A Grand Experiment

I’ve been thinking a lot about Kindle’s new self-publishing program they have set up (okay, not “new” to the world but “new” to me) and how it might help authors. It’s a sweet little racket Amazon is pulling , cutting out the publisher for new and established authors to sell their book for as little or as high as the author wants and paying out a nice commission rate. The downside, however, is for those writers who want to see their first book in print.

E-books are nice for anyone who wants to self-publish (or “independently publish”) or for the small press publisher who is trying to watch their overhead. Kindle is pretty much offering to do the same thing, except now people don’t have to be rejected. But… there’s also a path fraught with peril. There is no editor to ensure that your book is clean and ready for publication. There is no marketing manager to help promote your new book, and there isn’t a cover artist that is paid by the publisher to do just that. You are on your own.

So… what to do, what to do.

You see, I’m torn myself. I know there isn’t a home for any of the Christian Cole novels right now, simply because nobody wants to see religion and urban fantasy mixed that much. Plus I stay away from vampires (mostly) and zombies (though I do have some werewolves). I have an audience already (well, a small one, but it’s growing), an editor who works for cheap and a cover artist who is good. I also have a friend who is a marketing genius.

If I had the money, I’d start my own publishing company. However, I don’t, so… meh.

So should I pursue this “grand experiment”? Stay tuned…

4 thoughts on “A Grand Experiment

  1. No editor, no marketing manager, no cover artist – and, much more to the point, no seal of approval from someone (i.e. a publishing house) that has decided the book is good enough to invest in.

    I’ll quite often buy a major-house book, at B&N… even when I’m unfamiliar with the series or the author… from an interesting blurb. Sometimes it’s awful, generally it’s at least mediocre. I’m vastly more hesitant (as in, I never have) to buy a small-press or self-published title…

    a) out of the perception that if it were good enough for a major house to publish, one would have,
    b) the only person who decided “this is good enough” was the author.

    For me to buy a published-through-Kindle title, I’d need to hear extremely good word-of-mouth about either the title or the author from reliable people (i.e. people I know personally – I don’t care what generic review sites say), and more than one of them.

    It’s a higher burden of proof, which requires a *lot* more marketing and reputation-building (“he spoke at a panel, sounded like a really smart guy, maybe his self-published title is worth checking out”), and takes a lot longer. Not impossible, but very substantially harder.

    • Y’know, that’s true Leo, but a question,
      Who get’s to decide what’s good enough for the big houses to buy?
      I’m not sayin’ that your perspective is off, but when they push something (and Yes I read quite a lot of big house published drek along with the diamonds) the ad-copy as often as not has little to do with the book, or if it does, then the only reason I see it is because it was a word of mouth or review that was backed by a big publisher’s money.
      I personally tend to give about as much weight to which ever blurbs I’m reading, be they self-pub or big house published. I guess all I’m really saying at this point is that the market is changing, and maybe it’s time we re-assessed our paradigms in this field of endeavor.
      With self-promotion being the biggest part of both the big publisher authors and the self-published authors, the differences seem to be lessening. Yes publishing houses have editors, and any self-respecting writer will either farm to a publisher that has an editor or find one and pay them to do the job, (and do it well), same goes for cover art and probably even marketing.
      In a new world there are bound to be some hearts broken, and new structures built “on the fly” with a great level of dross, but soon enough we’ll have a system in place (like the publishers of old) that will generally create the same results, getting us access to the books we read and want, without having to waste money on that which we’re not “into.”

      Heh, I was discussing this with my teenage son the other day and he said “I don’t read so much, can’t get a good app for that on my cellphone.” (He doesn’t have an I-phone, and apparently the thought of picking up an actual book means that he’ll pass on the reading rather than handle the real thing *sigh*)

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