final layout.

    Authors Manager- This is the main person on the project who is responsible for interacting with the authors. This is a new role, when we published for the first time, this was not. The manager ensures that you fill out a brief on the cover, send the book to your friends for review before publication, ask for your biography, be responsible for iterating the edits, and so on. I also throw off all the bug reports to this beautiful person, and then magic happens to them. In general, just a single point of contact. To the level of "you need to collect a meeting to find out how everything is arranged there" - and instead of two weeks and dreary coordination, they took and assembled a meeting. This is the best person in the project. I take this opportunity to convey thanks to Anastasia Dyachenko.

    Artwork- if you need illustrations in the book, it is better to bring good ones along with the manuscript or later. But sometimes they are ordered inside the publishing house. Then the retail price jumps, because you need to smear the cost of the images for the first circulation and the print price will increase further. Sometimes pictures are needed by text, sometimes the author simply asks to draw. The second is being discussed. We have no illustrations. In the desktop world, in 99% of cases we order good art, because books are chosen for letters, and desktops for atmosphere. Therefore, the costs of the artist and process management occupy a large share of the budget. Well, we can afford very good artists, and not only from the Russian Federation. Actually, when we just go around the network and look at the pictures in the social media feed, the script “find the author and send it to the publisher” is sometimes included when you see the desired setting.

    The preparation of the circulation is prepress and others, but we will skip them, because usually this is included in the printing service itself. I did not see anyone and nothing there.

    UPD: Here's another Alexey2005 comment about another publisher legalizing profits for you. That is, you do not need self-employment, individual entrepreneurs, legal entities and reporting. Well, since I started to thank, I thank separately the chief editor of the direction Renat Shagabutdinov (he is responsible for the concept of everything), Vera Yozhkina, without whom the first book would not exist at all (for some reason I thought that she left the MIF, and she went on increasing, it turns out) and Artyom Stepanov (editorial staff, a person who openly answered all questions five years ago). Set aside the snot. Let's go further on business!

    What is important in distribution from the publisher?

    So you made the goods. You have it in a warehouse in boxes. You can sell part yourself, but in most cases you do not have normal retail, and you need to give it to someone in stores. Retail, of course, will twist your hands because it wants to make money on the product itself, and not share most of the money with you. If everyone needs your product, and without it in any way - you can twist your hands retail. But more often it happens exactly the opposite, because you yourself know where you can stick your goods, there are still millions of analogues on the market. On this fragile balance all procurement negotiations are held.

    We counted and made vertical integration when about 40% of the tables (the share of revenue, the assortment matrix is ​​less than 5%) is produced by us in the publishing house. That is, the main fear of retail - to remain without goods - we closed immediately. But here the same Monopoly comes with a rather small margin, for example: it is needed in stores, people will be perplexed if it does not exist, but we do not make the bulk of it.

    So, professional players already have a more or less well-established balance, when the shares are distributed, and everyone in the chain is satisfied. This time. Two - there are agreements with retail, that is, directly supply contracts that allow you to ship here and now. To conclude a contract for delivery to a small network - 2 months and at least 50 thousand rubles in work (including the time of a lawyer), for a large one - six months, and you need a special person to monitor the conditions (because there are usually horse fines for everyone). Delivering goods to us and to Auchan are two big differences. In our case, if you shoot yourself in the foot, you will find a bunch of fractions in the foot. And in the case of a large network, you shoot in the foot with a W-54 projectile from Davy Crockett.

    The third feature - publishing managers can explain to all market players why to take your book. But about this a little further. In general - people take the core product from someone who understands it. That is, they take a lot. Because the main thing in this area is trust in processes and people. It is usually installed in 3-5 years. Without this interval, the full volume simply cannot be reached.

    We feel this especially sharply in working with the Germans, because for them you are just the noise of the first 6-8 years. Only then they begin to notice.

    What about the promos and PR that are in the package?

    If you carefully read and considered everything above, then you can pay attention that you will not be paid very much for the book. I mean, this is clearly not earnings. So, there will be even less money for a promo. Much. Or the book will become gold on the shelf and will not be sold at all.

    Therefore, there are methods of content marketing, SEO, co-branding, guerrilla, mediating (now called influencers) and classic PR. A certain amount of budget goes into performance (such as contextual advertising), but the main work is done far from there.

