Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Writing { and reading and publishing } ~

Tag Archives: self-published

An Author Writes an Open Letter to His Publisher . . .


Jerry J. Davis - Author

Jerry J. Davis

I have a friend named Jerry Davis, an author interviewed here back in 2012.

I recently discovered a fascinating post of his from back in 2014—Open Letter to Hachette CEO, Michael Pietsch.

I think it still has great validity for consideration by writers (and, writer’s friends...).

You may remember it was back when Amazon and Hachette were violently feuding

Here are just a few excerpts (but, do go read the whole thing...):

“Holding onto outdated business models by force is … well, completely backwards and ultimately a doomed path….Resisting the movement to ebooks is not the answer.”

“As a one of your authors who has also released his ebooks independently on Amazon, I have made FAR more sales on my own than with your publishing group. Far more sales, and far more income.”

“I have not seen a penny from my book with you in years, by the way, even though I KNOW it’s selling.

“But that’s beside the point.”

“…for godsake stop using your authors as leverage and accept one of Amazon’s offers to take them out of the middle.”

Even though some folks would say, “What’s the big deal? They stopped fighting.”, the fact that they’re big corporations would certainly make them prone, in today’s business environment, to fighting again.

Plus, one of the smartest publishers around has pointed out some of the possible harm Amazon, itself, may cause authors this year

What’s the solution?

Radical Self-Publishing—> try this post if you’re new to the idea…

Oh! You also might want to check out Jerry Davis’ books :-)
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If you don’t see a way to comment (or, “reply”) after this post, try up there at the top right…
Read Some Strange Fantasies
Grab A Free Novel…
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Things Self-Published Authors Are Not Supposed to Be Able to Do…


I did a post four years ago about self-published authors getting their books into libraries… 

And, a month after that post I published one about self-published authors getting their books into bookstores

Today, we’ll re-visit that last concept.

There’s an article in The Independent (out of the state of Utah in the USA) called Eight Things Booksellers would like Self-published Authors to Know.

It’s written by Niki Hawkes, a bookseller for 11 years who now offers Speculative Fiction book reviews and writing advice.

I’ll give you her eight topics and my immediate thoughts, leaving it to you to go read what an actual bookseller says :-)

Making sure your title is available for bookstores to order is an important first step

My current publishing set-up would have me ordering books for the bookstore (getting them an initial discount).

Make sure your title is returnable, specifically for national bookstore chains

The books would be returned to me; but, I could certainly find new homes for them

Bookstores typically don’t have a budget to promote your signing event

I probably wouldn’t have a signing event unless the store was very local.

Take an active role in your signing event

If I had one, I’d be all over it

Your self-published book is probably not going to be competitively priced

This one’s interesting because of what a commenter said—“I’ve had no trouble pricing my paperbacks within the range mentioned.”

Booksellers don’t want to be hassled about your book

Wouldn’t think of doing something like that

Content quality matters

Uuuh… Naturally.

You are not entitled to an audience

I wasn’t raised in the age of entitlement

I’ll close with something Niki said that should spur any self-published author looking to get their books into bookstores off on a research spree:

“To be successful in pitching their books to booksellers, self-published authors should have a sense of the resources available to booksellers, what is appealing to them, and how to approach them.”

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If you don’t see a way to comment (or, “reply”) after this post, try up there at the top right…
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Grab A Free Novel…
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Do We Know What #SelfPublishing Is?


When I’m done writing this there will be 140 posts about Self-Publishing ( <— if you take that link before I write about self-publishing again, you’ll see this post at the top of a scrollable set of posts, because I’ve tagged it with “Self-Publishing”—perhaps, sometime, you’d like to check out the Top Tags widget down a bit in the left side-bar for an extensive, clickable listing of topics :-)

Since I self-published my short novel, nearly five years ago, I’ve watched folks try to get their minds around what it really means to “self-publish”

Does self-publishing mean a person writes, edits, prints, and sells a book?

It could

Does it mean a person writes a book then pays folks to edit, print, and distribute it?

Many thousands of people have done that and, if you include in “printing” the production of an e-book, I’d estimate a few million (perhaps many more…).

It’s becoming fairly clear that “self-publishing” indicates what happens when an author decides to either do or pay for what needs done to make a book available to the public—as opposed to a publishing company deciding a book “merits” publication then paying for what it takes to make it so

Recently, in a District Court in the State I live in (Ohio, USA), a ruling was made that clarified the legal status of organizations that I’d decided to call Publishing-Aid companies (like FastPencil).

