Third Millennium Publishing

 A cooperative of online writers and resources                                                                                 8/16/2006
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If you are contemplating becoming an INTERNET publisher, you undoubtedly have a number of questions.  The following FAQs should give you a great deal of the information about which you are curious.  If they do not, then don’t hesitate to contact us at and we will be pleased to discuss your concerns in detail.

  • #1: So all I need do is put my book online and then sit back while the money rolls in?

We wish it were that easy.  Unfortunately, if that is the amount of effort you are willing to expend on the project, you are going to be sorely disappointed and ought to save your money.  Like everything else in life, success on the INTERNET is a matter of hard work and diligence.

While the invention of the INTERNET has dramatically altered the economics of publishing, it has not magically solved all of the problems.  If you choose to publish your book on Third Millennium Publishing's website, then you will have solved three of the inherent problems of publishing.  You will have made your book available to the public, you will have provided yourself with a means to collect money, and you will have access to a distribution system that delivers the book to the buyer after the sale.

The only problem that remains is finding customers who are willing to purchase what it is that you have written.  On the INTERNET, that is the hard part.  Let us say that you are a budding young author like Tom Clancy was in the 1980s.  You have written a book that literally millions of people will pay to read.  You put that book online and are ready to rake in the money.

Exactly how do those millions of people find your book?  The answer, of course, is publicity.

  • #2: How do I publicize my book on the INTERNET?

There are a number of ways to publicize your book on the INTERNET.  Some of these Third Millennium Publishing can assist you with.  Other options, you will have to pursue yourself.  The services we provide are:

By being associated with Third Millennium Publishing, you automatically come to the attention of the people who visit the site each month.  Whether they come in as a result of our aggressive advertising campaign in magazines such as Writer's Digest and Writer's Journal, or are looking for another writer's books, they will have the opportunity to view and purchase your work.

One of the best ways to be found on the INTERNET is to have a URL (uniform resource locator, or address) that is easy to remember.  We have one of the best.  The site address for Third ( 3rd) Millennium Publishing is, a simple 8 character code that is easy to remember.  People find you on the web by typing in 3MPUB.COM/YOUR NAME.  What could be easier than that?


  • #3: What steps can I take as an author to publicize my book?

 There are a large number of things that you can do to get the word out.  Some of these are free and others are extremely cost effective.

You can place notices in the Search Engines.  We will take care to advertise your book in many major search enginesHowever, there are literally THOUSANDS of such engines and some of the bigger ones, like YAHOO, charge a listing fee and require manual input.  If you like, you can make sure that every single one of them knows where to find you.

You can mention that you have a book online in the various newsgroups on the INTERNET.  Caution:  You cannot broadcast a message to every newsgroup in existence!  Well, you can, but it is called spamming and it is likely to be VERY counterproductive.  However, if you are selective and discreet, there is nothing wrong with advertising that you have a book for sale in the newsgroups devoted to your subject or genre.

You can engage in an email advertising campaign.  There are services that will send your message to 100,000 recipients for a few hundred dollars.  Email advertising is inexpensive.  Unfortunately, as we all notice when we power up the computer each morning, the advent of the SPAM filter and the flood of "male enhancement pill" ads have significantly degraded the efficiency of email advertising (otherwise known as SPAM) over the last few years.

You can take out a small advertisement in the backs of magazines.  If you have written a “hi tech” science fiction novel, for instance, you can advertise in the classifieds in Analog (whose advertising rates start at $22 per month).    If your book is of interest to astronomers, you can use several astronomy magazines.  If you have written a mystery, then there is Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine.

You can contact your local newspaper or television station and arrange to have a story written/broadcast about your entry into the new world of cyberspace.

  • #4: You say that I am the publisher.  Isn't Third Millennium Publishing the publisher?

Third Millennium Publishing is not a publisher of authors so much as it is a cooperative of authors.  Each writer who participates is selling his or her book directly to the public and collecting the revenue.  Except for payments that cover the cost of sales and infrastructure, there is no middleman in the transaction.  You sell your book and then receive approximately 70% of the money received (versus 6-8% for traditional publishing).