    Due to their excellent content marketing, MIF has a huge readership in social networks and in the newsletter. A little more than a million reads per month on the blog, 450 thousand contacts on the mailing list, 330 thousand VK subscribers, about 225 thousand on Instagram, about 200 thousand on Facebook. And the audience of the site. These are those who should read about the book and buy half the first print run. Then, if you like it, to tell further and launch a wave.

    The second half will go to partners. Yes, at MIF, up to 50% of the first print run goes through its store. No one else in Russia can do that. But still, the audience is quite specific. And not always sales at the start determine long-term success. That is indicative of the 4th month. This is when the book either “grabbed” in physical stores and went, or when it is not taken from the shelves. It is important for stores to monitor the revenue per square meter, that is, the turnover of the shelf. Therefore, if something is wrong - you fly out from there with the sound "chpok".

    Offline is very helpful PR. He also helps when the book does not fall into the direct audience of the MIF. There are quite a lot of lifestyle and near-learning opportunities, so books away from the mainstream will not go exactly at the target. Therefore, PR. Our case. We have a lot of our PR and through the publishing house.

    Here is the list of publications “Just Space” by Katerina Lengold at the start.
    Sorry for the topic, but it’s on this book that it was possible to separate as accurately as possible the key things initiated precisely thanks to the publisher:

    In our case, “Business as a Game,” there were more publications, but there we worked on both sides. In the case of “Business for Your Own” there are fewer publications, but they have not all been published yet, and Forbes already exists. There, the journalists predictably took the chapter on why paying taxes at all, as last time everyone took the chapter on “Welcome, don't go in the ass.”

    Mediators: Myth has a readership that can influence others. Most often these are bloggers and famous people. And just sends them books. So one day I came to the office and found a package of books about business from them with a note in the spirit that you would like. The logic with me is simple - I do reviews of useful books for the year, and if you give me 10 pieces, it might catch that I wouldn't read like that. It is important for some bloggers to get a book before the circulation and tell the first one, someone simply on the topic of the blog and so on. I can say that this part of the MIF has been honed for years, and they are just market monsters there. We are wildly jealous of them and want the same with desktops now.

    They have almost no partisan methods. I mean, it's usually on the author. Right now, by this classification, you are observing one of these methods, and you have already read more than half of the message.

    With the performance we had an epic failure. The headline of the book "Business at Home" seemed to Google’s ad verification neural network as an advertisement for microcredit organizations. But she is forbidden. They were not allowed into the context.

    There are still features when the name of 7 words is complex search queries.

    The full range of features will be available to you under three conditions:

    1. You like the editorial board and the promotion team, that is, the publisher will invest in your promo.
    2. You get into the exit matrix (books on the same topic or in the same series, but stronger, do not come out with you). The output matrix is, of course, distributed. This affects the term - a month may be added so as not to cross you with another book in the same audience. Because the average reader can master no more than 2 books per month. Our games are less frequent, but we also deliver announcements, trying to make no more than 1 children's and 1 adult A-novelty from the desktops in focus per month.
    3. You will give the publisher exclusive sales for the first two weeks. Looking at his channel with a blog and other things, MYTH prefers to use each book as a lever for gathering people. That is, when you bought from them, and not from us during the exclusive, the following transaction occurred: we shared our audience with them. For this, they put more work into PR.

    PR service can be purchased separately at the agency, but it will be unrealistically expensive, since the agency is not a source of books. That is, does not have such authority. A distribution service cannot be bought separately, or it will turn out to be more expensive than a rational trait. Therefore, we must endure six months and be in the publishing house.

    Why half a year?

    Because the process of publishing a book is linear, and there are almost no parts that parallel. Unless the cover can be drawn while the corrector is tormented. A lot of simultaneous projects, checking input / output at each stage, working with a bunch of external people like the same scientific editor - and now you smoothly go into 4 months. 2 more for prepress and printing with logistics to the warehouse. It can be faster, but then the process turns into sitting at night in the office. Similarly with us, the terms are the same for localization and for the development of desktops. In localization, the main brake is international coordination, and in development, art and miscalculation of components.

    What can an author do?

    As I said before, the success of a book is influenced not only by the quality of the information, the level of the language, the cover and all that, but also who the author is and what he can do. I mean, if you, as Batyrev, speak at conferences and seminars and, for example, give the audience homework to read your book, then there will be hundreds of sales each time. Naturally, printing is profitable.

