Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing, and Publishing ~

Tag Archives: self-publisher

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.”


“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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New Year’s Bonus — My Next Publisher’s Year-End Review, with a Look Ahead…

I’ve been published by Lulu and FastPencil and Amazon and Wattpad… Smashwords growth chart

One of my goals for 2016 is to publish with Smashwords

My email today had a special article from Mark CokerSmashwords Year in Review 2015 and Plans for 2016.

If you’re already published elsewhere and/or are considering the Indie route, you may want to study that article from Mark.

Here’s just a bit about Smashwords from an article in the San Francisco Chronicle:

“‘Mark was very forward-thinking, and the way he set the company up appeals to independent publishers’, said Joel Friedlander, a book designer with Marin Bookworks in San Rafael and an expert in self-publishing. ‘There’s no cost, no frills, it’s a quick way to get your e-book into print, and you can do it in a day.’

“Coker, a former Silicon Valley publicist, started Smashwords in 2008 with the lofty goal of using technology to democratize publishing – allowing writers to appeal directly to readers without having to deal with gatekeepers such as agents and editors.

“In keeping with this mission, Smashwords applies no editorial screening. The only e-books Coker refuses to distribute are ones that contain plagiarism, illegal content or incitement to racism, homophobia or violence.”

And, to encourage you to read the full article from Mark, I’ll share just a few excerpts:

“Although we’ve been in business for almost eight years, we still feel like we’ve only begun to scratch the surface of what’s possible. We’re looking ten years ahead and laying the groundwork today to enable a better long term future for the constituencies we serve – authors, publishers, retailers, libraries, readers, and book culture.”

“A mere eight years ago, back in the dark ages of publishing and before the advent of Smashwords, publishing was a print-centric business where print accounted for 99.5% of book sales. A few large gatekeeper publishers in New York controlled which writers could become authors, which books could be read by readers, and which books reached bookstores. Bookstores, constrained by limited physical shelf space, could only stock a small fraction of available books.”

“Contrast the conventional print book with today’s self-published ebooks. Self-published ebooks are dynamic, living and immortal creatures, constantly evolving with new metadata, new cover images and new book content, as the author or publisher iterates to make their book more visible and more desirable to readers. Indie ebooks never go out of print. Ebook stores will stock them forever.”

Lots more about the publishing world and Indie authors in that article

Finally, a special word to any readers who just can’t quite admit to themselves that they want to write and publish:

Now Is The Time :-)
Read Some Strange Fantasies
Grab A Free Novel…
To Leave A Comment, Use The Link At The Top-Right of The Post :-)
For Private Comments or Questions, Email: amzolt {at} gmail {dot} com

9 Reasons You Should Self-Publish (even if you don’t think you’re a writer…)

FastPencil Self-Publishing


This post appears at the top of the first page of my 31 articles that include information about the Publishing-Aid Company, Fastpencil.

There are way more than 9 reasons to use Fastpencil in this particular post but I really like the number 9 and most folks probably don’t need more than 9 reasons to do anything

But, let me explain the other part of the title of this post, “even if you don’t think you’re a writer”

Fastpencil has free book-writing software that lets you invite friends to help you with the tasks of building a book.

And, if you talk to enough of your friends, you could find someone who could be an Editor for your project and they can use the software to help you hone and craft your effort to………

what in the world would you write about if you don’t consider yourself a writer?


Perhaps the world would love to hear about your strange family

Or, you once did something that others could learn from

Or, you have a weird hobby that lots of other folks would love

Or, you spend all your time sitting quietly and figuring out solutions to the world’s problems

In other words, if you think about it long enough and let your true feelings surface, you would have enough material for a book; and Fastpencil will let you gather a team of friends to create that book—which means that the whole creation process is FREE

Here’s a summary of what you can do with Fastpencil:

*Write a book on their site, while inviting Beta-Readers and/or editors to work with you
—> Free

*Revise, edit, check multiple proofs, upload a cover, work-out front and back matter, etc.
—> Free

*Publish (Print & E-book editionsand have the book distributed to Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple iBooks, and Ingram
—> $300

However, if you have the book available on only the FastPencil Site, publishing costs as little as $9.99

They also give you a very cool sales-widget you can use on your own WebSite or Blog.

And, royalties are 80% net profit.

So, in case you missed some of the best reasons,  you can:

Share Ideas for FREE

Write for FREE

Re-Write for FREE

Proofread for FREE

Collaborate about the structure of your writing for FREE

Do Interior Layout Design for FREE

Choose Your Layout and Preview a Digital Proof of Your Book for FREE

Publish Your Book for as Little as $9.99

Naturally, FastPencil has many professional services you can pay for (but, only if you want to).

And, in case you didn’t yet find your own 9 particular reasons to self-publish, check out this video series:

Read Some Strange Fantasies
Grab A Free Novel…
To Leave A Comment, Use The Link At The Top-Right of The Post :-)
For Private Comments or Questions, Email: amzolt {at} gmail {dot} com

Friday Poll ~ Traditional vs? Self-Publishing

Results form last week’s poll—What’s Your Favorite Social Network?

Traditional vs Self-Publishing Poll

Image Courtesy of Craig Parylo ~

Nearly 7% don’t use any social networks.

Almost 27% don’t have a favorite social network.

33.3% had Google Plus as their favorite.

Twitter pulled 13.3%.

Facebook and LinkedIn each had just under 7%.

And, “Other” was at 7% with Second Life as the social network.


Now, this week’s poll—Traditional vs? Self-Publishing:

To Leave A Comment, Use The Link At The Top-Right of The Post :-)
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.” — “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!  :-)

To Leave A Comment, Use The Link At The Top-Right of The Post :-)
For Private Comments, Email: amzolt {at} gmail {dot} com
* Google Author Page

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