What do you think about self published books? 14 Apr 2005

56 comments Latest by Bob Lindstrom

We’re going to get started on our next book soon and are considering a few different publishing options — including self publishing.

When’s the last time you bought a self published book? Where did you find it? What did you think of it? How did you feel when you bought it, when you read it, and when you finished it? Did it feel different than a traditionally published book?

Did the fact that it was self published give you a sense of being closer to the author? Did you trust the content as much? Did you enjoy the experience as much?

I’m completely aware that these are very general questions, and every book/experience is different, but I’m looking for general answers. We’re curious. Thanks.

56 comments so far (Jump to latest)

Ken B. 14 Apr 05

The last self-published books I can remember purchasing were all three of Edward Tuftes. My perception of these books is that much greater care was taken in the printing process to ensure that the right papers were used and the quality of the graphics are perfect. I can’t say that I trust the content any more or less based on self-publishing but I think there is greater accountability for the author to get it right on the first time. In the case of another book from 37signals, I will already place a great deal of trust in the content based on my experiences from reading SvN over the past year.

cboone 14 Apr 05

The last self-published book I bought was by a friend of mine — so perhaps not a good example. It didn’t feel different, or look different from the average trade paperback; but it lacked the attention to detail I expect (though don’t always find, by any means) from traditionally published books.

On the other hand, Edward Tufte publishes his own books, and they’re among the best, most beautiful, most useful books I own.

So it depends on the details, as always.

Brendan 14 Apr 05

Edward Tufte’s books have set the standard.

I echo the sentiment that the attention to detail in the physical book contributes (at least initially) to the time and care spent reading its contents.

Adam Codega 14 Apr 05

I don’t think self publishing has an effect on what I see unless it’s been pointed out to me. 37S has the know how to pull it off and perhaps make it better then the average production.

pb 14 Apr 05

I would imagine most people wouldn’t recognize that a book is self-published except that it might have poor distribution or be rough around the edges. The Tufte books are clearly an exception.

Randy 14 Apr 05

Tufte’s books are stellar, but he also spends about 7 years on each book. A lot of it is writing, but a lot of it is publishing and craft as well. While it’s an amazing level to shoot for, it’s probably not a real option for most self pubs.

misuba 14 Apr 05

It’s fair to call the Pragmatic Programmers’ books self-published, I think, and they’re meeting the standard of O’Reilly or anyone else in tech publishing in my view.

Geoffrey 15 Apr 05

I have a good friend who self-publishes books and I don’t see any effect self-publishing has on the quality of his work. With desktop publishing the tangible quality of a self-published book and a mass-produced book are nil. In the case of Tufte, self-publishing even lends a sense of craftsmanship. The only problem my friend runs into is distribution. Sometimes he literally has to stock the shelves by hand.

dru 15 Apr 05

Who would you have publish your book. I am interested in hearing more about those that would help someone to “self-publish”

Tim Case 15 Apr 05

I can’t tell the difference between a self-published book and a non-self-published. When I pick up a book, I rifle through the pages, if it smells like paper and I like the way the cover looks (c’mon don’t we all judge books by their covers despite what we tell our spouses?). Then I buy it.

I’m a big supporter of self-publishing as a producer, but as a consumer I don’t make any distinction between the big house and the self-starter. Where the info is I go.

The real question about self-publishing is can you get it distributed? (i.e. you got the borders and amazon hookups?)
If you can, are you ready to add the duties of a publishing house onto your stack? Sometimes these book distributors won’t pay you until you track them down! Silly rabbits…

Forget self-publishing though, how about the big bold question of e-books?

John Skinner 15 Apr 05

I hadn’t realized that Tufte was self-published. They are excellent, so it can be done.

Given the advances in just-in-time printing (aka books on demand), a good selfpublished book can be much better in quality than a massmarket paperback.

I would not say that I feel closer to the authors because they published themselves.

Chris from Scottsdale 15 Apr 05

Just take my advice and if you do self publish, get a real book designer to do the layout and let them do their job. I know for a fact that they can do a very good job in 1/10 the time it would take you to do the production.

