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    The Pitfalls of Using Self-Publishing Book Packages

    by Carla King
    March 25, 2010
    Packaged publishing plans: Can a one-size-fits all solution be a real solution at all?

    The rise of self-publishing has made it possible for anyone to be an author. Now, some people are also choosing to outsource their book project by hiring an author services company.

    Author services companies do not make their money from selling books, they make their money from convincing authors to buy their services."

    On the surface, this seems much easier than finding and hiring a half-dozen professionals to create your book. (For background on the self-publishing industry and author services companies, please read my previous MediaShift article.) But is it worth it? Below are some of the potential danger zones of working with these services, as exposed by authors who were seduced by the promises of quick and easy self-publishing packages. I also offer some advice about avoiding these pitfalls.

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    Beware the ISBN Acquisition

    Larry Jaffee wants his book back.

    “Albert Square & Me: The Actors of EastEnders” is based on 18 years of interviews with actors from the popular BBC show. He chose iUniverse to publish his book because “I was looking for a one-stop shop that would run the interference I needed.” He bought their Premier program for $899 (on special from $1099), which included the ISBN and bar code acquisition, and distribution in the U.K. Getting into U.K. wholesalers Bertrams and Gardners was an integral part of his marketing plan, as the 25th anniversary of the show was coming up.

    “They even talked me into an additional $699 for a program to handle bookstore returns,” he said.

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    The only problem?

    “The U.K. bookstores didn’t order it because it was a [print-on-demand] book.”

    Jaffee is planning a second edition of the title, and he intends to do things differently this time.

    “I have over 30 interviews that didn’t make it into the first edition, so I’ll create a second edition with my own ISBN,” he said. He’ll probably design the book himself in QuarkXPress, and will hire one of his editors to edit and proofread the work. He is considering an offset printer because he fears that printing with Lightning Source will tag it as a POD book, which the U.K. wholesalers reject. (Jaffee need not worry: Lightning Source is a publisher services company whose business model is based on print and distribution. They do not have the same stigma with resellers.)

    How to buy your own ISBN and bar codes: Visit Bowker Identifier Services to purchase a block of 10 ISBNs for under $250. Why 10 and not one?

    i-b4dfebc4ec03a4986ef7acae385cb4fd-barcode.gif

    Because they’re a lot cheaper in bulk (a single ISBN is $125), and you’ll need a new ISBN for each form of the book: print, e-book, audio, new editions and, of course, your next book. Also, if you buy just one, booksellers might figure out that you’re a self-published author. You can purchase EAN Bar Codes for each ISBN for $25 on an as-needed basis for your print editions. With your own publishing house name on the book, you can print and distribute offset or print-on-demand or short runs, and booksellers won’t lump you in with Lulu, iUniverse, and other POD services.

    Great Distribution, Paltry Profits

    It’s important to realize author services companies do not make their money from selling books — they make money from convincing authors to buy their services. An author services company sells your book through their program to online resellers like Amazon and in their own online store, and they allow you to buy an inventory of your own book for a set price.

    For example, when Jaffee sells “EastEnders” on Amazon, he gets about $2 per book after iUniverse takes their cut. That’s an incredibly small payout for a book with a list price of $25.95.

    On top of that, author services companies rarely receive orders from brick-and-mortar booksellers, unless a customer specifically orders the book.

    i-16975efcac8f8ff4ca75d3d7477841fc-grassroutes.jpg

    When Serena Bartlett published the first “GrassRoutes Travel Guide” with subsidy press Lulu, she was impressed that it immediately appeared online everywhere.

    “Lulu is really deeply embedded with the distribution companies,” she said, “which I thought was great until I wanted to take my book off Lulu and create my own company, maximizing profits with a ‘real’ distribution deal.” (Bartlett eventually made a deal with Sasquatch Books.)