    But it turned out there are still factors. Firstly, distribution is very fond of the series. More precisely, if the author’s first book sold well, then the second will be considered an analogue, and more will be taken immediately. The third in a successful series is already a very good plan for everyone. We are now reaping the benefits of this unexpected bonus. When I say “series”, to a lesser extent this refers to series like “Secrets of the Gardener” or “Self-Development”, namely about links from several books of the same author. The overall series also affects, but not as much as the direct counterparts.

    Here are the MYTH series (for other publishers, the logical separation may be different):

    Pay attention to the series "Mogivlitsiya", it is one of the most important

    Secondly, the author himself can help promos not only with his social networks and friends. Still sometimes you need to review your own book in different stores. It looks strange, and I didn’t do it and do not plan, but here is an example. It is quite ethical and beautiful: here the top review is from the author.
    “This is done for the Labyrinth’s own audience. They have it voluminous, there are people who buy books exclusively there. And their reviews always bribe. "

    Ray Dalio generally wrote YouTube videos about his book, but about English. There is almost a training course.

    It is important to apply for prizes. If sciencepop is the main "Enlightener", there is a lot of PR around. It has a block of humanities and a block of techies.

    We did not know anything about business, but won the “Best Business Book of the Year” by PWC. There are simply no others, and we found out about this award almost at the time of winning - I did not want to go by invitation to the International Economic Forum, but I wanted to finally get to Madagascar. Since then, there has been an ebola, a plague, this year’s expedition flew off, and I never got there. So, they had to bluntly say that I was so beautiful on the forum that I don’t need anyone, but they would give me a prize. Therefore, it is important to be. The prize turned out to be a very big plus: it is a PR and a package of money. More than royalties for three years. Then Astrakhan journalists mixed up everything and made me almost an oligarch, but this is a separate hellish story of how I fought off students on VKontakte.

    Where do the books go?

    In my estimation, finger to nose, in nonfiction for 5 years there has been a shift from 1/10 of officially purchased electronic versions to the paper circulation, to about 50%. This is not right with us right now; our electronic system is still larger than paper, and much. What the publisher is happy about is because the electronic cost is different (very low) and a lot of profit. But when the book reaches stores and begins to be sold in retail, this ratio will shift.

    There are also online players who trade in paper books. This, for example, Ozone and the Labyrinth. The maze is generally cool cunning types. They are partners of the MIF and are finalizing where the MIF does not have time. In our case, a lot of sales were spoiled by the fact that the minimum order from the MIF's website was 1,500 rubles. This is a limitation of the delivery service, and now they are trying to get around it at MIF, this also frustrates them with missed orders. So, the Labyrinth simply collected these orders. They preordered at a good discount. A book will come - they will just send half their party in the early days. I, too, ran around and fucked up with the extravaganza, when people are ready to order goods, pay for delivery to the other side of the world, but don’t want more than one book. And he prepared such a scenario for intercepting orders, but decided that it was not very ethical. We promised an exclusive.

    Oh, and one more thing. During the sales of Business at Home, many people ordered Business as a Game, the first book in the series. And it is over. The overprint is just coming. Habraeffect and surprise. This added an atmosphere of joy at the sight of the Labyrinth.

    So, back to distribution. Then there are retail chains and small shops that somehow managed to survive without consolidation (although for five years now it has been a trend for this in the book market). The MIF is in partnership with EKSMO (if anyone did not know), therefore it takes the books to their warehouse, and from there they are already traveling around the country to the same Chita-city, Republic, Bookworm and other beautiful places. Yes, here is the latest news on Kommersant about the development of the book network for the next 5 years, and there is an interesting membership structure.

    Online distribution is the same Liters where electronic versions of books fall.

    Networks at different publishers are different. For example, Alpina is not in the Labyrinth, and MYTH is not on subscription services such as Bookmate. By the way, no because of the complex royalty charges, there is accounting for read chapters (percentage of the book), and the subscription amount is divided between the number of chapters read for books. Given that the model is not very common in Russia, there is still a penny, and hemorrhoids accounting for days of work.

    Paper is better suited to an older audience who buys in bookstores. The electronic version is younger and more IT-competent.

    Offline, the price of a paper book often rises above the recommended retail price.

