Posts Tagged ‘digital publishing’
For new authors, the process of copyrighting their work appears daunting, not to mention costly. The US copyright office takes 35 dollars for online copyright. Even though the cost is minimal, many authors are happy to turn over this task to their publishers.
Here is the story of author Tricia Drammeh who has lost rights to her book. With her permission, I am quoting from her blog here:
“I can advise all new authors to be very careful when signing with a publisher. If you don’t have an agent, pay special attention to any clause that has to do with copyright. I would advise you to demand that any copyright clauses are struck from the contract, and I would advise you to copyright the book yourself. If the publisher agrees to copyright the book in the author’s name, I would ask the publisher to remove this clause. For me, this clause was the root of all evil because instead of copyrighting the book in my name, the publisher copyrighted it in his own.”
In this new era of digital publishers, it is all the more important that authors are aware of their rights and do all they can to safeguard their own interests. If you are an author, and are thinking of signing with a digital publisher or small traditional publisher, I would advise that you copyright your work yourself. It takes less than 45 minutes to do so via the US copyright online system, and the cost is negligible and your peace of mind entirely worth it.
In a surprise move, Tor and Forge has made all their titles DRM (Digital Rights Management) free. Other publishers such as Baen Books have already done this long ago. Although many of the digital publishers made their e-books DRM free years before, it is only now that big publishers are doing the same. Is it the end of DRM?
Digital Rights Management was enforced to ensure that readers don’t copy the work of authors without actually paying for it. However now that many of the publishers are coming down hard on all sites that make available copyright work for free, the need for DRM is less so. Piracy will exist in one form of another. Even with DRM, persistent pirates were copying, selling or making available work of authors at various internet sites. The anti-piracy campaign has targeted and closed down many such sites and more will close down as publishers become more vigilant. However, most readers are not interested in piracy, especially since the advent of self-publishing, there are thousands of free books available for free downloads.
Personally, I would rather have my books DRM free so that my readers can transfer the books from one eReader to another without much hassle. For every ten people who buy my books, one will try to get it for free – and I would like to concentrate on the ten paid readers rather than the lone pirate.
The establishment of DRM free publishing will increase the demand for e-books as readers become aware that they can transfer their e-books from one device to another without any problem. In future, we will see a surge in e-books sales as more and more readers shift from print books to e-books.
So if you are a writer looking to get published, now is the time to double your efforts to gain a publishing contract or self-publish.
Kindle versus Nook: A Buying Decision
The Business of Publishing
Today I have a special guest post by print and e-published crime/mystery and suspense author Stacey-Deanne.
Here is her take on e-publishing.
Okay so your manuscript is all ready to go. You’ve pinpointed your goals. You aren’t interested in commercial publishing or print self-publishing but would like to get a piece of the e-book pie. If so, e-publishing is your best alternative.
When people speak of publishing choices they rarely mention e-publishers. E-publishers can be the best of both worlds. You get the professional expertise of a publisher without the long wait to find an agent or seek out a print press.
E-publishing is perfect for those who write in certain genres like romance and erotica. These genres are huge with e-publishers and little by little e-publishers are broadening out to different genres. It’s not the best solution if you write YA, children’s books or literary works because these are still primarily read by print lovers but e-publishing is perfect for everyone in between.
Say you write cross-genre work. Say your work might not attract a huge audience. Maybe your book is time sensitive and you need to get it out there as soon as possible. Maybe you don’t want to wait for a long turnaround just to be published. Reputable e-publishers will provide you with a finished product to be proud of and you can build your resume.
You can still explore print publishing while seeking out e-publishers. If you get a print deal you can continue to e-publish work on the side. Many commercial authors do both.
There are cons to e-publishing to consider. Your book won’t be in print. Some e-publishers offer print editions of books that sell well but most e-publishers do not do print books. So if you have your heart set on your work being in print you should not seek out an e-publisher.
Some people do not consider e-publishing as real publishing. You might face that attitude a lot but e-publishing is the same as being with a print press. You’ll have a qualified team behind you that will make your book the best it can be. You also have the benefit of editing, something you’d have to work out on your own if you self-published.
This new generation of writing has presented tons of wonderful opportunities for writers. It’s all about what your goals are and how you hope to achieve them. So if you’ve been struggling between going the commercial route and self-publishing, give e-publishers a thought. You might be glad you did.