Third Millennium Publishing will provide you with “printing” services (that is, we will prepare your book for electronic transmission), display services, money collection services, and distribution services.  We do not own the rights to publish your book like a traditional publisher.  You own those rights and are exercising them for your own benefit.  Note:  If your book is currently being published by a traditional publisher, you must get them to “revert” your rights before you can sell it yourself online.  I know of no faster way to be sued than selling a publisher your “right to publish,” and then going into competition with them.  In fact, the "publisher" is the party who owns the right to publish (by definition).  At Third Millennium Publishing, that is the author.

Although you are in business for yourself, there are major benefits for being a member of the cooperative.  While you are out advertising your book to attract customers; so, too are all of the other writers on our website.   When any writer succeeds to attracting someone to the website, then all authors have the opportunity of a visit from that same customer.  As the number of writers on the website grows, word spreads and a snowball effect begins.  When any one author makes a sale, all authors benefit because that customer knows where to come the next time they are looking for a good book to read.

  • #5  How do I know this model of publishing will work?

Third Millennium Publishing was born in 2000, which makes us still relatively young.  Our approach to publishing is not.  Our founder is the well-known science fiction writer, Michael McCollum, the author of 10 novels and 4 books on writing.  He has sold 250,000 copies of his books via traditional publishers and bookstores, and has been selling them online in our sister website, Sci Fi - Arizona, for seven years.  Each customer who purchases a Michael McCollum book typically leaves a total of $20 behind – either in that single visit, or by returning for multiple purchases.  That is a statistic that compares favorably to any bookstore in the world!

Third Millennium Publishing was created to serve the needs of the full writing community, not merely those in the science fiction genre.  After all, if you are a mystery novelist, it doesn't necessarily help your sales to have "SCI FI" in your INTERNET address.

  • #6: I don't think people will ever buy electronic books when they can go into a bookstore and get a "real book."

We here at Third Millennium Publishing love bookstores.  In fact, they are just about our favorite places in all the world.  Therefore, it pains us to report that the electronic book revolution is about to change everything.  Your local neighborhood bookstore is likely not going to be with us much longer.  Ditto for your big chain bookstore.  And if they survive, you aren't going to recognize them.  This has never been clearer than recently when Stephen King decided to publish a book using the Third Millennium Publishing model!

What is it about electronic publishing that will finish off the bookstore as we know it?  Inventory cost!  Go into any bookstore and count the number of books on a typical shelf, then count the number of shelves in the store, then multiply by $5.00 per book (average cost).  What you will discover is that each bookstore has several million dollars in inventory on the shelves.  That is a cost that cannot be sustained when the competition prints books as they are needed.

In the future, you will wander into a bookstore and discover a row of computer terminals.  You will sit down at the terminal and browse through their catalog and select a book.  You will then swipe your credit card through a magnetic reader and wait ten minutes for a hot book to pop out of the slot in the wall.  Rather than row after row of expensive shelves, the bookstore will have a machine in the back room that will print the books on the fly.  Such machines exist today and are being shown off in printer's conventions.  We know this process works because it is the process we here at Third Millennium Publishing use for our books.  The only difference is that it takes us an hour or so to manufacture a book after receiving an order ... not ten minutes.

Worse still, when little electronic devices (like PalmPilots) get to the point where they have screens with the same resolution and contrast as black ink on white paper, and you discover they can hold a thousand books in their memories, the basic form of literature is going to change.  The paper book is going to go the way of the dodo bird (or more to the point, the typewriter).

That noise you hear faintly in the distance is the sound of a mile-high tidal wave building up in the shallows, a wave that will transform much of the publishing industry in the next ten years.  Don't take our word for it.  Listen to the richest man in the world by clicking on the link below.  If there is one thing we have learned (the hard way) in over twenty years in the computer industry, it is not to bet against Bill Gates!

UPDATE:  The above was written in 2000 when we started Third Millennium Publishing.  It is now 2014 (as of this writing), and everything predicted has come to pass.  Our local Barnes and Noble big box bookstore will be closing its doors next week.  With the advent of the Amazon Kindle and the IPAD, books have transitioned to electronic format faster than even I thought they would.  Third Millennium Publishing now publishes ebooks in both Kindle and IPAD formats: MOBI and EPUB. Because of the nature of Amazon's accounting system, we can't upload your ebook to Amazon directly, but we can provide  you with a cover and a file that will allow you to do it yourself.  It is a ridiculously easy thing to do.  Once you have done so, you are in the publishing business and all of the money from Kindle sales come straight to you.