Nacs 15 Apr 05

As long as it’s at least on Amazon, then I don’t care if who publishes it. :)

Dave Marks 15 Apr 05

I couldn’t tell you if I’ve ever seen a self published book or not, so from that point of view I can’t comment… however i will say this….

After reading the first book, following your blog here, using basecamp etc etc etc I believe in what you write - if you sent the book to me as an email - i’d read it.

So as long as i can get hold of it, its no biggey - hell i’d buy it straight from you guys via this site say, if you provided that option (thats a cool idea actually - how many readers do you have)

I don’t know what its like in the states, or even up country here in the UK (I live in Cornwall - far south west tip of england - its a slow way of life…) but my experience of bookshops and technical books, is that all you get is “Web design for dummies” and that kind of thing… so i always shop for these kind of books on Amazon. Plus, generally i read reccommendations for books on blogs, so its the natural place to click through to and buy form amazon.

What I’m getting at, is distribution is probably my only worry, but i think given the content as long as you get in with amazon and a few others you should be good

Brad 15 Apr 05

It’s interesting to read these responses; in the literary book world, self-publishing is typically seen as a sign that your book wasn’t good enough (or deemend marketable enough) to be picked up by a real publisher. But clearly this isn’t the case in the more technical world, where the quality of content and the reputation of the author(s) matters more. And since so many tech people buy their books from Amazon, distribution is not as big a problem for self-publishers in this field than it is in others.

wayne 15 Apr 05

I do not think I could tell the difference in most cases. I am not sure that I would even care. O’Reilly has been fairly consistant, but I harbor no loyalty to any publishing company. I am more interested in what is inside and who wrote it.

kellan 15 Apr 05

I buy a lot of books and very few of them are self published. Most recent was “Programming Ruby” from the Pragmatic Bookshelf. This is an excellent book, but without strong community word of mouth (and frankly a very small set of choices) it is unlikely I ever would have found it, even at my local independent tech bookstore, nor bought it if I found it.

Often enough self-published means vanity publishing, I’d like the culture to change, and move to a more distributed and JIT publishing environment, but for now I think the best of the self published books are the ones you don’t realize are self published until after you’re done reading them.

Don Schenck 15 Apr 05

Dan Poynter is the guru of self-publishing.

Arne Gleason 15 Apr 05

My general priorities for buying books:

1. Subject Matter (I seek by subject)
2. Availability (Can I buy it where I normally buy books or can I start buying all my books where I can buy it?)
3. Author (Written something I’ve read and liked?)

Published by, printed by? I’m not sophisticated enough to know I should care.

Point 2 seems ridiculous upon reflection, but laziness governs my shopping habits (and just about everything else).

Ben Brophy 15 Apr 05

When I first looked at Defensive Design for the Web I thought it was self-published, because of the placement of the 37signals logo. Then I saw New Riders, and thought 37 Signals had worked out some sort of co-publishing deal. I can’t say that any of that influenced my decision to buy the book. I’d been asked to contribute a section about error messages to a style guide and someone had mentioned Defensive Design so i bought it.

Peter Cooper 15 Apr 05

It’s all about the end product. It’s not whether you self published or not (unless you want to get the primary areas in the bookstores) but whether you ended up with a good product or not. Sadly most self-published books are generic crap with stock photography on the front and poor grammar and syntax. As other people have said though, if you can approach Edward Tufte quality, you’re sitting pretty.. but that’s why you have good previews of your book, so people will buy.

Peter Stuyvesant 15 Apr 05

Unfortunately, publishers are one of the main things I look at to determine whether or not to buy a technical book. Like if I want a book about some FOSS tool, I tend to look at the ORA books before the Wrox books. Maths, I look for Springer before the other companies. So I feel by self-publishing you stand to lose out on some brand transferrance from the publishing house.

