Self Publishing…Is It Worth It?

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There they were. Those two words you thought would never happen. Six little letters. You type slowly and reverently:

The End.

The act of completing a novel is huge. Of the billions of people on the planet we are in a very small, select group of Homo sapiens. Soak up the ambiance because shortly you come to the next gargantuan phase of your book: publishing.

You can have your book published on Amazon within a few days. You can use their cover designer for free. You just upload the pdf, collect your ISBN and POOF you’re published. You can do it in your underwear, or less. Clickity clack – baddaboom baddabing. AUTHOR!

Ooooooor, you can compose a query letter, a synopsis and prep a few select gorgeous pages of your work and try courting the shy and elusive literary agent or traditional publisher. And then await the rejections! I am in a group on Facebook that celebrates the Rejection Letter. Mostly they are pre-written form letters and ironically sometimes contain typos.

There is also a deep, dark secret that transpires at bookstores and libraries the world over. [TRIGGER ALERT] Every bookstore and library participate in the culling of books. Books — pages toiled over and written in blood by a writer — get DUMPED. Sometimes the get purchased by paper recycling company, some take truckloads to the land fills. It’s gruesome. Mass graves for literary endeavor.

I’m at a cross-roads. I’ve completed my novel. I can testify that it is definitely “not bad”. It’s a literary fiction manuscript. No vampires. No spacesuits. It’s about….well, here  you can read about it and see what I mean. I had this intense urge to get my manuscript through my editor’s process. I had a drive to finish, to get those pages to Amazon. And then once I was all done I sat with my novel…digitized into a pdf…and I became suddenly aware of relegating my book to the culled pile. Or worse, it never gets to the culled pile because my three friends didn’t have money to buy it and it just sits there, a victim of a lack of marketing and distribution.

Some reports suggest that less than 1% of authors on Amazon create revenue of $50 per day or more. But wait! Use Ads!! That’s right, start paying for your novel to be placed more successfully. It’s maddening.

So here I sit with my little pdf, working on pdf #2 and I’m considering all of the above. I believe I am going to wait for traditional publishing.

I don’t know…I really don’t.

For more reading try these: Claude Forthomme’s BlogNew York Times, The Guardian, Amazon KDP Support Chat

To ISBN or Not ISBN.

Self publishing? Need an ISBN? CreateSpace will give you an ISBN for FREE! Woo hoo!

But wait, if CreateSpace or other POD’s give me an ISBN (International Standard Book Number) – what’s the drawback? ISBN’s assigned to you by CreateSpace are “CreateSpace Assigned ISBN’s”. In other words it’s a place holder used only within Amazon marketing matrix.

But there are some options if you use CreateSpace:

  1. The option above, CreateSpace Assigned ISBN
  2. Custom Universal ISBN (for $99)
  3. Or you can provide your own ISBN purchased from an ISBN broker

Holy Crap…$99! That’s expensive…isn’t it? Actually for a universal ISBN, no – it isn’t. Arguably, the top ISBN broker is a company named Bowker. They sell a single ISBN for $125. The feature that most people use at Bowker is their group purchase option. They sell ten ISBN;s for $295, 100 ISBN’s for $575 or 1000 ISBN’s for $1500.

Why spend the money?

Here’s why.

  1. With a CreateSpace (or other POD) you are not the publisher, they are. Your book may immediately be disregarded by bookstores and potential reviewers as a vanity press project. I know when I was shopping my novel around to book stores they wouldn’t consider it if it had a CreateSpace ISBN.
  2. If you own the ISBN, you can move your book to a different printer if needed. Let’s say sales start taking off and you want to have copies on hand for book signings, you will have to pay CreateSpace the retail value for books. You cannot move it to a private printer for a run of prints to stock your book fair, book signings or public events. You will need to pay Amazon for your book!
  3. Lastly, buying your own ISBN’s means your book is listed with many retailers, libraries, Bowker Books In Print, Bookwire, as well as online services like Google Books, Apple’s iBooks, Chegg and the New York Times. Having your own ISBN gets your book OUT THERE!

