Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing & Publishing ~

Self-Publishing ~ Potential and Perils

I’ve recently read two blog posts that highlight some of the benefits and cautions of self-publishing.

The first is from Roz Morris: I’ve had near misses with agents and publishers – should I self-publish?

I encourage you to read the whole post, primarily because this lady really knows her way around the traditional publishing scene. But, for those who don’t like to click links, here are a few excerpts:

“I know a number of writers who have excellent, interesting novels that are not getting published. Perhaps they cross genres, or they’re too edgy to be literary and too intelligent to be genre. In all likelihood if those writers were submitting those same novels to the market 5 or 10 years ago they would have landed a publishing deal. But publishers don’t want them any more.”

“The major publishers sell to book stores, and they want to make bulk sales to chains. They want titles that will sell in quantity. Not something ‘interesting’ that will sell one or two copies per store.”

“Conventional publishers have narrower tastes than the book-buying public. Much narrower.”

“Self-publishers are now more credible than we have ever been. We must keep that credibility. We must aim for the highest possible quality. That means getting professional help with the editing, proofing and design, so that the book can hold its own against the best of conventionally published titles.”

Now, some of the perils on the road to self-publishing from Joel Friedlander in his article, Subsidy Publishing: Proceed With Caution.

“[An] author went with Balboa Press. Do you know it? This is part of the gradual co-opting of the independent publishing houses by pure naked greed in the form of an alliance with subsidy king Author Solutions. They see all the money authors are paying to publish, they see every day how desperate writers are to get a contract with a publishing house. They decide to cash in, and Author Solutions is only too happy to help.

“Author Solutions owns the AuthorHouse, iUniverse, Trafford Publishing, Xlibris and Wordclay imprints. It calls itself ‘the world leader in indie book publishing’ despite the fact there is nothing even vaguely ‘indie’ about the company or the books it produces.”

“Now there’s nothing intrinsically wrong with paying for publishing services. That’s how I make a living, along with a lot of other professionals. But there’s a bait and switch involved here. Writers are sold by manipulating the dream they have of becoming successful published authors. But the truth of subsidy publishing has nothing to do with selling books.”

“…if you look at the ‘packages’ that these companies offer, you soon realize you will be spending thousands of dollars to get into print, and that’s before all the upsells kick in. And before you start buying your own books.”

Again, I urge you to read the full article.

My company, FastPencil, only requires you purchase one copy of your book, at the publisher’s cost, to have it for sale on their site. You set the royalty.

They do have editing and consultation services for sale but they are certainly not part of the “deal” if you don’t want them.

Tread carefully in the arena of publishing, whether traditional or self-driven
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9 responses to “Self-Publishing ~ Potential and Perils

  1. Tomas May 9, 2011 at 9:13 am

    Dear Amzolt,
    Thank you for you caring post, for the useful information, for … I apologize for my long silence, but I never forgot you… just I do not know how to say everything plainly enough.
    3 my blogs were stolen from me and thus I lost access to my own artworks. I would greatly appreciate your help to regain my rights to my Art by Tomas blog and penalize the who claims to be the author now. I do not know either it is possible to restore my true profile, or it gone to memory forever, but in case there is though a chance, please help me.

    I still have the Arthiker We both are longing for your visit and the precious comments.


    • Alexander M Zoltai May 9, 2011 at 12:22 pm

      Dear Tomas,

      First, I find it very hard to believe that some soulless person would hack your sites!!

      The only help I can offer is my experience from when my Gmail account got hacked.

      Contact Google to prove your identity and original ownership of the sites.
      Try starting at this page:
      Then click on the link that says ” Update your account recovery options”

      I truly hope this helps you regain control of your sites.

      Let me know if this doesn’t help, ok?


      • Tomas May 10, 2011 at 6:04 am

        Dear Alexander M Zoltai,
        Thank you for the link to contact Google. Your care with me touched my heart, yet that was all. I didn’t succeed to achieve any there. Maybe that happened so because of my language. Each time I approach the technical issue, my trauma remind of itself and terrible headaches start… I post Art of last Bloom on my Arthiker blog. That was something like a farewell to Art by Tomas. My art became the property of a chief, but I have no health to fight with the hacker and give myself into the hands of my fate. It may be that somebody would do something and the truth will be restored one day – like the sunlight illuminates the nights horrors and do not cease to wonder us. Miracles keep us grateful and that’s the most important, isn’t it?


        • Alexander M Zoltai May 10, 2011 at 6:09 am

          My dear Tomas,

          I am deeply sorry to hear that you are unable to regain use of your sites.

          I hope you can find someone who can give more help than I can.

          You said: “Miracles keep us grateful and that’s the most important, isn’t it?”

          Yes, Dear Tomas, that is the Most Important :-)


  2. Karla Telega May 9, 2011 at 9:20 am

    That’s a really helpful article. It’s the first time I’ve heard the term “subsidy publishing”, so I can add that to my lexicon.


  3. Catana May 9, 2011 at 1:23 pm

    I read Friedlander’s article on subsidy publishing when it came out. Most of it was pretty familiar, but I was shocked to see that Author Solutions owns so many of the services that people probably think are independent companies. Author Solutions seems to be in the process of trying to become a monopoly, snatching up publishing services that become successful or have that potential. Wordclay hasn’t been around that long, and I even looked into the possibility of using it — way back when. If I was considering finding help to publish now (which I’m not), I wouldn’t touch it.


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