I find this quite interesting since my novel says, “Published by FastPencil, Inc.”

I’ll share a few excerpts from an article on The National Law Review site that comments on the ruling I referred to:

“We live in a world that has rapidly redefined and blurred the roles of the ‘creator’ of content, as compared to the roles of the ‘publisher’ and ‘distributor’ of such content.”

to say the least

“Unlike a traditional publisher…self-publishing services do not fact check or edit materials (though, users may take advantage of unaffiliated paid services that do just that) and do not use a vetting process that might catch potentially defamatory or infringing content prior to publishing.”

Another way to tell the difference between Trad and Self publishing

“…what happens when a self-published book offered for sale contains content that may violate a third-party’s right of publicity or privacy rights? Should the self-publishing platforms be treated like traditional ‘publishers’ or more like distributors or booksellers?”

Very good question

“This past month, an Ohio district court ruled that several online self-publishing services were not liable for right of publicity or privacy claims for distributing an erotic (and so-called ‘less than tasteful’) book whose cover contained an unauthorized copy of the plaintiffs’ engagement photo because such services are not publishers.”

The companies involved in the case were Amazon’s Kindle Digital Publishing, Barnes & Noble Nook Press and Smashwords.

“The self-publishing vendors sought summary judgment asserting that they were not publishers of the book but merely allowed the author to use their systems to distribute it, and that were protected from any liability for third-party content by CDA Section 230.”

Basically, that link to the CDA Section refers to, “No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider”.

“Siding with the defendants, the court dismissed the claims against the self-publishing vendors, finding that their services are not ‘publishing’, as that word is known in the book industry.”

Fascinating

“Ultimately, the court concluded:

‘For now, this Court will apply the old standards to the new technology, treating the [“self-publishing vendors”] process as if it were next logical step after the photocopier. Just as Xerox would not be considered a publisher and held responsible for an invasion of privacy tort carried out with a photocopier, [the Defendants] will not be liable as publishers for the tort allegedly committed using their technology.’

“Because the court based its ruling on the publisher-distributor issue, it declined to take up the issue of whether the defendants were shielded from liability by the CDA Section 230.”

So, in this age of corruption and a two-tiered legal system (rich and poor) rationality won

I have to wonder

Was FastPencil “lying” when they added “Published by Fastpencil, Inc.”………?

One last, extremely interesting, excerpt:

“Interestingly, the court’s language also touched on the free speech implications of an adverse ruling, suggesting that if liability for failure to inspect content were imposed on print-on-demand publishers or self-publishing platforms, they might become censors and their services would become more expensive, precluding the publication of low-budget works or controversial opinions from independent authors.”

What do You make of all this?

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If you don’t see a way to comment (or, “reply”) after this post, try up there at the top right…
Read Some Strange Fantasies
Grab A Free Novel…
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
* Google Author Page
For Private Comments or Questions, Email: amzolt {at} gmail {dot} com

What Happens to a Book After It’s Published?


To answer the question in the title of today’s post, I need to first bring up the differences between Traditional Publishing and Self-Publishing <— there, I brought them up with those links :-)

And, I shouldn’t ignore the common sentiment among authors that publishing can feel like giving birth

Plus, there’s the old adage that once a book’s published the author should respect its right to grow up as it pleases

The thing is, just like a parent’s “intercessions” in their child’s life after they’ve left home, an author isn’t “finished” with a book once it’s published.

Of course, whether traditionally or self-published, the author needs to be involved in the book’s promotion; but, there are many other exploits a book-child can become embroiled in

Take my book Notes from An Alien as an example. Notes from An Alien

I published it in 2011 and the print and digital editions are just like they were back then; but, when I’m able to spend $350 again, I need to bring out a second edition—a version without the typos that have been discovered

And, you may want to check out a past post about how a book review taught me something important about typos

However, I have free copies of Notes from An Alien and I’ve updated those as new typos were found—they’re Word .doc and Adobe.pdf editions

Then, there’s this other book of mine

It began as a series of fantasy short stories I published here on the blog every Friday, from December 6th, 2013 through July 18th, 2014.

