pameladlloyd: Alya, an original character by Ian L. Powell (lady with cup)
As have many of my writer friends, I've examined the pros and cons of self-publishing. The publishing industry is in flux, and this means that there are new challenges and opportunities for writers. I think that many of us struggle with the idea that, if we could just figure it out, we could determine the "best" way to get our work published.

But the reality is that there is no more one best way to publication than there is one best way to write.

All that said, Amanda Hocking, USA Today best-selling author, who has achieved her success through self-publishing, shares her thoughts on the subject in her blog post, "Some Things That Need to Be Said ". It's well worth reading.
pameladlloyd: Fairy with dice, children's book illustration by Christian Martin Weiss (Gambling Fairy)
Echoed manually, and on time, for once, from http://pdlloyd.livejournal.com/81423.html.

It seems like I've been running into discussions about self-publishing wherever I turn these days.

Over on the Writer Beware Blogs!, Victoria Strauss discusses the blurry distinctions between paid publishing options.

NYT Best-selling author Mike Stackpole (one of the Arizona authors and a recent guest at TusCon 36) is front and center in the i09 article, The Best Way To Break Into Science Fiction Writing Is Online Publishing. An outspoken advocate of self-publishing, Mike often discusses it on his blog at Stormwolf.com; his two most recent posts about the topic (in order of posting) are: Self-publishing isn't quite it... and Re-Christening Self-Publishing, in the latter of which he suggests the term, Vipub, short for Vertically Integrated Publishing, as a way to avoid the stigma associated with the term self-publishing.

At the moment, I'm merely a bystander. The most I could self-publish would be some short stories, which I could easily post on my website, but they'd act only as a form of advertising. I'm not set up to generate income from them and I'm not sure I'd want to try. I also suspect that if/when I do complete a novel, I'll try the more traditional (for values of traditional that reflect the last 50-150 years) route. Or, not. But, until I've got a book in hand, its all pretty much a spectator sport for me.
pameladlloyd: Alya, an original character by Ian L. Powell (Default)
It seems like I've been running into discussions about self-publishing wherever I turn these days.

Over on the Writer Beware Blogs!, Victoria Strauss discusses the blurry distinctions between paid publishing options.

NYT Best-selling author Mike Stackpole (one of the Arizona authors and a recent guest at TusCon 36) is front and center in the i09 article, The Best Way To Break Into Science Fiction Writing Is Online Publishing. An outspoken advocate of self-publishing, Mike often discusses it on his blog at Stormwolf.com; his two most recent posts about the topic (in order of posting) are: Self-publishing isn't quite it... and Re-Christening Self-Publishing, in the latter of which he suggests the term, Vipub, short for Vertically Integrated Publishing, as a way to avoid the stigma associated with the term self-publishing.

At the moment, I'm merely a bystander. The most I could self-publish would be some short stories, which I could easily post on my website, but they'd act only as a form of advertising. I'm not set up to generate income from them and I'm not sure I'd want to try. I also suspect that if/when I do complete a novel, I'll try the more traditional (for values of traditional that reflect the last 50-150 years) route. Or, not. But, until I've got a book in hand, its all pretty much a spectator sport for me.

ETA: One thing I have considered doing is creating and making available audio versions of my previously published stories, which seems like a fun way to share them.
pameladlloyd: Alya, an original character by Ian L. Powell (Default)
Echoed manually (and belatedly) from http://pdlloyd.livejournal.com/80397.html.

I recently came across the blog, Publetariat: People Who Publish, through an article to which someone on my reading list linked. The articles I saw on their blog were articles that had been republished with the permission of the original authors and I found many of them interesting, so I started following the blog. Then along came this article, which Publetariat states is included in their Vault University as a "sample" article, Crunching The Numbers: How It's Possible To Sell Every Copy Of Your Self-Published Book And Still Lose Money (And How To Avoid That Outcome). Looking more closely at Vault University, I see that they are offering a "curriculum" centered around self-publishing.

[As an aside, at TusCon 36, Mike Stackpole spoke for most of two hours on self-publishing and related issues, so you can expect a future post on the subject.]

I don't feel that the figures given in Crunching The Numbers are reasonable, at least with regard to the cost of getting books into the hands of readers. Here's why:
  1. Someone who orders a book expects to pay for postage, so it's far more reasonable to assume that the self-published author will charge for postage.
  2. The actual cost of postage for a standard hardback is closer to $3.50, which I know because my family has been involved in the used book market and has shipped many books.
  3. It's not unreasonable to charge one's customers a fee of $6 for shipping and handling within the U.S., with appropriately higher fees for international purchases, should you choose to ship world-wide.

