Next time you get a rejection letter and you start feeling sorry for yourself, remember Randy Kearse:
Randy Kearse stepped onto a southbound No. 2 train in Harlem and scanned the crowd, trying to figure out who might be in a buying mood. He strode across the car, pressed his back against the steel doors and cleared his throat: Showtime.
“Excuse me, ladies and gentleman,” he called out.
“I am not begging, borrowing or asking for your food. I don’t represent the homeless, I’m not selling candy or selling bootleg DVDs,” he said, then paused. “I write books.”
From the incredibly practical, consistently informative Joel Friedlander at The Book Designer:
It’s essential for self-publishers to come to grips with the way that discounts are handled in retail publishing. If you plan to publish a book that will be sold within the retail book distribution system you’ll need to understand how discounts work. Even if you plan to sell your books through online retailers, you’ll still need to set a discount.
But before we get into discounts themselves, let’s back up a moment.
The Purpose of Discounts
It would be impractical for manufacturers of products to be the only source for the average person to buy those products. So we have a multi-tiered manufacturing and distribution system. Manufacturers set the price they think the product should sell for, then offer it at a discount to retailers willing to sell to their own universe of buyers.
Manufacturers can make these arrangements with hundreds or thousands of retailers, trading the discount to acquire a means for their customers to easily buy their products.
Self-publishing is incredibly healthy and growing at a pretty amazing rate. Even the “low” number of almost 77,000 books published amounts to over 210 books a day, 365 days a year. And as far as quality, why is it that no one ever looks through the huge piles of schlock that are included in the 288,355 books from traditional publishers?
Joel is a self-published author, a book designer and blogs about book design, self-publishing and the indie publishing life at TheBookDesigner.com. Please pay him a visit!
(You can read the first chapter HERE. You can join my “publishing group”, a bunch of friends supporting the publication of the book HERE).
After a lot of careful consideration, I’ve decided to self-publish my novel ESPERANZA FARM. Last week I emailed a literary agent who was reading a partial, letting her know that I was withdrawing the manuscript from consideration. Here’s the reasoning that preceded this decision:
I have nothing against the traditional publishing model, a route which continues to work for most authors and one I tried myself for a while. Even if I did not succeeded at it — in most cases it takes a lot of time and persistence — I received enough feedback from people in the industry to know that my book has a pretty good chance of eventually selling to a commercial publisher, if that was what I wanted to do. So this decision is not born out of rejections, of which I received my fair share, but has been more influenced by things I’ve learned in the process of finding and agent and publisher.
The reason I’ve decided to go at it as an independent publisher has more to do with what I believe is better for my book. And by the possibilities of participating in other aspect of the book world that have always captivated my interests.
The facts are that I also love the whole publishing, marketing, sales, design, publicity, entrepreneurial side of books. I love writing, reading, researching, talking about literature, rewriting and reading industry trade news. I love old books, new books, e-books, even comic books. And I’m most fascinated with the future of the book, especially how it intersects with the new media.
So this is a grand experiment and an exciting learning opportunity as well as a challenge.
One of the advantages of publishing your own material is the control that is possible over every aspect of the project. Where will it be printed, what process will be used and what distribution method. Not to mention the actual design components right down to the typeface. A perfect example of this benefit is the photograph I’ve chosen for the cover. A number of months ago, my daughter sent me a link to the websiteof a photographer whose work she admired. I fell in love with the work of Andrew Moore but was blown away when I came upon this photograph. I knew I had found the cover for my novel. I contacted Mr. Moore directly and soon had an agreement on the licensing terms. (This has changed, since I’ve decided to go in another direction with the cover photograph. I will blog about it soon, just after I’ve notified the interested parties).
This is now done. You can read more about it HERE.
The rise of self-publishing has made it possible for anyone to be an author. Now, some people are also choosing to outsource their book project by hiring an author services company.
On the surface, this seems much easier than finding and hiring a half-dozen professionals to create your book. (For background on the self-publishing industry and author services companies, please read my previous MediaShift article.) But is it worth it? Below are some of the potential danger zones of working with these services, as exposed by authors who were seduced by the promises of quick and easy self-publishing packages. I also offer some advice about avoiding these pitfalls.