Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing & Publishing ~

Tag Archives: Book Publishing

What’s the Real Value of Literary Prizes?

What's the Real Value of Literary Prizes? I started out in my preparations for this post with just one article, which I will feature; but, as I thought about what to call it, I, for some intuitive reason, did a Google search using that title up there…

I’d already known that there are quite varied and strong opinions on the value of literary prizes—some folks think book publishing will falter and die without them, some feel they’re just the result of non-pretty political machinations…

Here are just a few of the highly varied opinions from the Google Search of What’s the Real Value of Literary Prizes:

Why Books Need Literary Prizes

Why Do We Care About Literary Awards?

Writing And Winning

The Double-Edged Impact of Literary Awards?

If any of you actually went and read all those articles, you’re Amazing :-)

They are, actually, very worthwhile reading

But, now for the article that got me writing this post.

It’s by the fiction and non-fiction writer, critic, and multiple literary prize winner, Amit Chaudhuri, and is titled, My Fellow Authors Are Too Busy Chasing Prizes to Write About What Matters.

Here are a few excerpts (he’s talking about the Man Booker prizes; but, I’ll share excerpts that apply to nearly all prizes…):

“Publishing houses were once homes to writers; the former gave the latter the necessary leeway to create a body of work. Today there’s little intellectual or material investment in writers: literary prizes and shortlists are meant to sell books…”

“…the attractiveness of the free market has to do with its perverse system of rewards – unlike socialism, which said everyone should be moderately well off, the free market proposes that anyone can be rich. [Literary prizes’] randomness celebrates this; it confirms the market’s convulsive metamorphic powers, its ability to confer success unpredictably. In literature, it has redefined terms like ‘masterpiece’ and ‘classic’.”

“The meaning of a writer’s work must be created, and argued for, by writers themselves, and not by some extraneous source of endorsement. No original work is going to be welcomed with open arms by all, and the writer is not doing their job if they don’t make a case for their idea of writing through argumentation, debate, and fervour.”


What are Your thoughts and feelings about Literary Prizes…?

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The Most Helpful Book I’ve Ever Read About Self-Publishing . . .

It sure can seem like a lot of the info on self-publishing is generated primarily to make money, not to help folks really learn what they need to know.

In fact, many sources of “expertise” are misleading and aimed right at our bank accounts.

This is my 85th post on Self-Publishing—many about my own experience and many about what I’ve found that makes sense, and has a sense of service about it

It’s also my 31st post featuring Joel Friedlander—usually about posts on his blog, The Book Designer. JoelsBook

I just finished reading his book A Self-Publisher’s Companion: Expert Advice for Authors Who Want to Publish.

In the book, Joel says:

“Instead of a how-to book, I decided to create a kind of ‘why-to’ book.”

“I went through the archives of my blog looking specifically for articles that contained my best advice for new self-publishers. I ignored the articles that dealt with specific tools like writing software or page layoutsI wanted to find, and to offer to you, the articles that would come together to give you an overview of the self-publishing possibilities we have available today, to warn you of mistakes that are easy to avoid if you only know about them, and to encourage you to use these tools to pursue the publication of your ideas, your history, your dreams, and your personal story.”

On the site Wordpreneur they say this about Joel:

“The man knows his stuff. He won the AIGA ’50 Books of the Year Award’ for his work at Aperture Publishing. And the Printing Industries of America Gold Award as well for his book design and production. Born in the Bronx, New York, and educated in Buffalo and Danbury, Connecticut, Joel now owns and runs Marin Bookworks in San Rafael, California.”

My own first impression of the book was that it definitely “has a sense of service about it”

Here’s an excerpt that exemplifies that service-attitude:

“Each author who decides to self-publish has a logic all their own. Some books may be more profitable than others, but in my experience this is not what moves authors to publish. The more you understand your own motives and goals, the more likely you are to succeed in self-publishing, because you will more accurately define that ‘success’

And, there are many comments that reveal his motivation for being so involved with the Book-World, like this one:

“I love self-publishing because of the absolute finality of the process. At the end, you are left with a book in your hand, one that will probably outlast you and most of the people you know.”

And, combining his service orientation with his own experience:

“When you self-publish, you get to define success, to set goals for your own publication. In a way, you’ve already won.”

Then, there are the warning statements, like:

when authors go looking for a way to get their book into print, all too often they are seduced by misleading or downright fraudulent advertising by the industry that’s sprung up to sell services to these authors.”

And then, the abundance of sage advice, like:

“Avoid overwhelm, burnout, and weeping in frustration. The solution is to approach your new business as . . . a business! Do what you can do well, and the things that you are interested in.”

“Leave the rest to the many skilled practitioners who are only too happy to help.”

Last, a summation of the book itself, about three-quarters of the way through:

“Think about what you know that others might find interesting. Know your niche and how to market to people with similar interests. Create a quality product. Take one step at a time and build credibility, leveraging into larger and larger networks. Take the long view, seeding success tomorrow by your actions today.”

I should add that he gives an even-hand to fiction and non-fiction writers.

This is an extremely valuable book, written in a voice that makes consistent sense, based on hard-earned experience.