    How to get great distribution and a nice profit margin: Get a DBA name and publish your book with your own company name and logo. (Be sure to choose a name that doesn’t scream “self-publisher.”) Booksellers, distributors and readers are not likely to notice, or care, as long as your book is produced professionally and you have a great website and social media presence. From there, join the Amazon Advantage program to sell your book directly through Amazon.com, or sign up with Lightning Source to get listed in the Ingram database. Sign their print and e-book distribution contracts for U.S., U.K., and Canadian online and brick-and-mortar resellers. If your book is of very high quality and you have a great marketing plan, you can apply for bookstore distribution with a reputable company like Small Press United. You will ship a large number of offset print books to them (the best price breaks occur at 1,000 and 2,500 copies), and they will handle all domestic (U.S.) distribution for you. These channels will all take a 55 percent cut on the retail price, but when you sell your book through your website and personal appearances you receive 100 percent of the cover price.

    Print-On-Demand: The Proof is in the Price

    Many POD author services companies outsource their printing jobs to the lowest bidder. The result is a lack of quality control. When Bartlett published “GrassRoutes” with Lulu, she was delighted with the ease of the process but said “the print quality was awful. Guidebooks are used — they’re opened and closed and bump around in backpacks. Pages fell out, bindings cracked, covers curled.”

    Lisa Alpine, a member of my Wild Writing Women group, is a book-birthing coach and author of the upcoming anthology, “Exotic Life: Laughing Rivers, Dancing Drums and Tangled Hearts.” She advises using Lulu or CreateSpace only for printing cheap proofs.

    “Proofs can cost up to $75 from print companies, but I upload my latest PDF to Lulu, click the print button, and get a copy of my latest experiment in the mail for under $10,” she said. “It’s an affordable way to learn, to play with the design, fonts, even the order of my stories.”

    How to print a proof, a short run, get a good POD contract, and a quantity in offset: Use POD author services companies with no upfront costs like Lulu or CreateSpace to print proofs only (do not include the ISBN and barcode). When you’re sure of your product, print a small inventory with a reputable short run printer like 48HrBooks (100 minimum), and sign up to print and distribute with Lightning Source, which can take a while, as a representative will need to walk you through the process. When you’re ready to print 1,000 copies at a time, find a reputable offset printer. Both Alpine and Bartlett chose Transcontinental. “They’re printed on 100 percent recycled paper, have great service, excellent quality, and are priced very competitively,” said Alpine. Jaffee may go the same route, but in the meantime he’s stuck with the iUniverse contract: He pays $10 per book for a minimum quantity of 500 books.

    Marketing and Publicity: More Than a Press Release

    Many author services packages that include promotion and marketing cost between $1,500 and $15,000. Karen Leland, a San Francisco Bay Area book publicist and president of Sterling Marketing Group, said clients often come to her on the verge of tears after paying an exorbitant amount of money for just one press release sent to traditional media channels with no results.

    i-32285ec2af55323ad9a6e8f674a71887-karenleland.jpg
    Karen Leland

    “While the best publicist in the world can’t guarantee which publication, blog, radio or TV show will run with a review of an author’s book, or interview them as an expert, there are certain things a dedicated publicist can do to customize the PR campaign and improve the odds the writer will get picked up by media,” she said. “The problem with the generic approach author services companies take is that it’s ‘one size fits all.’ That rarely produces the best results.”

    How to build your platform and choose a promotion professional: Leland recommends you start promotion activities as many as two years before your book is published. This builds your platform. These activities include getting a website, blogging and taking advantage of social media and networking tools. If you’re going to hire a publicist, request a detailed plan that includes the specific projects that will be part of the campaign, the timeline for delivering on these projects, what you as the author are expected to provide to the publicist, and the process by which the publicist will keep you updated on the progress of your campaign. And be sure to ask them to provide other authors as references.