Todd from 800-CEO-READ 15 Apr 05

Here are my thoughts on the downs and ups of self-publishing:

Downs:
*There is a view that self-pub is inferior (that is because many times it is).
*The current systems acts as a filtering mechanism for the media (i.e. media looks to publishers for quality, publishers look to agents). Self-publishing makes it harder to get recognition in the media.
*Distribution is much more difficult. The box stores look to the publishers for what they should stock. There are distributors actively looking for books, so there are other routes.
*There is alot of work in putting book out. Who is going to edit it? Who is going to layout it out? Who is going to fill orders?

Ups:
* Control. You can do the book exactly the way you want. I cannot overstate that. Publishers have their idea of the way a book should be done, and it often conflicts with yours.
*Money. If it costs $3 to produce the book, there is an awful lot of margin there.
*Amazon and weblogs have changed everything about finding an audience for your blog.

Last thing - if you self-pub, make sure the design is as good as a published book. I can normally see a self-pub book a mile away. Terrible cover art. Bad layout. Chopping copy.

Get Poynter’s The Self-publishing Manual. It is outstanding and walks you through everything.

Good Luck!

Ray 15 Apr 05

Sites like lulu.com help self publishers. I am planning to self publish myself, and intend to sell the book electronically through my website. This way the problem of physically stocking shelves is solved. Of course, an established publisher is great for distribution, but the author typically gets only 5% of the selling price. Have a publisher and sell 1000 copies at $30 each and you get $1,500. Sell an electronic copy through the web at $30, and you need to sell 50 downloads to make the same. Drop the price to $10, and you need to sell only 150 (and more likely to).

The economics with the technology availble now—web, e-commerce, desktop publishing software, etc.—are great for self publishers!

SH 15 Apr 05

I think a major point that’s being overlooked in this discussion is what exactly defines “self” publishing. People seem to be stuck with the notion a la 1995 that self publishing is stapling together photocopied pages at Kinkos, and that simply isn’t the case anymore. Then there’s a notion that if you self publish it’s because your work isn’t “good enough” to have been purchased by a *real* publisher, and that again isn’t exactly true.

Self publishing refers more to the actual text than it does to the distribution and packaging of that text. The best example of this off the top of my head is Dave Egger’s first novel, You Shall Know Our Velocity, which was written, edited, and printed independently in its first run. Later, it was picked up by a publisher and distributed widely in paperback but for all intents and purposes it is a “self published” book.

Including a publisher in only the distrubution and marketing of an independently completed work is what self publishing means, just as it would apply to a movie or a record. And the greatest appeal to this for writers is the complete creative license it offers and the control of content. Publishers have a habit of vampiring good work and diluting it to appeal to a broad audience, and for some writers that isn’t their intent.

jason 15 Apr 05

many of my favorite comic book/graphic novel artists have self published. The joy i get as a reader is increased when i know that the author has taken part in all of the production. That combined with the fact that i know more of my $20 or whatever goes directly to them makes me a happy camper.

Josh Williams 15 Apr 05

The last self-published book I picked up was by old-school typographer Doyald Young. The book is absolutely wonderful, a gem in terms of production and content quality.

I’d imagine there are enough tip-ins and special printing techniques used that most publishers would shy away from it just the same.

On the shelf, the book does not seem like the rest of the books — It is at the same time lo-fi and hi-fi… so it seems pretty special. In the end, I feels just a step off of a work the author made just for me. Almost like a signed and numbered serigraph.

In the end, content is always key. Doesn’t matter who published it if it’s full of crap.

Joe Block 15 Apr 05

I’d have no problem buying a self-published book, as long as it had good production values and was available on Amazon. And I like the idea of the authors of a work getting a bigger cut by eliminating the overhead of a publisher.

I recommend that you use a professional book designer, doing a book is significantly different than designing a web page. I should probably mention here that in my day gig I sysadmin for a company that does book pre-production, so perhaps my standards are a little high.

Geof Harries 15 Apr 05

http://www.selfpublishing.com may be of interest to all of you interested in self publishing. Lots of links and information.

geof

Jake Smith 15 Apr 05

You know, I really couldn’t care less who publishes a book. I mostly go by word of mouth, if it’s good enough for someone tell to me about it, it’s probably good enough for me to buy. In fact, I don’t know the publishers of any of my books! If it has the information I want, I’ll buy it, period.