So, instead of adding $89,700 to the author's expenses to cover the postage, if one assumes that the author only charges $2.50 more than the cost of shipping regardless of the final destination, and that the author does his or her own handling, rather than paying someone to do it for them, it's possible to actually subtract $25,000 (10,000 x $2.50) from the expenses (or add that to the profits, which is the same thing). Here's what happens to the table of expenses shown in the article, showing what happens when you make the changes I've mentioned here:


Item Income/Expense
10,000 books sold at US$20 each, minus 3% proc. fee + $194,000
Fees paid to Publisher X for setup, + add-on services - $10,500
10,000 copies of book @ $12 per copy - $120,000
Shipping from Publisher X - $5,000
Padded envelopes - $1,000
Shipping to all buyers, 10,000 copies @ a profit of $2.50 ea + $25,000
Total + $82,500

 
 
Now, I'm not going to go to the effort of verifying the rest of these figures; I certainly don't have any experience or particular knowledge of self-publishing. But, I don't feel it's reasonable or necessary to exaggerate the financial costs of self-publishing a successful book (i.e., one that sells out) in order to suggest that one needs to be cautious when considering self-publishing, primarily because it makes far more sense to be aware that very, very few self-published books will sell in large enough numbers to pay back the cost of publication.
pameladlloyd: Alya, an original character by Ian L. Powell (lady with cup)
I recently came across the blog, Publetariat: People Who Publish, through an article to which someone on my reading list linked. The articles I saw on their blog were articles that had been republished with the permission of the original authors and I found many of them interesting, so I started following the blog. Then along came this article, which Publetariat states is included in their Vault University as a "sample" article, Crunching The Numbers: How It's Possible To Sell Every Copy Of Your Self-Published Book And Still Lose Money (And How To Avoid That Outcome). Looking more closely at Vault University, I see that they are offering a "curriculum" centered around self-publishing.

[As an aside, at TusCon 36, Mike Stackpole spoke for most of two hours on self-publishing and related issues, so you can expect a future post on the subject.]

I don't feel that the figures given in Crunching The Numbers are reasonable, at least with regard to the cost of getting books into the hands of readers. Here's why:
  1. Someone who orders a book expects to pay for postage, so it's far more reasonable to assume that the self-published author will charge for postage.
  2. The actual cost of postage for a standard hardback is closer to $3.50, which I know because my family has been involved in the used book market and has shipped many books.
  3. It's not unreasonable to charge one's customers a fee of $6 for shipping and handling within the U.S., with appropriately higher fees for international purchases, should you choose to ship world-wide.

So, instead of adding $89,700 to the author's expenses to cover the postage, if one assumes that the author only charges $2.50 more than the cost of shipping regardless of the final destination, and that the author does his or her own handling, rather than paying someone to do it for them, it's possible to actually subtract $25,000 (10,000 x $2.50) from the expenses (or add that to the profits, which is the same thing). Here's what happens to the table of expenses shown in the article, showing what happens when you make the changes I've mentioned here:


Item Income/Expense
10,000 books sold at US$20 each, minus 3% proc. fee + $194,000
Fees paid to Publisher X for setup, + add-on services - $10,500
10,000 copies of book @ $12 per copy - $120,000
Shipping from Publisher X - $5,000
Padded envelopes - $1,000
Shipping to all buyers, 10,000 copies @ a profit of $2.50 ea + $25,000
Total + $82,500

 
 
Now, I'm not going to go to the effort of verifying the rest of these figures; I certainly don't have any experience or particular knowledge of self-publishing. But, I don't feel it's reasonable or necessary to exaggerate the financial costs of self-publishing a successful book (i.e., one that sells out) in order to suggest that one needs to be cautious when considering self-publishing, primarily because it makes far more sense to be aware that very, very few self-published books will sell in large enough numbers to pay back the cost of publication.
pameladlloyd: Alya, an original character by Ian L. Powell (awkward silence)
I joined Goodreads a few months back at the suggestion of one of my brothers. Since then, I've listed a couple dozen books and reviewed a mere handfull. Today, in my Goodreads Inbox, I found the following message from a total stranger, a writer whose message has left me feeling rather uncomfortable:

from: James Bailey
to: Pamela
subject: quirky book
message:
Hi Pam the reading lover, cute picture. I had severe OCD, anxiety attacks, and depression for over thirty years but finally had enough and overcame most of it. I wrote a quirky and humorous book called Man Interrupted detailing how I did it. I have Oscar winner Mel Brooks on the cover praising it.. Please check out Man Interrupted at www.amazon.com or pop into a Barnes and Noble.. Just ask for Man Interrupted by James Bailey. Let me know? Best James.

I find myself rather mystified. Did this guy self-publish? *checks Amazon* The publisher is listed as Mainstream Publishing. *googles* Which seems to be a Scottish division of Random House. Does this make sense, or is there another publishing firm using that name?

What made him choose me, given that almost everything on my reading list is science fiction or fantasy, or am I just one of a couple thousand people he's individually contacted? Hasn't this guy ever heard about targeted marketing? (Of course, at least he's targeting people who read, so maybe he has.)

Why do so many people think that it's okay to shorten my name? I go by Pamela. I sign my letters and emails Pamela. If, by any chance I choose to use a nickname, the name I use is not "Pam." I mean, I understand why family members who started calling me Pam before I could defend myself could be a bit confused (even though you'd think thirty years would be enough time to get used to it), but why do perfect strangers think they've got the right to not just call someone by their first name, but to use a diminutive they haven't earned?
pameladlloyd: Alya, an original character by Ian L. Powell (fairy promises)
I just came across a notice on LinkedIn, posted today (July 1) by a woman who identifies herself as a "Philanthropy Expert & Charity Analyst." She has "a $13,000 credit with a top-drawer book printer" and is looking for someone to give this to. Right now, she's trying to find websites that focus on self-publishing authors and small publishers, but if there's anyone out there interested and I can forward the info to her quickly enough, you might have a shot at this.

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