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The Ease of Publishing an Ebook

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the decreasing-the-tree-bodycount dept.

Books 184

ISoldat53 writes "This article describes how easy it is to publish an ebook. The author details the costs to the writer for a major publishing house to publish a book and the savings to the writer by self-publishing. He looks to make the same profit selling the book at $2.99 on Amazon as he would going though a traditional publishing process. The book is formatted only for the Kindle right now, but the author explains how it can be converted for other readers, since there's no DRM."

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184 comments

As easy as a first post! (0, Troll)

aurelianito (684162) | more than 3 years ago | (#33919740)

But more profitable

Re:As easy as a first post! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33919834)

If there is no DRM there will only be sold one copy.

maybe:)

Re:As easy as a first post! (1)

julesh (229690) | more than 3 years ago | (#33919856)

If there is no DRM there will only be sold one copy.

4 co-authors. Each of them must have at least 10 friends. I reckon that adds up to about 30 copies sold, and nobody being able to figure out who's lying about having bought it.

Re:As easy as a first post! (4, Interesting)

bdhall1313 (202306) | more than 3 years ago | (#33920044)

I've already read several of J.A. Konrath's books on my Kindle. He is a great writer and I'm sure this new book is worth more than $2.99. I just went to Amazon and pre-ordered it.

Re:As easy as a first post! (2, Informative)

inflex (123318) | more than 3 years ago | (#33921188)

Of course, the fun thing isn't so much doing the book for Kindle (that's dead easy, especially if you've used something like LyX + Calibre), the hard bit as always is breaking into the market. Independent authors/publishers are becoming great in numbers with everyone screaming "me too!" it reminds me of the earlier days of places like Freshmeat where ~2000 the place exploded with packages that were near clones of already existing packages, after a while you just had to tune out because of the noise levels swamping out the legitimately good independent/OpenSource packages.

I'm an independent publisher for my wife's fantasy novels - most of the time and money is spent just trying to differentiate oneself from the pack, at $2.99 on Amazon (or even direct) you it's really not a profitable venture for quite a while because of essential costs like editing ($5000), proofing ($500), artwork ($1000) and many other things. Trying to sell a few thousand copies of a book is quite a task.

Paul.

Quality control (2, Funny)

hey (83763) | more than 3 years ago | (#33919758)

is something that publishes add too.

Re:Quality control (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33919792)

maybe you should consider finding a new publishes?

Re:Quality control (3, Insightful)

julesh (229690) | more than 3 years ago | (#33919810)

Indeed. And while J A Konrath is actually a reasonably well-known writer who writes (I'm led to believe) fairly good books, the *vast* majority of e-book self-publishers aren't in his league, so his experiences don't really translate to other people trying to get into the business. Konrath had a run of good-selling traditionally-published books before he started self-publishing, thus managed to build a fan base off the back of the marketing the publishers did for him. This doesn't apply to most of the people who read his articles and decide that maybe self publishing a novel is the way forward for them. It isn't, except in unusual circumstances. Konrath exemplifies one of those; there are others (e.g. you're famous for some reason other than your writing, you have a ready-made large network of people you'll be able to sell to, etc.).

Re:Quality control (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33921152)

Indeed. And while J A Konrath is actually a reasonably well-known writer who writes (I'm led to believe) fairly good books, the *vast* majority of e-book self-publishers aren't in his league, so his experiences don't really translate to other people trying to get into the business. Konrath had a run of good-selling traditionally-published books before he started self-publishing, thus managed to build a fan base off the back of the marketing the publishers did for him. This doesn't apply to most of the people who read his articles and decide that maybe self publishing a novel is the way forward for them. It isn't, except in unusual circumstances. Konrath exemplifies one of those; there are others (e.g. you're famous for some reason other than your writing, you have a ready-made large network of people you'll be able to sell to, etc.).

Totally agreed. This is somewhat similar to Radiohead's pay-what-you-want model from a few years ago. Immediately afterwards, people were going "See! They made a million dollars off of that, so anybody can," while totally ignoring that they had built a reputation on the backs of the very industry that was being claimed was totally unnecessary now. Sure, there's some merit to what's being done in both cases, but to claim that anyone can make it big because established artists can go-it-alone later in their careers is disingenuous at best.

Re:Quality control (1)

SkippityDooDah (766832) | more than 3 years ago | (#33921872)

Guess what? Most publishers don't do much of anything to promote you. That's why Wayne Dyer had to load up a bunch of books in his car and drive around to radio stations getting talking opportunities back in the day. I've had about 40 books published, lots of how-to, and for the most part, I've made all my own publicitiy, like getting interviewed in a print newsletter reaching 700,000 people. Or calling in to a national radio show, mentioning the book, and selling out the 10,000 first run. On the Net, you can build buzz by a lot of HARD WORK. Just like in the real world. I've never read a Konrath book and probably won't due to what he writes about, but I admire what he's doing.

Re:Quality control (1)

hcdejong (561314) | more than 3 years ago | (#33919924)

Also the whole technical side of publishing. Sure, anyone can do 'Save as PDF' in Word, but doing it right is nontrivial.

Re:Quality control (1)

Ruie (30480) | more than 3 years ago | (#33920860)

Also the whole technical side of publishing. Sure, anyone can do 'Save as PDF' in Word, but doing it right is nontrivial.

Indeed, you need TeX for that ;)

Re:Quality control (1)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 3 years ago | (#33919988)

ugh, have you seen "professionally published" ebooks? many are shitty conversions that look like ass. Ok, a publisher ought to proofread and edit... but judging by the errata and poor layout on many technical books, that just not happening either.

Missing (2, Interesting)

neonv (803374) | more than 3 years ago | (#33919804)

Important things a publisher provides:

1) Editing

2) Marketing

3) Cover and format

4) Industry connections

to name a few. It's possible to publish without a publisher for sure, but it's also easy to make your own band, doesn't mean you'll be rich and famous.

Re:Missing (1)

garcia (6573) | more than 3 years ago | (#33919820)

It's possible to publish without a publisher for sure, but it's also easy to make your own band, doesn't mean you'll be rich and famous.

Yeah that was before the Internet music explosion. Now you can become famous on YouTube and next thing you know be vaulted to levels unseen by many mainstream bands who were on the radio with one song.

Re:Missing (3, Insightful)

julesh (229690) | more than 3 years ago | (#33919862)

Now you can become famous on YouTube and next thing you know be vaulted to levels unseen by many mainstream bands who were on the radio with one song.

Yeah. And you could win the lottery, too.

(Seriously: how many people post videos of themselves performing on youtube? How many become megastars because of it? I can think of maybe 3 examples...)

