Saturday, June 21, 2008

Reasons Why Self Publishing May Be “Write” for You

The thought of one day seeing your name on the spine of a book may seem like a pie-in-the-sky dream. For millions of writers, that’s all their writing ever amounts to….a dream waiting to happen. But for those who understand and accept the difficulties associated with going down traditional book publishing routes, the dream of seeing their name is print can be turned into a reality.

The truth about writing as a career is that it’s an industry glutted with aspiring writers, with few ever making it beyond the query stage. Even if you’re a great writer, you still may not get noticed in the sea of other writers because agents are inundated with novel queries. While it’s not impossible to think your writing will one day catch the attention of agents or book publishers, there’s another option that can take the question of whether or not you’ll have your book published and answer it in the affirmative; the questions goes from “will I get published?” to “when will my book be available to purchase?”.

Self publishing is one option in the game of book publishing. While some writers feel that choosing self publishing is only for those who do not know how to publish a book through traditional routes, more and more writers are realizing that self publishing is simply a way to taking more control in a process fraught with time delays and rejection.

Following are some reasons why self publishing might just be the right direction to take with your writing career.

· Learn how to publish a book

Traditionally, writers have to sit back and let decision about their books be made by book publishers and agents. With self publishing, a writer learns, firsthand, the ins and outs of publishing a book. Everything from editing, print and marketing is done by the writer.

· Make money as a writer

Most writers dream of the day when they’ll actually receive a check for their writing. With self publishing, a writer can make that dream a reality. With some strategic marketing and self promotion, a writer can take a book that’s self published and make it a hit. Not only will a writer make a bigger cut off of a sell of a self published book but he will also position the book to be seen by traditional publishing houses and possibly picked up by a large house.

· Publish your book on your timetable

When a book is published by large book publishers, a writer might not see a final copy for up to eighteen months. With self publishing, a writer can set her own timetable. There’s no need to wait months to see the fruits of your labor; self publish and see an almost immediate product.

Self publishing isn’t for every writer but it’s the answer for many. It gives writers a chance to turn their dream into reality and finally see their name of the cover of a book!

Article Source:

Monday, June 16, 2008

Community Pricing for on-demand publishing

Tim O’Reilly points out some very cool publishing models being used by Logos Bible Software. The have a pre-publishing service in which clients commit to order at a discount in exchange for placing a pre-order for a specific product and Logos can guarantee that there costs are covered. Each potential pre-publish book has a meter which displays the current level of pre-orders.

Far more interesting than that though is their Community Pricing model in which they don’t preset the price for a book but lay out the pricing curve for developing an electronic version of the book and invite consumers to bid a price that they are prepared to pay for it.

Community Pricing

Once sufficient offers are received to produce the edition are received, the price is fixed at the optimum point and everyone pays the same price. Subsequent copies are charged at a markup. More information on the community pricing model is available on their site.

I think this concept could be developed in a very interesting manner for non-profit publishing, particularly in the education sector in developing countries. Applying this model to print, as opposed to just electronic, publishing could theoretically make it even more effective in driving down costs. Because print costs vary dramatically according to quantity, you could create a sliding scale of costs arrayed against market demand. Consumers would have to bid on both quantity and price and would be able to see what quantities were needed to bring about a further drop in price. It would make it easy to aggregate demand and very transparent in terms what sorts of quantities and costs are involved. This could make for a pretty cool non-profit Lulu-style enterprise model that would help solve a critical challenge, namely getting electronic OER resources in print form into the hands of students.


Saturday, June 14, 2008

Self-Published Books Need A Professional Appearance To Court Success

Not long ago, I read a self-published book produced by a printing company, where the author was required to furnish not only the manuscript, but the layout and cover. The cover was the best part of this book. The story had potential (although erratic and overwritten) and was compelling enough that, out of curiosity, I finished it. I have read esthetically-rough fiction from traditional publishers, but those at least had a professional layout and had been scrutinized by a copy editor. This one–not.