    Editing and Design: Big Investment, Big Payoff

    The book interior and cover design tools author services companies provide are very easy to use, but they’re also proprietary. You have to start all over again if you want to move your book to another company. Also, if you’re paying for their design and editing services, remember that their business model is to sell services to authors, not to make your book the next big bestseller.

    i-f16b300722ce011a2d8a92049b02f425-joelfriedlander.jpg
    Joel Friedlander

    “It’s a crapshoot,” said Joel Friedlander, a professional book designer who has spent time correcting bad book covers and interior designs that suffer from poor font choices, inadequate margins, and poorly thought out images. “I have a book from CreateSpace on my desk with the odd page numbers on the left, the even ones on the right, set completely in Times and Times Bold. What a disaster! These companies lead you to believe that you’re getting a professional-looking book when all they are selling you is a paint-by-the-numbers standard template that may be completely inappropriate for your book’s intended market. It brands the author as an amateur, or worse, incompetent. Find a designer who will respect your work, treat you as an individual, and give you a book that you can proudly sell against the best books on the shelf.”

    Lisa Alpine’s search for a copy editor turned up many who replied to her carefully spelled-out requirements with an email stating, “I’d love to take a look at your book!” and no details on pricing or process. The editor she hired was “the only candidate who professionally returned a price sheet with clear descriptions of the various levels of editing with prices clearly stated for services from proofreading to conceptual editing.”

    She hired her to edit one chapter to see if their personalities fit.

    “The working relationship between editor and author is so close,” said Alpine,“that it’s essential you’re on the same page, so to speak.” This is also true for working with designers. Alpine hired Lyn Bishop to consult with her on the cover for “Exotic Life,” though she also did part of the work herself since she’s competent in Photoshop.

    How to get great editing and design: Take a look at Friedlander’s articles about book design to get an idea of the complexity of design. For cover design trends, peruse the Book Design Review blog, (though be aware that it was recently put on hiatus). Find an editor by asking around at local writing and publishing organizations, and by asking online groups. Get recommendations and clarity on pricing, and start with one chapter to make sure you’re compatible. Print proofs and commit to perfection.

    More and more people with serious ambitions for their book are realizing that author services companies aren’t necessarily the place to go. More people are starting their own businesses and professionally producing their own books.

    In terms of working with consultants, remember that paid professionals are as proud of their work as you are of your own, and they’re a joy to collaborate with. For book authors this is, luckily, the more rewarding choice.

    “I really savor each step in the process, and getting involved so I don’t have to be stressed out and mystified,” said Alpine. “You know, we used to throw manuscripts to a publisher and hope for the best. I think it’s a real privilege to be able to have control of your own book.”

    Carla King is a publishing and social media strategist and co-author of the Self-Publishing Boot Camp Workbook, which grew out of experiences leading workshops for prospective self-publishers. She has self-published non-fiction travel and how-to books since 1994. Her series of dispatches from motorcycle misadventures around the world are available as print books, e-books and on her website.

    Tagged: author services bar codes book design createspace isbn iuniverse lightning source lulu photoshop self-publishing
    • Carla, another very useful article. Having these case studies is really helpful to people thinking about self-publishing, and you’ve done a real service here. Thanks for the mention, too!

    • Some solid information here. I think one of the most important things any independent publisher can can is research, research, research. All of the points you have made have been discussed countless times over the last decade on various publishing forums, in articles and more recently, on blogs. And people need to read contracts thoroughly before signing them. It is surprising how so many people don’t.

      Another thing I’ve noticed over the years is that some people don’t want to hear the truth. They’ll pay a lot of money to hear they’ll sell 20,000 copies of their poetry book, and ignore people such as you giving them the accurate information for free.

    • Thanks for this excellent overview. I will pass this along to my clients, both as a guide and as a cautionary tale. Most of the authors we work with are writing memoirs and family histories, and I believe they are even more vulnerable to bad publishing deals because they don’t have real commercial prospects. Often, their models – other family histories they’ve seen from short-run presses of 20 years ago – are poorly designed, non-commercial books. So their standards are low, and they are eager to see their book in print. I tell aspiring authors that printing a book is an entirely different process than marketing it. There are two learning curves (and more) and POD publishers aren’t responsible for their success.

    • cas127

      Are there any stats on how many self-published books sell each year?

      What the Top 10 annual sellers are? How many they sold?

