Book Publishing-Getting started

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  • Member since
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  • From: Albemarle, NC
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Book Publishing-Getting started
Posted by jmpmap on Tuesday, April 27, 2004 8:05 AM
I am interested in findin out the best way to publish a railroad book. How do you get started?
  • Member since
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  • From: WV
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Posted by coalminer3 on Wednesday, April 28, 2004 11:27 AM
Can you be a little more specific? "Getting started" covers a lot of territory (everything from having an idea to having a completed manuscript.

work safe
  • Member since
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  • From: Albemarle, NC
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Posted by jmpmap on Wednesday, April 28, 2004 11:57 AM
Thank you for your reply. I do not have a manuscript prepared. I am in the information gathering stage and would like some guidance. Do you approach a publishing company with the idea or do you wait until you have a manuscript in place and present it? I need guidance on format, pictures, etc. Thanks again
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  • From: WV
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Posted by coalminer3 on Thursday, April 29, 2004 12:24 PM
The idea of an unestablished/unknown author approaching a publisher (unsolicited) with a manuscript (mss) is a romantic notion which really does not have too much basis in reality. The key here is that they are in business to do one thing - make $. Once you understand that, you can think clearly about what you need to do.

That said, you need to begin by doing an internet search under different publishers. Look for words such as "style sheets," "guidelines for submission," etc. Read them carefully as they will help you to focus on what publishers look for. Magazines such as the Writer, and reference books such as Writer's Marketplace have tons of good background information. A lot of your initial work will consist of learning the vocabulary.

Then you can start figuring out what you want to do and how you want to do it. You need to have a definite idea in mind before approaching a publisher with a query letter. Again, the websites can help you on this.

The Railway and Locomotive Historical Society's journal (Railroad History), over the years, has had several good articles on the "state of railroad history." Check them out.

I'll stop here lest you think you have bitten off more than you really want. Keep posting and I'll try and answer your questions. We were all there once.

work safe



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Posted by Anonymous on Tuesday, July 27, 2004 7:35 PM
I looked into the possibility of doing a "coffee table book" about 6 years ago. I approached a publisher who specialized in that kind of pubs and was advised I needed about $80,000 up front money before they would consider it. Their approach was that I could put together whatever I wanted and for that money they would print 500 copies. Distribution and any other after-printing efforts were entirely my responsibility. This is in Canada. I can't speak for the US situation. Hope this helps.
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Posted by coalminer3 on Friday, July 30, 2004 11:17 AM
Was this a subsidy publisher?

work safe
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Posted by Anonymous on Friday, July 30, 2004 12:12 PM
Sorry. I don't know what a subsidy publisher is. The one I dealt with normally publishes books with lots of pics in them, i.e., school year books, coffee table books, travelogue books etc.
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Posted by coalminer3 on Wednesday, August 04, 2004 2:09 PM
Subsidy publisher - U pay for everything - they print the book.

work safe
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Posted by Anonymous on Thursday, August 05, 2004 9:16 PM
That would be the one. I wouldn't recommend it unless you've got a lot of extra pocket ca***o toss at them and a surefire seller!
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Posted by coalminer3 on Friday, August 06, 2004 8:35 AM
Have you given any thought to Images of America series. They do lots of "regional/local"historical books and have quite a few railroad-related titles. Format is paperbak (120-140 pp. tops) with halftones. Quality is not that bad although the captions can get a little squirrly sometimes, like "An old shot of 261 blasting past the depot."

work safe
  • Member since
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  • From: US
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Posted by back_pack on Monday, August 09, 2004 1:37 PM
Contact Arcadia Publishing (publishers of the Images of America and Images of Rail series of books). They will work with you on a book, especially if the geographic area has a large population or is a tourist destination.

http://www.arcadiapublishing.com
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