Bio: Stacey is a novelist of crime fiction, mysteries, and suspense. She’s been writing professionally since she was 19 years-old, and her work includes “Everlasting,” “Melody” and “Giving up the Ghost.” Stacy is profiled along with notable authors in the NAACP-nominated 2006 book, “Literary Divas: The Top 100+ African-American Women in Writing.” Her 2011 release “Giving up the Ghost” is a 2011 African-American Literary Award nominated novel and a 2012 Top 20 Black Expressions Bestseller.
The Season of Sin by Stacy-Deanne is available now in print and ebook. You can contact her through facebook and twitter.
A few weeks ago, I read a post at The Creative Penn blog that questioned whether self-published authors are happier than traditionally published authors. While thinking about it, I chalked up a list of things that make me happy being published with a traditional or digital publisher:
1) Not having to worry about editing as I know they will make sure the book is as good as it should be. Having the opinion of an experienced and competent editor who has worked on similar books at every stage of editing, marketing and publishing would relieve me of a lot of unnecessary tension.
2) Not worrying about designing a good cover,
3) Not worry about getting an ISBN,
4) Not worry about book formatting and uploading on various sites.
5) Having the stamp of approval from others in the same business.
In comparison, here is a list of things that would make me happy should I choose to self-publish my books:
1) Having complete control over pricing, royalty rates and publishing dates as well as having the ability to use price changes as a marketing tool available to me,
2) Designing a cover to my liking,
3) Not having to see another rejection letter in my inbox. No matter how much we tell ourselves, each rejection letter, sent for whatever reason, is a kick on our ego. Honestly, if I never saw another ‘this manuscript doesn’t match our publishing criteria’, I would be a happy writer.
4) Not having to do research on agents and publishers, preparing partials and full manuscripts and submitting to them,
5) Not being dependent on others for my career choices.
At the end of the day, every writer needs to make this very personal decision as to what would make them happy. As you can see, each option has the ability to make your content, but at the same time, it is possible only if your expectations match the results. Self-publishing for the right reasons would make you happy, and traditional publishing for the right reasons would also make your happy. Before making this decision, go through this list, and mark each item that is important to you. Whichever choice matches the expectations your have from your writing that is the best option for you.
Also, remember sometimes it is ok to make mistakes. The process of publishing is also a journey, and the only thing that matters is not to repeat the same mistakes.
Writing is a labor of love. All writers would attest to that. No one does it because they hope to become a millionaire – but sometimes the journey to publication and beyond is so tough that it’s hard to remain optimistic. Why waste your time pounding away at the laptop when you can spend that time with your children, your spouse, other family or doing some work that will have better monetary rewards?
What would you do today if someone guaranteed your success?
If your answer is the same as mine, that is to write – you, my friend, are in the right profession, or hobby or however you define your writing.
Sometimes, it is difficult to be brave, to take risks – if you are comfortable writing in one genre, it may be hard for you to even think of writing another type of story. If someone told you, you will do a fabulous job writing a romance (and you have been writing mysteries) and if they guaranteed you will make money writing romance, would you do that? If yes, perhaps it’s time to take a look at why you haven’t written romances as yet?
If you have been writing for the past four, five years, and still have not submitted a story, ask yourself if what is holding you back is a fear of rejection? If someone guaranteed acceptance, would you send your book out today?
If you have been trying to get published in a traditional way for the past many years, ask yourself if you would consider self-publishing or digital publishing if someone guaranteed you will make money that way?
Sometimes, we just need to free ourselves from the fear of failure and just go ahead and do what we really want to do simply because it makes us happy. Writing fulfills me. I love it. When I am immersed in the plotting, writing or editing of a story, I am the happiest person on the planet. It’s my passion – and without passion, life is quite meaningless.
Maybe your passion will not make you a millionaire, but if it makes you happy, you should take out the time to do it. All great writers did what they did because they loved their work. Success was a byproduct – and although we live in a society that judges our merit by our monetary success, in our heart, we always truly know what will make us feel like a success.
So go ahead, I guarantee your happiness, if not monetary success…believe me, the second is tied to the first. Do what your heart tells you to do, and you will, in time (after patience and persistence) get the rewards associated with your passion.