I have no gripe with the concept of self-publishing, but if a writer wants a book to be taken seriously, some basics have to be considered. Liberal use of Strunk and White (Elements of Style) is a must, as well as referring to Chicago Manual of Style. Be certain punctuation is correctly rendered. Three periods (…) does not an ellipse make. Ellipses are not followed by any other punctuation [ What do you mean…, you have to go? ]. Uppercase letters should rarely be used for emphatic dialogue [ what WE did, did NOT cause what happened ]; description before dialogue should not end with a comma. [Green eyes betrayed her, I’m sure you do. ].

A copy editor would have caught ninety-eight percent of these errors, as well as the character names that changed mid-scene.

Regarding layout, the text alignment in a professional book is justified, with widow and orphan control, usually with 11pt type and type kerning so lines of text have uniformity. Quotation marks and apostrophes must be consistent throughout the text, not curly marks to start dialogue with straight apostrophes in contractions. A disregard (or ignorance) of these basics is what I see most in self-published books.

Self-publishing has a lot of benefits, especially to the environment. With traditional publishers, if they have a print run of 3,000 books, 2,000 of them can set in a warehouse for six months and then end up in a landfill. Most self-published material is print-on-demand, so less paper and printer ink is used. But if an author wants to do more than give away his self-published book to friends and family, the book must have a professional appearance, regardless of the story.

When someone has plans to publish more than one book, having a good product is especially critical. Marketing and hype might sell a decent number of a poorly-produced book, but once the dearth of editing and layout are realized, the reader might not want to chance another book from the same source. More than 5,000 books are produced each week by self publishing. That makes competition stiffer than ever for a reader’s attention. To produce a book correctly is more time consuming, but highly cost effective and can give the edge needed to make a book stand out. Using a professional copy editor and investing in a good text layout program, will result in a finished product on par with traditional publishers.

K Follis Cheatham is a freelance editor, and author of nine books of fiction and nonfiction; she has published numerous articles and poems, and edited for national magazines and publishing houses. Cheatham gives presentations at schools and libraries on writing and the American West; she also develops promotional materials (including web sites) for authors. Visit her web site at .

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Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Disney Artists To Self-Publish Rocket Johnson

In recent years, many artists at feature animation studios like Pixar, DreamWorks and Blue Sky have become involved in self-publishing art books and graphic novels. The Disney artists have remained noticeably absent from the scene…until now. A whole slew of Disney Feature story artists and directors are getting ready to release a fun-looking 72-page graphic novel anthology entitled Who is Rocket Johnson?, in which they answer the question posed by the book’s title. The book, limited to 1,000 copies, will debut in July at the San Diego Comic-Con and will sell exclusively at booth 2302.

Contributing artists are:

Steve Anderson
John Musker
Dean Wellins
Mike Gabriel
Kevin Deters
Paul Briggs
Tom Ellery
Sam Levine
Nathan Greno
Don Hall
Mark Kennedy
Aurian Redson
Daniel Chong
Tron Mai
Lawrence Gong
Joe Mateo
Michael LaBash
Chris Ure
Bruce Morris
Mark Walton

The book also features a painted cover by Paul Felix and pin-ups by Glen Keane, ChenYi Chang, Byron Howard and Arthur Adams. There’s a book blog at and an official announcement at the blog of Paul Briggs.

Source: Blackwing Diaries

Monday, June 2, 2008

Should Authors who Self-Publish be Considered Vanity Press?

by Monica Valentinelli

I don’t ever think there has been a more appropriate time in this industry than to seriously revisit the question of what happens when authors “self-publish” their books and whether or not they should be considered “vanity press.” After attending 30+ conventions, I can completely understand the “why” behind name-calling some print-on-demand and self-published authors.

There’s always one or two authors who buy a booth, don’t bother to decorate or make it appear friendly, and sit behind a pile of books, waiting desperately for someone to stroll past and throw money at their feet. In many ways yes, these writers could be considered vanity press because, on the surface, it appears as if they don’t know what they’re doing, that they’ve published their book because they wanted to see it in print. Do you ever ask yourself, why they bought a booth?