  • #7: Most of the authors' sections have beautiful artwork in them.  Will my pages have artwork?

In the matter of artwork for your book, there are three possibilities:

If you have a cover illustration or other artwork associated with your book, then we will be pleased to put it online along with your book.  You can send it to us in either electronic or hard copy version.  We prefer electronic, by the way.  It is both easier to manipulate and does not risk the possibility of the original artwork being damaged.  Artwork can be inexpensively scanned at any Kinko's Copies, or similar copy center.

If you do not have a cover illustration, we will be pleased to provide your pages with generic artwork that will be attractive to customers.  We will attempt to obtain something that is appropriate to the theme of your book, but you need to recognize that the selection of such images is limited.

If you would like, we will assist you in obtaining a professional graphic artist to design a cover illustration for your book.  You should be aware that this option costs money, however; possibly as much or more money than you are contemplating spending on publishing your book.  In fact, it is not unusual in the publishing business for the artist to be paid more to paint the cover than the writer is paid to write the book!

  • #8: Third Millennium Publishing charges a setup fee and a fee on each book sold.  What does this money pay for?

The initial fee ($300 for hosting one book for two years, and a declining scale for subsequent books) goes to pay for the labor required to set up your section of the website.   This includes preparing your manuscript for publication, building the summary page, description page, and biography page, and setting up the money collection service.  It also goes to defray the cost of adding your book to our site.  Internet Service Providers charge for two things: storage and throughput.  Adding your book to our web site increases it size, which in turn, costs us money.

The recurring fee ($1 per book sold) goes to cover the impact your sales have on our throughput capacity.  In other words, when people come into the website to look at your book, data is exchanged over the INTERNET.  When they buy one of the electronic editions of your book, that book must be transmitted by the ISP to the customer.  Since Third Millennium Publishing pays for the number of bytes it transmits each month; the recurring $1 fee is intended to cover the additional cost of traffic to your pages.

There is another function the $1.00 fee per book sold performs.  It makes us enthusiastic about increasing your business!  Let us say that you place a book online and then sell a million electronic copies.  If the book sell price is set to $5.00, then you will receive $3,370,000 in revenue from the sales, after paying credit costs and sales fees.  We are happy for you!  However, Third Millennium Publishing will be receiving $1 million for the same transactions, which makes us VERY enthusiastic to help you increase your sales.

  • #9: How much should I sell my book for?

That is up to you.  You are the publisher.  You tell us what you want to charge.  You can set your price at $50 if you wish to, although we doubt it will enhance your sales if you do.  We recommend something in the $4.00 to $6.00 range for electronic copies, and $15.00 to $20.00 range for trade paperbacks.

  • #10  Will my book be available on

     It will if you want it to be.  We maintain an account on Amazon Marketplace for the benefit of our authors.  This account costs money to keep open, however, so we charge $25.00 per year for author/publishers to use the service.  That is $25.00 TOTAL per year, regardless of how many books an author has.

    And, of course, Amazon wants their cut of the pie.  When your book sells on Amazon, they take 15% of the cover price, plus $1.00.  Because Amazon is collecting the money, we do not have to charge the usual credit collection fee that comes from Third Millennium’s credit card service for Amazon sales.

  • #11: How much can I realistically expect to make at Third Millennium Publishing?

Business on the INTERNET has improved dramatically since we first went online.  However, as we noted earlier in this information series, selling on the INTERNET is not a panacea for the problem of putting food on one’s table.  It is not unusual for new vendors on the net to make very little their first few months in business.  And, if you have written a book that does not have wide appeal, you may stay at that level for quite a long time.

On the other hand, if you advertise diligently and have written a book with wide appeal, then you can expect to make a respectable amount of money.  The secret on the INTERNET is that you get to keep most of the money from the sale, whereas in bookstores, you only get a small percentage of the purchase price.  To date, the record check we have written to one of our clients was $1000 for three weeks of book sales.  We hasten to add, however, that this particular client has a very good publicity machine working for him.

