Mindless Blegery


Jaybird is Birdmojo on Xbox Live and Jaybirdmojo on Playstation's network. He's been playing consoles since the Atari 2600 and it was Zork that taught him how to touch-type. If you've got a song for Wednesday, a commercial for Saturday, a recommendation for Tuesday, an essay for Monday, or, heck, just a handful a questions, fire off an email to AskJaybird-at-gmail.com

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21 Responses

  1. David Ryan says:

    Our DVDs were/are self-distributed. My complaints about thievery aside, it worked out very well.

    I can virtually guarantee you are (vastly) under-estimating the marketing/promotion/sales overhead of such an endeavor.

    But if I can’t dissuade you, I can point you to fulfillment resources and clue you in to how Amazon works.Report

  2. BlaiseP says:

    I suppose this depends on what you’re trying to publish.  If you’re going for a book, may I recommend these sensible guidelines.Report

  3. BlaiseP says:

    There’s also this, from the firm handling my book.

    Get your own ISBN numbers.   Get a decent editor.  Get a decent graphics designer.Report

  4. Jennifer says:

    I have this …. um, friend, who is totally not me, heck no … who has done work for a vanity press because she was naive and desperate and needed the money. And my … friend … told me to tell you this: If you are going to self-publish, focus on the word “self.” Do NOT sign up with PublishAmerica or any other vanity press that offers to publish your book in exchange for money — go with something like Lulu, where (so far as I know) you/the book buyer ONLY pays for whatever books you actually buy, but faces no expenses on top of that.

    There is a saying: “An author only signs a check on the back.” (In other words, publishers pay YOU, you don’t pay THEM.) This is not to say all self-publishing is a scam, just most of it. If, for example, you need a copy editor (I’m an experienced freelance editor, and I’m available!) getting and paying your own editor is better than going along with any self-publisher who offers to find an editor for you — in exchange for a hefty fee, of course.

    I do know someone who self-published with Lulu — he hasn’t made much money, but he didn’t have to spend any either. If you self-publish — whether with Lulu or a scammy vanity press — you’ll be the one responsible for all marketing, which wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing if you have, say, a well-read blog where you can advertise your book. But you will NOT get your self-published book in a brick-and-mortar bookstore unless you personally convince the manager to stock it.Report

    • spivak in reply to Jennifer says:

      Actually the route most people are taking is with ebooks. Gets a lot of eyes. Trying to go down the middle with print-on-demand and brick & mortar really doesn’t work nowadays.

      Now if you’re online, can get bloggers to review your ebook (favorably) and provide the relevant link to Amazon, it’s an instant sale rather than “Wow, that looks great. Welp, I’ll hit B&N tomorrow after work to pick it up!” It’s all about instant gratification nowadays. Moreso if you know how to work Twitter, gather followers (whether they want to or not) and stay in the forefront of their mind while you shill your work like <a href=”http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aDTwO0TlwOU”>Jay Sherman</a>.Report

    • Kim in reply to Jennifer says:

      Ditto This! Avoid scams!Report

  5. Christopher Carr says:

    I do. Kevin Kato contributes to my other site, is one of the most talented writers I know, and is a general stand-up bro. Here is his most recent article: http://www.theinductive.com/blog/in-case-you-decided-to-watch-football-instead.html which is awesome. Here is all of his self-published stuff on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Kevin-Kato/e/B003H0FBZ4/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_pop_1. He’s done a bunch of book-signings all over the place, and lives off his royalties I think.Report

  6. Alan Scott says:

    Don’t try.  You have a hugely better chance of finding a publisher than you do of self-publishing and not loosing lots of money.  Every novelist who claims to be a self-publishing success is a self-publishing failure trying to impress you into buying their book.Report

    • DensityDuck in reply to Alan Scott says:

      Not really interested in advice from someone who doesn’t know the different between “loose” and “lose”, hth handReport

    • BlaiseP in reply to Alan Scott says:

      Book publishing is a nasty business.   So’s the music business for all the same reasons and I have more than passing familiarity with both.

      Self-publishing isn’t always a losing proposition, not if you understand how the business works.   Here’s the crux of the biscuit:  anyone who wants to self-publish should probably budget about two thousand dollars to get the beast out the door.   More than a publisher, any author, self-published or not, requires the services of:

      1)  A competent attorney specialized to intellectual property and book publishing law

      2)  A seasoned book editor with experience in the sort of book you’re writing.

      3) Robertson Davies calls this person the Constant Reader.   This person is your target audience.   He who writes a book for everybody shall write it for nobody.   You will need more than one such person over time.

      With the advent of Amazon.com and the social networks, the self-publisher can do just fine, in most cases better than the wrong publishing firm.Report

      • Burt Likko in reply to BlaiseP says:

        Blaise, would you mind if I sent you a private e-mail?Report

      • Alan Scott in reply to BlaiseP says:

        I’m not saying that self-publishing is always a losing proposition.  I’m saying that self-publishing novels is always a losing proposition.*

        The reasons people won’t buy a self-published book are that they don’t know it exists and they don’t trust in the quality of the content.  Those who succeed in self-publishing typically do so by creating works in niches not catered to by existing publishers and then selling them to already established audiences.

        I know a man who publishes a role-playing game.  He’s got both the niche product and established network:

        Pencil & Paper RPGs are a tiny market.  Only a few are available through standard book distributors.  The rest are bought from specialty retailers by consumers who spend a lot of time and effort deciding what to play.  Books typically cost upwards of $20 for a softcover or upwards of $35 for a hardcover.  So his $30 spiral-bound softcover is a bit on the pricey end but by no means expensive enough to drive away the well-paid engineers and programmers who make up the bulk of his customer base.

        That customer base exists only because of the strength of the nearby gaming community–He relies on local conventions and game days as well as larger regional conventions to find new customers and re-establish ties with his old ones.

        Contrast this to a novel:  I can go into a Barnes and Nobles and find plenty of great paperback novels for $7.  $7 just about covers printing costs of a softcover novel, assuming a reasonably large print run, and that doesn’t include things like editing or publicity. Realistically, the break-even point is going to be at least $10, and that’s assuming every copy printed is sold.

        Unless Teacher has an established network of people who are willing to pay twice as much for his novel as they do for everybody else’s, then he’s not going to do well by printing up copies of his novel and trying to sell them.

        Spivak mentions e-publishing.  That sounds like it might be a smarter idea.

        *As DD points out, I was actually saying It’s a loosing proposition.  In my defense, it’s a typing error rather than a vocabulary error, but I’m still incredibly ashamed I didn’t catch it the first time around.Report

  7. DensityDuck says:

    I would say it depends on what you mean by “self-publishing”.  These days, “printed books on store shelves” isn’t necessarily the only way (or even the best way) to get your words in front of readers.Report

  8. Kim says:

    What, I should mention Milholland?


    Rob and Xin over at Erfworld.com?

    Alexandra Erin over at Talesofmu.com?

    Take Note: Serialization’s back in style — write like Dickens, and you’ll do fine. But if you’re going to write like Dickens anyway? Try submitting it to Analog, they’re always in need of a good short story or novella (scifi/fantasy).Report

    • Alan Scott in reply to Kim says:

      Webcomics can successfully self-publish because they already have an established audience, and the cost of a self-printed webcomic collection isn’t significantly different from the cost of a traditional graphic novel.Report