GENREALITY

Archive for 'books'



Tuesday, March 22nd, 2011 by Sasha White
Rock My World.

Over the past year or more we’ve been hearing more and more about self-publishing. Joe Konrath has been a force behind the message that we authors can have so much more control, and income, if we override the conditioning of Big Publishing and take control of our own careers. That’s not to say that traditional publishing is bad. I’m not against it in any way, and will still be pursuing it. But I’m also smart enough to know that options are never a bad thing.

In October I dipped my toes into the whole self-publishing pool with MEANDROS. I’d promised to keep y’all up to date on how it went, but have really posted nothing about it since because it’s been very slow moving.

Meandros is a short story just over 5k long. It’s been previously published, and it was also a free read on my website and scribd for a year or so, so I didn’t really expect a lot of sales. But I thought why not, let’s get it out there. I put out some coin to get it re-edited, and formatted and got a nice new cover. I put it up for 99 cents, because that’s the lowest price Amazon allows.

Here’s the stats of what’s happened with that book so far.

* In the four and a half months it’s been for sale, I’ve only sold 1 copy through Smashwords, and 150 through Amazon.

* Sales went up when readers posted reviews.

* Changing the blurb didn’t help sales. Although this could be because my story is about how the main character deals with the death of the love of her life, and I refused to hide that fact in the blurb. It was suggested to me I take that out, to sell the story, but I didn’t think that was cool. I didn’t want to mislead readers

I’m okay with slow sales on that story. Of course I want it to sell lots. I’m human and I want to keep working as a writer, but that particular story is a very personal one, and I really just wanted it to be available to as many readers as possible.

Author Jordan Summers has also been dipping into the Indie Publishing arena by re-releasing some of her backlist, and talks about it openly on her blog. So far she’s released one novella and one category length book, and states that she made a little under $100 in the first month. A few of the sales are from Smashwords and B&N, but the majority are from Amazon. Jordan’s done no promotion beyond her own blog because she wanted to see what would happen if she just put the books out there. Would people find them on their own?

It seems that many of us are not only seeing this as a way to re-release backlists, or short stories that connect to our books, or even new stuff, but also as way to really see what works with readers. We can see what works promotion wise, too. I know I noticed a bump in sales when readers started posting reviews on Amazon, and Jordan confirmed that she saw the same thing.

With that in mind, I went forward with a project with another author. Charlene Teglia and I decided to do an anthology together. We used the theme of rocks or stones of mystical value (ROCK MY WORLD is my story) and we each wrote a short story that connected to our previous print books. Because Charlene’s was paranormal, I chose to write one connected to my own paranormals that were published by Kensington, and not my Berkley contemporaries.

The idea of it is that our fans will buy the book because it’s connected, and hopefully new readers will enjoy the eBook so much they’ll hunt down the print books they’re connected to.

CTSW_ARockandaHardPlace

A Rock & A Hard Place had it’s official release yesterday, and is now on sale for 99 cents through Smashwords, Amazon, Barnes & Noble.

Below are some tips from me to anyone out there wanting to go the Indie Publishing route.

*When it comes to formatting…hire a professional. Save yourself time and stress.
Also, when getting the file ready to send to the formatter…Keep it as simple as possible.
Page breaks are okay. Italics and bold are good, but beyond that, there’s no need to format your file a lot. The person who formats it for publication has to break it down and completely reformat it anyway. However, you can make their job easier and smoother by giving them a clean and simple file to work with.

When asked about how she charges for formatting April Martinez of Graphic Fantastic gave me this list

Long Fiction: $30 for the first file, $10 for each additional format
Anthologies of three or more stories: $50 minimum (more if number of stories or authors exceed 5) for the first file, $10 for each additional format. If the ebook file needs to have Interior Illustrations (including diagrams for non-fiction or covers for excerpt books): additional $5 per image embedded (assuming all images are provided by author(s))

April says, “So far, length hasn’t really made much of a difference in either ebook formatting or for print book design. If anything does make a difference, it’s more likely to be the number of chapters or the number of sections or, say, stories in an anthology. This is because where there’s a hard page break, it’s usually the start of a new file — so the more chapters/sections/stories, the more “files” there are in an ebook and in a print book, and the more “entries” there are that refer to them in a table of contents.”