Re:Missing (1)

HungryHobo (1314109) | more than 3 years ago | (#33919962)

Or people could try to get a big music corp to take them on and promote them.

Yeah. And you could win the lottery, too.

Seriously: how many people try to break into the big music industry? How many become megastars because of it? a handful a year?

Re:Missing (3, Interesting)

linzeal (197905) | more than 3 years ago | (#33920654)

I'm part of two bands in my spare time, who are in all honesty rather mediocre for our area and genre but still manage to pull in collectively a little over 1000 a month in sales online. Even with just a few fans nowadays you can usually make beer and pizza money if you don't sound like complete ass.

Re:Missing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33920692)

Who needs to be a star? If my work is still mine to do with as I wish and I make some money off it, that's success.

Re:Missing (1)

Threni (635302) | more than 3 years ago | (#33919842)

also the agent, between writer and publisher, who'll know all about the above plus handling stuff like merchandise/exclusivity deals/other markets etc. To write a book you need a pen and paper (or a pc and printer). To make a living from it you need a little more.

Re:Missing (1)

znerk (1162519) | more than 3 years ago | (#33920766)

To write a book you need a pen and paper (or a pc and printer).

Actually, this article is about how the printer bit is apparently unnecessary, too...

Re:Missing (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33919904)

Hrmm...

1) Editing: Have you read any recent books? Between word usage, entire sentences cut off, and flat basic gammar errors many newer novels don't appear to have anything beyond the basic spell check run, if that. Add that to the mistakes added on purpose to "detect illicit copies" and it's painful to read some books. Not just small publishers either - larger houses such as Tor have this problem.

2) Marketing: In this case it'll be handled, for free, but your readership. Get some decent reviews on Amazon, end up on their "You might also like" list, and things go from there. Classic word of mouth only with a much larger potential base. If you get mentioned on a blog with a decent reader base things will move even quicker.

3) Cover/format: Format can be handled by any modern word processor with templates (search online - free ones abound, for everything from novels to screenplays), and cover can be done for a small fee to a decent artist or (if you have them) friends with talent. Why pay the publisher rate?

4) Connections: See 2. This, again, is obviated by skipping the industry entirely.

Much like the music business, it's much easier for amateur writers to get their stuff in front of the public. If you're decent, get yourself on even one decently read blog and you'll get yourself started. Yes, there's a lot of "if" coming off this plan but it's just as bad with an agent/publishing house, only you're less likely to get screwed with a bad contract.

Re:Missing (3, Interesting)

HungryHobo (1314109) | more than 3 years ago | (#33920002)

The big difference: you actually have to write a good book for this to work.
If you can get a big company behind you mediocre is good enough.

Re:Missing (1)

neumayr (819083) | more than 3 years ago | (#33920072)

You have an even bigger chance than with music - studio quality equipment still is outside most individual's price range, a few hours or even days combating Sigil or whatever ebook making tool is only a few beer or other nerve calming substances.

Re:Missing (4, Insightful)

mopower70 (250015) | more than 3 years ago | (#33920702)

Hrmm...

1) Editing: Have you read any recent books? Between word usage, entire sentences cut off, and flat basic gammar errors many newer novels don't appear to have anything beyond the basic spell check run, if that. Add that to the mistakes added on purpose to "detect illicit copies" and it's painful to read some books. Not just small publishers either - larger houses such as Tor have this problem.

The fact that you don't know the difference between editing and copy-editing speaks volumes about what you don't know about publishing. Editing is a valuable contribution to the publishing process and can make the difference between a mid-shelf and blockbuster book. I don't know what books you've been reading, but aside from "The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo", I can't remember the last time I read the kinds of errors you describe. Outside of a self-published book, that is.

2) Marketing: In this case it'll be handled, for free, but your readership. Get some decent reviews on Amazon, end up on their "You might also like" list, and things go from there. Classic word of mouth only with a much larger potential base. If you get mentioned on a blog with a decent reader base things will move even quicker.

No. No it won't. Marketing is anything but free and can even fail disastrously for a well-written, well-edited book. Most people who read books and pass it on word of mouth don't do so through the comments on Amazon or any blog. There are obvious exceptions: technical books or certain areas of non-fiction, but in general, people who read don't care what Joe Dirt has to say about an author.

3) Cover/format: Format can be handled by any modern word processor with templates (search online - free ones abound, for everything from novels to screenplays), and cover can be done for a small fee to a decent artist or (if you have them) friends with talent. Why pay the publisher rate?

For the same reason you can tell when your local car dealership's daughter is the model for his commercial and his cousin is behind the camera. If your expertise is writing - which it obviously is or you wouldn't be trying to publish a book, right? Right? - what makes you think you're also an expert marketer/artist/graphic design/layout artist?

4) Connections: See 2. This, again, is obviated by skipping the industry entirely.

Much like the music business, it's much easier for amateur writers to get their stuff in front of the public. If you're decent, get yourself on even one decently read blog and you'll get yourself started. Yes, there's a lot of "if" coming off this plan but it's just as bad with an agent/publishing house, only you're less likely to get screwed with a bad contract.

Again, no. No, no, no. Music is disposable. It takes two minutes to listen to a song, and probably even less to decide if you like it. Or, you may follow the critic's advice and listen to it at least seven times before deciding. Total investment: 15 minutes. Reading takes time. It takes an investment. It takes a commitment from the reader. Most people, especially voracious readers aren't going to waste their time on something that hasn't been vetted by someone who knows what they're talking about: a trusted friend or a publishing house. Publishers are the front-line against the sea of crap that people like you think requires nothing but exposure to make successful.

One final note: if you self-publish, good luck ever getting a reputable publishing company to look twice at you. Yes, it can happen. I was able to find seven cases in the history of publishing where it happened, though I personally know of three cases where the author was rejected explicitly for it.

Re:Missing (1)

MrAndrews (456547) | more than 3 years ago | (#33920858)

The fact that you don't know the difference between editing and copy-editing speaks volumes about what you don't know about publishing. Editing is a valuable contribution to the publishing process and can make the difference between a mid-shelf and blockbuster book.

The trick of publishing right now is that editing (and to a lesser extent, copy editing) is much less common than it used to be. Editors pick up titles, give them minimal once-overs and turn them over to production because the money isn't in fixing, it's in producing, and they want to keep their jobs. There may be a few editors who have the power to really involve themselves, but they're the exception and not the rule anymore.

Marketing is anything but free and can even fail disastrously for a well-written, well-edited book.

Very true, but again, the reality is that except for a small percentage of books published today, the publisher does very little in terms of marketing. Before he was an e-publishing powerhouse, Joe Konrath used to boast that the only way he made it where he was was by traveling around the country doing his own marketing. He's been self-made the whole time, because publishers largely don't care to do that kind of legwork anymore.

