Publishing Straight Talk
There are plenty of good reasons to self-publish, but not all are profit-oriented or even rational. Before you invest in your book, take a look in the mirror and ask yourself some serious questions. Why did I write my book? … Continue reading →
Nonfiction Writing and the One-sided Sales Conversation
Business, technology, and how-to books can be viewed as one-sided sales conversations. Though the author may hope to sell products or services, what’s usually being sold directly to the reader is an idea—a strategy or philosophy that can be used … Continue reading →
Want a Traditional Publishing Contract? Do Your Homework
This article discusses the pros and cons of traditional publishing. Abandon your biases, study the business of publishing, and choose the publishing method that best suits you and your book. Perhaps the biggest myth in publishing is that as a … Continue reading →
Thoughts on 21st Century Literacy
21st Century Literacy: Introduction The traditional concept of literacy was built on the assumption that the written word was confined to the printed page, but this is no longer the case. Text is accompanied by images, video, interactivity, and technology. … Continue reading →
Publishing Advice – Practices & Principles
The following publishing advice is based on my own experiences and those of my clients. I hope you find it valuable and encouraging, even if it changes your expectations. I’ve written and published 12 books. I’ve guided many remarkable people … Continue reading →
The Perfect Book Sales Page
Tom Morkes recently published The Perfect Book sales Page on his blog. I’m usually the first person to reject formulaic approaches to book marketing. Many well-written books are horrible products. But what I like about Tom’s template is that it … Continue reading →
Self-Publishing Scams: Keep the “Self” in Self-Publishing
I recently re-posted my article about Publishing Scams and How they Work. I wonder why so many authors, after spending thousands of hours working on a book, fail to conduct a few critical hours of research that will save them … Continue reading →
Publishing Scams and How they Work
Rarely do I republish a blog post, but I just got another email from a writer who didn’t do his homework. Many self-publishers start their book projects with unrealistic expectations and misunderstandings about how publishing works. A huge industry has … Continue reading →
Book Giveaways: Are They Worth it?
Should you give away books for free? The value of book giveaways can’t be assessed by formula. The prevailing mythology suggests that the goal of publishing is to sell books, but the huge majority of indie publishers don’t do the … Continue reading →
How to Produce Audiobooks with Amazon ACX
This article explains how to produce and market a professional quality audiobook using Amazon ACX. Through ACX (Audiobook Creation Exchange), I was able to audition voiceover talent, choose a professional producer, review the work in progress, and make my audiobook … Continue reading →
Tabs, Indents, and Margins: How to use the Tab Ruler
This article explains the tab ruler found on every word processor and typesetting application. Understanding the simple and elegant split ruler and tab functions opens up a world of formatting opportunities. Digital typesetting and word processing inherited a number of … Continue reading →
A Manuscript is Not a Book: Ten Tips for Manuscript Preparation
In my work with writers, I come across many common technical problems with manuscripts. These usually spring from the best of intentions as the writer attempts to create the feel of the finished book within the manuscript. Though they’re trying … Continue reading →
Writing Cover Blurbs – Guest Post for Smith Publicity
The good folks over at Smith Book Publicity were kind enough to publish a guest post I wrote about “Writing the Cover Blurb,” that oh-so-difficult-to-write-well description that appears on the backs of book covers and on inside jacket flaps. Read … Continue reading →
Not Selling Books? Did you do the Math?
You threw a grand party but nobody came. Your novel is so good but you’re not selling books. What happened? You were supposed to appear on Oprah’s show. Terry Gross isn’t calling you for an interview. You may be an … Continue reading →
Blogging to Build an Author Platform
How can indie writers and self-publishers use a blog to build an author platform? The visitor stats for this site will soon cross the 150,000 page-view threshold and I expect to hit 200,000 by year’s end. Other bloggers have much … Continue reading →
To Those Who Won’t Review Self-Published Books
This article began as a response to a post on a writers’ forum. An author submitted a book for review and had his work rejected out-of-hand simply because it was self-published. Self-publishers grumble about this insult regularly. The National Book … Continue reading →
What’s a Professional Editor Worth?
