Was Self-Publishing The Right Decision? Publishing Writing

Sunday will mark a year since I first uploaded to Amazon. At the time, I was wrestling with a question that many writers are still dealing with today: should I self-publish? The argument about whether to self-publish has been debated in great detail both here and elsewhere. I don’t want to add to that general discussion today, rather I want to offer up my personal experience of self-publishing. Given that this is an anniversary of sorts, I would like to look back over the last twelve months and examine the results of that decision, and compare it with what would likely have happened had I decided otherwise. Regular readers will know that I broke my own impasse by deciding to Read More…

Can You Self-Publish Your Way to a Big Deal? Guest Post from Lindsay Buroker

Self-published author Lindsay Buroker was approached recently by 47North, Amazon’s SF/F/H imprint. Today Lindsay is here to explain how you can best position yourself to attract an offer. And, despite what you may think, it’s not all about sales. Self-publishing offers a lot of advantages over the traditional path: freedom to write whatever you choose and price however you like; real-time sales figures; direct connection with readers; complete creative control over things like covers; and, of course, the famous 70% royalty rate (and more again if you sell direct). Despite all these advantages, many self-publishers are keen to leverage their success into a publishing deal. For some, it’s a nice advance, access to bookstores, and the potential increased marketability of subsidiary rights Read More…

Scott Turow: Wrong About Everything

On Thursday it was reported that the U.S. Justice Department was preparing to sue five of the largest publishers, and Apple, for (allegedly) colluding to fix e-book prices. Despite the shock expressed in some quarters, this is hardly a bolt from the blue. It’s almost a year since the European Union raided the offices of several publishers in France, Italy, and Germany, kicking off their own Europe-wide anti-trust investigation – later folding into that probe a similar move by the Competition Authority in the UK to examine the Agency Agreement. It was also widely reported late last year that a U.S. Justice Department investigation, along similar lines, had commenced. On top of that, it’s over six months since the law Read More…

Comprehensive Self-Publishing Survey – Please Participate!

The average self-publisher sells 100 books. Or is it 200? And is that in a year? Or is it over the lifetime of the book? The problem is, we have no idea at all, no way of measuring how we are doing. Any “hard” numbers we have about self-publishing are either hopelessly out of date, or use (very) imperfect measures, such as the number of ISBNs registered in a given year, and then number of print editions bearing those ISBNs sold in outlets captured by Neilsen Bookscan. This is problematic for a number of reasons. The most glaring is that a self-publisher could sell thousands and thousands of books without every getting an ISBN or creating a print edition (and Read More…

December Report: Sales Steady, Revenue Up

December is when self-publishers get all misty eyed over all the newborn e-book buyers taking their first tentative steps into the market. Amazon sold well over a million Kindles a week during December, and the other manufacturers will have shifted plenty too. Most of these will have been to new entrants, who traditionally (i.e. since last year) go on a book buying binge to fill up their shiny new devices. It certainly seemed like the market doubled on Christmas Day. Since then, a burst of sales only gets you half as high in the rankings as it used to (although the Amazon Lending Library borrows counting as sales will be a factor too). My sales didn’t double, so I’m not speaking Read More…

2011: The Self-Publishing Year In Review

This has been a year of massive changes. Some of the older hands say that the business has always been this way. However, I don’t think we are simply seeing another year of flux. Instead, we are witnessing a process unfold which will revolutionize publishing forever (or at the very least, the foreseeable future). But hey, I could be wrong, and we might all be back querying – and fawning in the comments of agents’ blogs – by March. January The year opened with a booming e-book market as millions of Americans went on a binge buying spree to fill up their new e-readers – most of which were Kindles. That led to a handful of self-publishers posting truly eye-catching numbers, some Read More…

Publishing: Not In Such Bad Shape After All?

The long-awaited BookStats report has been released, leading some to immediately conclude that publishing is actually in pretty good shape – despite the doom-mongering from certain quarters (such as, I suppose, from me). In case you don’t know, BookStats is the most comprehensive survey of the US publishing industry to date, produced jointly by the Book Industry Study Group and the American Association of Publishers (AAP) – collating data from nearly 2,000 publishers, large and small. I’m not going to go into too much detail on its findings, as I haven’t actually read the report (it costs $600) and I am only working from the public summaries. (And if anyone spots any detailed analysis out there by someone who has Read More…

What Do You Want?