I know several author friends who have been duped into spending all of their advance (or more) to hire THEIR OWN marketing experts to get the word out, because publishers will usually say "get a blog and good luck." It's absurd and short-sighted, but it's the way the game works now, except in very rare circumstances.

If your expertise is writing - which it obviously is or you wouldn't be trying to publish a book, right? Right? - what makes you think you're also an expert marketer/artist/graphic design/layout artist?

This is where we agree 100%. Free templates and buddies who are artists are poison to your work. If you don't know EXACTLY what you're doing, don't do it. A less-than-stellar cover will sink your book before it's opened, and less-than-stellar book block design will ruin your chances almost as fast. To date, there is no magic button to design a book without a lot of expertise.

One final note: if you self-publish, good luck ever getting a reputable publishing company to look twice at you.

This is true, and it's a danger you have to deal with. That said, the question is whether you WANT to work with a publisher. Put quite simply: sign a deal for anything less than a blockbuster title, and you will probably come out of the experience in debt, with so few copies sold you'll never get another book contract again. At least with self-e-publishing, you'll know how much of a raw deal you're getting in advance.

Re:Missing (1)

michael_cain (66650) | more than 3 years ago | (#33920900)

The fact that you don't know the difference between editing and copy-editing speaks volumes about what you don't know about publishing. Editing is a valuable contribution to the publishing process and can make the difference between a mid-shelf and blockbuster book. I don't know what books you've been reading, but aside from "The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo", I can't remember the last time I read the kinds of errors you describe. Outside of a self-published book, that is.

The last several in the Honorverse sequence, whether written with a co-author or not, have had problems: numerous homonym errors (well, technically homophones) and missing words in particular. These are big-budget books; failure to catch errors that are obvious on (at least my) first reading seems a significant disservice to those paying the bills.

That said, editing is indeed a valuable service provided by publishers. In the self-published world, there will almost certainly be some number of published books that are mediocre, that could have been quite good with the assistance of a good editor. Hell, even a good agent can provide valuable opinions about story lines that don't work, areas that need expansion, stuff to cut, etc.

Re:Missing (1)

znerk (1162519) | more than 3 years ago | (#33920786)

1) Editing: Have you read any recent books? Between word usage, entire sentences cut off, and flat basic gammar errors many newer novels don't appear to have anything beyond the basic spell check run, if that. Add that to the mistakes added on purpose to "detect illicit copies" and it's painful to read some books. Not just small publishers either - larger houses such as Tor have this problem.

Gods, yes. I don't recall which book it was, but one of the stories I read recently had the phrase "its soft pedals giving off a gentle fragrance", or some such, and it knocked my suspension of disbelief completely out of the story. It was like hitting an unexpected speed-bump while doing 45mph.

Oh, and fixed that for you. Giggle.

Re:Missing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33921630)

1) Editing: Have you read any recent books?

The amount, and quality of the editing you receive is different from publisher to publisher. A quality agent and editor can help you make the book better in ways other than wordsmithing. They become partners in helping you develop the story and the characters, knowing when to expand and when to cut, understanding your target markets with various elements that will help or hinder you. Spotting printed books with some syntax or grammar issues and insinuating that top notch agents and editors do not significantly contribute to success shows your lack of experience. Believing that you are brilliant and thus are able to write a perfect novel without aid is arrogance.

2) Marketing: In this case it'll be handled, for free,

Again you show a startling lack of insight to the industry. If you think that you get solid market penetration for free, I feel embarrassed for you. For free you do not wind up getting media coverage. For free you do not wind up on Summer reader lists or AR lists that generate tremendous book sales. For free you do not wind up with Barnes and Nobel offering to host signing parties for you left and right. This is all part of the industry relationships and knowledge that the publisher and/or agent bring to the party. These are skill sets you want on your side.

 

4) Connections: See 2. This, again, is obviated by skipping the industry entirely.

Yeah, good luck with that. let us know how it turns out. I'm sure you are the one guy in 13.2 million that gets lucky. Send us a post card from Disney Land.

If you really see no difference in the quality of books being self published and what the industry filters out then you are not paying attention. When a publisher offers a 6 figure+ check to an author, it's because the book is above the norm. People with decades of experience are working on making it the best book that it can be. The books I see getting self published are, for the large part, of a far lower caliber, and that's being generous. I'm not saying that all self published books are bad, we all know that there are no absolutes. But the majority of self-publishers are doing it because they could not get an agent or a publisher. Sure some few rough gems get passed over, but for the most part I'm OK with letting someone else sort the chaff from the wheat before I pay for a book. I have no desire to buy 30 junk self published books hoping one will be worthwhile.

Re:Missing (1)

DurendalMac (736637) | more than 3 years ago | (#33920762)

THIS. A publisher gives you more than just the book on the shelf. Also, more people buy physical books than eBooks. I don't buy this in the slightest. The guy would get marketing and physical copies through a publisher, perhaps some critiquing and editing to boot. You will not sell anywhere NEAR what you'd get in a physical format when selling it electronically. Sure, he gets to pocket more this way, but I seriously doubt that the higher numbers of a physical publication are being considered.

Not the first one... (1)

crabel (1862874) | more than 3 years ago | (#33919814)

Other autors publish already publish their stuff as ebooks for years: http://www.michaelastackpole.com/?p=1073 [michaelastackpole.com] (Ok, that link is just half a year old, but he does it for years now...) A lot of Stackpoles blog posts revolve around autors creating their own ebooks.

Re:Not the first one... (2, Informative)

julesh (229690) | more than 3 years ago | (#33919878)

Konrath (the author of TFA) has been posting about this for a while, too. I guess the submitter has only just encountered him, but this is nothing new for him. He's well-known in publishing circles as an advocate of ebook self-publishing. He may not have been the first to talk about it, but he's probably the name that comes to mind for most in the industry when the idea is discussed.

How long dows copyright last? (3, Insightful)

ed (79221) | more than 3 years ago | (#33919824)

I notice he talks about controlling the book forever, so he would also like a copyright term of infinity?

Re:How long dows copyright last? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33919886)

Copyright for a joint work published today would last for the life of the last surviving author plus 70 years. 17 U.S.C. 302(b).

If they had published through a regular publisher which required assignment of publication and distribution rights, they--or their surviving spouse, children, or executors--could have unilaterally terminated the license after 35 years. 17 U.S.C. 203(a).

Notably, this means that for all that GPL software you use, the license can be terminated by the author unilaterally after 35 years, preventing you from creating any derivative works or redistributing, though you could continue to use it personally. 35 years from when, though, is a tougher question to answer. You won't find this information on the Free Software Foundation's website, though (AFAIK); nobody wants to start a panic.