What do you think a professional editor’s pay scale should be? Assume that a proofreader would be at the bottom of the scale and a developmental/line editor would be at the top. An examination of the work editors perform sheds … Continue reading →
How Many Spaces After a Period? Ending the Debate
Few subjects arouse more passion among writers and designers than the debate over how many spaces should follow a period. If you adhere to a style manual, you’ll be hard-pressed to find one that doesn’t specify a single-space. Chicago and … Continue reading →
Co-Publishing – Alternative Path or Another Trap for Writers?
I recently published a post about the difference between vanity publishing and true self-publishing. Fundamentally, the article defines a publisher as “someone who takes the risk on a book.” Vanity Presses represent themselves as publishers and accept royalties while the … Continue reading →
Are You Living the Writer’s Life?
Writers and publishers generally talk about selling books, choosing a path for printing and distribution, the importance of professional editing and design, and technical matters pertaining to grammar and style. But what about the path one takes to become a … Continue reading →
Selling Your Book in Discussion Forums? Don’t!
I’ve learned a great deal, shared a lot of information, and met some some clever folks on LinkedIn writers’ forums, but no matter what topic is being discussed, some clown always posts a link to his latest book. Really? Are you … Continue reading →
Self-Publishing & Vanity Publishing: Confuse Them and Pay the Price
What is true self-publishing? What is the difference between self-publishing and “vanity publishing” or “subsidy publishing?” How do these differ from “traditional publishing?” Don’t publish until you understand these terms; that knowledge can make or break your book. Learn about … Continue reading →
Reality Checklist for Self-Publishers
One question that loops endlessly on writers’ forums is “How can I sell more books?” The question is a natural one, but for many self-publishers, it betrays a certain lack of awareness about the publishing business. Lest I sound holier … Continue reading →
Straight Talk About Book Reviews
Book reviews are critically important. Have you ever read a book hoping it would get better, only to find that it never did? And how do you tell if an independently published book is any good? So many are poorly … Continue reading →
Why You Need a Professional Editor
After completing the final draft of a manuscript for my fifth book, I wanted a reality check. I hired a professional editor and learned something important about self-publishing. No matter how capable you are as a writer and proofreader, you … Continue reading →
Indie Publishers, Bookstores and Readers – the Indie Ecosystem
Indie publishers are everywhere and so are indie bookstores, but apart from their names, the two have little in common. “Independence” is a feelgood concept, but it’s often presented without any reference to that which a publisher or bookstore is independent … Continue reading →
Self-Publishing IS Real Publishing-The Difference is up to You
The notion of real publishing as opposed to self-publishing and the stigma surrounding it is obsolete. I have no objections to traditional publishers but every one of them started off as a “self-publisher” with a first book. I have pretty … Continue reading →
Should Indie Publishers Lower Their Expectations?
Many authors start down the publishing road believing that printing books is the same as printing money, only to be disappointed by low returns and the amount of work involved. This guest article by novelist, poet and songwriter Richard Geller … Continue reading →
Discussion Forum Etiquette – Promoting Your Book
Discussion forums are a powerful medium for promoting your book, your art or your business. Facebook, LinkedIn and other communities are a major source of traffic for blogs and websites, but whether you post directly or embed links in responses … Continue reading →
Book Distributors: What’s in it for Publishers?
There is a direct relationship between the number of sales you can expect from a book distributor and the value-added services they provide to publishers and readers. Publishers are best served to ally themselves with book distributors that do the … Continue reading →
Are Self-Published Books Really Crap?