    • If you would like some self publishing success stories, talk to me or to Carol Buchanan. She won the SPUR Award for Best First Novel last year with her self-published novel, “God’s Thunderbolt: The Vigilantes of Montana” which was produced by BookSurge. My novel “The Shenadoah Spy” is available at bookstores all over the world and foreign language rights will be offered at the London Book Fair next month.

      And the POD firms are not publishers but printers. You are the publisher.

    • Carla King

      cas127 – Please see my last article for the best answer – about how the industry is not categorizing short run books into subcategories. So we can’t tell yet. Or even define “self-published” books. Self-publishing by definition is to publish your book yourself, so if you go with iUniverse, for example, you’re not self-publishing, really – iUniverse is doing it for you, under their brand, their publishing house name. Confusing, huh?
      http://www.pbs.org/mediashift/2010/03/self-publishing-author-services-open-floodgates-for-writers060.html

    • Carla King

      Hi Francis, sounds like you and Ms. Buchanan have had some great success with your books. Congratulations! But I’d like to continue to try to clarify the terminology around publishing. If you use a POD self-publishing company like iUniverse or CreateSpace (formerly BookSurge) you are not the publisher *unless* you buy your own ISBN and have your own publishing house name on the spine. But you *can* use some of these companies to print your books using POD technology, as Lisa Alpine recommended in the article. But most people pay them to actually publish, print, sell, and distribute their books. They let them buy the ISBN, which means that the author services aka self-publishing company is the publisher, *not* the person who wrote the book. I looked up Carol Buchanan’s book and found that she did not publish it herself, or under her own company name. “God’s Thunderbolt” is on record as published by BookSurge Publishing. On the other hand, your book, “The Shenandoah Spy” is published by you under your own publishing house name, Brass Cannon Books. In simple terms, you have self-published and Carol Buchanan has paid BookSurge to publish her book.

    • Carla,
      Nice article. I’d like to hear from readers who had other iUniverse experiences.
      Larry

    • I got in on the ground floor with iUniverse in 2001. Got a nice looking book in 30 days for $99, although I also paid $100 for a professionally designed cover. My experience in marketing was that bookstores wouldn’t touch a POD iUniverse book. Libraries didn’t care and I made good sales there. Then last year a start-up micropress read my book, made me an offer and paid me an advance. I terminated my affiliation with iUniverse and was off and running.

      Marketing is always the problem, no matter how good your book, unless you’re famous or infamous. Fortunately, e-books are changing that. My “new” book — new title, new cover, some rewriting — is doing well on Kindle.

      I have only good things to say about iUniverse. They did exactly what they promised to do, no more, no less.

    • Great resources and shared experiences.

    • Jerusha Myers

      Thank you so much for this! I am sure this will save me alot of money, frustration, and heartache! I appreciate everyone’s comments also!

    • Very informative. Well researched. I will link from my blog. Thanks, Carla!

    • It is good to see a post that is aligned with what I have been teaching, and yes preaching, for 15 years now……….Rita

    • Thanks for this great article, Carla. Writers beware of spending money on the dream. I did and got taken. CreateSpace is the best POD since it’s free or $39 for Pro Plan. I’ve written 2 novels and eventually made and sold ebooks. Guess what? Totally free of cost and higher profits! Writers can make, market and sell ebooks – all for free. For lots of valuable (and free) advice:
      http:ebooksuccess4free.webs.com

    • Thanks, Carla, for both your articles about self-publishing. I felt like they and the comments they engendered were from people I know.

      In 1999 when the POD revolution was just beginning, I had a novel CONTESSA (an ersatz as-told-to book about an older actress outing herself as having started out in life as a man) published by iUniverse for a flat fee of $99. The book did quite well and I had no real problem in getting the word out about my product. POD was so new that it actually helped sales as a novelty. I didn’t hit the big time with CONTESSA but all in all I was pleased.

      Four years later, via iUniverse I came out with PARIS PLAYS (an anthology of 9 of my plays). This book did okay but by 2004 it seemed there were quite a few POD books out and they were all clamoring for attention. PARIS PLAYS has done what I would term mediocre business.