This shows that it’s not so much about the number of words when it comes to formatting, but the work involved..books with more work (Sections, or excerpts, or images that need to be embedded) will cost more to format.

Also…be sure to include the legalese in the front, and your bio in the back. It’s not up to the formatter to complete your file, only to format what you send them.
If you have any specific requests, (a table of contents, or embedded links) be sure to mention them at the same time you send the file in.
When you get your file back, be sure to check them over right away. You’ll likely get a chance to ask for tweaks if there’s something off, but only if you do so right away.

Smashwords was fairly simple to upload to. Step by step, instructions. One thing we did by accident was not check off the ePub version because we wanted to upload our book to B&N via PubIt. That was a mistake, as the ePub version is also what they use for the iBook store and Sony. We waited until the file was published, then went back in and redid it. It wasn’t a huge hassle, but it was a step that we could’ve avoided. Plus, having to republish set our book back in the line for the premium catalogue, a delay thats not really wanted when the goal is to get the book out in as many venues as soon as possible.

*Side note* Smashwords has a fabulous step-by-step guide on formatting your file for them. It seems easy. It wasn’t. I formatted MEANDROS for Smashword myself (The guy I hired for that one only gave me Mobi and EPub files, I didn’t know enough to ask for a word doc) I followed the steps. Everyone of them, and MEANDROS is till no even in the line-up to go to the premium catalogue because they keep saying it’s not formated right. So, I highly recommend hiring someone. )

Kindle also had step-by-step instructions that made publishing fairly easy. The thing we screwed up on there has to do with pricing. You see, we uploaded the story to all three places (B&N, Amazon, Smashwords on Thursday, and decided to wait until it was available on three before we announced the Sale and Giveaway we planned. We figure it was a better way to make an event out of the release. With this in mind we set the price at $2.99 when uploaded, figuring we could change it to 99 cents for the sale on our official release day Monday) On Sunday night Charlene went in to change the price so the sale could start. The change on Smashwords was immediate. B&N took an hour or so, Amazon took over 12 hours. So, next time, we’re not going to worry about co-ordinating and surprising with a sale, we’ll just put sale price in initially. LOL

B&N PubIt. Me, I didn’t bother putting Meandros up on there before because at that time it wasn’t worth it for the experiment I was doing. Charlene uploaded our anthology, and she cursed the whole time. She says “The real difficulty I ran into wasn’t the upload process, it was the account creation and verification. Also, the cover art requirements are different from Smashwords and Amazon, so it takes a separate file that fits their requirements exactly.”

I highly recommend these guys.

ImagineIf Creative Services by Michelle lauren
Editing, (three levels: proofreading, copy edits and substantive editing)

April Martinez of Graphic Fantastic
Fantastic cover design and graphic art as well as formatting for electronic as well as print publishing. *Did the cover for A Rock & A Hard Place* Visit

Anne Cain Graphic Art & Design
*Did my Mavericks Of Space cover not yet released*

And since I’m talking self-publishing, I just have to add that the news of Barry Eisler turning down a two book deal worth $500,000 to self-publish makes me wonder what’s next. While there is no denying this was a revolutionary move, it’s also one that make me wonder what this move means for those like me and Charlene, and Jordan, who aren’t NYT Bestsellers. How will it effect us if more “Big Name” authors follow in his footsteps? Will it effect us?

One thing is for certain, it’ll be along time before things are settled again in this industry.

