Fortune Favours the Brave – Chapter Two on Publishing
Self-Publishing/Love is a losing game. Or not depending…it’s all relative bullshit. Cynical optimism is the way forward.
The following two websites give access to free eBooks designed to help the indie author. To save your fine selves time I digested them myself, and the following is my dutiful regurgitation like a mother bird feeding worms to squawking chicks. Lovely.
Worth the bother? For the basics yes. But if you’re already familiar with terms like ISBNs, POD and vanity press this will probably be a bit of a time-waster. The second eBook Publishing Basics is far better, it explains all the terms and elaborates more on issues.
However Write Publish Promote does provide some great links. Here are my pick of the bunch –
- Predators and Editors Avoid vanity publishers, look them up on this database. Don’t know what I’m talking about? Here’s a blog on the vanity press (this is also a great website for budding authors, get it bookmarked).
- Create Space (owned by amazon) offers semi-indie publishing (not just for books but also music etc.). I think this is best if you only want to publish a few eBooks, it seems lacking for the more ambitious. Smashwords is an online indie eBook distributor. You can pay a small fee for them to format your eBook (a definate plus for technophobes). Make sure you get a pro to edit your work before rushing into this sort of jaunt.
- If you’re looking to go to print as well, have a gander at Lulu. You can either bulk order copies or use their POD (Print on Demand) service. POD has its pros and cons, its advocates and haters, so read up before you sign up (more on this later).
- Nielsen is the UK distributor for ISBNs (it’s Bowker for the US). You need an ISBN to publish a book, the site explains what they are.
- Here is a free online barcode generator, if you are having books sold in print.
Publishing Basics is a far better guide to indie publishing, though it’s geared towards selling the services they offer on its sister site Self Publishing. The services look pretty good (though note the printing is done in the US, so doesn’t include shipping to UK), and you get get individual parts (like editing), without obligation to the full monty.
The free eBook can be downloaded from either site, and is essentially a long, detailed advert, but a good one. As such, read it with a cynical eye. The info here feels knowledgeable and thorough, and the actual book is laid out to show you how to lay your book out.
Be ready for propaganda against the commercial publishing process. Poor percentage of royalties, long waits and an overall theatre of dissappointment and rejection (yes, even for the talented).
I’m about sold on that aspect. If I can create a demand for my work, I can probably make more money selling less books. It’s a gamble of course, and one I’ll pay for in elbow grease and money. But I don’t want the years of trying to get recognised by a publisher, only to receive some measly sum for all my toil.
I’m getting carried away with the spirit of the age of course (rage against the corporate machine, the solution is surely to be a renegade of funk?). It really feels like the right time, in all areas to ruffle up the status quo, and bring some power back to the individual.
Anyroads. Back to some fox notes on Publishing Basics –
- They advise against POD as the be all and end all for the self-publisher. I did a little digging for other opinions and found a published author’s pros and cons. On-demand printing seems useful in allowing publishers to keep a book available after it has run its main course in the marketplace. But as a be-all-and-end-all method of production, it appears deeply flawed.
- Here’s copyright law for the UK.
- On the subject of eBooks I think their views are a little dated. Some now make careers entirely off epublishing. My advice is embrace new phenomenon, but don’t let real books die.
- The UK equivalent for BISAC codes (for filing under a subject heading/genre) seems to be BIC
- Publishing Basics covers in proper helpful detail, editing services, formatting and design. Including some printing history to explain where all the different jargon comes from, and what’s still relevant. They discuss off-set (traditional) verses digital printing, have a special section for children’s picture books, and explain that Thursday is named after the Greek God Thor (I forget the relevance of this).
Lastly my friends and foes (I know you’re watching evil monkey) – Marketing.
Regardless of whether you self-publish, or whether you go with an indie, you will have the most responsibility for marketing your book.
I have to pin my eyes open when reading about marketing techniques. The info seeps through the gaps in my brain and leaks into the gutter. At least I can do loads of free stuff on the web now. I’m vaguely eloquent on paper. In real life I emit strange Earthling noises in the vain hope some listener will photosynthesise my true meaning.
And finally conclude concluse fox?
I haven’t made a firm decision about my route to publishing for ‘Dogtooth Chronicals’ yet. Maybe it would be better to work with the wisdom of an indie publisher. Then again I feel we are on the precipice of change in the industry. Will there ever be a better time to set up my own indie publishers? Probably not. I don’t necessarily believe that fortune does favour the brave, but it definitely doesn’t favour those who sit at home and do nowt.
With this in mind, sleep well tonight. Tomorrow we go to battle.
Over & owt