Catherine, Caffeinated: Self-Printed 3.0

selfprintedsplashbadgeCatherine Ryan Howard taught me how to do a Goodreads giveaway, among other things. Wanna know what she can teach you? Here’s a single Q&A with Catherine, and down below, the scoop on the latest edition of her book Self-Printed: The Sane Person’s Guide to Self-Publishing.

I asked: Is there any specific data on the ROI for freebies? I’m curious about data like “100 copies given away results in 13 reviews and 3 copies sold” or some such nonsense. Separated by fiction and nonfiction. Also, what’s your opinion on whether such data would have any practical value?

… more … “Catherine, Caffeinated: Self-Printed 3.0”

Kindle and Nook, Dead Trees and eReaders: What Does It All Mean?

round and round the dead treeMy illustrator is moving from Florida to Utah this week and wouldn’t be available to chat with y’all about working with an illustrator. We’ll reconnect with Davina next week. This week, let’s talk about digital books, eh?

Some people still think self-publishing = ebooks, that is, digital only. They’re unaware of print-on-demand, assuming that print is only available to traditional publishers, or that you’ll have to print a garage full of books.

Self-publishing means only one thing: … more … “Kindle and Nook, Dead Trees and eReaders: What Does It All Mean?”

How Do I Know if I’m a Real Writer or Not?

?In another of my newsletter signup welcome email conversations, Michael asked,

As an old guy, my only real question about publishing in general is: am I considered to be a writer, for real, if I’m not published by a traditional publisher?

By you, or by traditional publishers, or by your readers, or by your family, or by other self-published authors?

You might guess that some folks will look down on you, and some won’t.

I think the answer that matters is what it feels like to you.

I’ve self-published 10 books. Anyone who thinks I’m not an author, a real writer, can take a flying leap. I know what I am.

You probably do, too.

You don’t need anyone’s permission to be who you are and do what you do.

Self-Publishing: It’s Not Settling, It’s a Choice

photo http://www.sxc.hu/photo/1133804 by Sigurd Decroos http://www.cobrasoft.be/photography.aspxThough the article is too long and wandering to use in today’s newsletter, there are some salient quotes in Ether for Authors: Is It Time for Publishing to Call a Truce? Porter Anderson quotes Dr. Florian Geuppert of Hamburg-based Books on Demand. The emphasis in both quotes is mine:

We have surveyed 1,800 of our 25,0000 [sic] authors in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Germany, and Scandinavia … About one-third of the authors we surveyed made a conscious choice against traditional publishing … We can identify three big groups. The first is the hobby authors. Then there are professional writers. And then there are the experts, who use self-publishing to share their expertise—being a coach, being a scientist, being a business person.
All of them across the groups said their reasons for self-publishing are first, creative freedom and control over their rights and content; second, it’s the ease of the process; third, it’s basically fun … and the desire to self-publish is even higher among professional writers.

One third of authors surveyed (by a print-on-demand company, we should note) made self-publishing their first choice.

Does that really mean the other two-thirds settled for something less than their real goal, traditional publishing?

A number of points come to mind:

  1. Don’t settle. If you want a traditional publishing deal, I think you’re wasting your time and effort, but if you still want it, don’t settle. You’ll never ever ship art that’s worth anything if you settle.
  2. Why do the majority of authors who end up self-publishing still consider it a second choice? Do they think they’ll make less money? Earn less fame? Have to work harder? Deliver an inferior product?
  3. Is fun the difference? Is this adventurous spirit where the split happens? Are we looking at, not business choices, but personalities?

Self-publishing is not automatically second-rate, second-class, second choice.

You can help prove this by producing a top quality book: the writing, editing, formatting, design, all of it.

I’m holding myself to a higher standard with all my books next year.

What could you do better with your books?

Sharing the Profits vs. Hiring Assistance

I'm sure there's a metaphor about paths and choice in here somewhereI’ve long been opposed to sharing profits with the traditional publishing world after an author has done all the work to build a following.

Lately I’ve been thinking there’s middle ground.
… more … “Sharing the Profits vs. Hiring Assistance”

Is Your Goal “Getting Published” or “Being an Author” ?

photo http://www.sxc.hu/photo/656380 by belinda cumming http://www.sxc.hu/profile/belleoftheI’ve asked every question I can think of; asked everyone I can find.

The short version is that if your lifelong goal has been to “get published” then a traditional publisher is the only one who’ll fulfill your dream.

But if your goal is
… more … “Is Your Goal “Getting Published” or “Being an Author” ?”

What Do Authors THINK They Want?

Digital Book World and Writer’s Digest asked 5,000 authors what factors influenced their decisions between traditional and self-publishing. Without reading the full (expensive) report, the accompanying chart is ambiguous because it merely states what factors influenced the decision, but not which direction authors were influenced. If you and I both consider “Publisher prestige” a factor, and it causes you to pursue traditional publishing, but causes me to choose self-publishing, the factor itself has limited value without the reasoning behind it.

These are, in fact, important factors; too important to leave to the ambiguity of a simple chart. Let’s clarify, shall we? As usual, I’ll fall back on opinion. Mine, of course. Where I see shades of grey I’ll say so, but where I see black and white, expect hyperbole.

factors in deciding whether to pursue traditional or self-publishing
… more … “What Do Authors THINK They Want?”

Use a Self-Publishing Company or DIY?

Publishing is in a state of flux. Every variation of publishing is possible today, from throwing it over the transom to an agent who handles it all, to doing every single step yourself.

image http://www.sxc.hu/photo/1093389 by http://www.sxc.hu/profile/dlnnyIn between are various levels of self-publishing, defined to some extent by the balance of responsibility and risk shared by the publisher and the author. Understanding those differences is vital to your success. When I was asked the question in the title the first part of the answer was getting our definitions straight.
… more … “Use a Self-Publishing Company or DIY?”

The Future of (Your) Publishing – Guest Post by John Work

The Canal by John WorkJohn Work is an author. He posted this on a Linked In group and graciously gave permission for me to reprint it here. Emphasis throughout is mine.

I’m a self-published author, both in ebook and paperback print formats. I’ve been a member of this [Linked In] group for about a year. I’ve noticed that authors who are already traditionally published frequently tell writers who are considering self-publishing their works that traditional publishing is the only way to go – and that if the aspiring writer just sticks with it, sends enough quality manuscripts to agents or publishers, and keeps at it for five, ten or twenty years, that elusive contract offer will eventually come along. You just have to persist, or so I’ve read.

Balderdash.
… more … “The Future of (Your) Publishing – Guest Post by John Work”