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Saturday, June 5, 2010

Self-Publishing

On June 3rd, the WSJ (Wall Street Journal) ran a wonderful article on “Vanity Press” – authors that choose to publish outside of the traditional publishing house structure. While the big publishing houses are taking note of this phenomenon, they don’t necessarily give it credence. According to the WSJ, things that the big publishing houses take into consideration are the fact that self-published titles tend to “disappear”, due, in part, to poor editing and lack of reviews. (Note to self: Start researching possible review venues!)

On-line self-publishing is starting to look like an entirely different story. There are resources being offered for hiring a publicist, or a marketing specialist, finding a freelance editor and even distribution venues. It takes a little money, but could make the difference between a book making an impact or not.

As digital self-publishing becomes more popular, the process, and the rewards, are being fine-tuned. One of these rewards, of course, would be the percentage of the sale that goes to the author. Bottom line for most of us. Several different self-publishing venues were highlighted in this article:

Amazon.com CEO for Amazon.com is Jeff Bezos. The product offered is Kindle Digital Text Platform, which offers the opportunity for both authors and publishers to upload e-books for sale on Amazon.com. The main reader for this venue is the Kindle e-reader. According to the WSJ, later this month (June, 2010) 70% of the price of the book will go to authors.

Barnes & Noble CEO for Barnes & Noble is William Lynch. According to this article, later this summer (2010) authors and publishers will be able to upload books to Barnes & Nobles e-bookstore through a venue entitled Publit. The main reader for this venue is Nook. To date, no revenue share terms have been announced.

Apple CEO for Apple is Steve Jobs. Authors can upload and distribute their work through the Apple iBookstore. The main reader for this venue is the iPad (with the iPhone soon to follow, according to this article). Authors receive 70% of the price of the e-book.

LuLu CEO for Lulu is Bob Young. Lulu is both a print and digital self-publishing company. There is no charge for publishing, but the company does offer a range of services that are charged for. It is up to the author to decide what they want to work with. Lulu.com takes 20% of the revenue from each sale.

Smashwords Mark Coker is founder of Smashwords. This site offers a digital distribution platform which supports a variety of e-bookstores, including Sony, Apple and Barnes & Noble. Authors receive 85% of the net proceeds from the sale of their e-books.

FastPencil CEO of FastPencil is Steve Wilson. FastPencil offers social networking features for authors to simplify the process of writing and creating books. The site also offers services for publishing in both print and e-book format.

Scribd CEO for Scribd is Trip Adler. Scribd offers publiscation of documents that can be read online or on a range of mobile devices.Authors can give their e-books away for free, or sell them on the site. Authors get an 80% share of revenue.

Author Solutions CEO for Author Solutions is Kevin Weiss. There are several imprints for this site, including AuthorHouse, iUniverse and Xlibirs. Authors are charged for preparing, marketing and selling their work.

My personal POV is that digital publishing has come into its own. I see it as having a solid, legitimate place in the future. Getting our work out there in the most economical manner possible is what we all want to do. We have choices to make, as authors – choices that now offer a wide landscape of possibilities.

May we all make our voices known!

(c) June 2010 Bonnie Cehovet

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