    More books go to the pirates. There is a special person at the publishing house who monitors the first 3 months of new items on pirated trackers, VKontakte file-sharing sites, and so on, and then checks the entire site when they see a copy, sues and tries to close the distribution. True, VKontakte and could not close it. As the staff commented: "There is only one - a unique case - when the author does not try to deal with pirates." These are they about me. Pain was read in my eyes, misunderstanding, and this phrase:

    But they were very correct and polite.

    What about your book on the distribution network?

    Here the process is like ours, the details differ.

    The important part here at the “battlecard” stage is when the materials are collected into something that the seller is able to work with on the spot:

    We can influence sellers. Publisher no. We can come and play a game somewhere, but with a collective reading of the book, the focus will not work. Therefore, they affect distribution (like us, but their process is more complicated and better).

    In the book world, managers will collect a presentation about your book, send it online (in large - individual versions with details of interest to them, in small ones - general), note whether the project is focal or not, what circulation, what promo and where it is planned, what PR will be , what to count on, what series, who is the author, why is he cool and so on.

    Be sure to note the trend (this is asked by the network to understand where to put the book). Here's a quote from the brief about us:
    MIF Topic: Management
    Tags: Company Management, Management, Small Business Development, Entrepreneur

    Who writes a card about a book to a site? If the site of the MIF - they are. If the store’s site is a store. But MYTH has a unique thing. They find and check all the descriptions of their books at all chain stores. And they ask to add, send content and so on. We do not do this, for example, but I feel it is necessary.

    Seasonality also affects. To publish a business book in the summer is an so-so idea (we did it), because everyone is on vacation. But in August we will have paper everywhere on the shelves throughout the country, so this is not the worst that could happen.

    Some books are obviously gift, they are better for December.

    From seasonality, exhibitions for focus projects are important. There is an exhibition "non / fiction" in Moscow, where it is important to stand with a stand and present news to journalists. She is at the end of November. In the fall, an exhibition in Frankfurt (this is like Essen, the main event about partners), but now the MIF is buying licenses there and selling very little. I mean, only children's books have been successful abroad so far. This is logical. It is unlikely that the book with the subtitle Rake of Russian Business is needed in France. In mid-spring, the exhibition in London is also large.

    “Always, all publishers from Russia and other countries have mainly bought and are buying there, and it will always be so. But we, like colleagues from other publishers, have already begun to sell the rights to books by Russian authors in other languages. Mostly for children, but also for adults, too. This year, for the first time, we had our own stand - at the international exhibition in Bologna, this is exhibition No. 1 on children's books. ”

    What's next with the promo?

    If the book is “hooked,” then people advise it to each other, give it, and so on. If not, well, oops. The life cycle is several years, because the older the book, the worse. The continuation of the series or some actions from the author helps. Old books without the participation of the author are difficult to promote. Sometimes some books are raised on the site in sales or in the promotional block for a week, but this is perhaps the maximum.

    How to check that your book is cool?

    The typical method is to count your subscribers, evaluate the interest and language, then send the table of contents and 5 typical chapters to the publisher. So, it turns out there’s another way. Testing a blog. If your posts come on Habré - this is one level of steepness. And the MIF also offers to write on their blog after their editor - and if they go there, then this is a signal for them that the first print run will go to their audience. That is, you can write several posts and see what their audience is more interested in. Like bad - no need to take a book. Good - necessary. So Larisa Parfentieva wrote two best-selling books about ways to change life. Which tells me that at least one life (her) thanks to such a calibration for the audience, she changed.

    Just keep in mind that some books are for a different audience. And they are being promoted from other channels, mainly.


    Yes. The book came to us in Mosigra. We have the word "Habrahabr" 10% discount on all-all-all, including the book. It works in any store in any country, but the book is only in Moscow and on delivery from the Moscow online store. We can do EMS in the world, we don’t have a minimum order volume, but the basket was made through the ass (because we haven’t rolled up a new big release of the site, sorry). And here was what the invasion of Habr the time before last looked like . But this time it will be calmer, the publisher got the main blow. Actually, here is a link to the book .

    And the moral above is like that. Quickly print print-on-demand circulation of 5 pieces, get corrector and ISBN - Yekaterinburg Ridero. Steep and sudden, better than the printing house around the corner. I even printed a semi-annual report there. If you just need a book “to be” - any publisher where you will be taken. But it’s more correct to choose according to the distribution network and promo opportunities. Promo options depend on the profile of the publisher and the audience. I would say that it is worth considering for non-fiction MIF, Alpina and Peter-press for hardcore IT.


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