Monday, March 14th, 2011 by Carrie Vaughn
Readers and Writers

I’ve been thinking about being a reader, and how being a writer changes reading.  I seem to read far fewer novels now that I’ve been writing a bunch of them for the last six years or so.  Also, I start a lot more than I actually finish.  Part of this is time — if I’m not hooked in the first hundred pages (or if it isn’t so bad I’m not interested in how much worse it can possibly get, which is its own kind of entertainment), I put it down and move on.  Life is too short, and I’ve got a dozen other books waiting for me.  Also, I think I’m a lot pickier than I used to be, which goes back to the issue of time.  If a book doesn’t appeal to me right away, how can I trust its author to wrap up a good story three hundred pages later?

It’s not just my reading patterns that have changed, but my book buying patterns.  It’s been ages since I walked into a book store and just picked something up that looks good.  These days, I have a lot of writer friends who are all writing books, and I’m much more likely to read those than one by someone I haven’t heard of.  I will take recommendations — when a dozen people tell me, you have to read this, odds are I’ll give it a try.  Often, I’ll read a book because I’m looking for something specific — how another author handled a certain narrative technique or setting.  (For example, I’ve read a bunch of steampunk over the last year, to get a sense of what’s out there.)  I’m also more likely to finish a book if I bought it than if it was given to me, just out of a sense of commitment.  If I bought it, it’s usually for a specific reason, which also means I’m more likely to finish.

If I want to read something for fun, I’m most likely to depend on a handful of very favorite authors.  Because I don’t have a whole lot of time, I really want to enjoy my reading time.  When a favorite author puts out a new book, I’m ecstatic.

I’m often asked what urban fantasy I read, and the answer is — not much, usually.  Again, I read what my friends write, and I (sometimes) read what I get asked to consider blurbing.  But I’m submerged in urban fantasy enough writing my own books, I prefer to read other kinds of stories on my down time.

Like a lot of writers, I miss the days when I could uncritically fall into a book and just read it, good, bad or middling.  This means that when I do fall into a book — when I forget that I’m reading, almost — it’s spectacular.  I still encounter authors who teach me things about writing.  I love that.  For me, it’s not enough to fall into another world for a few hours and be entertained.  I want to be astonished — emotionally, intellectually, critically.  It’s a rare feeling.

What I’m reading now, and what got me thinking about all this:  The Crippled God, the last installment in Steven Erikson’s truly epic fantasy series.  I’m constantly amazed at Erikson’s technique, his descriptions, his non-linear and sprawling plotting that still manages to contain a strong sense of narrative drive.  Yeah.  I’m learning, and enjoying myself immensely.

What about the rest of you?  Do you read when you’re working on a novel?  Do you read in the same genre as what you’re writing?  Have you gotten pickier since you started writing?  What authors teach you to be better writers?

Wednesday, March 9th, 2011 by Bob Mayer
Platform, Product, Promotion: The Three Author Variables

Overwhelmed by all the well-meaning advice to authors?

Closely monitoring the publishing business I see many different paths and approaches suggested to aspiring authors.  It’s a very confusing time and there’s a lot of advice out there, much of it contradicting other advice.  My Warrior Writer program focuses on the author.  As part of that, I’m going to try to sort this out for you with a template you can use:  the three Ps.

There’s a simple reason for all the conflicting advice:  no two authors are exactly the same.  Should you go for traditional publishing?  Should you self-publish?  Should you go home?  In an effort to bring some clarity to the issue, I offer up three variables and examine how they affect the way a writer should view getting published and, more importantly, they’re writing career.

The variables are:

Platform

Product

Promotion

Quick definitions:

Platform:  Name recognition is what people think of, but there’s more to platform than that.  Are you an expert in your field?  Do you have a special background that makes you unique?  Everyone has some sort of platform, even if it’s just your emotions, exemplified Johnny Cash in Walk The Line, mining his anger into art.  I use the film clip of his audition at the beginning of my Warrior Writer workshop, book and presentation, and show how quickly he changed, mined his ‘platform’, and was on his way to becoming a star.  All within three minutes.

