Saturday, October 22, 2011

Generally Speaking by Pat Laster from Calliope

This is a survey of four writers who have recently self-published books. I found it particularly interesting in light of our recent discussion of Ugly Duckling Presse, and our projects. Three of the four writers listed URLs as their publishers, most said that they just passed around their book looking for comments and edits and then had to do the proofreading themselves. It was very interesting to hear about their experiences self-publishing. Their various pieces of advice include having patience, proofreading the final draft, and continuing to write.

Three of the writers hoped to or have already broken even, but the fourth gave a flat out “No” to the question “Do you think you will get your money back?” And one who had broken even already said he wouldn’t have cared if he hadn’t. A small part of me says that he only thinks that because he did break even. I think it is significant that Laster, who was asking the questions, didn’t ask if anyone hoped to make profit, just if they thought they’d get their money back.

One thing I hadn’t thought to think of at all, but that Laster asked about was ISBNs. I have zero clue how that works, but think it would be pretty interesting to find out.

Anyways, check it out:



amra said...

ISBN are pretty easy to come by actually, you just send away for them.

Popped said...

I feel like independent publishers are about trying to start a dialogue with people. As Ugly Ducking said, the publishing process is still pretty personal; I think the comments and perspectives gained would be better than breaking even right away (then again, I am not their position right now, and I might have a different perspective if I was out there publishing right now). I think it would have been really interesting to hear the answers to your questions about whether they hoped to make a profit, though I think an underlying element of independent publishing is that it is a labor of love more than anything. I'll definitely check out the link!
---Jen G.

Popped said...

When I was 16, I self-published a novel through It's a print-on-demand site, which means that you don't have to order in batches of 500 or 1000, so you don't have to worry as much about making money back because, until you order a book, you don't actually spend any money. Of course, if you're going to go about marketing your book and sending it to people for review, you will have to buy a few copies that you'll probably give away for free.

From what I've read, it's usually very hard to get started by self-publishing, but it's a godsend to established writers. Instead of having to go through a major publishing house who will give them only 10 or 15% of the profits, self-published authors can usually keep most of the profits for themselves. This is especially true of e-books. It just stinks that you pretty much have to be established already to get a wide readership.

As for ISBNs, I know that at least had a program where you could buy an ISBN number for around $30 (a few years ago, so I can't remember all the details, but there were a few extra perks involved) and get that printed on your book. I'm sure other self-publishing companies probably have similar setups.

--Sarah Lawrence