Sunday, August 10, 2008

Is Self Publishing An Option?

Hmmm, that's always a good question.

You probably don't want to be trapped with a vanity press, where they charge an arm and a leg for the books, and you have to do all your own promotion, shipping, etc, etc, etc. Although "How to Shit in the Woods" by Kathleen Myer is a self-publishing classic that has sold well over a million copies, most self published books are not very successful.

On the other hand, trying to get "hooked up" with a regular publishing house can be overwhelming to a first time author. Major publishers see many, many manuscripts and a whole lot of them go straight to the shredder. Aspiring authors usually have a lovely selection of "thanks but no thanks" letters.

However, with computers and the Internet, there are other options.

I've been looking at BookSurge, This company is owned by Amazon.

The basic premise of the company is that you don't have to maintain a large inventory of books. Essentially, the book is printed on demand. So if someone is perusing Amazon and comes across your book, they put in their order and the book is printed and shipped directly to the customer.

Good side, easier for you. Larger royalties per book. No inventory to maintain. BookSurge gets the ISBN number for you. You have choices in hard cover, trade paperback, color, black and white, submitting in .doc, .txt, .rtf or a completely designed book in .pdf.

Bad side, you still have to do your own promotion. You still have to write, edit, design the book or pay extra to have it done. I haven't gotten that far yet, but I expect there are some up-front costs for the book. Cost per book may be higher than a traditional run of 10,000 (but you don't have to pay for that 10,000 all at once, so it's six of one, half dozen of another). You don't get the customer list, so there's no opportunity to do mailings for new books (unless BookSurge does it for you -- haven't gotten that far into the website yet).

I'm still looking into this option, as I'm not ready to go to print yet. I'm still writing the first draft, then I'll have my sister, the geologist and fellow sci-fi fan, review it for accuracy and to bluntly tell me if it's interesting or not. (My family is NOT known for being tactful! LOL!)

So, I thought I'd mention this company today. I'm definitely looking for other opinions and options in publishing, so comments are more than welcome.

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