Tim O'Reilly 15 Apr 05

Well, I like to think of myself as a self publisher who grew up into a real publisher. So I’ve seen the world from both sides. I never thought when I printed my first run of 100 copies of Learning the Unix Operating System in 1985 that it would go on to sell hundreds of thousands of copies, and start me on the path to being one of the largest computer book publishers in the country. It’s been a long and fruitful ride, which took me in many unexpected directions, and with a huge number of mistakes, some of which turned out to be inspired!

Here are the differences between self publishing and working with an established publisher as I see them:

1) If you’re not an experienced author, having a good editor can help you produce a book you’ll be proud of. You guys have already written a book, so you know what help you got, and whether or not it improved your book. So scratch that issue.

2) If you’re not well known, you may have real trouble getting visibility and distribution for your book. You guys are well known and have a built-in distribution channel and audience. Get your book on Amazon, plus sell it from your own site, and you’ll probably move as many copies as most publishers would move of a comparable book from less well known authors. (Given your current notoriety, you might even be able to sell as many copies as New Riders sold of your Defensive Design book, or more.) My guess is that I could significantly more copies of your book via additional channels than you would sell yourself, but probably not enough to make up the difference in margin that you’d make by printing and selling the book yourselves. So scratch that issue as well.

3) If you sell a lot of books, you’ll find yourself having to build a lot of the apparatus of a publisher. When we were small, we hired a temp to ship out books, and when a shipment arrived from the printer, all our employees would make a bucket brigade to carry the cartons to the basement. But that gets old fast. This is the biggest question for you: what business do you want to be in? A successful publisher (self or otherwise) ends up in the business of book design, copyediting and layout, printing (contracted out, but still a set of relationships and processes you need to manage), warehousing, shipping, order taking (can mostly be done self service), customer service (“where’s my book?”; “my copy was damaged in shipping”, etc.), and many other mundane but necessary tasks.

And of course, once you have more than a couple of books, you really need to start expanding your channels, your retail marketing (very challenging to get a foot in the door in today’s market), and your sales force. So you start up the ramp, as I did, of becoming a full fledged publisher yourself.

Of course, there are alternatives to doing all the work. For example, you could become what’s called a packager, where you establish a series and and brand, and deliver camera ready copy to a publisher, who pays you a higher than normal royalty because they provide no editing or development services, but still takes the inventory risk, and thereafter treats the book as one of their own products. Pogue Press (now wholly owned by O’Reilly) and Deke Press are two O’Reilly imprints that started out as packaging deals. To make something like this work, you need to have a strong brand (you do), a scalable publishing idea (rather than just a single book), and the ability to deliver completed books to the publisher.

The next step up is to publishing itself, which adds the element of inventory risk. That is, it’s easy to say, “Wow, print a book for $2, sell it for $30, pocket $28.” But what happens instead is “print 1000 copies of a book for $5 each, 5000 copies for $3 each, or 10,000 copies for $2 each.” And then if you sell fewer than you expect, you might end up with a very different cost of goods than you expect. Many small publishers make the mistake of printing too many copies, and their cost of goods (and warehousing those goods) becomes much higher than they expect. So you might print 10,000 for $20,000, sell 1000 directly from your website for $30, and another 1000 from Amazon for $14 (which is about what you’ll get after discount), you’re netting $44,000 on a $20,000 investment, not the $300,000 that the naive math of $2 manufacturing vs. $30 list price would suggest. Still, not bad, and a real option — if you want to be in the publishing business for the long haul. Self publishing a single book can be fun. But I’d be that after the second or third, you either decide to be in the publishing business full bore, or look for a partner to take on some of the chores.

FWIW, many small publishers are distributed by larger publishers. When O’Reilly was small, for example, Addison-Wesley and later Thomson did our international distribution before we started our own international companies. And today, O’Reilly distributes smaller presses like the Pragmatic Programmers, No Starch, Paraglyph, Sitepoint, and Syngress. That leverages our sales force, our distribution systems, and our relationships with major retailers.