Re:How long dows copyright last? (1)

julesh (229690) | more than 3 years ago | (#33919890)

I notice he talks about controlling the book forever, so he would also like a copyright term of infinity?

He probably subscribes to the belief that any time after he dies might as well be forever. His book's copyright term is 95 years; he's unlikely to live that long.

Re:How long dows copyright last? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33919948)

95 years is for copyright on works created by corporations, or for works created prior to 1978.

Re:How long does copyright last? (2, Funny)

ArundelCastle (1581543) | more than 3 years ago | (#33921444)

I notice he talks about controlling the book forever, so he would also like a copyright term of infinity?

Is his book about cryogenic freezing?
It's logical that the first person to live well beyond a normal copyright term would also want to write a book about doing it.
Just sayin'.

2.99? (3, Insightful)

neumayr (819083) | more than 3 years ago | (#33919850)

Not that I've read all of the article, but 2.99 seems too cheap. I mean, there is a correlation between price and perceived value, and selling a novel this cheap at release doesn't seem like a good idea.

Re:2.99? (2, Insightful)

PatPending (953482) | more than 3 years ago | (#33920074)

Didn't some trade organization advocate the same argument about $0.99 music downloads?

Anyway if you do take the time to read TFA you will discover something interesting about their net profit. (It would appear they chose the price based on what their net profit would have been had they used the traditional paradigm, then factored out the costs of the third party.)

This is genuinely fair pricing to my way of thinking.

Of course if you want to pay more, you are free to send it to the authors.

Re:2.99? (1)

neumayr (819083) | more than 3 years ago | (#33920150)

It doesn't really matter to the value I perceive which part of the money ends up with the author.
$0.99 music downloads seem more expensive than $2.99 for a whole book, but your point is valid - it's immaterial, there is almost no perceived value anyway.

Re:2.99? (2, Insightful)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#33920452)

Indeed, and what's brilliant about it is that while he's making the same amount per book that he would've previously, it's almost certain that he'll end up selling quite a few more than previously.

You get what you pay for (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#33920566)

I mean, there is a correlation between price and perceived value

Didn't some trade organization advocate the same argument about $0.99 music downloads?

"You get what you pay for." Some goods are more desirable simply because they cost more. All other things being equal, and with incomplete information about the quality of a work, a consumer is likely to assume that a good with a lower sticker price has a lower sticker price because it is the inferior good. See also Veblen good [wikipedia.org] .

Re:2.99? (1)

Garwulf (708651) | more than 3 years ago | (#33920330)

Well, for a book that is only an e-book and for the labour that went into it (as Konrath describes), it sounds about right - he'll probably hit a good price point to move plenty of copies with that.

There is a correlation between price and perceived value, but when you're dealing with the online, there is also a history of what you could term as "free swag." When it comes to the 'net, the cheaper you can move something, the better. The big question is how much does it cost you, and how much do you have to make back to break even?

Taking any major publishing company as an example, most of the cost involved in bringing a book into print is labour. A major publisher has editors, typesetters, copyeditors, cover artists, etc. Production is one of the smallest costs (particularly when the print run is thousands of copies).

A small publisher like mine, or what the authors in the article are doing, reduces most of the labour costs to zero. That leaves you with figuring out the profit margin. So, to take a $10.00 cover price book as an example, going through the usual channels to bookstores, the breakdown of where that cover price is as follows:

$4.00 goes to the bookstore.
$1.50 goes to the wholesaler.
$3.50 goes to the publisher (and the author - for the sake of simplicity, we'll put the royalties in here).
$1.00 goes to the printer (these last two are very rough - I've only dealt with PoD print runs rather than large ones, so I don't have solid figures on the price per book of a large print run).

Or, to look at it another way, the wholesaler buys the book for 55% off the cover price, and sells it for 40% off the cover.

So, the calculation of what will be profitable comes down to how many units you need to sell to break even at X cover price. If you have no labour costs, no print costs, and 70% (approx. $2.10) is going to you, that's pure profit, and right in line with what you'd see in the breakdown above.

Re:2.99? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33920422)

Well seeing as I got interested in buying this novel because it costs as much as 2 cups of coffee is a net profit to the author(s) also the whole posted on slashdot ought to boost the sales

Re:2.99? (1)

Legion303 (97901) | more than 3 years ago | (#33921950)

That's a great price point to me. It did a lot less damage to the perceived value than the title did, at least for me.

Not really about DRM (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33919852)

The fact that he can publish on more than 1 device doesn't have much to do with DRM. DRM is about keeping it on a device once someone purchases it.

Things like this will always help small writers due to the cost differential, but for large authors piracy would probably be rampant -- I know I would read more if I didn't have to pay for the content.

Re:Not really about DRM (1)

neumayr (819083) | more than 3 years ago | (#33920102)

Really? I know I'm more likely to appreciate something when I invested in it. Be it money or my own work. That is somewhat less the case when the thing I'm buying is immaterial, like ebooks, mp3s or download games, but it's still true. And that's the attitude the people around me have as well.

Re:Not really about DRM (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#33920464)

Citation necessary. What you're suggesting is fraught with problems, people tend to hang out with people that are similar to them and consequently get a magnified view of their importance. Meaning that you're not correcting for the fact that you're group of friends is not a representative sample.

Re:Not really about DRM (1)

neumayr (819083) | more than 3 years ago | (#33920576)

True.
I was aware of the fact, but I have no idea on how to correct for it. It does seem to match the phenomena of the - also perceived - large amount of people filling their huge harddrives with more filesharing content than they actual consume. Again, no citation. If you got any hard data to prove or disprove my observation, I'd like to hear about it.

Konrath Fails to Give Credit Where Credit is Due (5, Interesting)

Alaren (682568) | more than 3 years ago | (#33919888)

J.A. Konrath started in traditional publishing. The one thing you'll never see him admit is that the platform he launched himself from was built on his first publishers' traditional investment in making him a better writer through the editing process, and marketing him as a writer through traditional outlets.

These days, he markets his books by pretending that he's some kind of crusader for the writer's fair share. So yeah, he gets a bigger cut now--but it turns out that the percentage is only part of the equation, and the other is total sales.

If you start out self-publishing, you would likely take many, many years to reach the level Konrath started at based on his already-existing career. Don't pay any attention to this guy.

Re:Konrath Fails to Give Credit Where Credit is Du (3, Interesting)

batkiwi (137781) | more than 3 years ago | (#33920188)

If you start out trying to get a big publishing deal with a big6 house you would likely take many, many years to even get a legitimate read of your draft, let alone a single book published. And after you get that first book published you'll likely not make any money apart from your advance. 5 books later you may be sitting pretty, but only if the publisher decides to non-publish your latest effort because they have too many books in X genre this quarter, and the bigger fish gets more attention.