So don’t get close-minded on platform.  However, for traditional publishers, they immediately are looking at name recognition (brand) and ability to reach a market (which ties into promoting).

However, with the explosion of eBooks, there are other paths to take, which we will examine in future blog posts, as, after 20 years, I’ve really changed my views on how to approach getting published (hey, we want you to come back to Write It Forward.  Bookmark this blog now.  Yes, now.  No, not then.  Now.  BTW, repetition is a key to promotion).

Product:  The book.  Yes, Virginia, you need a book.  Or a proposal for a book.  This is your content.  Most authors become totally fixated on content, while ignoring platform and promotion.  Do so at your peril.

Promotion:  The ability to do it.  The access to promotional outlets.  Unique hook or angle that gets attention.

If you consider three variables, with a sliding scale from ‘none’ to ‘the best’, you end up with an infinite variety of authors.  To simplify matters, let’s go with ‘weak’ and ‘strong’.  This gets us down to eight possible types of writers.

Strong Platform            Strong Product            Strong Promotion

Strong Platform            Strong Product            Weak Promotion

Strong Platform            Weak Product            Strong Promotion

Strong Platform            Weak Product            Weak Promotion

Weak Platform            Strong Product            Strong Promotion

Weak Platform            Strong Product            Weak Promotion

Weak Platform            Weak Product            Strong Promotion

Weak Platform            Weak Product            Weak Promotion

If you’re in the latter line, fughhedaboutit as we used to say in the Bronx.

But for all the other combination of the three P’s, we can all see a type of writer.  Where do you fall?

These are no discrete entities.  They all rely on each other.  You have to consider that promotion is based on platform and product.

Product is often based on the platform.  If you have a platform you will most likely write a book mining that platform (if you don’t, well duh).

There’s a degree of luck involved in promotion.  Going viral.  But luck goes to the person who climbs the mountain to wave the lightning rod about.  It’s called hard work.  One key lesson we’ve learned at Who Dares Wins Publishing is consistency and repetition of message is key.  Slack off for a week, and fughhedaboutit.

Product is the one you can improve the most by working on your craft.  However, you can improve both platform and promotion, which many authors ignore.  Become known as THE writer of that type of book.  That’s platform.

Promotion is often hard as the Myers-Brigg INFJ is labeled ‘author’ while the exact opposite, ESTP, is labeled ‘promoter’.  Duh.  We HAVE to get out of our comfort zones as authors.  In Warrior Writer I emphasize doing the opposite of your Myers-Brigs personality type.

The advent of social media is a boon to writers.  We can actually do promoting from the safety of our offices.  We Are Not Alone: The Writer’s Guide To Social Media lays out an excellent plan for that, but, as the author, Kristen Lamb, clearly writes, figure out your platform and your product (content) first.  Too many authors leap blindly into social media and I watch 95% of them wasting their time and energy flailing about inefficiently.  Small point she makes:  do you have your book cover as your avatar on twitter?  A picture of your cat? Fughhedaboutit.  Read the book.

The bottom line is, as a writer, you have to evaluate yourself on the three P variables and figure out what type you are.  Then approach the business accordingly, while at the same time, working hard to improve in those areas where you are weak.

Write It Forward!

Thursday, March 3rd, 2011 by Candace Havens
Writer Karma

I’m tired of the “Twilight” bashing by other authors. There isn’t a one of you, myself included, who wouldn’t sell your mother for the kind of success she’s found with those books. (My mother says I can sell her, as long as its to a rich man who will keep her in the style to which she would like to become accustomed.) Same with J.K. Rowling. People always talk about the writing with both of those books, but those chicks were obviously doing something right. Millions of young readers continue to read those books.

And that brings me to my topic – Writer Karma.

