Articles Tagged with independent publishing

How to destroy a brand in one easy (lazy) step

So most of us DIYers out here are trying to brand ourselves. We spend our time on Twitter and Facebook and message boards and whatnot trying to build an audience and a fanbase.

Then the midlist authors come along and digitize their backlists, and everybody’s happy because they already have a brand and they’re simply supplying a product that people want. Yay.

And then there are the midlist and higher-up authors who self-publish new stuff. That’s kind of an interesting experiment. I like watching it all play out even though, well, their brand trumps my brand and I have to work harder at establishing my brand.

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First rule of self-publishing:

Get a professional editor.

Period.

No excuse.

I don’t care how good your beta readers and critique partners are.

I don’t care if you’re a traditionally published midlist author going out on your own.

Get a professional editor.

You want to self-publish? Put in the time and the effort and the money, just like a big publisher would. This is a business and you are creating a product to sell to people. Give them a good product.

That product begins with a professional editor.

WD Do-It-Yourself Publishing

“Self-publishing is the kiss of death. (And you’ll go to hell, too. God HATES self-publishers.)”

So come see me at the Writer’s Digest conference, on the Do-It-Yourself Publishing panel, which is chock-full of super-awesome self-publishing types who are also going to hell.

When: January 22, 2011, 10:30 – 11:45 a.m.
Where: Sheraton Hotel & Towers, NYC

(Conference runs January 21 through 23.)

And who cares if I go to hell? I hear it has snowed…

Free agency

Mormon publishing is a small world, but since I only hover on the outskirts of the community as a fiction writer who is Mormon and not as a writer of Mormon fiction (albeit I have Mormon characters), I don’t have much invested in the state of the Mormon art.

Currently I’m involved in a discussion on the Association for Mormon Letters blog that led to these comments:

Author Annette Lyon said:

Angela also hit it right on the head when she said that it’s a bit tricky naming names and titles when you’re one of the LDS writers yourself. It was a different story before I was part of that group. It’s easy to praise, but this is a tiny sandbox. An offhanded remark can make an enemy, so imagine if I were to give an honest review of that other book. Yeah. Let’s just say I don’t dare.

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New Year’s resolutions

1. Make a concerted effort to contact the authors of books I enjoy and tell them that, and why.

I only know how wonderful it makes me feel when someone took the time to email me and tell me that they enjoyed one or both of my books and why.  I can’t imagine any other author wouldn’t like it as much as I do.

2. Seek out and read more independently published work.

I think I have a skewed view of self-publishing, since I came to this via really good writers who decided to self-publish.  Thus, I’ve never encountered this mythical slush pile of dreck I keep hearing about. Maybe I’ll find some, and maybe I’ll let you know if I do. Or not.

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An idea for RWA!

Publishing is changing, the latest clue being Torstar’s vanity publishing line, DellArte (clever me, I said Torstar instead of Harlequin)*.

But we all agree on this one point, right? I mean, publishing can be DOOMED, or it can be METAMORPHOSING, or it can be LA LA LA I CAN’T HEAR YOU!!! but something’s going on.

And we all know MWA, RWA, and all those types delisted Harlequin, which won’t make a damn bit of difference to Harlequin (or Torstar, hee!).

Mrs. Giggles and Karen Scott both get it about the DellArte thing: Say somebody wants to pay to play.

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There is no such thing as royalties

…in self-publishing.

Self-publishers do not “earn royalties.”

Stop thinking in terms of royalties.

It’s called “profit.” There is overhead. There are COGS. There is revenue.

Why? Self-publishers manufacture a product*; they have not licensed a product.

Sales – COGS = gross profit.

Gross profit – overhead = net profit (aka ka-ching)

There are no royalties.

Royalties do not exist.

Say it with me now: Self-publishers do not earn royalties; they have profit. Now put all that “royalties” BS out of your head.

And Amazon? I know you know this, but you use the term deliberately to blur the lines between your retail business and your POD service. You know very good and well you don’t pay royalties. You give us a rebate on our rental fee for your stalls, you know, like at a flea market.

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Harlequin: Ur doin it rong

Harlequin, I see you’ve set up a, um, POD?/vanity?/subsidy?/self-pub? (no definitely not self-pub) arm of your company.

Congratulations. I think that’s brilliant.

However, you have negated that brilliance by the simple fact that you have obviously not gone about researching the industry any more than anybody you hope to make a customer.