Don't pay any attention to any author out there.

Well, FWIW... (1)

Alaren (682568) | more than 3 years ago | (#33920838)

My wife is 29. She is an author and she makes a modest living for our family of five (soon six!). Although I am a lawyer, my only employment at present is handling the "family business," both because there is plenty for me to do and because it is more rewarding than typical lawyer-work. Now, my wife is a New York Times best-selling children's author, so she's doing better than most writers. And while she made it there faster than most writers, you're correct that it takes some time--often, a long time.

What I'm saying is that self-publishing is most likely to add more years to an already typically long process.

Re:Konrath Fails to Give Credit Where Credit is Du (1)

ErikZ (55491) | more than 3 years ago | (#33920214)

And if you start out using traditional publishing, it won't take many many years to reach the level Konrath is at?

Re:Konrath Fails to Give Credit Where Credit is Du (1)

El_Muerte_TDS (592157) | more than 3 years ago | (#33920316)

For all we know the publisher made him a worse writing due to shaping him to the image the publisher set out for him.

Editing works both ways, and considering we only observe the end result and cannot redo the process to the observe the other possible result the argument that the publisher made him a better writer is moot.

Re:Konrath Fails to Give Credit Where Credit is Du (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33920458)

Actually if you RTFA you would immediatetly see that he addresses these
criticisms directly in the article:

> Of course, a publisher provides more services than cover art and formatting. For one thing,
> they edit. But among the four of us we've written over eighty novels, and we were able to edit
> each other and do our own copyediting with relative ease.

> Publishers also do promotion and marketing, though I haven't seen much of this for ebooks.

> Drawing on our fan bases, we sent out 260 advance reading copies of "Draculas."

conclusions:

1) the author is clearly aware that the method he has adopted is not suitable for everyone.
2) the original poster did not do his basic homework before posting

Re:Konrath Fails to Give Credit Where Credit is Du (2, Insightful)

Alaren (682568) | more than 3 years ago | (#33920914)

No, this is exactly wrong. He's not giving credit in those points--he's dismissing the publishers' past contributions to his present ability to profitably self-publish. He's saying, point by point, "we don't need no stinkin' publisher," but the only reason he's in a position to make those claims is because he had a publisher in the first place.

Furthermore, I'm skeptical of a bunch of authors getting together to edit their own work. Writing and editing are different skills. I know a couple of big-time authors who got into the editing business most of them are, by most accounts, lousy editors.

That's not to say you can't have both skills, or make the transition smoothly from one role to the other, but to take both roles for a single work strikes me as a bad idea.

Re:Konrath Fails to Give Credit Where Credit is Du (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#33920470)

What makes a person a good writer is doing a lot of writing and having to respond to criticism. There's nothing about it which requires an editor, some people are just naturally gifted for telling stories and really only need to know how it's coming across.

The book industry really doesn't work the way that you think it does. They invest in order to get a product out of it, and if you're not relatively close already they probably won't sign you.

If you're already that close, then there's no reason why a few neutral friends or acquaintances couldn't do the same thing.

Re:Konrath Fails to Give Credit Where Credit is Du (4, Informative)

Alaren (682568) | more than 3 years ago | (#33920886)

There's nothing about it which requires an editor, some people are just naturally gifted for telling stories and really only need to know how it's coming across.

Is there a polite way to say "you clearly have no idea what you're talking about?"

The book industry really doesn't work the way that you think it does.

Seeing as how my wife is a New York Times best-selling author, and I am the lawyer who stays at home to handle the boring business end portions of her career... I'm going to go out on a limb and claim that I actually do know a little bit about the process.

They invest in order to get a product out of it, and if you're not relatively close already they probably won't sign you. If you're already that close, then there's no reason why a few neutral friends or acquaintances couldn't do the same thing.

Well, I can't speak for publishing generally, but in the children's market, most purchases are between 40% and 60% done. That's not to say the books aren't written from beginning to end--that's to say 1/3 to 2/3 of the original text will be replaced or altered before publication.

What's more, I've seen how different editors edit, and I can assure you that it is as much a skill as writing a book in the first place. A good editor can turn a good story into a great one--or, more often, a mediocre story into something at least worth printing. Your book-loving cousin who once read slush for the community college's sci-fi magazine will not make your book better the way a skilled editor can.

Of course, every author's process is different and your assumptions about publishing are basically reasonable--you've clearly given the issue a good five or ten minutes' thought. But you are simply mistaken about what goes into creating a marketable book.

Promotion and Marketing (4, Insightful)

dcollins (135727) | more than 3 years ago | (#33919930)

FTA: "Publishers also do promotion and marketing, though I haven't seen much of this for ebooks. Drawing on our fan bases, we sent out 260 advance reading copies of 'Draculas'..."

The undercurrent to all these "internet for the win" stories is the same. This guy's primary advantage is that he's succeeded with major book publishers in the past. This gave him marketing, promotion, name recognition, fan base, contacts with Amazon and Huffington post to get the promotions for this project. Once you have the major-industry name recognition, then it's relatively easy to spin off and use the price advantages of the Internet to do your own thing.

However, the vast majority of EBook self-publishers will not have this advantage, and will not have any chance of leveraging the same success or payoff for the last two month of this guy's labor (which is the entirety it took him to co-write and market this book). In addition, it's quite likely that there's a limited window of opportunity for this -- as book publishers become aware of the "spin-off" effect, it's quite likely that they'll start demanding more restrictive career-long contracts from new up-and-coming authors (same as how the music industry now wants "360 deal" chunks of a performer's outside concert, merchandise sales, etc.)

editing (1)

fermion (181285) | more than 3 years ago | (#33919932)

While mostly I think books pay for large building, fancy cars, and drugs for the executives, which is really no different than any other industry, from what I see the one legitimate service they do provide is objective editing.

Someone I knew self published in the early days of his trend. The book while very good, was not up to standards of a professionally published books. Way more spelling and grammer errors than in edited book. Way more material than needed to be there. All in all, though he had an editor, since the focus was on minimizing cost, the editing was not thorough.

But I am not sure if editing or any of this is really the issue. Back in the day we had pulp publishing. Many authors made a lot of money. Now such publishing does not seem to exist, so if an author wants to make money, they are clearly going to have to bypass the publisher. At $.57 a copy, 100,000 copies is real money, and an average author is more likely to do that at $3 than $15.

The cost of an e-book is $10 new, $5 over time. This cannot support the current publishing inefficiencies. Clearly publishing houses are going to have to the same thing as recording studios if they are to stay relevent.