From an Internet writer’s forum: Comment: I see self-publishing as vanity publishing. There’s a reason there’s a traditional route; it really does sift out the crap. I may not be a published author, but I’ll be damned before I chuck … Continue reading →
Small Publishers Should Stop Watching the Stars
It’s the latest big deal in publishing: Big publishers are being sued; accused of using the ‘agency model,’ to keep prices of eBooks artificially high. Amazon, the world’s largest bookseller, is complying but only offering agency terms to the Big … Continue reading →
Self-Publishers Should Not Be Self-Editors
Editing is one of the first hurdles you’ll encounter as an independent writer. Your fan club is your enemy. Encouraging friends who think it’s “wonderful you actually wrote a book” are not unbiased editors. A good editor will put your … Continue reading →
A World Without Borders – The End of The Bookstore
In the wake of Borders’ bankruptcy, I’ve read various theories about what led to the bookseller’s demise. Monday morning quarterbacking inevitably follows someone else’s failure; it’s easy to stand at the curb and analyze the tire tracks, but Borders’ crash … Continue reading →
Stop Bashing Self-Published Books
I regularly hear people bashing self-published books as universally “crappy.” Many independent writers do publish books with amateurish covers and poorly edited text typeset with a word processor, but there are “crappy” books released by major publishers, and high quality … Continue reading →
Indy and Traditional Publishers Are Not Competitors
Today’s post is from Lisa Ryan, CEO and Lead Strategist at Tinley+Ryan, former Marketing Manager of On-Demand Publishing Services at Amazon.com and former Vice President of Marketing at BookSurge. I’m honored to have your contribution, Lisa. On a macro-level, independent … Continue reading →
Word Processors and MS Word Alternatives
A good word processor is an essential writing and editing tool, but many authors struggle with expense, computer problems and software issues. Though Microsoft Word is the standard for word processing, there are excellent, free and commercial alternatives.Continue reading →
Self-Publishing? Get Real!
There are plenty of good reasons to self-publish, but not all are profit-oriented or even rational. Before you invest in your book, take a look in the mirror and ask yourself some serious questions. Understand what you’re getting into and define success at its proper place on the spectrum between retail sales and artistic satisfaction. With some clarity, planning and management of expectations, even a modest publishing venture can be rewarding and satisfying.Continue reading →
Stop Picking on POD
A great technology is getting a bad rap for the wrong reasons. Print On Demand (POD) technology is often mislabeled “Publish On Demand,” which consequently associates it with the Vanity Publishing world; a realm inhabited by a few reputable operators and a large number of scammers waiting to prey on naive writers. While it’s true most Vanity Publishers do rely on POD technology, the majority of reputable self-publishers and many small traditional publishers do, too. POD is entirely disconnected from matters related to whether you own your own ISBN numbers, share rights and royalties with a third party, own your cover artwork or choose one distribution chain over another. It’s just a digital book-manufacturing technology. After all the business arrangements are decided on, a file is sent to a POD printer and books are then manufactured to order in quantities as small as a single book. POD is just a printing technology—and it’s a great one.Continue reading →
Fairy Tale Endings and Fairy Tale Publishing Ventures
All the connections, marketing strategies, publicity packages, and so on won’t save a mediocre book from itself.
I’d like to believe this is true. It’s the writer in me. The good guy should win. Nobody likes a story where someone struggles to be the best, works hard, overcomes obstacles, spends all their money on a long shot and then gets ignored.
Unfortunately, good marketing saves mediocre books from themselves all the time.
Many Unhappy Returns – Think Outside the Bookstore
If you’re hoping to have mainstream bookstore distribution, using a Vanity Press may present some obstacles. Book buyers will likely tell you, “your book may be excellent, but you’re using a Vanity Publisher and the vast majority of their books … Continue reading →
POD, Vanity Presses and Publishing
There is a tendency to refer to “POD Publishers” with disdain, but POD is just a printing technology. Without POD, we’d all be sitting on stacks of books, handling fulfillment ourselves, and praying for the day when we get our closet space back.Continue reading →
You must be logged in to post a comment.