Note however, that in order to take either the packaging or distribution route, you really need to be thinking about more than a single book.

I’d be happy to talk to you more about any of these options. Good luck!

None of several Steves 15 Apr 05

I’ve designed books that were both self-published and house published. The ultimate difference was the distribution model. That is, layout, print specs, and press check were defined by the same person (me), so the quality of the end product was good in both cases; printing wasn’t haphazard just because one was self-funded. No visible difference with the end product.

The self-published book was distributed by the writer, who tours as a speaker, much like a band sells their discography at a concert. And yes, all titles ended up on Amazon.

8500 15 Apr 05

In my experience, the major difference between self vs. corp publishing is the editing. Most self published books seem to have not gone through a rigorous editing process that can help smooth the rough edges found in most orginal works.

Tim O'Reilly 15 Apr 05

I got an email from one of my editors after my earlier posting on this thread. I thought I should share it more widely. Peter Meyers wrote:

“Your post reminded me of an article I just read in the current issue of the New Yorker, which you might get a kick out of: it’s a profile of the guy who started the Lonely Planet travel series. Lots of stuff on the pros and cons of turning from a one man shop to a big operation. Here’s a link:
(http://www.newyorker.com/fact/content/articles/050418fa_fact)

LNJ 15 Apr 05

I’ve bought a number of self-published books. Granted, I do have a GREAT little bookshoppe about three blocks from my house the is independant and carries books like that, but I will buy if it sounds interesting to me. As for feeling closer to the author… I’m not so sure about that. I feel that I am reading something that isn’t mainstream and may not be well known, so I think that I like suggesting or lending those books to friends more than feeling a conection with the author.

As for experience and all that, some have been good and some not so. It deepends on the quality of the work and the quality of the print. Some books that I have read are good books, just solid writing, but the printing is so cheap and the binding so hinky that it takes away. At the same, I’ve read bad writing that is brought up a bit by the author caring about the printing and aesthetics of what they produced.

Finally, I am a fan of self publishing. I think that it is an open ave. that not many new authors are willing to explore and it is a relatively untapped market that has produced some good writing and sound ideas. Good luck in whatever path you choose to take and remember to look at the whole of the process, not just the writing… More goes into a good book than just good words.

Tommy 15 Apr 05

Wow Jason, it seems you have hit on a topic people are very interested in. These posts are great reading.

I have bought several self-published books and I love them, Tuftes’ being the best of the best as everyone else has said. When people walk into my library (yes I am a book geek and collector) I usually pull Envisioning Information down to show people what “could” be.

With that said, I guess I might first ask:

1) If you self-publish how do you handle distribution? Do you expect to sell most books either directly online or indirectly through retail? I bought your book through an eBay firm because my local book stores didn’t carry it. Even though I am 15 minutes from downtown St. Louis (Illinois side) my local Barnes & Noble said they’d have to order it. Yet when I was in Washington for business a few weeks later, there it was, right next to Eric Meyer’s books.

2) I can only assume that if you work through a publisher they can help with the promotion/press. Don’t know if you really need this, since you seem to be a featured speaker and you are good at promotion, but just a thought.

3) A good editor is key to readability IMHO. But I have a feeling you know this better then me and I have to believe you could find an editor superior to what your publisher might bring on board.

With those points out of the way. I love the self-publishing idea. Heck, I’d even be willing to pay more for the book knowing you are getting more of a percentage. I also see the potential for side items. Lets say a password blog for individuals that purchase the book so we could have ongoing conversations about the topics you cover. Even a Web site that outlines in more detail and/or gives samples/code/you name it that we’d get access to once we paid. Again, I’d be willing to pay more for stuff like this.

It seems if you put your creative minds behind this you could do some pretty neat stuff.

One last selfish point. Please blog about the process of writing your new book and self-publishing specifically. I just had a conversation w/ my father about the self-publishing option yesterday. He retired from the Air Force a few years ago. He has a couple book deals on the table, but he is sick of dealing with the publishers. So instead he is acting as a editor for other people. One of the deals is to publish his dissertation, “The United States Army in the South, 1789-1835.” Volume I and II.

