Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing & Publishing ~

Tag Archives: self-publish

Writers Beware ~ One of The Big Six Just Got Trickier…

As if writers didn’t already have a rough time when getting ready to publish.

Legacy or Self-Publish? Shoot for an advance or pay for it myself? Which method of self-publishing?

I previously published a post called How Can Writers Avoid Being Scammed?

It appears there’s going to be a new wrinkle in the tortured landscape of publishing decisions.

Publishers Weekly reports Self-publishing Goes Big Time.

Penguin, Big Six publisher, buys Author Solutions, Big Scam

Try this Google search: author solutions writer beware

Or, check out David Gaughran’s article on IndieReader, Penguin’s New Business Model: Exploiting Writers.

Even Jane Friedman weighed in

Any writer seriously looking to publish should read all those articles but let me share two excerpts.

From Mr. Gaughran’s article:

“Before they leave the clutches of Author Solutions, however, writers are subjected to never-ending phone calls hawking a string of overpriced, useless services, including the press releases described above. As such, the average customer spends around $5,000 over their “lifetime” with the company, but only sells 150 books.

“The performance of Author Solutions is so poor that the press release announcing the purchase by Penguin can’t even tout their own customers’ success, and instead lists self-publishing stars such as “Lisa Genova, John Locke, Darcie Chan, Amanda Hocking, Bronnie Ware and E.L. James” – none of whom used Author Solutions to publish their work.”

From Jane Friedman:

“Self-publishing isn’t exactly the future here. It’s rather making money off a growing number of people who are writing and seeking professional publishing services. As easy as it is to e-publish, it’s not a straightforward matter to navigate the options and produce a professional product that actually sells. Thus, there’s no shortage of people seeking assistance with DIY self-publishing, whether in print or electronic formats. Unfortunately, many people seeking help are not well-informed, don’t have the patience to research their options, and end up writing a big check to someone to make the headache go away. (And by doing so, they’ve assured their sales will be exactly the number of family and friends they can convince to buy their poorly edited, poorly designed book via Facebook wall postings.)”

My personal choice for self-publishing is FastPencil.

Yes, the author pays upfront.

I published Notes from An Alien in print and e-book and got a distribution contract to Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Ingram, and iPad for $250.

Go figure
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Self-Published Books & Bookstores

Traditional publishers have established methods of dealing with bookstores.

Of course, many authors have issues with the whole procedure but are still locked into the legacy model of publishing.

First, traditional publishers offer the bookstores (the few they deal with) steep discounts then permit them to return unsold books.

Next comes the way books are placed in bookstores—some publishers pay to have books well-displayed.

But, traditional publishers are having their problems and it’s affecting the whole supply chain

So, what’s up with self-published books and Indie bookstores?

First, two sites that are dedicated to the Indie:

IndieBound—dealing with the bookstore side of the equation.

IndieReader—dealing with the books and authors.

Next, two posts that explore getting self-published books into bookstores:

Terri Giuliano Long’s Why You Can’t Find Indies In Bookstores points up many of the core issues.

Jo Ann Kairys’ 5 Guaranteed Ways to Get Your Book into Bookstores shares some practical tactics.

One of Jo Ann’s methods is so direct and seemingly simple I have to excerpt it here:

Cold Calls

Once your book is in Ingram and Baker and Taylor distribution, cold calls to bookstores really work. Here’s the way my script goes:

Me: Hi, I’m an author! Could you check my ISBN?

Store: Let me connect you with the right department.

Me: Hi there, I’m an author! Could you check my ISBN?

Store: Sure, What is it? (Checks the computer) Okay, I have it.

Me: Great! Could I ask you to order a few for your store?

Store: Yes, that’s fine.

Me: Thank you so much!

This short conversation has worked for every call I’ve made—literally hundreds!

And, a related challenge for self-published authors is explored in a previous post on this blog—Getting Self-Published Books Into Libraries.

Of course, many Indie authors are quite happy to bypass bookstores and libraries while focusing their efforts on the unlimited shelf-space of the Internet
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Choosing To Self-Publish ~ Lots of Help . . .

Some folks still think self-publishing is somehow not “real” publishing.