Maybe they really don’t know what they’re doing, and they believe (like so many other writers) that fame and fortune will knock on their door–all they have to do is publish a book. Just because they have stars and dollar signs in their eyes, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they’ve gone to all the trouble to print books just so they could see their name in print.

Yes, there is a definite disconnect between writers who understand the business of writing and those who understand the business of selling, marketing and publishing books. Sandwiched in the middle, there are those writers, like myself, that fall somewhere in between the two schools of thought based on our experiences. When a writer focuses heavily on the creative process, they lose the ability to detach themselves from their work; hence, the innocence. Writers sometimes forget that best-selling books are not just a function of the creative process, they are also a function of luck, networking, and timing. Still, more authors than I can count worship the large presses, thinking that they will somehow magically recognize their name among the masses and grant them a publishing contract.

I think that within traditional publishing there is a fear, and that fear resonates and trickles down to hopeful authors who have never had anything published before. The fear for the amateur is that the book, their self-published book, will somehow suck so bad that no one will want to publish them and they’ll get a bad reputation. I’d like to venture a guess and say that perhaps the publishers are afraid of the opposite scenario, since it’s very rare to see a publisher that’s on top of Web 2.0 let alone take chances on an unpublished, unproven author. Also, I’d like to put it out there that the major publishers are probably tightening their belts because the cost of printing keeps going up every year, and they’re more likely to go with an author whose books they know readers will buy, even if it’s written poorly. Most inexperienced writers also don’t realize that editing is an expensive, costly venture for many publishers. Add that cost into an untested author whose books are not a guarantee to sell, and that quickly factors into a huge risk for the big houses.

That fear of garnering a bad reputation is very real; just within the past year I can name five, fellow authors who have been determined to “agent up.” Not one of them has been successful so far, and not one of them will consider self-publishing as an option. Why? One of them has told me that since best-selling author X said self-publishing is vanity press, they’ll never do it.

Unfortunately, best-selling authors don’t have to go through the same hoops as new ones, especially writers that have been around for a number of years. While veteran authors do give great advice, you have to remember that their experiences entering the publishing biz might be outdated–10, 20 maybe even 30 years old or more.

In truth, the self-publishing model has worked for some authors (not all) who simply got around the stigma by developing their own emprint and use the tools that are available to them. Authors like Gregory Solis and David Wellington, who you’ll hear me mention from time to time.

Remember, too that advances are virtually non-existent for new authors, so if you can get one, you’re darn lucky. You’re even more fortunate if you haven’t negotiated any of your rights away; some publishers leverage copyright with taking a risk on an unknown. Don’t even get me started on how much first-time authors make; in some cases, it’s pretty pathetic.

So the attraction to self-publish is understandable; you, as the writer who has created this story, have control over how many copies you publish, what you charge, and how you market, sell and distribute that story. To give you some scale, according to this stat referenced in Beneath the Cover’s Publishing Statistics for May 2007, 78% of titles come from small press or self-publishers out of as many as 86,000 self-publishers, compared with six major ones in New York.

As an author who tries her darnedest to be savvy about the market, I don’t believe that the popularity of small press and self-publishing can be ignored, even if the number of books sold doesn’t equate to the numbers from larger presses. I certainly don’t want to write any of my books for my Violet War series just so I can see it in print; I can’t imagine why any other writer these days would do the same.

So before you consider a writer to be vanity press, maybe it’s better to ask the question, “How much does this author really know about the industry?” If they don’t know as much as they should, I’d encourage you to either communicate with them or take a second look at the words beneath the cover. You might just find that their story is fresh and innovative, something worthwhile reading.

It’s one thing to throw around labels, it’s entirely another to comprehend why they are there in the first place. Since the phrase “vanity press” was coined back in 1959 (according to Wikipedia, I think I can say, with the utmost confidence, that publishing and selling books have changed dramatically since that time. After all, haven’t you heard? There’s this new-fangled invention that’s been utilized pretty heavily since then called “the internet.” Toss in iPhones, eBooks, PDFs and other ways to distribute content, and I think we need to reinvent what that phrase means.

