Tuesday, January 17, 2012

It is possible to successfully self-publish?

I am intrigued by the factors that make a book a bestseller. When my first book was published in 1999, I was introduced into a whole new language - trade press, international rights, special book rates, and the seemingly evil "vanity publishing." Vanity publishing, when it was heard, was always preceded by a pause and a slight curl of the lips, and followed immediately by a know-all smug grin.

You see, last century, vanity publishing was something you did because a "real" publisher would not accept your book. It implied that your book as not good enough. Self-publsihed authors were not celebrated, their books were not eligible for awards, and in general they were second rate. And in fact, they often were. Many were not edited, nor proofread, and lacked quality design. To be honest, you could spot a self-published book at fifty yards - they screamed amateur at you.

Fast forward to 2010, bookshops and publishers have merged, liquidated and down-sized. Most publishers have cut their lists and e-books have taken flight. There are numerous platforms for self-publishing. And to be honest, its difficult to understand why you would not do it.

In the past, you might receive 10% of the retail price of a book. So, if the RRP was $9.99, AND you sold 10,000 copies, you might received $10,000 in royalties. If you self-publsih, the royalties on an e-book might be as high as 70%, but lets say its 50%, you only need to sell 2000 books at $9.99 (Amazon's seemingly desired level) or if you do sell the book for $2.99, a level that people choose to take a chance, and you sell only 5000 books, the royalty cheque will be $7500.  And you are likely to see the money sooner, since the lead time for a mainstream publishing contract is considerably longer.

Ultimately, whether the book becomes a bestseller, depends on many factors - some in your control and some not. So when you hear that a self-publsihed author has sold 1.5 millions copies of her book, you know that self-publishing is neither vanity nor poor quality anymore, well not according to the 1.5 million people who paid to read her book. Amanda Hocking is young author who has (against all odds) made it work.

No doubt vanity publishing will continue, but no longer will it apply to ALL self-published books.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Wonderful man-made clouds

I wish I was this creative and tenacious. These carefully constructed clouds use mathematical principles to create cumulous clouds using nothing but a crochet hook and wool. And lighting of course. In this display the lighting is what makes it really special. The light creates the shadows and depths of real clouds.
Image: Phase One Photography

Take a look here