Re:editing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33920046)

Editing really does matter. A few years back, I read a self-published book. Good info, but it looked like it had been edited by a ten-year-old. Had it been properly edited and formatted, I would likely have purchased several copies to give away.df. As it was, those sales were lost.

Re:editing (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#33920488)

Editing does indeed matter, but the people doing the editing are not drawing gargantuan salaries, they're pretty low in the organization and definitely not getting the kind of perks that the execs are. It's just too time intensive for a highly paid exec to waste time on.

Re:editing (1)

belmolis (702863) | more than 3 years ago | (#33920152)

Another service provided by publishers that can be important is book design. It takes some expertise and talent to make a book attractive and readable. A good designer can make a noticeable improvement in the work of a decent writer, but most important, he or she can prevent the utter disaster that a fair percentage of authors will produce. The wrong fonts, too much boldface, poorly chosen margins, poor placement of illustrations, etc. can make a book unattractive and even difficult to read. Many good writers have little sense of this. Unless you are pretty sure that you are good at book design, it is a very good idea to have someone else who is go over the book. This doesn't have to be someone who works for a traditional publisher - you can hire a freelancer or get a friend to do it - but it is an aspect of publishing that do-it-yourselfers not infrequently miss.

Editing (1, Informative)

xwizbt (513040) | more than 3 years ago | (#33920060)

He speaks of missing out the editors, as though they're not necessary. Sure, they hold up the project, but they also avoid the obvious typos and editing mistakes that J.A.Konrath's independent work is littered with. Littered sounds needlessly over-descriptive, right?

Oh, well maybe it is. But even one or two typos or mis-spellings or mis-attributions of speech mars a novel for me. Perhaps I've been spoilt, but what is it by - edited works, that's what.

Re:Editing (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#33920504)

I agree with that. One of the things which separates Hemingway from most of the writers of his generation was that he was brief and to the point. He would rewrite a portion of a book over and over again until he got the words right. And he definitely understood the value of a word.

Most writers could learn a thing or two from him. Don't put in descriptions where you can get away with just using the right word. And don't put more description than is necessary for the reader to fill in the blanks.

Re:Editing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33921376)

Most writers could learn a thing or two from him. Don't put in descriptions where you can get away with just using the right word. And don't put more description than is necessary for the reader to fill in the blanks.

Strangely that is why I don't like Hemingway. I find he uses too few words, and it's too bland and blank for me to get anything from his writing. Maybe some of his other works are better, but the few I could make myself attempt, well, I found them to be far too sparse for me to find much interest in them.

Oh well, if you like Hemingway's terseness, more power to you, plenty of books for those of us who enjoy some pleonasms to devour.

I don't even find that he uses very interesting words compare to some others, who it seems had a thesaurus by their side as they composed their work.

Re:Editing (1)

PatPending (953482) | more than 3 years ago | (#33921434)

Most writers could learn a thing or two from him [Hemingway]. Don't put in descriptions where you can get away with just using the right word. And don't put more description than is necessary for the reader to fill in the blanks.

That's what I liked about listening to radio programs back in the day--my imagination was actively envisioning the scene. By contrast, video has all but destroyed this, reducing it to "chewing gum for the mind" (as someone once described it).

Yet another article that didn't run the numbers... (5, Interesting)

Garwulf (708651) | more than 3 years ago | (#33920068)

I never like articles like this - it reminds me a bit too much of the earlier adopter chatter back in 2000 when my own e-book was published (and, despite having everything going for me except not being Stephen King, proved to have an almost non-existent market). Certainly Konrath is describing some benefits to self publishing, so long as you have the savvy and editing skill to pull it off. But when it comes to trumpeting e-books as a better way in general than the printed book, he's giving a very skewed picture.

Will he get a greater percentage of the royalties by self publishing an e-book through Amazon? Absolutely. Part of self publishing is keeping all the profits. Will he make more money than he would releasing a printed book?

That, however, is a much different question. And for that, you have to run the numbers.

Depending on the time of year, the total American book market (net sales) can be anywhere from around $450 million to $1.5 billion per month (there are large peaks and valleys, which is why you get the huge variations). The e-book market occupies around $22 million of this per month (it, oddly enough, has a general but very slight upwards slope, and does NOT have large peaks and valleys). As far as I recall, the audio book will take up around $15 million or so per month, but that's not a number I pay too much attention to, so don't quote me on it. So, for every dollar earned by an e-book, print books will earn anywhere from $20 to $65, depending on the time of year.

Now, these are all very rough figures. The Association of American Publishers tracks this in far more detail on a month-by-month basis. The point is, though, that while a well-established author with a loyal fanbase can mitigate a large portion of this disparity, an average book published only as an e-book can deprive itself of over 90% of its potential income.

(That, for example, is why in my business I use e-books mainly for promotional stuff - they just don't have a large enough market base to support them outside of marketing for what I do.)

So, will Konrath keep a greater percentage of the profit per book? Absolutely. Will he make more money than he would publishing a print volume? Highly unlikely.

Re:Yet another article that didn't run the numbers (1)

PatPending (953482) | more than 3 years ago | (#33920140)

"Will he make more money than he would releasing a printed book?"

That is only one source for revenue, the others being: the extended copyright length; audio book sales; and movie rights.

There are other factors too. For example, even though the book sales may be lackluster (whether ebook or traditional), they could still make money from movie rights. And since they own the all the rights, they'd get all the revenue.

Re:Yet another article that didn't run the numbers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33920212)

Footnote: and once a book is made into a movie, its book sales go up.

Re:Yet another article that didn't run the numbers (1)

JSBiff (87824) | more than 3 years ago | (#33920236)

Maybe I mis-understand the publishing business, but isn't a huge part of what published do is to *publicize* the works they are publishing? I doubt most independent authors can do the marketing that an established publisher can, and even the very act of getting a dead-tree book on the shelves of bookstore, department stores (target, walmart, et al.) is promotion - people who are in the store browsing, might find your book when they otherwise wouldn't. Publishers can put money into ad campaigns, their PR people can get you interviewed or reviewed on NPR, The Daily Show, PBS, or a hundred other media outlets. They can arrange to get you on a book-signing tour which will also publicize the book, and probably a dozen other ways of getting people to know about and maybe buy the book

I wouldn't want to self-publish if I went into authoring, as I wouldn't even know where to begin to publicize my works.

Now, I realize that not all authors get the premium treatment - as a new author, your book will only get probably a relatively minimal amount of publicity - the publisher won't pull out all the stops, but if they are going to publish you at all, they will at least try to get your books some mindshare so they can recover the costs. If your first book are two make more money than they cost the publisher, and are generally received well, then they might decide to risk a bigger campaign the next time, right?