It clocks in at almost 1,250 pages. He so sick of hearing it needs to be shorter. He knows his target audience is under 2,500 people. But he also knows his audience, Civil War military experts, want the whole thing, not an abridged version. Heck, back in the early 90’s I had lunch with the head of the LSU Press (where we both went to grad school) and she asked, “Hey, when is your father going to edit his dissertation so we can publish it?”

One last point, please print the book. I don’t want a PDF. I want so be able to hold the thing in my hands and put it next to your other book. Digital just doesn’t work for me.

BTW: I had not picked up my father’s dissertation for years and years. It is bizarre to hold a 580 page book in your hand that was actually produced on a typewriter (my mother did it).

BTW #2: I will stress the good editor again. I have the copy that my father gave to his father. My grandfather actually read the entire thing and make edits and corrections throughout, including the footnotes :).

Tony 15 Apr 05

Wow, what else can be added to what Mr. O’Reilly has said?

From a consumer’s standpoint, I don’t know that I’ve ever bought a self-published book. I do tend to pay attention to imprints, because I’m interested in writing, but there are so many that I’m not sure if I could spot which ones are and aren’t self-published, outside of the commonly known publishers/imprints.

I do know that given several books on the same topic, I’d probably choose a trusted imprint. I suppose the exception is if I have a sample chapter to read (or I am in a book store flipping through the books), I can judge on content alone.

Jake 15 Apr 05

Holy crap. Did I just see Tim O’Reilly?

Michael Nolan 16 Apr 05

The last self-published book I bought was one on acid-staining concrete. It was worth the 19.95. The production values were terrible, but that doesn’t matter because I expect the acid or the stain will find its way onto the pages when I’m in the midst of the job.

Being on the publisher side of things (as 37signals’ acquisitions editor for New Riders), I sure hope the outcome of this thoughtful discussion is that we publish the book in question. Having you guys as part of our Voices That Matter group of authors makes us proud and strengthens our brand.

I’ve always thought of our author community as a prime example of the whole being way more than the sum of its parts. By this I mean the way our authors connect, supporting each other through collaboration, promoting each others’ work, etc. I love the discussions that take place during New Riders’ dinners at places like SXSW or Web Design World. The cross-pollination of ideas is very heady. But of course, that’s not necessarily exclusive to us.

As Tim O’Reilly said there are many permutations of models for working with a publisher. The challenge is finding the one that works for you.

aaron wall 16 Apr 05

The last self published book I bought was Revenge of Brand X, which I thought was a pretty solid book.

A great benefit of selling and publishing books directly you can sell electronic copies at lower rates and even turn the purchase into an impulse buy. Even if people buy a print version you can still give them a download version immediately as bandwidth is virtually free.

I am an SEO by trade, so that will make some in the blog community think that I am inherantly evil by nature, but I sell a good number of my ebooks marketing them via my blog.

Another great benefit of self publishing is that you can update or edit it without the hassle of a publisher.

You were already published before by a publisher so as long as you promoted it well on you blog and created another awesome book I would assume that you would do just fine self publishing.

Brady Joslin 17 Apr 05

Wondering who published a book is about like wondering what development platform a web site was created with. Typically, I don’t care as long as the content and of high quality and easily digestible.

Colin Donald 18 Apr 05

Originality, quality and the author’s vision all shine through on a self-published book like this

http://www.gheehappy.com/

500 print run:

http://www.gheehappy.com/order/shop.htm

Stephen Fraser 18 Apr 05

In most respects I defer to Mr. O’Reilly, who in addition to being something of an authority comes across as a nice guy with good intentions. One thing I would take issue with however is his suggestion that in order to publish your book independently you would have to develop “the apparatus of a publisher.” The company I work for—which in the interest of objectivity I will leave nameless—offers a technology that offers the “apparatus” piece of the equation without the “publisher.” It allows you to sell your own book on your own terms without actually having to engage in the investment, printing, commerce, or fulfillment required to sell books in the way that traditional publishers sell books.

