If you’ve already read my previous article about the truth of the publishing industry and how difficult it is to break in and become the next star novelist, then you may find this next commentary interesting. In the past ten years, new opportunities have cropped up for would-be, frustrated authors. Print-on-Demand and Ebooks hit the market, tempting unpublished novelists with promises of do-it-yourself fame. Some authors have actually been able to gain some success through these avenues, but most authors who travel the self-publishing path remain just as underpaid and anonymous as before.
For the sake of this article, I will focus on the Print-On-Demand opportunities. Ebooks may be okay for some things, but to date, Ebooks are not turning enough revenue for me to consider them interesting.
The key to self-publishing is first and foremost the quality of the product. It is vital to an author’s success to have a completed, very well written, perfectly researched, and highly polished product before self-publishing. Secondly, it is important that the book publisher produce a product that looks aesthetically appealing. Some Print-On-Demand books are very high quality, which is a good thing. But oftentimes, the author has to pay someone to prepare a book cover and put together the book block, the interior pages. This can be costly. If you are an author on a budget, you may not have any other choice but to provide cover art and a strong PDF version of your pages. Some of the software used to produce either product can cost hundreds of, or even a few thousand, dollars.
Prolific authors shy away from self-publishing because they know that to follow that path means their next novel won’t be written for a minimum of a year. Why? Because they will spend that time preparing the book block, the book cover, and then promoting what they produced. Promotions are costly. An author with a lot of money in the bank can simply hire a publicist. But the average author will have to do all the promotional work themselves. Promotions can pay off when a publishing house suddenly notices this self-published phenomenon, but it takes a tremendous amount of work, a great book, and some savvy footwork before a publishing house even cares to notice. Without a doubt, successful self-published authors throw themselves into heavy promotional work. Think in terms of radio shows, internet marketing, print marketing, speaking engagements. You will suddenly be lifted from the profession of writer and thrown into the profession of advertising executive. Most ‘artists’ don’t care to participate in this venture; they prefer to go on to the next piece of artwork. But a frustrated author can have the ambition and the drive to actually make it work.
Bottom line: Do your homework, know exactly what you want out of the deal, understand the amount of work and promotion it will take, and have the best product you can produce.
For more tips, keep your eyes peeled for future blogs and articles by author C. D. Blizzard
Copyright 2008 C. D. Blizzard
C. D. Blizzard is the author of Blackwater, Broken, and Profile. Want to take a peek inside this prolific author’s life? Visit one of the most popular blogs on the web. http://www.cdblizzard.com