Here’s his table of contents:

A Self-Publishing Orientation

Why Self-Publishing is Entering a Golden Age
“I Want to Be a Book Publisher”
Two Kinds of Self-Publishers ~ Which One Are You?
7 Scenarios for Successful Self-Publishing
The Self-Publisher’s Self-Questionnaire
Four Ways to Publish Your Book
5 Good Reasons to Self-Publish Your Book
What Hasn’t Changed in Self-Publishing
5 Things That Shouldn’t Surprise You About Self-Publishing
8 Answers That Help Self-Publishers Get Up and Running
What Does It Take to Make a Publishing Company?
Is It Time to Kill “Jerry”?
How to Get Unstuck
Top 10 Worst Self-Publishing Mistakes ~ Explained!
The Secret to Successful Self-Publishing
Things I Love—and Hate—About Self-Publishing
26 Ways to Win at Self-Publishing


Does Book Design Really Matter?
Book Design Tips for Authors
Cover Design Tips for Self-Publishers
3 Ways Self-Publishers Fail at Cover Design
What Book Designers Do to Get Your Self-Published Book Into Print
The Death of Book Design
Designing Books

Social Media for Authors

Rise of the Content Creators
The Hub & Outpost Method to Organize Your Social Media Marketing
How to Get Started on Twitter
Self-Publishing Pro and Con(temptuous)
17 Ways for Writers to Publish Their Content
Why Authors Shouldn’t Blog Their Books
The Big Problem With Blogging Your Book
Self-Publishers and the Social Media Divide

The Ebook Revolution

The Problem With “E-Books”
Is the Paradise We’ve Lost the Beautiful Page?
Less Expensive, Bite-Sized, Available for Take-Out: The Book of the Future
EBooks Today: Futility or Utility?
6 Keys to Self-Publishing Success in the Age of the Ebook

The Electronic Life

Why Self-Publishers are Exhausted
I Am My Keyboard
Frustrated Self-Publisher Escapes DIY Trap
The 5-Million Word Typewriter and How to Stay Focused
Two Things All Content Creators Can Do

You Are the Market

How I Sold 10,000 Copies of My Self-Published Book
What Writers Need to Know Today
Why Self-Publishing Is a Long-Tail Business
Author Branding: The You That Is Everywhere
Author Platform: What Are You Waiting For?

Read it—Come back here—Tell me what you think :-)
Our Comment Link Is At The Top of The Post :-)
For Private Comments, Email: amzolt {at} gmail {dot} com
* Google Author Page

Writers Becoming Their Own Publisher

I’ve written a lot about “self-publishing” and I need to, finally, clear up a misconception.

I haven’t actually “self-published”; I’ve used a Print-On-Demand publisher rather than a Traditional publisher.

Right now, the grades seem to be: Traditional, Independent, “Aided”, and Self-publishing.

Pure Self-publishing is done through places like Smashwords and Amazon; “Aided” is through companies like FastPencil (what I use).

But, the ultimate gig for highly industrious writers is to Be their Own Independent Publisher

This is something I will never do; and, the man I’m going to point you towards has enough experience to prove that only the most energetic writers are capable of being their own full-blown publisher.

It’s one thing to use Amazon to publish an e-book; it’s quite another thing to produce print and e-books and distribute them yourself to Amazon as well as other Web companies, then go on to distribute to bookstores, handle returns, and a thousand other tasks.

Dean Wesley Smith, according to Wikipedia, “is a science fiction author, known primarily for his Star Trek novels, film novelizations, and other novels of licensed properties such as Smallville, Spider-Man, X-Men, Aliens, Roswell, and Quantum Leap.” And, according to his own Bio: “Over his career he has also been an editor and publisher, first at Pulphouse Publishing, then for VB Tech Journal, then for Pocket Books. Currently, he is writing thrillers and mystery novels under another name.”

He’s created his own WMG Publishing House as well as chronicled all the considerations and tasks necessary to be one’s own publisher in the workshop, Think Like A Publisher.

Here are the various sections:

1… Early Decisions

2…Expected Costs

3…Projected Income

4…Production and Scheduling

5…Basics of Production

6…Covers and Publisher Looks

7…Sales Plan

8…Prices, Discounts, and Sales

9…Selling to Independent Bookstores

9.5…The Secret of Indie Publishing

10…The Returns System

11…Electronic Sales to Bookstores

12…The Time It Takes

I hope Dean’s information and experience will help the brave writing-souls who feel they can be their own publisher.

Are you one of those people?

Do you know one?

Actually, there are many other resources on the Web for folks who want to become their own Independent Publishers; but, Dean’s articles are friendly and full of his personal experience.

And, perhaps, every writer could benefit from reading and understanding this process

If you’re a writer, are you considering Traditional, “Aided”, or Self-publishing?

Have you already been published through one of these Paths?

I’m hoping this post gets some Lively Comment activity :-)
Our Comment Link Is At The Top of The Post :-)
For Private Comments, Email: amzolt {at} gmail {dot} com

The Publishing Wars & Avoiding Them

publishing wars Back in May of 2011, when I published Notes from An Alien, I knew I was making a choice based on my needs and the book’s needs—we both wanted it to be read sooner rather than later

The dance routine for pursuing traditional publishing can take a seeming eternity to produce a book. Self-publishing can be done swiftly.

Even with all the gatekeeping rituals of traditional publishing, lousy books are produced. Self-publishing can create books as good as any big house.

In June, I wrote The Complexities of Publishing and featured a post by Joel Friedlander that touts traditional publishing’s strong points.

Today, I want to feature the ideas of Seth Godin.

Long before I began writing Notes from An Alien, I’d read a copy of Seth Godin’s book, Unleashing The Idea Virus.

It helped bolster the idea that I could handle what it would take to do all the promotion for any book I wrote—assuming I’d be willing to cultivate the friends and acquaintances who could spread the word

Seth is a modern-day genius in marketing, computer-awareness, book promotion, tribe-building, and providing creatively simple and profoundly practical advice.

Here’s a short video with Seth talking about Traditional vs Self-Publishing { Check Here if you want more info on Self-Publishing }:

Our Comment Link Is At The Top of The Post :-)
For Private Comments, Email: amzolt {at} gmail {dot} com

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