Trying to get writers to agree on something is like herding cats. We are all passionate people. We have a tendency to flare up over minor disputes (especially online). And we can usually pen a tight argument for pretty much any position. But I also think a lot of disagreements spring from the fact that we are all very different people, with different dreams, goals, and ambitions. As such, what might be good advice for one writer could be bad advice for another. Especially if you are aiming for different targets. So, what do you want? It would be nice to sell a million books. It would be flattering to have every agent and publisher in New York clamoring for your signature. Read More…

Let’s Get Digital Released Today!

It is with great pleasure, and no small amount of pride, that I can tell you that Let’s Get Digital: How To Self-Publish, And Why You Should has been officially launched. It’s been three hard months to get to this point, but it has all been worth it. I’m very proud of this book, and I think people will get a lot out of it. As regular readers will know, I’m trying an experiment with this book. The PDF Version is free – here – for anyone to copy, download, share, print, or email. You can also purchase an e-reader compatible version for $2.99 from Amazon, Amazon UK, Amazon DE, or Smashwords. If you notice a funny price on Amazon Read More…

Let's Get Digital Released Today!

It is with great pleasure, and no small amount of pride, that I can tell you that Let’s Get Digital: How To Self-Publish, And Why You Should has been officially launched. It’s been three hard months to get to this point, but it has all been worth it. I’m very proud of this book, and I think people will get a lot out of it. As regular readers will know, I’m trying an experiment with this book. The PDF Version is free – here – for anyone to copy, download, share, print, or email. You can also purchase an e-reader compatible version for $2.99 from Amazon, Amazon UK, Amazon DE, or Smashwords. If you notice a funny price on Amazon Read More…

Let’s Get Digital: Launches Tomorrow

Tomorrow sees the launch of Let’s Get Digital: How To Self-Publish, And Why You Should. It will be priced at $2.99 on Amazon US, £1.71 on Amazon UK, EUR 2.99 on Amazon DE, and $2.99 on Smashwords for international customers who are affected by the Amazon Surcharge. It will also be available as a free PDF download, right here. Tomorrow, the link to the free download will go live (if you want to be first to hear when it does, please subscribe to the blog or my newsletter). You will see a PayPal Donate button on that page. There will be a note asking anyone who found the free PDF useful to consider leaving a donation of their choice, or Read More…

Let's Get Digital: Launches Tomorrow

Tomorrow sees the launch of Let’s Get Digital: How To Self-Publish, And Why You Should. It will be priced at $2.99 on Amazon US, £1.71 on Amazon UK, EUR 2.99 on Amazon DE, and $2.99 on Smashwords for international customers who are affected by the Amazon Surcharge. It will also be available as a free PDF download, right here. Tomorrow, the link to the free download will go live (if you want to be first to hear when it does, please subscribe to the blog or my newsletter). You will see a PayPal Donate button on that page. There will be a note asking anyone who found the free PDF useful to consider leaving a donation of their choice, or Read More…

Borders Inches Closer to Liquidation. What Happens Next?

The deadline to save Borders passed yesterday, meaning that they will now proceed to a bankruptcy-court auction tomorrow. It’s not quite over for America’s second-largest bookstore chain, and a bidder could still emerge in the next day-and-a-half to save the company – which employs nearly 11,000 people – from being liquidated. In fact, the Wall Street Journal reported today that Books-A-Million were in talks late last night about a deal. However, it seems clear that even if this move comes off, which is doubtful, it will only rescue part of the company, and a large amount of (further) store closures and layoffs is unavoidable. It seems likely now that the bones of Borders will be picked apart, and the remaining Read More…

Batting for a Broken System

There was a ridiculous article last week in the Wall Street Journal called “Cherish The Book Publishers – You’ll Miss Them When They’re Gone.” I was going to write a take-down of this, but Kris Rusch and Joe Konrath beat me to it. You should check out both their responses. Krus Rusch goes point-by-point, and Joe Konrath, in a post titled “The Tsunami of Crap”, laughs at the ridiculousness of it all: “Some people believe the ease of self-publishing means that millions of wannabe writers will flood the market with their crummy ebooks, and the good authors will get lost in the morass, and then family values will go unprotected and the economy will collapse and the world will crash Read More…

You Never Know When Your Promo Seeds Will Blossom

I am in a wistful mood this morning. Perhaps it’s the soft summer rain. Maybe its the Joe Dassin tune on my record player. Most likely it’s last tentacles of the wine I drank last night still wrapped lovingly around my frontal lobe. Whatever the cause, I’m going to take advantage of this faux-nostalgia and peer back through the mists of time, all the way to April 2011. If you keep with me until the end, there may even be a moral to the story. At the start of April, the only people who had read my writing were a handful of friends and a group of overworked literary agents’ interns. The only person who had been subjected to my Read More…