Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The Rest Of The Story

I just read yet another article about how self-published authors can maximize sales by using XZY marketing techniques. Of course, everyone who read the article probably also noticed that this same marketing guru also has a book for sale on Amazon and, in the fine print, we find that her main occupation is consultant to authors. I don't imagine too many authors fall for this gimmick, but I'm sure some do. So this post is to offer up THE REST OF THE STORY.
Yes, you can now publish on Amazon and it's OH SO EASY to join the other millions who listened to and have read articles by Joe Konrath and Zoe Winters. Yes. It is so easy in fact that a two-year-old can publish there without breaking a sweat. But the hidden part, the part that no one talks much about, is that self-publishing a book on Amazon that looks like a book instead of a do-it-yourself piece of crap REQUIRES MONEY.
Sorry to burst that bubble but just because the internet is FREE, self-publication isn't. Edits (not just copy edits), cover art, styling, and true conversion costs money. I believe, last time I checked, a professional edit costs somewhere in the neighborhood of $3000 dollar. Covers, good ones, run about $2000 and style and set up by a professional on Adobe InDesign runs around $1500. Copy edits, on the other hand, are a little cheaper depending on how many errors are found. What all this money produces is a novel that is eye-catching and reads like it was written by a profession author rather than a beginning amateur writer.
Another secret that no one tells anyone about is that Joe Konrath and others write novel series. They don't write single titles because single titles won't work well in the Ebook realm. Why? Because readers, once they glom onto an author they like to read, always want that NEXT BOOK. Authors who are in-the-know capitalize on this fact by giving their audience just what they want—that next book. So, if you're doing all that self-publishing requires—edits, cover art, copy edits, conversion and uploads--are you going to have the time to write all those great novels your readers crave? If you're wondering, you might ask yourself why even the so-called successful self=published authors, including Joe Konrath, gave up self-publishing and let a publisher do the heavy-lifting work for them.
Joe Konrath did a class on Self Publishing at the Love at the Murder conference in Chicago last February. I was in attendance. To a packed auditorium, he admitted that he has to pay to have his novels prepared before posting them on Amazon. When the question was asked about cost of publication, he tried to dodge it by panning it off as nothing compared to the thousands of dollars to be made in return. When pressed more directly, however, he admitted that he had a guy who did his covers and another guy who converted his books for him—'cause, you know, he's a busy author and writing occupies most of his time and he was making SO much money and all… authors who attend writers conferences are very sharp.
As an E-book publisher, I'd like to ask if there's any difference between hiring a guy to do this and another guy to do that and partnering with a publisher whose going to do it all for you for a very nice royalty split (we offer way more royalties than NYC publishers, by the way).
Self-publishing is a lonely endeavor. If you don't believe this, ask those who have self-published. The self-published author has no one to cheer him or her on, no one to help market their books, no one to offer advice, no one to offer suggestions on your next book and the list goes on and on. Having an editor in your corner is worth his or her weight. Think about it. Our guidelines are right above. We charge nothing for advice or publication.


Lori Lightner said...

Love this post. It's exactly why I'm so thrilled that you have published my first novel "Summer and Lilacs." I know I couldn't have done it by myself.

Anonymous said...

You said everything I've been thinking. Hopefully, that means I am as intelligent as you are. I am convinced. Now, to get my manuscripts up to speed so you will love them! That is my goal.

Thanks for clarifying the epublishing question. And then, I can't help wondering who is going to market the self epub books.

Sorry I missed you this year but I was in DC meeting ambassdors and dukes - getting inspired for new stories!