Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing & Publishing ~

Tag Archives: Reedsy

What’s The Real Cost of #SelfPublishing?


More and more writers are looking at self-publishing as a viable alternative to the aging and unresponsive traditional path.

And, if you really want to go deep into this new way of getting books to readers (and its many ways of being described) you could visit the 142 articles I’ve written about self-publishing

But, the title up there asks about cost….

Not just money—cost.

I’ll be comparing two different companies soon—companies that I would call Publishing-Aid Corporations—and you can begin to sense the wide range of monetary costs.

But, then there are the emotional costs, and the social costs, and the time costs

Naturally, traditional publishing has costs, too.

In spite of the advances offered to the lucky few writers accepted for publication by traditional companies, there are still emotional, social, and time costs—costs which can often be severe

So, in my estimation, the basic difference between self- and traditional publishing (after all cost considerations) is who owns the rights of the book:

Traditional—they own the rights.

Self—you own them.

And, rights mean you decide what happens to your book

I can hear a few readers thinking, “But, so what if I own the rights if nobody buys the book?”.

I’ll direct you to the thousands of authors who were accepted by a traditional house, had the book placed on the shelves of brick-and-mortar stores, and, in about two months, had them removed from the shelves, never to return

Either major method of book publishing has no iron-clad guarantees for sales and no magic formulas for success.

If you doubt my last sentence, please refer to my article, What About All The Authors Whose Books Don’t Sell Very Many Copies?

Here’s one quote from that article:

“The average U.S. book is now [2011] selling less than 250 copies per year and less than 3,000 copies over its lifetime.”

And, the last five years haven’t made things better

Plus, focusing on self-publishing, I offer a quote (from a man who knows what he’s talking about) from my article, Author Earnings:

“The forces that determine a book’s sales performance are often multi-dimensional, synergistic, opaque, delayed or simply not apparent.”

And, that same man (who’s the Founder of Smashwords, the world’s largest distributor of indie ebooks) also says:

“We cannot promise you your book will sell well, even if you follow all the tips in this guide. In fact, most books, both traditionally published and self-published, don’t sell well. Whether your book is intended to inspire, inform or entertain, millions of other books and media forms are competing against you for your prospective reader’s ever-shrinking pie of attention.”

So, why publish?

If it’s to make money, the odds are slim to none.

Sure, you can study Amazon’s bestsellers, work really hard to copy the style of writing in some of that genre fiction, pay $1,000 for a remarkable cover, and upload it.

Still, no guarantees of any earnings

If you want to assure yourself that a book you’ve written from your heart and soul (something that might be very hard to stick in a genre…) reaches readers who care about it, and you aren’t looking to make money from it, you just might satisfy that goal; but, you’ll have to work your tail off self-promoting (even if a traditional publisher happens to take the book…).

Of course, if you’re exceeding wealthy and/or fantastically famous, you can forget everything I’m saying

So, for the rest of us mere mortals, we can suffer the years of rejections from the big houses and still sell very few books or we can self-publish and still sell very few books

So, why publish?

I guess we’re down to faith—faith in the writing you must do—faith in your ability to find readers—faith that humanity holds together long enough for someone to buy your book

O.K., I’ve tried to scare you away from publishing but you’re still reading

Monetary Cost

Traditional publishing—apparently none

Self-Publishing?

It varies, depending on many factors

I’ll give you two very different situations that characterize some of the more rational options.

In an article on Publishing PerspectivesWhat Does Self-Publishing Cost? The UK’s Reedsy Reads the Receipts—you can see what the services offered through one Publishing-Aid Corporation cost; but their reason for the costs are interesting…

Here are just a few excerpts from that article:

“Debates have raged for years in the charred channels of indie-author blog-and-gossip sites about what one should be prepared to pay in order to have a book professionally edited and designed for the marketplace.”

““A full edit on an 80,000-word manuscript,” Reedsy’s article tells us, “is likely going to cost you US$3,300.”

“Cover design, Reedsy’s research on its transactions tells us, runs an average $700, with 66 percent of the designers’ quotes running between $200 and $800.”

“Book interior design can be costlier, at an average $840, and up to $1,000.”

Reedsy is a “broker” of services for writers and, before any considerations of distribution or what it will cost to promote a book, they say you need to spend around $5,000 dollars for “…a book professionally edited and designed for the marketplace.”

I beg to differ

My self-published novel, Notes from An Alien, was released (in both print and e-book and distributed to Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple, and Ingram) for $300.

Yes, the company I worked with had services similar to Reedsy; but, I didn’t have and couldn’t save more than what I spent

I must say that I learned a few things about book preparation without “professional” help

The book was edited by an English graduate student—no cost—she only wanted credit in the book.

Over about the first three years of the book’s life, various folk found a total of 8 typos and I found 4 errors-of-author-judgement.

I created the cover.

Yet, still, a reputable author, who was traditionally published, read my book (noticed no typos) and says it looks, feels, and reads like a professionally produced book

Here comes that wisdom that begins with “If I could do it all over…”:

I still would have self-published the way I did; I still would have had the editing done by the same woman; but, first, I would have passed the manuscript around more to help catch typos and errors-of-author-judgement, then uploaded the chapters to Wattpad to generate reader interest pre-publication.

As it is, I’ve uploaded it to Wattpad (the fully corrected version) and I’m promoting it by reading other folks and commenting and voting on their works—they, in turn, might read my book

I also work my tail off on this blog and have a link to the book up at the top of this page.