I’m a big believer that if you are writer, you shouldn’t be talking trash about other writers. First of all, nine times out of ten, you sound like a jealous loser when you do. I was in a big discussion at a sci-fi con with some people who were bashing Twilight. It was obvious they had read the first book but none of the others. They looked like idiots when they tried to explain why the whole idea of controlling, shiny vampires were absurd. There arguments were the same I’d heard from other people who didn’t finish the series. I called them on it. You know what? They shut up. They were also writers and I asked them, how would you feel if you became incredibly successful and someone trashed you without ever reading your books?

Do you have a right to not like something? Absolutely. It’s one of the great things about being human.  But if you are a writer, you better than anyone, should know that we all have our way of telling a story. No two of us would tell a story the same way even if someone gave us the same topic. Stephenie Meyer likes her vamps shiny and made of marble and she writes the heck out of those guys.

I heard someone call themselves a vampire purist and that’s why they didn’t like the books. (I spewed coffee on myself with that one.) Really. Um. Vampires are fictional creatures. And the great thing about fiction is you can do whatever you want. I don’t know about you, but that’s one of the big reasons I go through this hell every time I write a book. I get to create the world and the people in it. You might not like what I do, but that’s the great thing about books. There’s something for everyone.

But I truly believe when you start bashing others in your field, a giant load of crap lands on your writer karma. I’ve seen it happen again and again. Someone will say something nasty at a con, and the writer’s agent/editor will be standing right behind them. The same editor/agent they wanted to pitch to. Or even better, the author is standing there.

I was on a panel at a recent sci-fi con where one of the panelists sat there and talked about how much she hated vampires and thought the whole thing was stupid. She went on and on. To her right was the lovely Rachel Caine (Morganville Vampires) and to her left was Jaye Wells (Green-Eyed Demon). Both of them write vampires and they do it really well. They also happen to be friends of mine. That chick is lucky I didn’t jump across Jaye to wring her neck.  I did notice that no one would sit with that author once the panel was over. Everyone kept a wide berth.

That’s the kind of stupidity I’m talking about. (Note: If you’re sitting on a panel, research the other panelists.) I was at another convention this past weekend where my friends told me a story about some guy in one of the classes who was bad-mouthing the speaker during the class on Facebook. Everyone was talking about this guy. He probably didn’t have clue why they were giving him dirty looks.

The results of writer karma can be pretty immediate. Or some time in the near future you’ll come down with a horrible case of writer’s block. Or that contract that seemed like such a sure thing, isn’t.

I know what you’re thinking. It’s all a bunch of metaphysical hooey. But I’ve seen it action. In any case, if you’re thinking about bashing books while I’m around – don’t. I’m one of those people who will get in your face and call you on it. I have discussions with my friends all the time about books when we are in private settings, but even then I usually only talk about books I like. Half the time if I couldn’t get into something, it’s a book they end up loving, so what’s the point?

Just think about what you are doing and saying. Writing books is a tough business. The last thing we need is a bunch of nasty jerks bashing one another.

Monday, December 13th, 2010 by Carrie Vaughn
Books as Gifts

I’ve finished most of my Christmas shopping, and I have acquired many books for my friends and family.  I hesitate to list them, because I’m not quite sure who among them reads Genreality and who doesn’t, and I don’t want to give anything away.  But this seems like a great year for books as gifts.  Lots of favorite authors have new offerings, lots of favorite blogs are producing gift and humor books (so much for the internet killing the print industry, eh?), lots of “gift sets” of favorite series are available.  A quick survey of what I got:  for my former-pilot dad, a non-fiction book on experimental aircraft; for a steampunk friend, a gift book on archaic customs and gadgets; for that extra emergency gift, a favorite novel by a favorite author.

This is another thing I miss from working in the bookstore — I did my Christmas shopping on the clock.  I knew all the great books we had in stock, and I could match them to everyone on my list.  I also loved doing this for other people — I only had to ask a couple of questions (What kind of books do they like? What are their hobbies?) and I could usually come up with great gifts for someone else, too.