Yet, many who’ve been published traditionally are embracing the benefits of self-publishing.

And, there are those who find advantages in both paths and maintain a base in both camps.

If you’ve considered exploring self-publishing you’d be hard put to find a single site that has as much info and guidance as Publetariat, founded by April L. Hamilton.

They claim they’re, “…an online community and news hub built specifically for indie authors and small, independent imprints.”

They even say they’re not really geared toward those just starting out, but………

They have Forums and one of the first categories is “Absolute Beginners ~ There’s no such thing as a dumb question here” :-)

They have News from sources like: Guardian UK-Books, NPR, Slate-Books, New York Times-Books, Publishers Weekly, Bookslut, Galleycat, and Salon-Books.

And, looking at the second link in the Menu right below their banner is Think—lots of opinion pieces.

Then comes Choose: “Reviews of books, products and services relevant to indie authorship and publishing”.

Next is Write, another section with Lots of articles, on the Craft.

Design: “…layout, typography, cover design, website design, ad design, design tools.”

Then, another category with Loads of articles—Publish.

Yet more Oodles of articles with Sell—marketing, promotion, and contests.

How about, “Planning, forming and running your own Imprint“?

They also have a section with their own Tax Expert, Julian Block, called Business End.

Finally is Book Trends, a cross-posting of articles.

I’ve self-published four books but only promoted one.

I’ve known about Publetariat for quite awhile but will still be exploring it far into the future

Do you have any sites about self-publishing to recommend?
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Cleaning Out The Closet ~ for Readers, Writers, and Publishers

If you blog five days a week like I do, you have ways of storing blogging ideas for later use.

Sometimes, it’s good to empty-out the list :-)

Back in January, I wrote Is A Book Ever Finished? but I only used one source to highlight issues about the ability to forever change a published book in a digital edition.

Another interesting article about the never-finished book is, Books That Are Never Done Being Written, from the Wall Street Journal.

Then there’s Anonymous Was A Writer from the Los Angeles Times. You might be quite surprised to find out which famous authors chose to leave their names off certain books

The last link I’ll clean out of my blogging closet today is from There’s a series called, Adventures In Self-Publishing, and Chapters 3, 4, and 5 are about Print-On-Demand Publishers.

The only thing missing from those articles is a mention of the P.O.D. publisher I use—FastPencil

Stay tuned for another closet-cleaning, down the road a piece :-)
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Is How To Publish Really Hard To Decide?

publishing Considering that current common categories of publishing include traditional, vanity, subsidy, PrintOnDemand, self-, and indie, I can see that some writers are feeling nearly nauseous trying to decide which path to take.

If you do a search for ways to publish, you’ll find a wealth of confusing ideas and opinions.

My considered opinion, after a couple years of research is that FastPencil plus a willingness to learn how to promote your books is the best path.

Obviously, others will disagree

My answer to the title of this post is an unequivocal, “Yes.”.

Still, I hope writers nearing the adventure of being published can feel that what they’ve written is worth some hard work.

This blog is eight years old and I’ve written many articles about Publishing.

The best ways to find them is to use the Subject Index Links in the left side-bar; or, the search bar at the upper right

I’m sorry if the title of this post misled you into thinking I was going to give you a cut-and-dried, simple, formulaic method for deciding which path to take in the publishing arena—things are changing, new methods are proliferating, the economy is tossing methods and people and companies every whichway

One thing that might help a bit while you’re researching and deciding how to publish is to consider that a book isn’t the only format available.

A man I’ve referenced many times here, Joel Friedlander, wrote a post about a year ago that still has value for the enterprising writer: 17 Ways for Writers to Publish Their Content.

If you’re a writer who’s cringing under the onslaught of decisions determining how you’ll publish, his list could open new paths that please :-)

Check out that link and read what Joel says about these ways of publishing: Printed book, Ebook, App(lication), Audiobook, Serialization, Blog, Articles, Teleseminar, Webinar, E-course, Workshops, Free reports, Infographics, Interviews, Animation, Web video, and Speaking engagements.

And, it would be really cool if my giving you even more to consider has ended up showing you the answer to a dilemma.

Let me know in the comments…
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