A few years after I wrote this series of posts, I was contacted by Vinoth AJ, of Apoyo. He sent me this helpful assessment of book writing tools. (This is not an endorsement of Vinoth -who seems to be a nice guy, nor of any of the software in this nice reference guide.ALTHOUGH, I am now pleasantly surprised and pleased to say that we are now collaborating on a writing project that may be of interest to those writers who self-publish. I will link to the first post as soon as it is online.)
FICTION:LEARNING FROM NONFICTION?
What, if anything, can the fiction part of the ebook world learn from the nonfiction side? Are the relationships between authors and publishers the same? How does a paper make its way from an academic (for example) to a reader? Average cost/wordcount of a nonfiction document? Professors seem to be unofficial gatekeepers; their decisions affect libraries, bookstores and students. In terms of ebook production, nonfiction is usually heavy with images, charts, graphs, footnotes etc....is this fact an issue? In terms of marketing, are fiction and nonfiction apples and oranges?
GUARDIAN BOOK COMPANY
My dad can provide better service and deals on K-12 books than your dad.
I was lucky with I Ate Tiong Bahru. I had storage facilities, and a distributor. Additionally, the Tiong Bahru area in Singapore has a great bookstore, where IATB is often prominently displayed. Otherwise, I probably would not have printed another book.
Options for print books that I have yet to explore:
I am lucky to have a star...
PUBLISHERS (and BOOKSELLERS)
"You are in a noble profession," said surprise guest Bill Clinton to the heads of houses attending the Association of American Publishers "21st Century Publishing Solutions" AGM on Wednesday. "Pollute it as little as you can and still keep going. We all still need to read things that take more than five minutes to read and more than five months to write . . . The public still needs access to books for perspective. Facts are not enough."
The quotes above and below are from The Booksellers Blog
Barnett is adept at getting huge advances, but asserts, "I want to see the publisher make money. There have been only two instances when the publisher hasn’t ended up making money – of course, that doesn’t mean the book earned out." When David Young asked Barnett what annoys him about his dealings with the book business, his quick reply provided some unpalatable food for thought: "Some of the young people who get hired, who get too big a chance too soon, the editors who aren’t up to it. They can’t write, they say ‘like,’ ‘you know,’ every other word. It reflects poorly on the publisher, on me, and on the process."Publishing, once a national/international network of editors, agents, proofreaders, publicists and assistants, truck drivers and sales clerks, is now the work of one. No machinery, no smell of ink or the crispness of paper. A click; publishing is a button.
How does an unknown author find readers? Targeted advertising is a sure way. Giving away free copies and advance review copies (ARC) helps. Bookbub (only after one has enough reviews)
Word of mouth recommendations and reviews are invaluable. Amazon, especially, knows this and wisely took steps to stop the "sock puppets":
-Stephen King, Rudyard Kipling, Benjamin Franklin, James Joyce and Virginia Wolf self-published. John Milton self-published a pamphlet against censorship (Areopagatica) in 1644. Charles Dickens self-published A Christmas Carol.
-Assuming the quality of the story and presentation are professional, the self-publisher's biggest challenge is to equal or surpass the audience that the traditional publishers already have.
-Self publishing:stigma or stardom?
SOCIAL, SALES, SUBSCRIPTION...
Besides being a bestselling author, Stephen King is an ebook pioneer.Riding the Bullet, was available for download in 2000. It required a free software called “SoftLock”. He was also involved with pay-as-you-go serial projects, including "The Plant." His latest release, "Joyland", is paper only, a show of support for brick and mortar bookstores.
As I said, I believe in books. Reading a book is one of the few times that we allow another voice deeply into our being. For days, weeks, sometimes even months, we walk in another’s shoes, see life through a different pair of eyes and maybe even sometimes (surprisingly) learn something new or change our minds about something. Books are a powerful and in some ways unique force for creating a different, greater YOU. Books are one of the few places that where we can discover what more life can offer. And what I saw in digital was the promise of bringing books and reading to more people than ever before. When I got into book publishing, people in the industry told me, about 5% of Americans go into a bookstore in an average year. For me, that was staggering. “What about the other 95%?” I thought. Yes, some go to libraries, but how do we touch everybody? How do we create a nation of readers? The promise of digital is to have any book, the book that you most need available to you, RIGHT now on whatever device you happen to be carrying, from your smallest phone to your big screen tv. It’s any time, anywhere, any device.
Dominique Raccah, founder of Sourcebooks, upon receiving the Muriel Siebert Entrepreneurial Champion award, given to female entrepreneurs who have created an innovative new product or service with global implications.
ABOUT STEPHEN BLACK
The son of a book salesman, I probably began reading Publisher's Weekly when I was in second grade. The bestseller list on the last page always fascinated me: the numbers and the words seemed like a secret code for understanding the world. My dad's specialty is, and was, educational materials for school libraries. I grew up in a world that was a cross between a warehouse and a grade school library, surrounded by books, cassettes, Newberry and Caldecott winners, globes, EZReaders and Permabound paperbacks. In 1994 I went to Cannes with my dad for something called the Electronic Media Fair. That was the age of CD-ROM. I held a Newton! I don't remember when I first heard the word ebook, but I don't think it was then. I came to Singapore in 2002 to work for a project that was part Youtube, part Second Life, part educational media. In 2008 I decided to write and create an ebook.
For what its worth, I proudly believe that the cover of Furikake, my third book, has the most amateurish and ugly cover on Amazon. I made it myself! I should add that my last book, I Ate Tiong Bahru (softcover version) is becoming a national bestseller in Singapore.
The Agaricus blazei Murrill Notebook was published in 2003 with a print-on-demand service. In 2008: Obama Search Words. Ignoring common sense, charts and photos were used. At the time, Kindle only displayed tones of gray and was not very friendly toward images. OSW was probably the first ebook completely created in Singapore, where I live. I then produced Contact With Shadow, Fires (by the poet Cyril Wong) and Furikake. Even now, Kindles are not officially available in Singapore. Bus Stopping, a printed book of photographs, was published in 2006. In 2007 I set up Book Merah, which is meant to be more of an incubator than a publisher.
I have been a visual/conceptual artist all my life and have also worked with musicians galore.To pay the bills I have worked for companies like Fox, CNN, Cartoon Network, MTV, Turner Classic Movies, France 2 and Fuji TV, doing everything from directing to cinematography to writing. I also have extensive experience as a food/video photographer. I have done these things in Hong Kong, Paris, Tokyo, Manhattan and Singapore.