Hey, maybe that’s what we should write to Amazon about?

Folks, I’m always looking for more relevant stats about the publishing industry to share, so feel free to send them along if you have them, with a link to the source.

Article Source:

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Write, Publish and Market a Book with No Out-of-Pocket Money

By Kathleen Gage

Do you dream of having a book published, but don’t know where to turn? Already have a book, but unsure of how to promote it? Looking for cost effective high-return strategies to market your book? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then the following information is for you.

Many writers and aspiring authors are under the mistaken belief if their book is published by a publishing house they can sit back and watch sales miraculously happen. Nothing could be further from the truth. Fact is, competition to have your manuscript noticed and published by a large house is extremely fierce. Additionally, no matter who publishes your book, you absolutely must take an active roll in marketing, promoting and selling your book.

Moreover, profit margins are not extremely good when you go through a publisher. Sure, if you sell tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of books, you make substantial amounts of money. In reality only a small percentage of writers achieve this level of success.

A great model for achieving success is to self-publish and actively promote your book. Self-publishing is one of the best ways to get your manuscript to market quickly is to. Another great benefit of self-publishing is you have complete control of the creative process. You make the decisions on content, editing, cover design, title and you reap the profits.

A primary downside with self publishing are costs involved. Depending on whether or not you hire an editor, designer, layout person and cost of printing, the initial outlay for self-publishing a book can be several thousands of dollars for the first run. Besides there are no guarantees your book will sell. However, you can lessen your risk of costs and increase your level of sales with a simple formula.

Imagine if you could self publish with no out of pocket money. Additionally, imagine gaining lots of free publicity and visibility in your market at the same time. I know this to be true, because I have done it.

The following formula is one that can be used by virtually anyone to raise funds to publish a book. In addition, you can gain great visibility, do the initial run with no out of pocket money and position yourself for volume sales.

Although the formula is rather simple in concept, it is not necessarily easy to do as it takes planning, time, effort, consistency and great follow up to make it work as well as possible.

You can write, publish and market a book with no out of pocket expenses by hosting a seminar with a topic that is linked to the book. In order to keep costs down in the rollout host the seminar in your local market. You can further offset costs by securing sponsors for the seminar. Event sponsors provide funding necessary to the costs of an event. They can either contribute in actual dollars or with in-kind offerings. Sponsors underwrite various aspects of an event.

I did this at the beginning of December with my most recent book, “101 Ways to Get Your Foot in the Door” and had an incredible response. Although there was a lot of work involved in the rollout the results were, and continue to be, incredible.

Besides writing content for the book each author had a very specific role. Mine was the marketing and promotions of the book. The first level was to develop a clear marketing strategy for my 3 co-authors and myself.

Prior to beginning the writing of the book, we developed a very detailed project plan. The plan included hosting an event to introduce the book to our local market.

Knowing the costs to an event such as we were planning, I knew it would be beneficial to secure sponsors. I developed a very solid proposal for sponsorship of the seminar. Because of very detailed information and showing the sponsors how they would gain from being involved, I was able to secure two excellent sponsors. One is a primary business newspaper in Utah and the other is an organization who targets start up businesses.

The paper was more than willing to do some advertising for the event in exchange for some great visibility and additional subscribers. The organization offset the costs of the room and audio-visual equipment in exchange for mentions in the advertising and all pre-event promotions. Both sponsors were given the opportunity to do a 5 minute presentation at the seminar and distribute promotional information to everyone in attendance. It was a win/win all the way around.

Had I not had a clear-cut proposal for the potential sponsors chances are I would not have secured their support. Also, I know it is easier to gain support from businesses who know me rather than trying to get sponsorship from an organization who has no idea who I am. The same will be true for most anyone.

With day of event expenses covered, we could now focus on generating revenue for publishing the book. This was done by pre-selling the book. Anyone who purchased the book sight unseen by November 28, 2004 was given a seat into the seminar on December 2nd.