Then, I decided to publish the stories as the book, Strange Fantasies, on AmazonStrange Fantasies

And, just a few days ago, I had a reason to open up that Kindle book on my Tablet

Big mistake on the first page

I’d listed the address of this blog right under the title

However, back then, this blog had a different address (a domain name I’d been paying for…)

But, since it was only published digitally, I had no concerns about saving money to pay my publishing-aid company, FastPencil, to update it

So, that’s what’s been happening to two books I’ve published, since they were born and left home—I’m sure there will be other intercessions in the future :-)

Yet, those changes in my books are Nothing compared to what an extremely famous author had to go through

Lord of The Rings
I’ll share a few excerpts from a past post I wrote—The Publishing (And Editorial) History of Some Extremely Famous Fiction—about all the trials and tribulations these books went through after they were first published

It “…was initially intended…to be one volume of a two-volume set…, but this idea was dismissed by [the] publisher. For economic reasons [it] was published in three volumes over the course of a year from 29 July 1954 to 20 October 1955…”.

“A dispute with his publisher, George Allen & Unwin, led to the book being offered to Collins in 1950.”

“Tolkien eventually demanded that they publish the book in 1952. Collins did not; and so Tolkien wrote to Allen and Unwin, saying, ‘I would gladly consider the publication of any part of the stuff.’”

“‘the printing is very good, as it ought to be from an almost faultless copy; except that the impertinent compositors have taken it upon themselves to correct, as they suppose, my spelling and grammar: altering throughout dwarves to dwarfs, elvish to elfish, further to farther, and worst of all elven- to elfin.'”

“Tolkien was re-editing because…Ace Books in the United States published an unauthorised edition….Ace Books were exploiting a copyright loophole which meant they did not have to pay Tolkien or his publishers any royalties.”

If you’re a fan of Tolkien, you may want to go read the full post

So, If you’ve published, do you have any exploits you’d like to share in the comments about what your child’s been through since they left home? :-)
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Read Some Strange Fantasies
Grab A Free Novel…
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
For Private Comments or Questions, Email: amzolt {at} gmail {dot} com

Self-Publishing for Everybody ~ 8 Possibilities . . .


Printing Press

Image courtesy of Tracy Olson

You don’t have to be a “writer” to self-publish.

Really, all you have to be is someone who wants to share

Recipes, Dating Tips, Fixing Your Car, Cheap but Good Restaurants, Dog Grooming, Whatever :-)

And, even writers who self-publish could find these recommendations helpful in their promotion efforts.

I’ll share four ways to create mobile-friendly magazines, e-books, and newsletters; three ways to creatively blog; and, one way to publish books.

For you writers out there—don’t gloss over the “non-book” options here—creative promotion of your work can be done in many formats

Magazines, E-Books & Newsletters

Issuu — from their site“Millions of avid readers come to Issuu every day to read free publications, created by enthusiastic publishers from all over the globe…. We’re…host to a prominent range of independent publishers utilizing the vast Issuu network to reach new fans every day.

“Created by a bunch of geeks with a mad love for the publishing industry, Issuu has grown to become one of the biggest publishing networks on the planet.”

Periodical — “You can incorporate any combination of text, images, and videos
“You set the price for your publication
“You can change the content of an issue”
Publish through Apple App Store or Amazon Kindle

Creatavist — “Free : Create one multimedia project (whether a book, an issue of a magazine, or an individual story)
“Publish to the Creatavist app and web site
“Output ebook files to distribute on Kindle, Nook, iBooks, and other ereaders

$10/month Create and publish as many projects as you want
“Use your own domain name
“Output unlimited ebook files
“Password-protect your stories

$250/month Create one branded app for iPad and iPhone
“Publish and sell books, magazines, or stories through your app and web site
“Sell by subscription”

29th Street Publishing — “Flexibly manage your subscription-supported content through our phone, tablet, and web apps.
“Push notifications deliver issues silently in the background and pop-up text alerts keep users opening the magazine.
“Seamlessly merge your magazine’s existing subscribers with our CRM.
“We offer best-in-class design and regular app updates.”

Creative Blogging Alternatives

Ghost — “Ghost is an Open Source application which allows you to write and publish your own blog, giving you the tools to make it easy and even fun to do. It’s simple, elegant, and designed so that you can spend less time making your blog work and more time blogging.”

Postach.io — “Blog Via Evernote”

Glipho — “Meet Social Blogging

“Write, drag & drop your media, choose your distribution networks, and publish. We like to keep it simple.
“Your gliphs appear next to other related gliphs and we optimize your SEO to ensure search engines find your words.
“Tired of searching for reads? Follow Glipho writers and topics to have their latest gliphs piped right into your feed.
“Reply to any gliph with one of your own. Like, comment and share gliphs with the community.”

Publishing Books

FastPencil <— That link takes you to my blog post about FastPencil—it’s the Self-Publishing Platform I use!  :-)

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