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This article is not intended for novelists. While novelists are certainly welcome to read it, I doubt you’ll find anything useful to your calling here. This article is intended for those who write magazine articles, blog post/web content, and perhaps short stories or brief memoir pieces.
While the admonition of “write faster” may seem self-explanatory on the surface, it goes way beyond just hitting the keys at a higher rate of speed. Although that too can help. Isaac Asimov was once being interviewed by Barbara Walters. In between two of the segments she asked him, ”But what would you do if the doctor gave you only six months to live?” He said, “Type faster.”1
One of the things I like best about being a freelance writer over being a cubicle dweller or factory worker is the aspect that it’s up to me to decide how much I work and how much I earn. As a corporate employee I worked so many hours a week and got a paycheck for a certain amount every two weeks. Other than the rare opportunity for overtime, I had little to do with how much time I put in or the pay I took away.
As a freelancer, it is entirely — well, mostly — up to me to decide when I work and how much I get paid. No work: no pay, work hard: get paid well, simple as that. Mostly. But it’s more than just keeping my nose to the grindstone longer. I can eek out more profit by making that time count for more by working smarter, not just longer. Here’s how that works.
P.O.D. (Print on Demand) book machines have been in use in companies like CreateSpace and Lightning Source for years. Using these machines they are able to print your books as they are sold – one at a time if need be - instead of having to do print runs of thousands (or tens of thousands) of copies as a traditional offset press would. That means you, the author/publisher, don’t have to spend thousands of dollars on printing costs up front and don’t have to pay for storage of the books while waiting for them to be sold. Print them as you need them: what could be better?
A recent development in the world of Print on Demand brings this capability to a wider variety of businesses; even libraries. Read the rest of this entry »
There are now vast legions of new authors who are published in eBook form only. Self-publishing allows an author to publish their manuscript directly to distributors such as Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple Store, Kobo, and Smashwords for use on one or more reading devices. All of these will handle eBook versions, Amazon and Barnes & Noble can handle print books as well. But there are other markets where print gives you an edge over eBook. Should you consider publishing to print?
There are still a large number of people who like the feel and smell of an ink on paper book in their hands. Many prefer eBooks for novels but paper books for reference materials. So if you write non-fiction, you need to be considering paperback at least. Book discussion groups also tend to favor paperbacks.
Brick and mortar book stores and libraries specialize in print books – where most of these do not handle eBooks. Yet. Distributors can use price comparisons between print books to make them appear attractive, price-wise.
But, rushing out to produce a paperback book to coincide with or follow closely on the heels of your eBook is not a great idea for several reasons. Read the rest of this entry »
As a freelancer, seeing your name in major print publications and on top eZines is a major thrill. And many freelance writers want to know how to get their work in the spotlight.
My list of publications is fairly long and is available on the About Me page of this blog, so I won’t take up your time with crowing about it here. As a freelance journalist, newspaperman/author for 30+ years seeing my name in print is nothing new – but is still a thrill (I’m easily entertained). But when a friend or colleague runs across my name in a magazine they often react with awe.
“How do you do that?” some ask, as if there were some magic incantation that lets me create bylines with the wave of my hand. Read the rest of this entry »
There has been a fair bit of discussion in the forums lately about authors who open a publishing company to self-publish their work. Much of that discussion centers on whether that practice is ethical: is this author trying to deceive the readers into thinking a publishing house picked them up or simply doing business in a business-like manner. I contend the latter. I make furniture, no one questions my decision to sell my furniture as a woodworking business. Similarly, as an author who produces and sells books I see nothing wrong with my doing business with book retailers under a publishing business name. Some distributors demand this: they will not deal with the author as the publisher. Read the rest of this entry »
The recent class action lawsuit filed against Publish America is just one more reminder that Indie authors need to be careful about whom they do business with in the process of publishing their books. What follows is a list of red flags that may indicate caution is required if they pop up in your dealings with a so-called “publisher”.
Many so called self-publishing houses are what are referred to as “vanity publishers” because they offer to get the author’s books in print for a fee. These often advertise that they “need” or are “seeking” new authors. If you’ve ever tried dealing with a reputable publishing house you know that rejection is the normal order of things; they will put their imprint on and marketing efforts behind only those books that meet their standards. Vanity publishers accept anyone and charge unsuspecting authors to publish their work, often producing books that are poorly written, have not been edited, have awful covers, and are (for all intents and purposes) virtually worthless in the commercial book market. Worthless, to everyone except the vanity publisher, who makes thousands of dollars from the author. Beware of these signs: Read the rest of this entry »
There was a time when avid readers were frequent customers of small, neighborhood bookstores – these were the places where books lived and could be bought. Then the big chain bookstores: B Dalton, Crown, Borders, and Barnes & Noble shoved the small shops out of existence. The book buyer’s expectations changed as the venue changed.
Barnes & Noble and Amazon have been duking it out for control of the print book market for some time. Then, about three years ago, eReaders came on the scene and the venue changed again. Read the rest of this entry »
In the past I have been known to post movie reviews here: mostly Sci-Fi, particularly old Sci-Fi because that’s what I enjoy watching. Through those reviews I met a few others who would pop in to see my comments and use them to plan their own movie watching.
Then a few movie eZines chose to throw money at me if I’d publish my reviews through them. Not lots of money, mind you, but some is better than none. So I ‘ve been shipping my reviews off to Socyberty, Cinemaroll and now Telewatcher. I do tweet and Facebook these when they get published, but they often get lost in the stream of gazillions of tweets. A couple of these folks have said that they miss my insights. Not many, mind you, but a couple. So I decided to post this post were I can offer a digest of these reviews with links to their published locations. I’ll update the list as new ones go out.
Book reviews will continue to be done here because they do directly relate to my topics of writing and publishing (and because no one has offered to buy them).
(Click the titles to read the reviews – and ‘Thank You’ for your interest!)
Battle Beyond the Stars, starring Richard Thomas, Robert Vaughn, John Saxon, George Peppard, and a host of others is the story of a young man who ventures out from his pacifist home planet when it comes under attack by the evil tyrant Sador.
In a recent post, Pricing Your eBook, I discussed the vagaries of setting a price on a book sold only in electronic form. That model is driven mostly by perceived value and target audience, when determining the price for a printed book you have a couple of other items to factor into your profit map.
Pricing a printed book is also deserving added thought because changing the price of an eBook is a simple matter. Changing the price of a printed book is not simple because the price is printed on the back cover along with the ISBN and bar code. Changing the price means changing the cover, which means service fees paid to your printer every time you make a change.
Unlike an eBook, printed books actually cost you money to produce, how much will depend on who you choose to produce your books and the styling of your books. Read the rest of this entry »