Brooke Warner & Self-Publishing
This past week I had a nice e-mail exchange with a new writer whom I met through discussing something blog related. After we finished discussing the blog related issue he mentioned something about self-publishing a book and how he plans to go about doing it. The book sounds fascinating and it's LGBT related. But when I saw what he was looking into with regard to self-publishing I had to send him a few links to show that there are a few questionable things out there and writers...especially new writers...should really do a thorough fact check before handing over large sums of money to self-publish. But there are also some great ways to go about self-publishing with some services, and using a service that provides advice and the creative collaboration most writers need.
It's often hard for me to remain objective about self-publishing because when I did it with my first novel, Chase of a Lifetime, I came to self-publishing with years of experience. I already had over 100 books out with publishers and I had contacts that ranged from cover artists to good copy editors. My partner, Tony, handles all the tech details and distribution. So I knew exactly what I was getting into and I knew how to get a book out thanks to past experience. But when I write posts like this I've learned I have to step back and think like a new writer who is learning all these things for the first time. And when I read this article about Brooke Warner, a writing coach, I thought I'd share for any new writers who might be interested in self-publishing but also need a collaboration.
My number one tip for self-pubbed authors is to make sure they have a team.
Self-published authors need an editor, a designer, and a marketing and/or
publicity person. When it comes to self-publishing, authors shouldn’t go it
alone, nor should they try to reinvent the wheel. There are so many good experts
out there who will help ensure that you have a beautiful finished product. Don’t
try to do it all yourself!
If you have never been published before and you are thinking of self-publishing, it's a good article and you can read more here. As I said, I tend to be a complete control freak with my own self-published books, but I'm not doing it completely alone. I do have a team that I outsource on my own. But I already had the contacts and I knew exactly where to go.
In the same respect, I'm not saying it's impossible to self-pub a quality book all by yourself. One of the self-published non-fic authors I admire most is Joe Mihalic. He's not just another pretty face, far from it. I've posted about him before, here, several times. Joe wrote No More Harvard Debt and he did it all by himself from what I gather. He maintained popular a running blog with the same title you can read here. He even gets into his self-publishing experiences. And he did it alone at a minimal cost. He also wrote and pubbed several damn great books. Other self-pubbed authors have done this, too.
So it's really up to the individual. In some cases, writers like Joe Mihalic can produce a quality book that helps people without the help of an e-publishing service. But not everyone works the same way and there are some people who do need some kind of collaboration. I think what Brooke Warner has to say is interesting and I don't mind linking to her, which I don't do often. Her web site is professional, I didn't see any red flags that would make me wonder, and she seems to be all about the writer. I can also tell you this from experience. Even though I outsource when I self-pub, I still feel the heat when it comes down to the final release. And I often wish I had the same collaboration (I miss it and crave it) with my self-pubbed books that I always have with books I have out with publishers. It gives you piece of mind.
Back to my original point, there are things out there with self-publishing that are questionable, and nice people are getting ripped off all the time. I wouldn't share anything I wouldn't seriously consider myself.
You can read more about Brooke Warner here at her web site.
HarperCollins Takes Back Publishing
This next piece to which I'm linking talks about Charlie Redmayne, new boss at HarperCollins, who wants to aggressively take back publishing from the pioneers of digital publishing. I think this includes e-publishers and self-pubbed authors.
Now three months after returning to HarperCollins to become its chief executive, Redmayne will deliver a brisk message at an industry conference on Thursday, warning publishers against letting digital rivals steal their role – storytelling.
Publishers have allowed competitors to jump in, he says, whether they are startup companies producing apps or authors publishing their novels on Amazon. Now they "need to take that space back" by producing content for games players, tablet computers and other devices.
It's an interesting article, but it's slanted in some respects. It makes it all sound like these evil self-pubbed authors and start up e-presses we've been seeing in the past ten years have been trying to take over publishing. And that's not the case at all. What's been happening is that writers who would never have had the chance to get published ten or twenty years ago have found a readership and careers through digital publishing. And readers, most of all, have been able to find affordable books when big publishers were sticking it to them with digital book prices that ranged from 9.99 to as high as you want to go. I paid full price for a non-fic autobiography two years ago, $14.99, in digital format. It sucked, the author has a new book out with a large publisher, and I'm not spending that kind of money again.
But more than that, while those in trad publishing with big publishers were still taking summer Friday's off and trying to keep publishing known as the slowest industry in the world, the pioneers of digital publishing have been working seven days a week to produce quality e-books for readers at a fraction of the cost. I price my self-pubbed novels at .99 for readers, and I will continue to do that for as long as I can. My e-publisher prices my full length novels at $4.99 on the web site. I just finished reading and reviewing James Franco's new novel. I paid $5.99 for the digital version. It was published through Amazon. So if HarperCollins wants to "take back" publishing they'd better start looking at more than one issue, including book prices.
You can read more here. In any event, it does sound like Redmayne is going to make a few well needed changes, and it should be interesting to see the results a few years from now. I'm not anti-publisher, not by any means. I'm hoping big publishers do start making changes. But I don't think it should be about taking publishing back. I think it should be more about figuring out why the pioneers of digital publishing have left them shaking their heads in wonder.
It seems as if everyone's making a calendar this year, and with nude young jocks in locker rooms.
Thought Dieux du Stade’s calendar was the be-all, end-all of hot rugby
calendars? Then you haven’t seen Britain’s Sheffield Hallam University jocks.
These more amateur, less-styled fellas hit the showers, the bar, the lounge, and
the streets to bring you their goods. Appreciate them, won’t you?
You can read more here. It's worth the trip. There are photos.