Yep, it says Free Novel and I hope, before you think I’m crazy for giving it away, you read my past post, Free = Sales ~ Give It Away & Sell More…

But, please don’t forget that “sell more” doesn’t automatically mean hundreds or thousands

So, who used to publish and distribute my novel? {I’ve since gone total Indie}

FastPencil

I recommend that you (and I’m assuming you have the faith and enterprise it takes to bring a book into the world) go read FastPencil’s article, Author Worry: “How Much Does It REALLY Cost To Publish?”.
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What’s Your Favorite Flavor of Publishing?


Folks outside the U.S.A. may be correcting my spelling of the 4th word in the title of this post to “Flavour”

Kinds of Book Publishing

Image courtesy of Tracy Olson ~ http://www.freeimages.com/profile/designkryt

But, for anyone reading this, we’re talking about the 3rd definition of that word in my Oxford dictionary—“An indefinable characteristic quality”

There are so many ways to publish these days that many of them must be characterized with rather “indefinable” qualities that the media might call their “Spin”

Regular readers of this blog will know that I tend to lean toward “Self-Publishing” though I can see a few narrowly-defined situations where I might consider “Traditional Publishing“.

And, within the flavor-range of Self-Publishing, I can clearly recommend FastPencil and Smashwords.

And, as I scan the news-feeds and other resources I use to find material for this blog, I’m nearly continually seeing yet more Flavors of Publishing.

The latest to cross my threshold is Reedsybilled by themselves as the placeWhere authors meet the best editors, designers and marketers for their books”.

True, Reedsy is not calling itself a “publishing solution” but the media they’ve grabbed is trying hard to make them sound like a replacement for a traditional publishing house

Each linked source below will take you to their article about Reedsy.

Forbes (business magazine) says it’s “the platform that enables authors to collaborate with professional editors, designers and marketers directly rather than through a publishing house”.

The Guardian (newspaper) says “The main thing that sets Reedsy apart from the many companies offering ‘author services’ is its platform. This is a tech company first and foremost…”

TechCrunch (Nerdly tech site) says authors “can find freelancers, ask for a quote, and start exchanging messaging with these professionals”. (and, eventually pay them………)

Publishing Perspectives (seems self-explanatory) says “It proposes to become the must-go place where serious self-published writers can turn to get professional help and produce a high quality book in this exploding book market”.

MediaShift (not sure why they have “shift” in their name) says, as a reason for Reedsy’s existence, “For several years there had been a gold rush of self-published authors who, spurred by newspaper articles on Kindle millionaires, flooded the market with low-quality, poorly-written books in the hope of overnight success.”

So, Reedsy, essentially, has gathered around-200 freelancers in editing, designing, illustrating, and marketing and has created a site where you can employ them to help you get ready to publish books—Reedsy receiving 10% of the fee paid.

Two thoughts:

I see no mention on their site about how a book would actually be published. Yes, they clearly say they’re offering author services but they say nothing about helping you produce a book or guiding you toward such a conclusive act

They’ve garnered some very heavy-hitting media coverage; but, the following terms of their agreement may cause some to pause:

“The Platform: (i) is a beta version; (ii) is provided on an ‘as is’ basis; and (iii) may not be free of bugs or errors and you agree that the existence of any bugs or errors shall not constitute a breach of this agreement.”—“Access to the Platform is permitted on a temporary basis. We may suspend, withdraw, discontinue or change all or any part of the Platform without notice. We will not be liable to you if for any reason our site is unavailable at any time or for any period.”

So, it’s not a “Publishing Company” but it’s trying hard to seem as necessary as what a traditional publishing company offers

Why are there so many “companies” these days that package-up a few services that an enterprising individual could find on their own and present the package as some “absolutely essential” service?

However, I must end with the admission that once Reedsy settles out of its Beta-phase it just might be a good place to find some of the services an author who self-publishes might be able to afford
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Freelance Editors for Writers


Writers who choose the self-publishing route have some critical choices to make about all the things that happen after a manuscript reaches “final draft”…

Reedsy Freelance Editing

Image Courtesy of Mikhail Lavrenov ~ http://www.freeimages.com/profile/miklav

One of the most important is how the book should be edited…

With my last book I chose an English graduate student who only wanted a mention in the book for their services…

You can read about some of the challenges that presented

Doing a Google search for freelance editors might give you what you want—the Editorial Freelancers Association for example…

Something else you might consider is associating yourself with a new service that’s in Beta—Reedsy.

Here are a few things TechCrunch said about Reedsy:

From a phone interview with CEO Emmanuel Nataf—“Many traditional publishing houses got rid of their staff and now work with freelancers to do all the hard work around your book…There are now many freelancers who are incredibly talented and no longer have a binding contract with their respective publishing company.”

“More than 2,000 editors, copy editors and illustrators asked to work with the startup. In the end, the Reedsy team handpicked 200 of them.”

Authors “…can find freelancers, ask for a quote and start exchanging messaging with these professionals. Everything happens on Reedsy’s website, with dedicated tools to negotiate the price, rate people and browse portfolios.”

“When the book is done, writers have the option to download everything and retain control on their work. They can submit the Epub or Mobi files by themselves to the Kindle Store or iBooks Store. The first Reedsy-enabled books will be available early next year.”

And, a comment that may hold the most important considerations:

“There are two key components behind Reedsy’s platform. First, it’s a highly curated marketplace. The startup targets serious writers who are willing to spend a few thousand dollars to polish their work.”

I absolutely have to share Reedsy’s slogan-quote:
“Why join the navy if you can be a pirate?” – Steve Jobs

You can also check out their management team and read their blog

And, you can read another article about Reedsy on Publishing Perspectives.

If you know of other freelance editorial services, please do share in the comments :-)
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