Sunday, June 20, 2010

A World In Transition

The publishing world is in transition. E-books and self-published books are no longer only for niche markets, they are recognized as legitimate ways for authors to get their material out to the public. Does this mean that publishing has suddenly become easy? Well, not exactly. Any path that an author takes to publish their work has a certain amount of responsibility to it.

Edit your work, for a start. Punctuation, spelling, flow of thought – once you have gone through and made your changes, have someone else edit it. Bit the bullet, and have it professionally edited. It is not hard to hit Google and find someone to work with here. This is excellent use of time and funds – as authors, we are too close to our work, and can easily miss significant errors/

Format your work for the venue that it is going into. E-book, POD, self-publishing sites like Create Space – they all have a specific format hat they want material submitted in. Follow their format, and you won’t have as many problems. Not being a techie, my learning curve may be greater than most people’s. However, I do get there in the end. And when I do, I can look back and see that if I had read the formatting requirements closely the first time, I would not have had any problems. If all else fails … read the directions!

Fine tune your bio, and the blurb that goes on the back cover. These two things may make the difference between your book selling, and your book not selling. Oh, and that front cover … pay attention to color, font size and type, and imagery. Your cover needs to reflect the tone of your book – it should attract the type of reader that can use the material that you are offering, whether it is technical advice or the next number one fiction best seller.

Understand that marketing is your responsibility, and that you need to think about how you are going to market your material at the same time your are creating it – and not after the fact. Look to your own strengths, and then research how you can use these strengths in a marketing campaign. And those uber important social networking sites? Please treat them with respect! Build a following by providing content, and continue to provide content, making your followers feel that they are a part of the process of creating your product, whatever it is. Under no circumstances do you want to spam them with a thousand messages to go buy your book! Treat your list as you wish to be treated. See how your favorite authors are handling their promotions, then model yourself after them.

We all have stories to tell – it is time to tell yours!

© June 2010 Bonnie Cehovet

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

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Create Space

I had heard of Create Space, and had friends publish there, but I wasn't sure if it was for me or not. As part of my reinventing my author "self", I created a Twitter identity for my work as an author (@bonniecehovet). In a conversation there with the amazing Carolyn Howard-Johnson, I found that I had some misconceptions about Create Space - the biggest one being how much it would cost me to get a book up.

I could do the basic prep work myself - format, add the page numbers, convert to PDF etc. This allowed me to put my book up (with ISBN number!) free! That's right - it did not cost me a penny! I chose to put it up on Amazon.com as a print book, and on Kindle as an e-book. In this way, I feel that it will reach a fairly large audience. It is a nich book (Tarot interviews), so the audience will be somewhat limited.

I just ordered a preview copy, and am hoping that I do not have to make any chnages. I used the site template for the book cover and back, and am very, very pleased with the result. I chose cream colored pages (which you can do if all that you have is text), which I think will make a "statement" presentation.

That I could get this out while working on a contracted book (for Schiffer Books) is to me absolutely amazing! The good word for the day - as authors, we can make things happen!

The Legend of Justice and Diamonds - Second Printing

"The Legend of Justice and Diamonds" was originally published through Xulon Press in 2010. It is now available through Crea...