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Book Packaging

Today I thought I'd cover a topic that some of you probably have never even heard of, book packaging. This is when a publishing company has an idea for a book and outsources the tasks involved in creating it.

Wikipedia gives this explanation:
"Book-packaging (or book producing) is a publishing activity in which a publishing company outsources the myriad tasks involved in putting together a book—writing, researching, editing, illustrating, and even printing—to an outside company called a book-packaging company. Once the book-packaging company has produced the book, they then sell it to the final publishing company.
In this arrangement, the book-packaging company acts as a liaison between a publishing company and the writers, researchers, editors, and printers that design and produce the book. Book packagers thus blend the roles of agent, editor, and publisher. Book-packaging is common in the genre fiction market, particularly for books aimed at pre-teens and teenagers, and in the illustrated non-fiction co-edition market." 

Big and small publishers enlist the help of book packagers. Some famous series that have been done this way include Sweet Valley High and Nancy Drew.

Pro to working with a book packager? Competition is low and pay can be good depending on the project. Packagers will often work with the same writers on a regular basis and turn around times are quick meaning it can be a good source of income.

Con to working with a book packager? You don't get name credit. The Publisher owns all copyright of the project and therefore you can't use or resell reprints or excerpts. You get paid a flat fee and (most) don't pay royalties so even if the book become a major success and gets turned into a blockbuster movie you won't get a cent more than the original amount agreed in your work-for-hire contract.

At http://wexfordpress.com/tex/packagers.pdf you can find a list of some book packagers. You can find more information about book packagers and some more contacts via http://www.abpaonline.org/

Would you consider working with a book packager? Have you already worked with one and have some feedback to share? (I'm not asking you to tell us what project it was as I know you can't give that information away, but tips about the process or some feedback about your experience, even in very general terms, would help shed some more light on the topic ;)).

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