      Dial forward to this past December when I came out with VIVA LA EVOLUCION, a humorous political and social novel via Lulu & Accurance. Accurance charged $399 and did a wonderful cover and book interior. That price included publishing and distribution via Lulu. They let you edit galleys until you got it right.

      In the 4 months since the appearance of VIVA LA EVOLUCION, it has done miserably. That does not seem to be because of the book itself. People like the cover and it seems to be typo free. Readers think it is funny, a lot of fun and would make a good basis for a film.

      VIVA LA EVOLUCION’s major problem seems to be because it is fiction. Apparently the vast majority of PODs are non-fiction. Anyway, I simply cannot get the word out that my book exists. The market is so saturated with PODs that all publicity destinations seem to be completely inundated with Press Releases and letters from us in the self-published field.

      Any suggestions? Or has the whole arena just become one gigantic cattle-call? Has self-publishing itself now reverted to it’s who you know that makes the difference? It seems that product has once again taken a back seat to contacts. What’s a fiction, POD person to do without contacts? Any thoughts?

    • icedreams

      Interesting article. But bookstores really aren’t reluctant to stock self-published books: They are only reluctant to stock self published books that look like vanity press books (like the EastEnders book you mentioned).

      There are many writers, photographers and artists who self publish under their own imprints very successfully. They create their own imprints to disguise the fact that they are self publishing. And these self publishers have the smarts to work with professional editors and designers so their books look professional. The EastEnders book looks poorly designed and edited – like a hobby project. That isn’t the fault of the printer. It is the fault of the writer. It seems that Mr Jaffee is getting bad advice, if what he plans to do is repackage the book with just more content. It seems like tighter editing, fresher writing and a better design is what is needed to make his book look professional (and not just a hobby, vanity book).

      Writers always want to blame others when their books don’t sell when they really should be looking to improve their own output. If a commercial publisher isn’t interested in publishing a writer’s book, there is a valid reason (usually). That writer would be better off improving it than going to a vanity press (there is a good reason why they are called a vanity press). But if a writer decides self publishing is the way to go, they need to hire professionals to help them package their product if they want to compete in the professional marketplace..

    • icedreams

      @Pat Browning: I completely agree about the marketing. Marketing is a talent unto itself and something that every writer or small business owner should study seriously before embarking on a publishing venture. Even if you are going to hire a firm to help you with marketing, you need to understand what they are doing and whether they are doing it well or not.

    • Carla,

      Thank you very much for your article.

      I agree with many of your points. Self-publishing is about self-determination. What helped me most when I self-published was first to clarify my goals and then to be dogged in the pursuit of them.

      I wanted a book that looked and felt classy because the subject matter required it. I also wanted the presentation to match the prose.

      The result was “Silver Tongue — Secrets of Mr. Santa Barbara” — my book about my father. You can see the website here — http://www.larrycrandell.com/

      Now, I’m using Huffpost Books as a platform for a serial web novella called “A is for Amy & Adonis.” The idea is to bring a 19th century genre to a 21st century medium. The goal: provide quality, accessible fiction with emotionally engaging characters on a major blogsite. Instead of opinion and information, we have a good read. So far, the experience has been great.

      Samuel Johnson once said that self-promotion has a great stench. So hold your nose if you have to.

      But the reason I share my experience here is also to let people know that there has never been a better time to realize their literary goals.

      I published my book in 2007 — under the imprint of Quinn, Rose, Elliot & Ellery and with the help of a professional designer and editor. It was a joy.

      The key is that you are the publisher so you have to be very clear about your goals and then very determined about working and encouraging and pushing until you reach the standard you seek.

      Thanks again, Carla, for offering such useful guidance.

      Steven Crandell

    • I enjoyed this discussion – it’s so helpful for authors to hear real-life stories from publishers who have used various publishing methods. As a publishing consultant, I tell authors that the “best” way to publish a book depends on a number of factors, including the type of book, the audience, the sales potential, and the time and financial constraints of the author. It’s important for authors to do some research and understand the industry in order to make informed decisions about what’s best for their particular project.