Building a writing career through traditional publishing
Building a writing career through self-publishing
Self-publishing may be an easy and accessible option for all writers today, but it’s certainly not a profitable venture for all those who have experienced it. Building a self-publishing career takes time, effort, money and persistence – and to some degree, a knowledge of how publishing, especially self-publishing works. Many writers are doing quite well earning more than a decent amount, but they are not one-book wonders. The best way to learn about self-publishing is to start reading Joe Konrath’s blog A newbie’s guide to self-publishing from start to finish. Go through the archives with complete concentration because everything that is important about self-publishing has been written on his blog.
For the purpose of this blog, I am focusing on digital publishing because that’s familiar to me since my fantasy novella The Black Orb has only been digitally published. However, the rules apply to self-published print books also. Here is, however, a sum of some of the knowledge I have learnt through my interactions with self-published writers:
1) Don’t publish the first story you have ever written. It will not be good enough. Trust me, it won’t be. Instead set it aside and write two more stories. Now read them all again and pick the best one. Set it aside.
2) Set up a twitter account, facebook, website, a goodreads account and start socializing with other writers.
3) Write a new story. Set it aside. Go back to the previous selected story and edit it. Edit it again and submit to your writing or critique group. Make the changes they suggest.
4) Make a list of blogs you wish to appear on through guest posts and author interviews. Write to them, send them a one paragraph blurb of your story and ask if they wish to review the Advanced Reading Copy.
5) Send out the ARCs.
6) If you can hire an editor, great. If not, edit the story yet again. Now hire a book cover designer and get a good cover. Self-publish the story.
7) Email blogs, reviewers and writers asking them if they want to review the book. Send out the books.
8) Edit the second story. Submit to a writing or critique group. Edit it again. Design a cover and self-publish it. It’s better to publish two stories at an interval of two or three months. This will give you more to talk about during interviews.
9) Send out ARCs first before publication of second book and actual books after publication.
10) Write guest posts. If you have your own blog, write with a regular interval, whether once a week or twice or thrice. Stick to a schedule. Write another story.
11) If possible, publish a book for free. This will bring readers to your other books.
12) Set up a low price for the first two books and with each subsequent book, you can increase the price a little bit. Experiment with price promotions.
13) Publish the books in as many stores as possible.
14) As more and more of your books get published, sales will pick up for each individual book. The secret to self-publishing is to write and publish quality books fast. The more shelf space you have, the higher your sales for each individual book.
Writing careers are not made in a day, a week or a month. Each author who is doing well, whether print or self-published, has gone through a lot of hard work, rejections and dejected days before achieving success. Work honestly, with passion and persistence, and you will do well.
This post is for authors and unpublished aspiring writers who are trying to submit their manuscripts to a digital publisher. You can read part 1 and part 2 of how to choose a digital publisher and then, here are a few extra tips:
1) Check the publisher website to see how they are pricing their books in comparison to other digital publishers. Everyone has a different system and publishers do not reveal their pricing strategy, but if you make a comparison according to word count, you will get an idea of which publishers are pricing their books the lowest. You don’t want too low… (not 0.99$ for a 60,000 word novel) because then you will be better off self-publishing (due to a higher royalty rate)… but you don’t want too high also. Highly priced books by new authors don’t sell.
2) See the kind of promotion the publisher is doing on their website. Do they have an active blog? Twitter account?
3) Click on one book and see if their recommendation page pops up. Ideally, they should direct the customer who buys one book towards other similar authors to increase sales. This is similar to Amazon’s “people who bought this also bought” bar.
4) Notice their book covers. Do you like them? Are they attractive? Do they represent the book well?
5) Lastly, buy at least one book in your genre and read it to check the editing.
Byline: Sabine A. Reed is the author of The Black Orb, a fantasy novella published by Uncial Press (a digital publisher). It’s high fantasy and the protagonist is a cunning and beautiful thief who will do anything to make a buck. You can read the first chapter for free.
Those of us who have been bitten by the writing bug know full well the lure of a six-figure writing contract, a good first run of hardcover and a successful and bestselling paperback edition.
Self-publishing has, however, killed that dream for many of us. An increasing number of writers are not waiting for years or decades for that elusive print contract. Instead, they are taking their career in their own hands and publishing their manuscripts on their own. Those of us who still trust publishers are either going with small print publishers or digital publishers.
No problem with that! The path of publishing fame is a varied and twisted one, and those of us who are persistent will get there—eventually.
The writing is on the wall. Print publishing is in the last throes of a slow and agonizingly painful death. Hence, print publishers are taking fewer chances on new writers. Instead they are milking their established authors by earning big bucks from their print and e-book sales. Writers are also not holding their breaths for print contracts. Most are happy self-publishing or allying themselves with digital publishers.
