Overcoming the Enormous Technical Challenges to Digital Conversion . . . is Already Done

Sigil. calibre (yes, with a lower-case first letter.) There’s even one called Hamster.

If you’ve ever searched for a tool to convert your manuscript to an ebook, you’ve come perilously close to drowning in geekness.

Stop. Step back. Put down the chainsaw; you don’t need one to make a toothpick. Especially if you already have a box of toothpicks.

making toothpicks
making toothpicks

Everything I say in the rest of this post will have exceptions. I’ll mention a few at the end, but if your manuscript doesn’t fall into the exceptions, don’t go to exceptional lengths to get the job done.

… more … “Overcoming the Enormous Technical Challenges to Digital Conversion . . . is Already Done”

Digital or Print? Both! Always Both!

chocolate or peanut butter?For some reason, one of the questions I’m asked most frequently is “Should I publish an ebook, or have it printed?”

Perhaps when I waded into self-publishing I was too ignorant to realize I needed to choose.

Turns out I was right: you don’t have to choose. In fact, doing both simultaneously is efficient and sensible. All the work of preparing your manuscript is the same, whether you’re preparing a digital or printed book. Writing, editing, proofreading: the words will be the same in any version of your book.

… more … “Digital or Print? Both! Always Both!”

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?”

If the Box Doesn’t Fit, Don’t Wear It

photo http://www.sxc.hu/photo/1426375 by Bas van den Eijkhof http://www.sxc.hu/profile/mistermastMost new authors dream of getting a book deal; having a publisher contact them and say, hey, we want your book. I’ll reserve comment on the value of getting a book deal for another conversation.

Some time back a client turned down not one, but two book deals. Two publishing houses approached them and said, hey, we want your book, just sign on the dotted line.

And they thought and they thought and they said, I don’t fit in the box you’d like to put me in.

And then they said the hardest word in the language of business: … more … “If the Box Doesn’t Fit, Don’t Wear It”

Call Me Pollyanna (Guest Post by John “Pollyanna” O’Leary)

I met John on a series of phone calls hosted by our mutual friend Trevor Gay, who, like us, is mad as a hatter. John is working on a book, and like many of you, he’s taking forever.

photo http://www.sxc.hu/photo/80376 by Jeff Prieb http://www.sxc.hu/profile/ctechsHere on Someday Box Joel often lays out the case for self-publishing your book—instead of chasing the REALLY BIG PUBLISHING DEAL. I would have to agree that there are benefits to self-publishing. But based on my experiences as a writer (and author of the forthcoming book, Business Lessons From Rock) I believe it’s only fair that you should hear the other side of the argument. Let me take a moment to enumerate the advantages of pursuing a major publisher. There are many.

… more … “Call Me Pollyanna (Guest Post by John “Pollyanna” O’Leary)”

Everything You Need to Know About Self-Publishing & Marketing and I Didn’t Write It

This is the book you were looking for.

Write. Publish. Repeat. is the book I was writing, in fact. Except I didn’t write it. A couple even more experienced and successful guys beat me to the punch.

Barring my note below, this is the book I was writing. Mine was going to be called Commonsense Zero-Cost DIY Marketing for Authors.

Try as I might, I can’t find a reason to invest the time and creative energy into duplicating a book that already exists.

… more … “Everything You Need to Know About Self-Publishing & Marketing and I Didn’t Write It”

Can We Talk About ISBNs?

International Standard Book Number. ISBN. It seems to confuse folks no end.

photo http://www.sxc.hu/photo/947375 by Zsuzsanna Kilian http://www.sxc.hu/profile/nkzsI get it. Numbers, to most of us in the western world, are about ownership. If someone has your social security number you could be in trouble. Credit card number? Lock it up. Driver’s license? Well, it feels important.

No. Wrong. It’s nothing like that.

… more … “Can We Talk About ISBNs?”

Self-Publishing 101: Q & A with a Ship’s Master

Beginners ask about things some of us take for granted. It’s useful to review the questions and answers to be sure we haven’t missed something which seems self-evident to others.

Sergiy KalyuzhnyI had a long online chat with Sergiy Kalyuzhny, Master at Marlow Navigation, Ukraine. He’s writing a non-fiction account of an event we haven’t fully discussed yet (though I sure hope Sergiy lets me help with the book so I can read about it.)

Since I’m posting late today, as penance, I’ll share the whole thing instead of splitting it into a half-dozen posts.

… more … “Self-Publishing 101: Q & A with a Ship’s Master”

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?

Write ‘Em All and Let the Market Sort ‘Em Out

photo http://www.sxc.hu/photo/1420666 by Vaughan Willis http://www.sxc.hu/profile/BonganiHere is why anyone is allowed to write a book despite the outcry from traditional publishing. It’s why a market full of substandard books doesn’t destroy anything.

Let’s use something entirely different as an analogy.

Let’s say somebody wants to open a new restaurant in town. The other 10 restaurateurs suspect the new chef doesn’t know what they’re doing.

Does that give them the right to prevent that restaurant from opening? I think not.

Let’s go extreme.

… more … “Write ‘Em All and Let the Market Sort ‘Em Out”