      Many authors confuse “POD publishing” with “POD printing”. I recently wrote this article to clarify the differences and discuss the advantages of using printing on demand printing: http://bit.ly/aj1Hp1

    • >>From there, join the Amazon Advantage program to sell your book directly through Amazon.com< <

      Bad advice.

      Amazon Advantage’s standard purchase discount is 55%. The author/publisher get 45% of the List Price. That 55% may sound OK to you because it’s the same percentage you’d give to a distributor and bookstore. HOWEVER, with Advantage, if a book costs you $4 to print and Amazon sells it for $20, they pay you $9. After you deduct the cost of shipping and insurance, you are lucky to make $5 on a book.

      On the other hand, if you have Lightning Source print the book and ship it to Amazon’s customers, Amazon keeps just 20% ($4) and you keep $11 after the cost of printing and shipping. You’ll have a big advantage if you don’t use Advantage.

      Michael N. Marcus
      -- president, Independent Self-Publishers Alliance, http://www.independentselfpublishers.org
      — author, “Become a Real Self-Publisher: Don’t be a Victim of a Vanity Press”
      http://www.amazon.com/dp/0981661742
      — author, “Stories I’d Tell My Children (but maybe not until they’re adults)” http://www.amazon.com/dp/0981661750– http://www.BookMakingBlog.blogspot.com
      http://www.SilverSandsBooks.com

    • UK calling ! … We (I and my partner) looked seriously at several ‘self-publishing’ and POD models like Lulu and Lightning Source and calculated that all were too expensive to allow a paperback (fiction) selling price at market rates. Instead we formed a small publisher (‘Joint Impressions’) and used a professional (but not expensive) desktop publishing package.

      The result – after quite a lot of work, for my first novel – is indistinguishable from any other commercial paperback novel (except for the cover, which, I admit, should have been given to a professional designer – even so, it’s not amateurish, just not exciting).

      BUT .. we read and studied lots of guides and endlessly researched and compared fonts and page layouts in bookshop after bookshop. We studied spacing, margins, leading, font size, paper quality … you name it .. and talked to bookshops managers for advice.

      AND we used one of the top UK paperback printers (Mackays of Chatham – they print thousands of best sellers), whose prices came out at about £2-60 (about $3-90) per book on a 2,000 print run (but it will be HALF that for any future run-on, per 1000). They also provided invaluable advice on book size, font and layout.

      We settled on a selling price of £8-99p (about $13-40), as it’s a long book (695 pages) and therefore good value.

      Compare that with $22-95 for an ordinary fiction paperback I saw at the London Book Fair this week, published by one of the UK’s top ‘self-publishing’ companies. It has absolutely no chance of being bought by any ordinary reader.

      Mine may be selling slowly but it’s on some bookshelves, and available through wholesalers, can be ordered through any UK bookshop and on Amazon. We have to live with heavy discounts but at least the book is priced for the market.

      AND … it’s our own publication. We’re in charge (and suffer our own distribution problems!) … and we’re already planning the next two (a novel and a nonfiction DVD). And we still have 9 of our 10 ISBNs left over.

      Ok our ambition so far has outstripped our slow sales (book published May 2009) but we have the bit between our teeth and will never dump our books onto ‘remainder’ wholesalers. Our ‘marketing effort’ is ongoing; eventually it will pay off.

      Not necessarily a model for everyone but we have no regrets – just lessons learned!

    • I am always interested in constructive criticism, but I do wonder whether “icedreams” who posted the comment below actually read my book, and is a pretty harsh criticism in my opinion if he/she has not. By the way, icedreams is among the few posters here to whom you cannot comment directly. I wonder why.

      My main point was iUniverse misrepresented the UK retail distribution it had. It did not get into Waterstones, WH Smith and Borders or
      handled by Bertrams because it was POD. iUniverse’s marketing materials (first page attached) is just plain wrong. Borders does not
      stock POD books, period, nor does Bertram (proof attached).