Earlier, a writer was content with publishing smaller stories in a magazine, developing a good reputation and finally landing a print contract for a small advance. Now, the path has changed for many of us. A writer who proves himself either as a successful self-published author of many books, or does well with a digital publisher can eventually hope to earn the interest of an agent/publisher.
Fewer print books will be published but the big publishers will always be around. They may get more of their sales form e-books but they will deliver to their authors the resources for marketing and distribution that are not available to smaller presses or self-published authors.
So yes, many of us have adjusted our dreams. But after all, change is the only constant – and those who keep up with the changing times generally tend to do well.
Author’s note: This post was inspired by Rachelle Gardner’s post on Should I go with an Indie Publisher?
Choosing a Digital Publisher? – Part 1
Choosing a Digital Publisher? – Part 2
E-books and a cup of coffee
In my last post, I discussed some tips that would help a writer decide which digital publisher to choose for manuscript submission. Today, I want to discuss some other points that a writer should consider before signing with a digital publisher.
1) A digital publisher will take digital publishing rights only, and not print. That is, unless, they promise to take your book out in print also. If they are only taking the option to take the book out in print depending on sales, it should be clear as to how many months you can wait before you submit the print version elsewhere.
2) They should specify for how long they are taking the rights. Not for your lifetime, certainly. Five years, or two years since the date of publication is preferable and then you can all re-negotiate the contract.
3) They should send you few free digital copies of the book. They will also create many formats of the book for sale.
4) They should send you ARCs so you can get reviews.
5) The publisher should design the book cover at no cost to you and get ISBN also.
6) The publisher gets first right to look at any sequel to your work that they have, but not to any other work.
It is a writer’s duty to ensure that they are happy with the book contract before signing it. It’s always best to read the contract from start to finish and once again. If you don’t have a lawyer, get a friend to read it for you to get his/her feedback. Do you homework before selling your manuscript so you don’t have any regrets later on.
List of Digital Publishers
Work of a self-published author as compared to an author with a publishing house
The things your digital publisher would do for you
If you are one of those writers like me who don’t want to delve in the deep sea of self-publishing, here are a few tips to help you choose the right digital publisher. First of all, here is a List of Digital Publishers for you to begin with. Before submitting your projects, do some basic research on the publisher:
1) How long have they been around? My publisher Uncial Press recently celebrated their fifth anniversary, and that’s quite a number of years in the fickle world of digital publishing.
2) How many titles do they publish in a month? Ideally, they should have a schedule for publishing because that shows they are organized. Whether they publish one title a month or twenty, it should be a reliable and steady number. Publishers who take out twenty books in one year and only two in the next have something not quite right going on.
3) What kind of marketing do they offer to their writers? Click on some of their titles, note down the author’s name and see the kind of web presence each author has. Digital publishers should at the very least insist on their authors having some kind of a website. Also, they should list the names of authors with a short bio, and a link to the author’s website, on their own site.
4) What is their reputation? You can easily find this out by googling the publisher and reading up about them.
5) How much time and effort is the publisher investing in their own brand name? If you are a new writer, your publisher is the one who is going to pull the initial sales and for this, they need to have a loyal customer base and a multi-pronged policy of gaining new followers. At the very least, they should have a twitter account, facebook and preferably a publisher blog also.
6) Where do they upload their titles? Ideally, you would want your publisher to put the book up on Amazon, Barnes and Noble Nook, as well online retailers such as fictionwise, diesel, etc. Check the ratings of their Amazon titles to see how well their authors are doing? Usually authors with more than one published book do better than authors with only one book up.
7) Check to see how many of their authors have published more than one book with them. This is a true test of the publisher because authors will only submit more than one book to them if they are happy with the sales of the first title and the general behavior of the publisher.
8) You can even write to some of their authors and ask them if they would recommend the publisher. This is a dicey question. Some authors may not honestly speak against their publisher even if they are not happy with their title’s performance—but there is no harm in trying.
On Friday, I am going to do another post on Choosing a Digital Publisher so don’t forget to drop in again. Also, an interview of Aria, my protagonist from The Black Orb, a fantasy novella, is up at Paradox- The Angels are Here (a blogs of author Patti Roberts, author of Paradox) and it’s truly an interesting question-answer session because Aria is a lively fiery character who came alive for me as I penned her. You can read the first chapter of The Black Orb for free here.