Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Writers Turn to Self-Publishing

Marvin Kimble
Self-publishing has become more of an attraction for authors, such as those that wrote the above books. Some authors are finding it's easier to get published when they do it themselves.

The road from the initial brainstorming stages of a book to the finished product in a bookstore is a long journey with many twists and turns. Self-publishing is an avenue attracting more authors, despite its challenges.

"With new technology, print on demand, anybody could start a publishing company," said Martin Naparsteck, author and former professor at Utah State University.

A current New York resident, Naparsteck has published four books and more than 400 book reviews for the Salt Lake Tribune. He has now opted for his books "War Song" and "Hero's Welcome," novels about the Vietnam War, to be published through print-on-demand on the Internet.

Print-on-demand publishing is an option for authors who wish to self-publish, allowing them to hire a printer to manufacture the books as people order them online, cutting excess inventory.

"Clearly, it would save publishers a lot of money," Naparsteck said. "Some people estimate that more than 50 percent of books that are printed are never sold ... [and] nobody makes money with something that just sits on the shelf."

Naparsteck recommended IUniverse, a self-publishing support Web site offering the "new face of publishing" for budding authors who want to publish without the risks of an over excess of books or the headaches of marketing to bookstores.

"Normally, if you get published by a publisher they take care of the selling, and that's one of the problems with any small publisher," Naparsteck said. "They don't have a team of salesmen."

Salesmen visit bookstores and pitch books for the store to include on their shelves. Authors who do not promote their books through the venue of a publisher or distributor have to do the sales job themselves.

The process of publishing incorporates the stages between writing and printing: editing, revising, proofreading, layout process for printing and marketing. The difficulty with self-publishing is it puts the bulk of the weight of responsibility on the writer.

"When people self-publish, they have to do all of the steps themselves," said Linda Brummett, manager in the BYU Bookstore book department.

Brummett has seen thousands of books come through the Bookstore in her 33 years there, and she said she's seen an increase in self-publishing due to higher quality printing sources.

"Self-publishing looks every bit as professional as commercial," Brummett said. Desktop Publishing and new technology help in the process.

Brummett cautions those looking to self-publish, however, warning that it's a time-consuming path, and costly both in time and money.

"[Self-publishers] have money tied up in books that are in their basement, garage or closets," she said.

Anita Charles, BYU Bookstore sales floor supervisor, buys the books used for special promotions and book signings. She recommended new authors go through a publishing company and use the inclusive "Writer's Market" book to find the publisher that best fits the author's needs.

"Big publishers do so much work that an author can't do themselves," Charles said.

Currently the Bookstore carries a number of self-published books, including "Emergency Food in a Nutshell" by local author Leslie Probert. The book has done really well in the Bookstore, according to Brummett, selling hundreds of copies, and is even in its second edition.

Local publishing companies include Springville-based Cedar Fort, Brigham Publishing, Deseret Book and Eagle Gate.

For those set on self-publishing, there is the option of finding a local printer to create the finished product.

Doug Maxwell, administrator in the BYU Print and Mail Production Center, said self-publishers can digitally submit their work to be printed. The majority of printing projects at the BYU Print and Mail Production Center are for the university, including packets, mail distributions and textbooks. He said that the Print and Production Center completes 50 to 100 self-publishing projects a month.

Benefits and Disadvantages of Self-Publishing

* Control over the finished product
* Nobody makes changes without your consent
* No middleman

* Have to do it all yourself
* Big investment of time and money

Different routes to go with publishing
-Self publish and hire printer
-Print on demand
-Online e-book
-Hire a distributor

Article by: Crystalee Webb - 12 Apr 2007

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Self-Publishing Pros and Cons

Should You Self Publish?
by Rebecca Livermore

Perhaps you've always wanted to write a book. Or perhaps you've already written one but don't quite know what to do with it. One thing you do know, however, is that you want your book to be published and read by as many people as possible. Unfortunately, competition is fierce, and you may find it difficult if not impossible to find a reputable traditional publisher willing to take you on as a new author. Many people opt to use an agent to assist in this, but it can be almost as hard for people to find an agent as it is to find a publisher. Also, agents typically take a 15% cut of all profits, which seriously cuts into your earning potential.Because of these issues, and because of the many new options now available for self-publishing, many authors are choosing to bypass traditional publishers and go it alone. Here are some things to consider when trying to make the decision regarding whether or not to self-publish.

1. It cost money. The cost of self-publishing varies, depending on which self-publishing company you choose to go with, but regardless of which option you choose, self-publishing cost you, the author, money. In contrast, traditional publishers pay you money, typically in the form of an advance and then royalties, once the advance has been paid back through book sales.

2. All of the responsibility for marketing the book is on your shoulders. Nowadays, all authors are expected to work hard at marketing their books, regardless of whether they go with a traditional publisher or self-publish. But those who go with a traditional publisher have at least some help with marketing their book. For instance, the publisher may get the book into catalogs, arrange for radio interviews, put together press releases, etc. If you self-publish, you have to do all of that yourself, or hire others to do it for you.

3. You won't have a quality control team. Traditional publishers often have an entire team of experts in the publishing business to go over your book to make sure everything is in place. They check grammar, references, etc. If you self-publish, you won't have a team of people working with you unless you hire an editor.

4. People may not take your book as seriously if they know that it is self-published. The problem with self-publishing is that anyone with the discipline to write a book and the money to get it published can do it. Because of that, many self-published books are not the quality you would hope for and expect in a published book. Therefore, many people automatically assume that if you self-publish, your book may be of a lower quality and they may even assume that you self-published because your book isn't good enough for traditional publishers.

5. You may have a hard time getting the book into brick and mortar stores. Self-published books can definitely make their way into brick and mortar stores, but it can be a battle to get brick and mortar stores to stock your book. Again, the responsibility for getting your self-published book into the store will rest on your shoulders and it may be an uphill battle.

By this point, you may think there is no way you would want to self-publish a book. But don't lose heart! Just as there are self-publishing cons, there are also self- publishing pros that make self-publishing an attractive option for many authors. Below are just some of them.

1. You have complete control over the work. A traditional publisher may require you to add certain things to your book or remove certain paragraphs or perhaps even chapters that you really like. In traditional publishing, authors seldom have control over even simple things such as the title of the book. As a self-published author, you maintain complete control over every aspect of your book.

2. You can complete the book on your own time table. As a self-published author you will not be pressured to complete your self-published book fast, but can often complete it and get it published much quicker than if you were going with a traditional publisher. The traditional publishing route takes a very long time. You may write the book, then take a year or longer to find a publisher, only to have it take an additional year or so for it to hit the shelves. As a self-published author, you can write your book as slowly or quickly as desired, and have it published within a few months after completion.

3. You don't have to deal with rejection, at least on the publishing level. As a self-published author, your book is guaranteed to be published. You don't have to send it out and then bite your nails while you wait for a response (which often turns out to be a rejection) from a publisher.

4. You can potentially make more money. Although self-publishing cost money, it can also potentially make you more money because you keep the lion's share of the profits. For instance, through a traditional publisher you may make $1 per book, and through books you self-publish, you may make $5 per book. (Actual figures vary, based on numerous factors. But self-publishing always provides a much higher royalty rate.)

5. You can be as creative or offbeat as you want to be. As a self-published author, you don't have anyone to put down your idea or tell you how far you can or cannot go. Your creative will not be hampered in anyway. Only you can determine whether or not self-publishing is the best option for you. At the very least, it's an option to consider if you want to see your book in print.

Article Source: Help For Christian Writers