If you’ve never tried this — walking into a bookstore (preferably your local independent) and asking an employee to help you find the perfect gift — give it a whirl.  The knowledge and enthusiasm of the staff will most likely astound you.  I especially loved Christmas Eve — which sounds insane, doesn’t it?  Working retail on Christmas Eve, one of the busiest shopping days of the year, ought to be horrific.  But it wasn’t, because it went so fast, and I spent all day helping desperate people who’d rush into the store looking for the perfect gift, and 99% of the time they were ecstatic when they left, because I’d been able to help them.  And we had free gift wrapping.

On a completely different topic, Tor Books revealed the cover to my next stand alone novel, After the Golden Age, due out in April 2011.  In this post, art director Irene Gallo discusses the cover, and also shows off several different versions of it that they considered.  It’s a bit of a window into how book covers get made.  For the record, I absolutely love the cover that won out:

golden age

Monday, October 18th, 2010 by Carrie Vaughn
The Next Thing

You’ve finished writing your novel.  It’s a book.  And it’s awesome — what an accomplishment!  You deserve a pat on the back and a glass of something nice.  Now, after the celebration, what do you do next?  Research agents, write your query letter, go to conferences, maybe network a little, send out the manuscript over and over and over again (but not too many over agains, you hope).

Well, yes, but I think one of the very first things you should do is start writing your next novel.

This is so important, especially for people who want to write commercial fiction, where you’re pretty much always writing a book in order to keep up with a once-a-year (or more frequent) publication schedule.  Even before you’re published, getting into the habit of always planning the next project, and thinking of ideas for projects after that, can be incredibly useful and such habits will serve you well when you get to the point of making a career out of this gig.

You’ll always have an answer to the question, “What’s your next project?”  Or, “Do you have anything like X, Y, Z?”  This gets you in the mindset of planning ahead, and having ready answers can open doors — especially if the person asking is an agent or editor.  That’s how I sold Voices of Dragons.  I was approached by an editor who wanted to know if I had any ideas for a YA novel.  And I did.  When an invitation for an anthology with a specific theme comes along, I’ll sometimes say yes because I already have an idea lined up, waiting to be written.

Making progress on the next project can reduce stress.  When the reviews and reader reactions for Kitty and The Midnight Hour came out, the second book in the series was already finished.  I couldn’t second guess my initial plan — the series was already a series.  This removed a lot of the pressure of expectation and self-doubt, for which I’m incredibly grateful.

When I got my first contract and I suddenly had less than a year to finish the next book, I wasn’t worried because I knew I could write another book.  I’d already written several, and I was used to starting — and finishing — new projects.

It’s also important to start writing the next novel after you’ve finished the first for the simple reason that the first one may not sell.  I sometimes meet writers who’ve been working on the same novel for years — sometimes many years.  They’ve sent it out, it’s been rejected, so they’ve revised it, sent it out again, and so on, in what I can only imagine is an frustrating cycle.  I give these writers the same piece of heartbreaking advice:  let it go.  Write something new.  Sometimes they can go back to that first manuscript after making a sale with a different one, but in the long term, they’ll be better served by taking what they learned and applying those lessons to a new story.  Also, rejection of a manuscript stings a little less when you already have another one underway.

Kitty and The Midnight Hour was the fourth novel I tried to sell, and the one that finally sold.  Part of the reason the first three didn’t sell is that I stopped sending each one out when I finished the next one, because the next one was always so much better.  I could see my improvement — more complex stories, better written, better plotted, more originality — in each manuscript.  I’m still fond of those early novels.  But I know now that they probably weren’t quite good enough.  If you’re always working on the next thing, you never really have to stop to think about whether the last thing is good enough or not.  You’ll be focused on the next thing, and the next thing is almost always better.

Wednesday, September 1st, 2010 by Bob Mayer
Self-Publishing Realities

Some simple things to keep in mind:

If the publisher is putting its money at risk to produce and distribute the book, then that is a traditional publisher, regardless of medium (print, eBook, POD).  Thus Who Dares Wins Publisher is a traditional publisher.