      I am taking my distribution complaint to Kevin Weiss, president of Author Solutions.

      I was booked to go to the London Book Fair and was grounded unfortunately by the volcanic ash, especially since I had a scheduled
      meeting with Lorna Russell, the editorial director at Random House UK, who oversees the BBC’s tie-in titles. She wrote: “I think your book is great. The interviews are fantastic and it gives a
      wonderful insider’s view of the show. If ever we do decide to revisit EastEnders as a publishing opportunity, I will definitely be in touch to see
      if there might be a way we could work together.”

    • Carla King

      Good point Marcus. You’re right. Lightning Source to Amazon gives the author a better deal. Soon I hope that Smashwords will have a distribution deal with Amazon, too, which would be as good or even better. Smashwords and Scribd today are great for ebook publishing. I’d be surprised if they weren’t printing, soon. My new article on ebook strategy: http://www.pbs.org/mediashift/2010/05/how-to-pair-smashwords-and-scribd-for-ideal-e-book-strategy123.html

    • Carla King

      Icedreams, wish I knew your real name! Some bookstores are becoming more and more reluctant to stock self-published books and are even charging authors (publishers) to hold readings. So much for the indies! But every author knows — or should — that the bookstore isn’t where the sales are.

    • Carla King

      Thanks Jason. CreateSpace is indeed a good value. Comparable are Wordclay and Lulu. POD “publishers” and POD “printers” – all. Hope you are not selling through their store or using their editing, isbn, or design services!

    • Magnificent explanation of the whys and wherefors.

      At any rate, at my stage right now, my only option is self-publishing. Thanks, anyway.

    • A very thorough explanation of how to go about self publishing!!!

      Unfortunately, I just don’t see many authors having the time or expertise to project manage the publishing process of their book in a truly DIY manner.

      Self publishing services companies are like the mcdonalds of the industry. Yes, most everyone that eats there has heard it’s not healthy, but they’ll still pull up to that drive through time and time again.

      It’s the ease of use, and the possibility of being the 1 to break through. For the authors who do their research they’ll find that there are many self publishing companies that will give them all original files, website, rights, and royalties.
      Checkout Authoragency.com.

    • Carla King

      You wouldn’t think that so many people had the time and stamina to DIY self-publishing, but they do. “Hobbyist” authors are very ready to DIY and so are business authors. The more serious they are about their work the more they employ writing groups and professional editors and designers to help with their book. Most people simply are not willing to shell out thousands of dollars to use a service. Those who are, are probably better off hiring out individuals rather than a company who does everything for them…. like I said, services companies make their money selling services, not books. Though there may be exceptions, in my experience, I’ve seen it as the rule.

    • @Carol,

      You’re right about the publishing services companies, but I don’t see them as any different than conventional publishers who have it in their contracts that authors are suppose to do their own marketing.

      The likes of Lulu, Createspace, iUniverse, Authorhouse, etc., are not bad options for dedicated authors who would like to invest in seeing their dreams come through.

      Author Solutions isn’t going anywhere soon with recent partnership deals with Harlequin, Hay House, Thomas Nelson, and probably many other publishers to come, they’ll soon be the elephant in the room.

    • Ron Huckemeyer

      With all I have taken in from Carla King (great article) and the great posts, a fog seems to be lifting. I learned alot from everything I have just read more then I could have ever researched the self publishers. Trying to enter in the self publishing world with my first fiction novel, I may now look into my own publishing company rather then sign with a self publisher. Again more research is required. Admittedly I was nervous going into self publishing, but for now I’ll look into professional services to help along the way. (Thanks Nigel Jay Robsen).
      My budget is a little more the the average self publishing price, so I’m sure I can put something together. Thank you all for enlightening me to wait for this fog to lift and actually see what’s on the other side.
      Wish me luck and hopefully “Saving Gazarion”, A middle grade, Y/A novel will take its place clearly.

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