With initial revenues from pre-seminar sales designed to offset book production costs we were able to write, market and publish the book with no out of pocket money. By utilizing the databases of all four authors, press releases, pre-event radio interviews and presentations at Chambers and local organizations, word of mouth promotions, and other low-cost/no-cost forms of promotions, we sold over 350 copies sight unseen. (Cost of the book is $19.95)

We had well over 200 people attend the seminar as some of the pre-event purchases were from folks who were out of the area.

A key to our success was having a functional website were the book was (and is) available. We utilized online credit card purchasing options for buyers. In that 80% of our sales were done with Internet and credit cards, we would have been remiss to not use this as a method to sell.

As we were pre-selling it was important to let people know that the cost of a seat into the seminar was the book. Also, if they didn’t make it to the seminar we would mail them the book for $4 more or they could pick it up. The $4 covered mailing costs. If we didn’t do this we would have cut way into our profit margin.

We made a strong point of letting people know they were buying the book, not the seat into the seminar. However, the only way into the seminar was to buy the book.

To gain even more value from the event and increase day of event revenues each author sold other products Back of the Room (BOR). One author sold a sales training program. The signups that day realized several thousand in additional revenue for her.

The two other authors sold specialty items and set up appointments for those who were interested in such things in their sales campaigns.

I sold my Street Smarts Marketing and Promotions program as an E-book. This helped me to generate several thousand in additional revenue. Knowing audience members were already interested in my material, I put together a special day of event package with three of my e-products bundled together. Everyone received one of my order forms upon registering.

At the end of my session I did a short sales presentation. All folks had to do was fill out the order form. With each sale, all I had to do was process their credit cards and email them the PDF document. No mailing costs or printing costs. Nearly a 100% profit margin.

Many self published authors shy away from doing presentations claiming to be an author and not a speaker. Fact is, if you get in front of a target audience who is interested in your topic and you present your ideas well the amount of books you can sell is incredible.

The book complimented by a well delivered presentation allow you to get in front of meeting planners who may be in a position to utilize your services and your book at a later date. You may also have representatives from companies who want to buy large quantities of your book.

Since the release of the book I have had some companies buy “101 Ways to Get You’re your Foot in the Door” in large quantities. Because Maxwell Publishing is my company and the book was published through Maxwell, I have the flexibility to do special runs. With a minimum purchase a client can add their logo to the front cover of the book and a personalized letter from whomever they choose included in the book. This is a great marketing tool for them with long-term benefits to their employees or customers.

Granted, myself and one of the other authors are professional speakers so presenting at an event such as I outlined is a part of our marketing model. However, two of the authors are not professional speakers per say. Yet, in their everyday business they do present frequently. However, with this event, it was a different type of presentation for them. They will be the first to admit that additional exposure and sales were worth doing this type of presentation.

Regardless of your topic the model we implemented can be used by virtually anyone. For example, if you have a book on nutrition, find a health food store who wants more foot traffic and visibility. They may be a perfect fit as a sponsor. Not only can they help you to offset costs they can help to promote the event. At the seminar you can promote their products with coupons, mentions and information provided. It’s a win/win.

If you have a book on real estate sales there’s bound to be a mortgage company who may be interested in sponsoring you. Perhaps they would be willing to buy a book for every real estate agent who does business with them. Or, they could give a book to each of their mortgage brokers.

If you have a book on childhood development, what about a baby clothing store? Perhaps the store would cross promote and give a book to each customer who buys a minimum amount of product in their store. This adds value from them to their customers and creates a win/win for you and the store.

In today’s world of writing, marketing and publishing a book, the possibilities are only limited by imagination.


Do you want to gain massive visibility within your market? Kathleen Gage can help you do just that. As a published author, keynote speaker and top rated award winning business advisor, Kathleen Gage teaches strategies that give high impact and high return. Sign up for Gage’s FR*EE Report “Learn How a Salt Lake City based consultant made over $100,000 from one idea” at
Copyright: © 2005 by Kathleen Gage