If the author is putting her money at risk to produce and distribute the book, then that is self-publishing, whether they do all the work themselves or hire someone else to do it.  The author keeps copyright and use their own ISBN.

If the author is putting her money at risk by paying someone else to produce and distribute the book and that other party also takes a percentage of royalties, then that’s vanity or subsidy publishing.  The publisher uses their ISBN.

The average self and subsidy published book sells around 50 copies.  TOTAL.  Most are purchased by the author and go to family and friends.

Vanity publishing houses that market to authors work on a basic rule of income:  their revenue stream comes from the authors, not readers.  That’s the bottom line.  For example, Lulu’s own CEO said they wanted a million authors selling 100 books each, rather than 100 authors selling a million books each.

These businesses prey on people’s dreams.  Every new author believes they will be the ‘one’ to break out.  And when it doesn’t happen, they rarely make any noise about it, because no one likes advertising failures.  Thus all we hear about are the few successes and not the vastly greater numbers of failures.

If you use Print on Demand, remember it’s a technology.  It produces a trade paperback book, pretty much indistinguishable from a traditional publishers trade book.  It has an advantage in that you can produce one book at a time if need be, keeping your ‘print run’ low.  At Who Dares Wins Publishing we have 100% sell through, because we keep our inventory at a level to anticipate sales based on Internet sales and upcoming speaking engagements.

POD is done through Lightning Source, Inc. (LSI).  They do ‘distribute’ the book.  However, it’s a pull rather than pull system.  In 2007, 4 million books were produced via LSI.

Some things to consider if you hire someone to produce your book:

-Make sure you keep copyright and all rights to the book.  On the flip side, I heard a self-publishing company rep at a conference warn authors a danger of going with a “New York” traditional publisher is they take your copyright forever.  No.  Be careful of all the ‘experts’ especially those who have a vested interest in slanting their information a certain way.

-Make sure there isn’t a clause where that publisher gets a percentage of your advance if you subsequently sell it to a traditional publisher.

-Check out the quality of their production.  At WDWPUB we recently did a book that took almost a week to format correctly.  This also holds true for those who think they can format and upload their books to the various outlets (Kindle, iBookstore, Smashwords, etc etc.) on their own.  To do the formatting, cover, photos, etc, correctly requires the proper equipment, expensive programs, expertise, and time.  Be careful in your contract that there aren’t hidden fees for all that.  This is the reason we don’t charge our authors, but we don’t take books on that we don’t think will sell.  We make money when the author makes money.

-ISBNs have gotten cheaper but they still cost.

-Once more, self-published, vanity-published books RARELY sell more than 100 copies.

-Less than ½ of 1 percent sell more than 500.  The CEO of iUniverse a few years back admitted that 84 titles out of the 17,000 they produced one year sold more than 500.  That’s almost exactly .5%.

-Some companies may not charge you.  Apparently.  But some have clauses requiring you to do other things to make money off you:  make you buy X numbers of copies.  Even take a ‘marketing’ course for a large fee.

-Most companies take on anyone with a checkbook.  At WDWPUB so far we’ve taken on only 2 authors this year.  Both had what was needed:  a great book (both non-fiction) and the ability to market.  Kristen Lamb’s:  We Are Not Alone: The Writer’s Guide to Social Media has been out a few weeks now.  And in production is Amy Shojai’s Caring for Your Aging Cat which is a reprint of a book originally published in 2003 by Penguin.

-Much of what most of these self-publishing companies offer you is boilerplate you can do yourself or things that sound great but are really nothing.  Getting you onto Amazon—anyone can do that.  A marketing package that are some boilerplate announcement sent to the usual suspects and immediately trashed, since they’re sending out thousands of the same thing and there’s nothing different about it.

That’s not to say there aren’t legitimate self-publishing companies out there who will do a quality job on your book.  But even then, the onus of marketing and promotion is on you.