Getting a book into brick & mortar stores is, as others have pointed out in this thread, the great challenge. But brick & mortar bookstores—as much as I love them—are the products of a system with many intrinsic inefficiencies. In order to sell books in bookstores a book requires a large print run, warehousing, a distributer who takes a cut of the book, a bookstore discount, someone to manage invoices, and an entity willing to accept returns on the unsold books. In the end, creators are not terribly well-served by this system in most cases.

The Internet on the other hand offers creators the possibility of selling directly to consumers, thus eliminating the layers of distribution and production that have in the past required the resources of publishers to surmount. Just as the web has created an independent publishing platform for content in its raw form, digital printing technologies have created an equally powerful platform for printed books. From where I sit, I see lots of successful independent publishers—more and more as time goes on and people become more adept at using direct distribution tools to their advantage.

So I suggest that you go for it—good luck!

Owen Linderholm 18 Apr 05

All very interesting. I think you are all inching toward what is happening right now which is the blurring between published by a publisher and self-published. I just started a small publishing company - we are about to launch our first book. (Digital Dish - a compilation of the freshest recipes and writing from food blogs around the world) and it is most definitely NOT self-published. Just about the easiest way to tell is to find out who the ISBN number belongs to. I sent out RFQs to 10 printers and narrowed it down to 2, then 1. I did not want to go to a POD place because the overhead is significant (despite what they will tell you). I hope to at least break even on the first book. To do that I need to sell somewhere over 1000 copies. You will be able to get it via Amazon (it’s already in their catalog) but (book industry spoiler…) they take 55% right off the top. I’d prefer you get it direct from me (www.pressforchange.com) because then I get more money. I was already in publishing, so I knew what I was doing I thought. I still had no real idea of the amount of work ahead of me. Unless the book sells over 25000 copies I will not pay back my time at my normal working rates. But that wasn’t the point. No real publisher would touch this book but it will still be a better food book than most of what is out there and it will be absolutely different than any other food book at all.

Anyway, to tie back to the start. The technology and pricing and distribution channels around right now make it a better time to be a publisher yourself than ever before - whether you self-publish or try to publish other things out there you like…

Someone asked about ebooks. Lulu.com is actually a really good model for ebooks. They want a fee, but it is a fair one for handling the payment and publicity infrastructure.

Brad 24 Apr 05

Good article on exactly this topic in the NY Times Book Review.

David St Lawrence 25 Apr 05

The most obvious thing about self-published books is the sense of connection with the author. This is often enough to convince me to read the book, even though it could benefit from additional editing.

The second thing I notice about many self-published books is that they are non-formulaic. The author has not succumbed to the temptation to adopt trite story templates as a route to literary success.

As far as book quality. it is hard to see the difference between current self-published books and traditional books. The quality of short run printing and POD printing often exceeds conventional web press quality.

Self-publishing allows more writers to reach an audience of readers. Like blogging, I think this will open the door to a new level of literary achievement by talented writers. We will all benefit.

dj kingsbury 09 Aug 05

of course i trusted the content- it would be absurd not to! what is called “traditional publishing” that is the truest of all absurd notions. The writer must dictate what happens with his/her writing. these people profit from writers, and don’t even care about the writing or the art of it. i’ll stick to and by self publishing. i’m in great company with the likes of Lord Byron, Walt Whitman, Arthur Rimbaud, The Beats, and many others!

Jared Nuzzolillo 12 Sep 05

Agile Web Development with Rails… wasn’t the first, won’t be the last.

mlewis 14 Oct 05

I am a self published author, but I believe if you have the time and patience to self publish then it will pay off. As a full time student, mother, and working a full time job I find it difficult to get my book recognized. I have however sold copies myself at work or when I am out shopping.
I have sent my book to some bookstores hoping someone will recognize my talent.

ERE 15 Oct 05

Ereignis-gesteuerte Programmierung ist der Hauptbestandteil bei der Programmierung
graphischer Oberflächen. Der Benutzer löst durch bestimmte Aktionen (z.B. Maustaste
drücken, Focus auf ein Fenster bringen, Fenster vergrößern, Taste drücken) bestimmte
Ereignisse aus. Das Programm hat dann die Möglichkeit auf das Eintreffen bestimmter
Ereignisse gewisse Aktionen auszulösen.

