Saturday, June 25, 2011

The face of the Self-Publishing Revolution: mine

On June 22, I joined the Self-Publishing Revolution by "indie" publishing my novel HUNTER: A Thriller. I'm just one of the latest authors to do this. And this trend is changing the face of publishing.

Never before have authors had so many options: traditional publishing, small-press publishing, "indie" (self) publishing, print publishing, audio publishing, ebook publishing, and who knows what else. New technology and free markets are creating a competitive landscape that is putting writers in the driver's seat, perhaps for the first time in history. Big publishers are being compelled to offer better deals, or else they'll lose big-name authors like J.K. Rowling.

Here's the face of the Self-Publishing Revolution:

I wrote my novel on a brilliant creative writing software package, WriteItNow, which cost me a grand total of $59. I finished up on Word, which I've had for years from an old job, and cost me nothing.

Today I filed my Avenger Books paperwork with the state. From a home computer. I have the necessary business account, post office box, (home) office. Paperwork cost: $25.

I contracted out for a first-rate book cover, done for just $250 bucks by a kid out of state. He did a blog header for me, just as cool, for another $250. And a great business logo for just $40.

My ebook and print-book formatting and layout were done by a guy in Britain, who turned around the entire job in 36 hours -- for a total of less than $150.

ISBN numbers were free from Smashwords and Amazon.

My photographer accepted a nice dinner in payment.

My web guy is building a new blog for my fiction...for free, as a showcase of his wares.

Cost of blog hosting: $48 per year.

Cost of domain name for a year: $9.

Cost of ebook uploading to Amazon: $0.

Amazon marketing cost of ebooks: 30%, leaving me 70% royalties.

Up-front cost of Amazon producing my print books: $0.

Distribution cost of print books: $39, for Amazon's enhanced distribution to the book trade, so that people can order the book at their local bookstores.

P.O. Box rental: about $45 for six months.

Ebook distribution costs: $0.

Online marketing costs: Just my time.

Print book costs (if books are bought and shipped by me): several dollars less than the total revenues on sales (i.e., I make a profit).

Bottom line: I've put out a good novel, in formats of a quality comparable to that of most publishers, AND I've launched a self-publishing business -- all for about $1000. I did it years faster than if I had gone through the mainstream publishing "query-go-round." And, if I had not bothered setting up the Avenger Books business imprint and customized blog, or insisted on as good a book cover, etc., I could've gotten away with publishing the ebook and p-book for probably $200-$300.

This is what is threatening the established book industry right now: Their fixed costs are gargantuan, and their business model outmoded. Big publishing houses, book agents, and brick-and-mortar bookstores are rapidly are becoming exorbitantly expensive middle men whose only real services are printing, distribution, and marketing -- middle men that many authors no longer need and whose services they can easily replace with low-cost contract labor.

Which is why print book sales and chain bookstores continue to circle the drain. Now is the time for authors and would-be authors to join the revolution.


Absolutely stellar reviews from early readers for HUNTER: A Thriller, up on Amazon (click the link to read them).

I could not be more pleased with the early reception. Many people are phoning and emailing me saying that the book has kept them up until 3-5 a.m. -- that they can't put it down. Others are making comparisons to books and authors that I admire hugely.

I'm having trouble wrapping my head around this. Honestly. Somebody pinch me.