So with my first novel coming out next month, I’m going to purchase ten ISBN’s. If anyone associated with IntrovertPRESS wants their own ISBN I’m happy to share. I would even be open to pooling resources or using crowd-sourcing to raise fund for ISBN’s. If you use your own ISBN, you can use IntrovertPRESS as your “publisher” so it looks like you are a traditionally published book.

We’re an author-netowrking site…let’s network!

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Even Carrie Had a Prom Date

The origin of IntrovertPRESS is a selfish one. Upon completing my novel and not having a traditional publishing contract I was faced with the Indie Author conundrum:

  1. I wrote a book
  2. I now want to sell the book
  3. Commence bashing head into desk

It’s a bit like getting yourself all gussied up on a Saturday night and then hoping a date will materialize at your door.  It is infuriating, even Carrie had a prom date.

So I created IntrovertPRESS to accomplish a few things:

  1. Make me feel like I’m actually DOING something to market my book
  2. Give my book a traditional publisher feel
  3. Create a network to put my book in front of buyers
  4. Garner a peer review of my novel until I land a qualified industry review
  5. See #1

In addition, I’m going to purchase my own ISBN so I can put my book on local bookstore shelves. The local paper has agreed to do a book review of my novel, so — assuming it is positive — my book will have a local push. If anyone else is interested in purchasing ISBN’s for their work, the costs are far more reasonable when you purchase in bulk:

  • $125 – 1 ISBN
  • $250 – 10 ISBNs – if IntrovertPRESS buys 10, super cheap to IP members
  • $575 – 100 ISBNs – super cheaper here!
  • $1000 – 1000 ISBNs – super cheapest…ISBN’s all around bartender!

Apparently buying ISBN’s is like buying mayonnaise, the 5 gallon vat of condiment is cheaper in bulk — and so it goes for literary birthmarks.

Respond if you are interested in joining our band of merry authors.

Amazon Preview Feature

Self publishing has many steps. I’m currently preparing for a book launch in May. I’m working on my Amazon Preview with Create Space (the facilitator of book prep for Amazon). This feature allows you to preview your book on their website. They provide options for the intended audience of your preview. Essentially you can create a Private Preview available only to people you select; or there are two types of Public Previews to target audiences or to the whole of the Amazon readership.

I chose the latter.

If you want to see what the Preview feature looks like, I shamelessly give you the link for my PREVIEW of SHELTERED, the story of Joe a homeless man with mental illness as he finds his way back to security. It is due out in May

Disclaimer: there is some tough language.

 

I am a serial killer.

I sit, in the dark, alone.

The thoughts come to me about my next victim. I know where she goes for coffee after her run. I know where he picks up his fifth of Bourbon after work. I see the silhouette of a family playing board games at their kitchen table through their drawn shades. I have groomed them all with love and care.

I know my weapons. I know how they feel in my hand. I see them on my basement table, gleaming in the light from the single exposed bulb shining down from the ceiling.

It’s just a matter of time now. I know their routines. I know the date they will die. I know which weapon will undo their lives. I know I will kill them.  I revel in the upcoming slaughter. The woman I kill slowly. The man I kill quickly. The family — oh that precious, sweet family — I will kill one at a time starting with the youngest as the others watch.

It’s my passion. I savor their struggle at my hand like I the salty taste of a fine caviar on my tongue. People die to sate my longings. Their pain, to me, is sublime beauty

I am a serial killer.

Or perhaps I should say, my character is a serial killer…

Come write with us.

Dot Parker

Dorothy Parker is one of my all time favorite writers. Bucking gender bias and a trend for women of her day to be poised and graceful, Ms Parker turned the literary world on its head. She wrote deeply and shallowly simultaneously, because that’s how most people are: deep and shallow simultaneously.

As I embark on publishing my first novel I am thrilled to have completed a manuscript.  I don’t hate writing, but I do love having written. I feel like I can finally put my big boy pants on and walk down the street…shoes and shirt come later.

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