Thursday, June 09, 2011

WisCon Panel: Self-Publishing, Could You? Should You?

This is another panel I proposed.

Crowd-funding—give work away and let people pay you what they wish

Need to know your market

Should experiment to see what sticks, but that’s not a good business model

How much time are you willing to invest?

Depending on the publisher, you may have to do some of what you’d expect the publisher would do anyway (such as marketing)

Every author is an entrepreneur, no matter what publishing method you choose

Bookstores do carry a lot of power

Publisher decides on a lead title and neglects the other books

YA authors get a lot of support

Only the top authors get support; everyone else gets diddly

Anthologies have tanked, even when the participating authors are best-selling

Beware of marketing packages offered by self-publishers

Can go straight to Lightning Source for POD (they’re a printer, not an e-commerce site) you can also buy your own ISBM and they distribute through B&N, Borders, etc.

Or Smashwords/CreateSpace

Try Et Libre

Go straight to

One Bookshelf

Should I go through my website or Amazon (or both)

Need different ISBMs for print and e-book editions

Don’t buy the bar code

Whoever is the biggest, the first, or the longest wins online

If you’re going to self-publish, need to put out a lot of stories (the more the better)

Need to make it as easy as possible to convert readers into customers (need as few clicks as possible)

You can set up your own affiliate store on Amazon

Being a retailer is different from being an author

Have to ask yourself what you really want and what your optimal balance is

The less time you spend running the business, the more time there is for writing

Bloggers are a great way to get word-of-mouth out

Do you want a print edition or an e-book?

Amazon is selling the most e-books now

Still have to do marketing

Can network with BroadUniverse, Indie Book Collective

What do you do with physical copies?

Overdrive—get digital books into libraries for images—good place to find an artist to do your own cover if you want something unique

Need a contract with the artist ahead of time

Need to read license before you buy/tweak art

Kickstart and indiegogo can help you with pre-orders

Editors freelance association

Look at other self-pub books in acknowledgements

Can just go with beta readers for edits

Don’t lose any rights

Convert the file with mobipocket

Market is becoming oversaturated

Arrange for reviews and book tours

Blurbs from well-known authors may help recognition

Samantha Robi (chicklitplus on Twitter)

Majority of self-published books don’t sell lots of copies

You may sell fewer copies but get more money

Some people do get contacted by producers, translators, etc.

Self-publishing allows you to reach your target audience

Can write the kind of book you want to write

Want to have multiple streams of income

Listen to the people in the middle who have explored both options

Publishing industry will take 5-10 years to shake itself out

You are entitled to 100% of your earnings

You pay publishers in perpetuity for a one-time service

You give away everything to get an editor to like you

(bold is my own emphasis)


Rogue Mutt said...

Self-publishing is a lot of work. But it is true from everything I've heard that publishers don't do much to support smaller books so you still wind up doing most of the work yourself! The main advantage still is that the publisher can get your book on the shelves at a real bookstore whereas with self-publishing you have to haggle and beg to maybe get it on the shelf at your local indie bookstore. Of course with Borders about to die and Amazon taking over and eBooks becoming more popular that advantage may soon be a thing of the past.

Anonymous said...

I'd imagine self publishing would be hard. I don't think it would be a job for lazy people like me. ;)

Sandra Ulbrich Almazan said...

Rogue--I don't think bookstores are as doomed as some people think, but they may decline over time.

Madeline--You could always outsource some of the tasks, like copyediting, cover design, even text formatting.

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