Re:Yet another article that didn't run the numbers (4, Interesting)

Garwulf (708651) | more than 3 years ago | (#33920562)

That is a part of it, and large publishers can do much more on that than smaller publishers. However, there is advertising out there. Every time my publishing company publishes a book, I pay for an advertisement that goes out to tens of thousands of bookstores and libraries (I also do a decent amount of advertising with free online samples, book reviews, etc.).

But, actually, that's not the big problem with self-publishing a book.

Self-publishing tends to have a stigma against it, but that stigma is there for good reason - and that reason is that 95% of self published books are utter crap that didn't get past the gatekeepers in the major publishers due to basic quality control. There is, unfortunately, an entire industry based on publishing writers who have more money than brains or talent - these are called vanity presses. Most of these books are terrible, and the publisher in question makes thousands of dollars on the fees they charge to the writer before so much as a single copy is printed.

(Just as a rule, the money flows to the author, not the other way around.)

Another problem with self publishing is that most authors are not the best editors of their own work. In fact, very few writers can both write and edit - they're different enough skillsets that there is that little overlap. But even when a writer can, they tend to be workmanlike at best. This is because if a writer writes paragraph X, that is supposed to say Y, that writer will always know that Y is the message. Unfortunately, paragraph X might not have actually said Y, and because the writer automatically reads Y into the paragraph, s/he doesn't catch the error. In short, the author is just too close to their own work to be the best editor of that work.

Those are actually the biggest problems with self-publishing, and why most self-published books fail. If you look at the self-published market, it wouldn't surprise me in the slightest if the majority of the people who managed to make both self-publishing and e-book publishing successful are the ones who started in traditional publishing, built a readership there, learned the business as they did it, and then transitioned.

Re:Yet another article that didn't run the numbers (2, Interesting)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 3 years ago | (#33920802)

Most self-published books fail because most books fail. The difference is that electronic self-publishing is easy and inexpensive so lots of books that would have stayed in the author's trunk under the old system get a chance. Most fail, of course, but some will succeed that would have never been given a chance under the old system.

Re:Yet another article that didn't run the numbers (2, Interesting)

KingFrog (1888802) | more than 3 years ago | (#33920204)

Konrath has posted on this topic repeatedly. He makes nearly twice what he did with paper books, in a dollars/month basis. More importantly, he makes what he considers to be a fair amount to live quite comfortably on, and feels that he owes something to the readership - that is, a quality / price point equation they can't get with printed material. As long as he can live well on this, he doesn't care whether he could make that much more.

Re:Yet another article that didn't run the numbers (2, Interesting)

The Living Fractal (162153) | more than 3 years ago | (#33920362)

I think you're ignoring a simple fact: some of us buy more e-books than normal books, and even go to such length as not reading printed books anymore given the choice. Me, personally, if I have the choice between a printed copy and an e-book, I'm going with the e-book. When I shop for books, I start with e-books. Because I want to know what I can read on my preferred medium. If I find nothing (unlikely) I may revert to paper.

So, what I'm saying is this: If a thousand people buy my e-book, and they are all people who only buy e-books and not printed books, then me getting with a publisher to have my book published isn't going to achieve a single thing for me.

And, as a related note: Your numbers quoted do not take this factor into account.

Re:Yet another article that didn't run the numbers (1)

The Living Fractal (162153) | more than 3 years ago | (#33920376)

I should've been more clear: What I meant was if a thousand people were interested in my book, but only wanted it on e-book and not printed.

Re:Yet another article that didn't run the numbers (1)

PatPending (953482) | more than 3 years ago | (#33920496)

Me, personally, if I have the choice between a printed copy and an e-book, I'm going with the e-book. When I shop for books, I start with e-books.

Doesn't that depend on the type of e-book and the e-reader? For instance, a book about programming, when read on the Kindle (or any other e-reader lacking copy/paste/edit) seems practically useless. Or a book on Renaissance art -- again, practically useless with a monochrome e-reader. (Not just for its lack of color but its small screen.)

Re:Yet another article that didn't run the numbers (2, Interesting)

Garwulf (708651) | more than 3 years ago | (#33920724)

No, I'm sorry, I'm afraid you're the one making the assumption. You're assuming that it's an either/or when it comes to e-book and print book editions, rather than an "and." The figures I'm working from are for the entire market, and in a lot of places and genres, there are concurrent print and e-book editions (in fact, these days that's in many cases the rule rather than the exception).

So, if a thousand people want the book as an e-book and not a printed book, then they buy the e-book instead of the printed book, and it gets reflected by the figures. So, sorry, but what you mention is already built into the statistics.

Re:Yet another article that didn't run the numbers (1)

cdrguru (88047) | more than 3 years ago | (#33920942)

And in 50 years it might be the case that an ebook would be the logical choice.

Right now, ebooks are maybe 4% of the publishing market. And this is with Amazon having a list of 100 books that are free to download on the Kindle immediately. And these aren't just recycled Project Gutenberg titles - there are new authors with some OK books in the list.

So that means that 96% of the people in today's world are buying physical books. If you are thinking about publishing a book with mass appeal, then restricting yourself to 4% of the market - even if you are making 10 times what you would with a print publisher - is senseless.

Now, there are clearly some niches where doing an ebook-only sort of thing might be the right way to go. But the article is about someone with a vampire book and how could that be considered anything but a mass market sort of book?

4% vs. 96% if you have to choose a single format. Why not go both ways? Print and ebook?

The author wanted to make a point, and unfortunately his point is lost because if you know anything at all about publishing and mass marketing of books that niggling 4% figure is going to come up and bite you in the ass.

Yes, I own a Kindle. Yes, I have lots and lots of non-Amazon content on my Kindle so don't tell me about it being locked down, because it isn't. And I have a book that the publisher produced both a print and ebook version of.

Re:Yet another article that didn't run the numbers (1)

Pharmboy (216950) | more than 3 years ago | (#33921222)

So that means that 96% of the people in today's world are buying physical books.

For what it is worth, I would imagine it is even higher. Likely, ebooks are purchased mainly by people who also buy physical books, so it is a supplement to their book collections, not a replacement of. I would imagine there are very few people who only buy ebooks (not counting piracy and free books), perhaps as low as 1%.

No matter how cool a reading medium gets, it will always be an uphill battle to beat the tactile, analog feel of dead tree when it comes to reading. If you put a paperback in your back pocket, and sit down, it doesn't break. It never needs batteries or recharging, and even if one "breaks", you only lose one book. Ebooks are handy for some things (searching text, skipping around tech manuals, etc.) but they will never completely replace physical books.