Online einkaufen

Urlaub buchen

Kredit, Darlehen, Sofortkredit

Im Internet einkaufen

Klingeltöne, Handylogos

Handy, Handys kaufen

Wellness, Kosmetik, Gesundheit

Kegelclub, Kegelclubs, Kegeltouren

Architekten, Architekt

Dackel, Rauhhaardackel, Welpen, Hunde

Brad 15 Nov 05

This is from AuthorsBookshop.com - i thought it pertinent:

Why should you buy independently published books?

The world has become a pretty incredible place. It seems everything is available to everyone at any time. The explosion of media channels has made for a very exciting cultural landscape.

Because there are so many options for receiving media, the traditional media sources are losing a lot of ground in the cultural marketplace. Sales of both music and books through traditional sources have been on a steep decline over the past few years. As this happens, the major outlets for these types of media are forced to be more selective, more particular about the types of artists they can support. Books that might have previously found a publishing outlet are given a pass because the publishers can no longer take the chances that they once could.

This does not mean, of course, that fewer good books are being written. Just that fewer good books are finding there way to the public through traditional publishing outlets. At first, this may seem distressing. But, because of new tools that have become available to artists, writers, and musicians, we are in the midst of an explosion of the democratization of media.

Advances in printing, binding, and delivery, along with the internet and e-commerce, are permitting individual writers - who have written some of the most significant, imaginative and useful literature of our time - to offer professionally presented volumes of their work to the public.

Very few independently published authors are getting rich off of their works. Few of them expect to. Most independently published authors simply want to get their work out to as many of the people that would be interested as possible.

We do not hesitate to spend $10, $12, $15 to see a local band, go to the theatre or buy a cd. We are excited to support our local musicians, theatres and artists. But how many local writers have you supported lately?

So support an independent artist. Buy an independently-published book. If it turns out that you do not like the book, well, you have spent very little money. You can come back here and report your thoughts to let others know, and help the writer to grow. If you do like the book, tell people about it and buy another copy of it to give to a friend!

-Authors’ Bookshop

armstrong nicolas 12 Jan 06

hi,
i want to know the price and the shipping costof this book to spain via dhl .

clinically oriented anatomy keith moore and dalley 6th ed with double cdrom
thanks

Dominique Stone 01 Oct 06

I really enjoyed reading all of the comments posted. I agree that there are quite a few authors who have written great works in the past. Go to the Internet and plug in “self published books.” I was shocked when I was able to recognize so many titles…

My first novel will be available in bookstores and the Internet this winter. I’m very excited. The writing took me every bit of 6 years to complete. I’ve received a great deal of support. So thank you!

“Behind The Velvet Curtain”
Dominique Stone

Dominique Stone 01 Oct 06

I really enjoyed reading all of the comments posted. I agree that there are quite a few authors who have written great works in the past. Go to the Internet and plug in “self published books.” I was shocked when I was able to recognize so many titles…

My first novel will be available in bookstores and the Internet this winter. I’m very excited. The writing took me every bit of 6 years to complete. I’ve received a great deal of support. So thank you!

“Behind The Velvet Curtain”
Dominique Stone

Dominique Stone 01 Oct 06

I really enjoyed reading all of the comments posted. I agree that there are quite a few authors who have written great works in the past. Go to the Internet and plug in “self published books.” I was shocked when I was able to recognize so many titles…

My first novel will be available in bookstores and the Internet this winter. I’m very excited. The writing took me every bit of 6 years to complete. I’ve received a great deal of support. So thank you!

“Behind The Velvet Curtain”
Dominique Stone

Bob Lindstrom 10 Oct 06

This blog is very interesting and a gold mine for those considering self publishing. As owner of a new online book store, I have been looking for a good reference for ‘would be’ authors to use to weigh the options of self publishing. Thanks. I will be putting a link to this blog on my site, with your permission of course.

www.BustersBooks.com

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