March 23rd, 2010

It takes a lot of money to be self-pubbed

Some people will tell you that they go the self-publishing route so they don't have to share the money they're sure to rake in with an agent, a publisher, or anyone else.

For a reality check, take a look at what Author Solutions charges folks to self-pub. For the low, low price of $1999, you get the "Pinnacle" package: "For those serious about selling their book in the retail marketplace, our PinnacleSM self publishing package offers all the tools an author needs to get his or her book shelved. Along with the noteworthy features of DiscoverySM, this package offers our Booksellers Return Program that makes it easier to get bookstores to carry a book and a Book Signing Kit to make your events more memorable."

Notice how they say "make it easier to get bookstores to carry"? That's one reason self-publishing is often a bad idea. Unlike a traditional publisher, there is no marketing team trying to get bookstores all over the nation to stock your book. No, it's just you. And when you approach bookstores about carrying your book, they're usually not interested in something that is often priced higher than comparable traditional books, that offers them less of a discount, and that isn't returnable.

One Colorado bookstore has found a way to turn all the self-pubbed authors into cash flow: "The store charges its consignment authors according to a tiered fee structure: $25 simply to stock a book (five copies at a time, replenished as needed by the author for no additional fee); $75 to feature a book for at least two weeks in the “Recommended” section; and $125 to, in addition to everything else, mention the book in the store’s email newsletter, feature it on the Local Favorites page of the store’s website for at least 60 days, and enable people to buy it online for the time it’s stocked in the store. And for $255 — essentially, the platinum package — the store will throw in an in-store reading and book-signing event."

Read more about the Boulder bookstore's program here.

Remember: Money flows to the author.

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A free program could save your bacon-and make life easier when you have 2 computers

Until two weeks ago, the way I saved my most important files was to email them to myself once a week.

Then I heard about Dropbox from some other authors. This is a free program if you don't use up too much bandwidth, and I just save text files. Not only will it let you back up files (in one of those cloud locations or whatever you would call it if you were tech-savvy), it does it automatically when you save. And you can keep your files synced between computers. If I save it on my laptop Dropbox folder, it’s saved on our desktop computer's Dropbox folder. And vice versa. I can also share files with others. And if I had an IPhone I could sync my files there. It even works with PCs and Macs.

Click here to learn more about Dropbox.

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The Onion does it again with “Day Job Officially Becomes Job”

I love the Onion.

Especially when they set a parody near me. This one begins:

“HILLSBORO, OR—Another human dream was crushed by the uncompromising forces of reality Monday, when the restaurant day job of 29-year-old former aspiring cartoonist Mark Seversen officially became his actual job.”

Read the rest here.

Having my day job become my job-job was my greatest nightmare. I dreamed of leaving it for years before I actually did it. There were times I despaired, but I was tenacious (which is the secret to succeeding at a lot of things, I think).

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