As a benchmark, Michael McCollum's book sales have risen steadily and are currently hovering near the $500 per month range.  In 2003, book sales were almost exactly split 50-50 between electronic and trade paperback editions.  As technology improves and e-books have come online, that rate is increasing dramatically.  For example, because Palm Pilot publishing software was not available when Third Millennium Publishing was founded, Mr. McCollum placed 7 of his books at PeanutPress (now called Palm DIgital Media), which publishes Palm Pilot editions.  In the summer of 2000, at least one of those books, and up to four at a time, were on the PeanutPress best seller list.  This indicates that people who own handheld computers (PDAs and Pocket PCs) are very interested in obtaining reading material for them.  This trend can only snowball as more people invest in these handy productivity machines and the clarity of their displays improve.  As noted above, eventually these little electronic machines will kill books printed on paper, although that sad time is probably a few decades in the future ... or perhaps not! 

You, too, can ride the e-book boom as it develops.   What is important is to get established and begin your publicity campaign so that you are positioned to catch the tidal wave when it arrives. 

  • #12:  Are you saying that you can't guarantee that my book will be a best seller?

If we could guarantee that, we would be charging a lot more than $300.  There are a number of things you can do to increase your book sales, even to reach “best seller” status.  The most important of these is that you must first write a good book.

We know, every author who has ever lived believes that he or she has written a masterpiece.  The reason for this is that authors write what they like to read; and therefore, they really like what they have written.  The question is:  “Does anyone else like to read what the author has written?”

We mentioned Tom Clancy earlier.  Tom Clancy had a devil of a time selling The Hunt for Red October.  In fact, it was initially published by the Institute for Naval Proceedings, a publisher of dry technical papers written by professional naval officers.  Initially, the only place you could buy it was in the Pentagon bookstore.  However, those who bought it told their friends and the rest is history.

  • #13:  How do I get my novel to Third Millennium Publishing?

There isn’t much we can do with your manuscript until you have it in an electronic word processing file that is spell checked and edited.  We use Microsoft Word 2003 for output.  Word imports Rich Text Format (RTF), all versions of Word, Microsoft Works, Word Perfect 5 and later, and Windows Write (WRI).  If you have some other format, send us a copy and we’ll work on it.

The file should be formatted such that the individual paragraphs are units.  That is, the hard return character (¶) should occur only at the end of the paragraph, not at the end of each line. (If you don't understand that last sentence, go to the MANUSCRIPT page by clicking the link at the bottom of this page.)  That way, the word processing program can format the lines as necessary.  Any special fonts such as BOLD, ITALICS, or SYMBOLS should also be retained by whatever format you use.

Note:  We recently had a situation where an author scanned her manuscript into an electronic file and sent it to us.  However, there are TWO kinds of electronic scans.  There is Optical Character Recognition (OCR), where the computer actually reads the text and puts it into a word processing file that can be manipulated by programs like Microsoft Word.  There are also electronic scans where the pattern of light and dark dots on the page are recorded (much as they are in a fax machine).

We need your manuscript as a Word Processing File in which the words are stored as TEXT in the computer.  The other kind of scan stores the words as though they are a PHOTOGRAPH.  All of the black dots are there and look like words to the human eye.  Unfortunately, computers aren't that smart yet.  As far as the computer is concerned, such files consist of several billion unrelated black dots.  Until computers get smarter, there isn't much we can do with one of these "scans."

  • #14: I hear pornography sells well on the INTERNET.  What if I have an "Erotic" book to sell?

Yes, pornography is selling very well on the INTERNET.  While there is nothing innately wrong with pornographic books, we at Third Millennium Publishing do not deal in them.  The reasons for this are commercial rather than moral.  Basically, we have too many children's books on the site to also deal in pornography, as they will tend to depress the sales of our other author/publishers.

If you would like to discuss the possible sale of your books on the INTERNET further, please email us at   Thank you for considering Third Millennium Publishing to assist you in putting your book online.


© 2000-2014, Third Millennium Publishing, All Rights Reserved

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Contact:    Michael McCollum, CEO
Address:  PO Box 14026
                   Tempe, AZ 85284-0068
Third Millennium Publishing is a division of SFAZ Technologies and Sci Fi - Arizona, Inc. 
Page was last edited on 08/30/14 09:50:14 AM