Re:Yet another article that didn't run the numbers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33920758)

Yeah, but you gotta run the *right* numbers. You've cited the income of major publishers, but
given no indication of the income of authors. The right numbers to compare are income
of the authors who published with major houses vs. income of *equally prominent*
authors who self-published. The difference between those two values is the economic
assessment of the value brought by the publishing industry.

Since the publishing industry is, for better or worse (usually the latter, in my view),
responsible for much of the *fame* of so-called "established writers" (and please
don't confuse that with a quality assessment), the best test would unknowns vs.
unknowns.

My guess is the publishers still win, but don't tell people to cite the numbers, then
cite all the wrong ones yourself.

Re:Yet another article that didn't run the numbers (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33921124)

> So, for every dollar earned by an e-book, print books will earn anywhere from $20 to $65, depending on the time of year.

Using the total volume sold or the total retail sales shows that the paper market is larger, yes. But the issue is how much you, the author, personally make.

IMO, the tipping point is the author's popularity. If you know you're only going to sell 10,000 copies either way, you might as well do it electronically and make more money. But there's a tipping point; if you're popular enough, fewer people have ebook readers than the number of people who'd buy your book in print. So at some point the greater volume of paper books sold, even at a lower per unit pay to you, exceeds what you could make doing only ebooks. (This point is moving upwards as more people buy ebook readers, of course). The question is just where the balance point is right now.

why are ebooks still more expensive? (1)

shortkud (1922990) | more than 3 years ago | (#33920080)

I still don't understand why can buying an ebook still be more expensive then then buying the physical book

Re:why are ebooks still more expensive? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33920144)

They charge what they think you're willing to pay?

Apple makes it easy... (1)

ducomputergeek (595742) | more than 3 years ago | (#33920190)

Something I've noticed in the latest iWork software it is extremely easy to export to epub, which then can be read by a number of eReader apps and on the i devices. But writing and publishing isn't what takes up a lot of time and effort for publishers: it's the editing and type setting that is expensive. I have a client and good friend who is in the publishing business and has been for 25 years. We use him for publishing our technical documentation and most of his time/fees are taking what we wrote in whatever word processor and then formatting in Quark or InDesign with making sure images, charts, and graphs are all in the right DPI. Also they do a fair amount of editing and making things visually look neat, clean, and organized.

I have developers and a technical writer who do good work with content and wording, but if you take what they submit as a rough draft and what our publisher actually prints, hey turn good documentation in to great documentation just because of it is presented on the pages. And it takes a certain kind of eye for that kind of work.

Self-publishing vs. editorial vetting (4, Insightful)

davidwr (791652) | more than 3 years ago | (#33920454)

Traditional publishers act as brokers, bringing the written word to those who want to read.

They sift through the junk so I don't have to.

Self-publishing works well for:
* Authors with an established reputation in that genre
* The rare person who can act as his own editor. Hint - if you think that's you, it isn't.
* Anyone who isn't motivated by finances and who doesn't need the marketing services of a reputable publisher.

The first group we already know.

I don't know anyone in the 2nd group.

The 3rd group includes people who traditionally self-publish, such as universities and religious organizations, the traditional novelty press market, and niche publications which are one step above the novelty press market in quality but where the author won't mind if nobody buys or reads his material.

I would put most bloggers and others who publish non-tolled Internet content in the third group.

Re:Self-publishing vs. editorial vetting (1)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 3 years ago | (#33920756)

Traditional publishers act as brokers, bringing the written word to those who want to read.

Traditional publishers acted as manufacturers, fabricating and distributing physical objects. This entailed allocation of scarce resources, use of expensive capital equipment, and the risk that the 10,000 or so copies that an econmical print run required might all comeback to be pulped. In this environment it made sense for the publisher to own the book as he had a great deal invested in it. With ebooks, however, the author has far more invested than does the "publisher". The manufacturing and distribution functions are gone, and the editing could be handled by independent editors working on commission.

Publishing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33920526)

Man, I wish there was some kind of easy way for me to write words, and have them readily accessibly by millions. Heck, they could even save them for later if they wanted to.

I can't imagine how such a system could possibly work though. Clearly, it's madness.

A bit like the lottery (1)

DaMattster (977781) | more than 3 years ago | (#33920556)

Well, publishing your own eBook is a bit like playing the lottery. You hope to write a book that will make it big much in the same way you hope to buy a lottery ticket that wins the PowerBall or MegaMillions. If you treat it as simply an interesting project and do it solely has a hobby without expectations, writing your own eBook can a rewarding experience. At the very least the act of writing can exercise the brain in a way that daily life cannot provide. I like the fact that Amazon provides the ability for one to self publish and make it practical for a hobby. It does lower the bar for entry into published media.

Movies (3, Insightful)

DaMattster (977781) | more than 3 years ago | (#33920580)

YouTube became the way for ordinary people to create their own movies, videos, etc and have an outlet for other people to view them. The Kindle and other platforms do much of the same thing but for reading material. Some YouTubers have lucked out big time while others simply enjoy having an outlet to distribute their media. I think people are being harsh on the author of this article. I think the article simply was designed to give people an idea of how to publish when they want to do so. The author makes no promises of riches.

lets see (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33921158)

old computer 80$

internet account 60$/month

xampp webserver free

linux free

private bit torrent tracker free

140$ and get a few people to spread the word your selling your ebook for 1$
all you need to do is sell 60 a month to cover the net and then 80$ for the old box.
if you htink you can do so go for it....maybe someone like me might list you freely as long as it has nothing to do with a true publisher....

Anyone ever use LULU.com? (4, Interesting)

CrazyJim1 (809850) | more than 3 years ago | (#33921634)

I just wrote a book which is compilation of the blog/articles on my website [fatherspiritson.com] over the past years. By going through LULU.com [lulu.com] , we were able to publish the book for free when no other people wanted to publish our book. My family members who don't use computers got to read what I wrote and they enjoyed it. If you ever have some information available to you, put it in book form, maybe someone will want to buy it. Like I said,"You can do something as simple as compile all your blogs/articles over the past few years, and turn it into a book!"

Professional Editor for Hire here... (0, Redundant)

herojig (1625143) | more than 3 years ago | (#33921784)

For those that are serious about ebook production, and that need a professional editor and someone who can proof and format your book for EPUB, MOBI, etc., then g

Professional Editor for Hire Here... (1)

herojig (1625143) | more than 3 years ago | (#33921828)

For those that are serious about ebook production, and that need a professional editor and someone who can proof and format your book for EPUB, MOBI, etc., then go here for more info: http://www.phoenixstudios.com.np/corporate [phoenixstudios.com.np] [phoenixstudios.com.np]. Our rates are low, as we are an outsource provider with little overhead. No, this is not spam, I read /. everyday and found this article of great interest (well, the comments were interesting). Cheers!
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