What I do not think is brilliant is the following:

1. Partnering with AuthorSolutions, Inc.

Consider:

  • Do you know that they use Lightning Source to print their books? Do you know you could get your own account with Lightning Source and do the same thing, only cheaper for you?
  • Do you know you could’ve set up your own in-house programs and packages? You should’ve; you have the resources right at your fingertips.
  • Do you know that the rates you’re quoting are outrageous if one went piecemeal to freelancers for those services? And if you do (which I don’t think you do), you would’ve gotten a bigger cut of it had you not partnered with AuthorSolutions Inc. You already have editors and artists and such. Use them. Hire a couple more if you don’t have enough.
  • Do you know that AuthorSolutions Inc. doesn’t have the best reputation on the planet even amongst subsidy publishers?
  • Do you realize that the 50% “royalty” you take from your customers could have been at a much higher dollar amount if you had set up your own shop?

Bad, bad business decision, just from a P&L standpoint. Geez, you’re cutting off your margins to spite your bottom line.

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The unmentionable alternative

I am constantly struck by the idea that writers “give up.” What does that mean, exactly? They stop writing? They stop submitting? Or they stop writing because they’re so disheartened by the submitting? My bet’s on that.

Keep on submitting and you will get published.

By “writer,” I mean good, unpublished novelists who don’t, for whatever reason, catch an agent and/or editor’s eye. I’m not talking about the people who don’t hang out on agent and editor blogs, learning every query trick in the book (some of which are flat wrong to some agents and golden to others). These are the writers who assume that the problem is with them, not with the odds.

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Everything is still biased against the lone artist.

I didn’t say it. Someone who shall remain nameless said that to me, and it started me thinking about The Lone Artist.

I’ve been to New Orleans, Paris, Venice Beach, New York, London, Amsterdam, and other places where The Lone Artist sets about attempting to earn a living or at least approbation from a crowd of strangers walking by.

In Paris, it was the Ecole des Beaux-Arts students drawing Mona Lisa in pastels on the sidewalk, their hats out for coins.

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It’s work time.

I have nothing to say and too much to do. I meant to get my edits on Stay finished this weekend, but the widespread WordPress attack hit The Proviso‘s site and I spent my weekend, instead, cleaning up after that mess. And I still have a bunch to do before I’m satisfied with my sites.

The blog I just linked made the assertion that we should’ve upgraded. I made a deliberate decision not to because the last time I auto-upgraded, it broke my shopping cart and photo gallery plugins. I had to rebuild Peculiar Page‘s shopping cart twice (which still doesn’t work and redirects to B10 Mediaworx), and B10 Mediaworx’s once, which, thankfully, works. To me, it was a no-win situation and in hindsight, I see that I would’ve had to waste all that time anyway.

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My editor likes me!

He really likes me!

Scroll down to #64.

064) Stay by Moriah Jovan (MS POLICY), finished July 15.

My faith that I put in Moriah after reading The Proviso was justified. This book is good. Parts of it are excellent. And it’s still only a draft. It still has explicit sex (though not as much) but you should have no other qualms about checking this one out when it’s released in a few months.

Congratulations, Moriah, on a great book. Keep ’em coming.

MS POLICY

I am positively giddy.

Also, independent publishers Zoe Murdock and Riley Noehren and I had a roundtable chat about independent publishing. What we have in common: We’re female, LDS, and publishing ourselves. That transcript (and awesome discussion) are up at A Motley Vision.

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Writers: Accept it and keep going. Or not.

Keep your day job.

Accept that you will not be able to quit your day job.

Regardless how much weeping and wailing and gnashing of the teeth goes on around the web about monetizing art, if you’re a writer not already pulling income that allows writing to be your day job, just deal with the fact that you probably aren’t going to.

In my mind, making peace with the fact that you have to keep your day job is a lot easier than spending all your creative energy to resent it. Ask me how I know.

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Retreads: I rode this train for so long…why?

June 23, 2009

My blog’s been around long enough now, with enough posts, that nobody wants to go digging through what I had to say a buncha long time ago (centuries in blog time). I’m coming up short on content lately (heh, didja notice?), so I’m going to recycle some of this stuff because now people have been asking me questions I’ve answered in my earliest posts.

This [original article with comments are here] is from June 13, 2008:

I have a buncha novels on my hard drive that have been sitting around collecting dust since, oh, 1990 some time, I guess. In ’93 I wrote one that got me an agent, and another that year that got me a contract—before the publishing company was shut down (because, according to the rumor at the time [get this] it was making too much money and it had been created to take a loss for tax purposes) (remember Kismet? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller? Bueller?); one in ’95 that got me an early-Saturday-morning phone call from Harlequin to pleasepleaseplease overnight the manuscript; and a fourth novel in ’98 that got me a different agent.

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