Friday, October 25, 2013

Day 292 of the 365 Days of Blogging

The author/publisher,
Dane F. Baylis



If you've been reading this blog the last couple of weeks you know which one I am. I'm the one who is publishing under my own imprint. The guy who works out the formatting, the continuity, produces the logo and cover art. There's the editing and re-editing, and the task of contracting and consulting with a printer over paper stocks, digital or offset reproduction, binding choices, arranging for a printer's proof before final, and fielding questions by text to make sure we're all on the same sheet of music.
Outside of the physical product, I've also tied my release date to a featured reading in my local area through a well-connected host and entrepreneur. We have spoken about other appearances in a widening circle and I have managed to place a piece with his publication. This venue has local, regional, national, and international reach. So the marketing thing is being covered, too. All of this while still putting in my forty a week at a job that has nothing to do with any of the above.
I could have forked out a lot of money for someone else to do this, and been at the mercy of their timetable, skill, and coordination. Let's also take into consideration that a lot of the "self-publishing" outfits in existence today have adopted a value-added pricing scheme. Every time they convince you of a service you absolutely must have to succeed, it costs you more money. Cover design, special paper stock, marketing assistance, and on and on. All of this adds up fast. Then take a look at the sales figures for the VAST MAJORITY of self-published books. If you recoup your phone bill you'll be lucky.
I'm not suggesting everybody get into the publishing racket. I have a broader base of artistic, literary, and industry experience than most, so my comfort factor with certain processes is pretty good. I've also developed a high level of trouble-shooting skills over my life-time, which is a real asset in this endeavor.
Does this mean I'm not making mistakes? No, but my mistakes tend to be a little less noticeable and something I can remedy in the next project without losing too much credibility.
If nothing else, learning as much as you can about the physical part of book production gives you a better footing when talking to publishers at any level. Being as knowledgeable as you can about the business side is just common sense. The more you know, the better your negotiating position.Try reading, Kawasaki and Welch's, APE '(AUTHOR, PUBLISHER, ENTRPRENEUR), How to Publish a Book. 
Take marketing, for example. Even the major houses expect more and more from authors in that department every cycle. It takes more than, "Hey, Internet-type people. Look, I made a book!" The more personal your contact with your audience and potential customers, the better off you'll be when it comes to selling a couple of copies. Reach out to publications as well as digital and broadcast outlets. Make appearances no matter where - in malls, mom and pop independent bookstores, internet interviews and guest host gigs. Welcome to the brave new world!
If you do decide to go with a full service self-publishing operation, don't count on whoever you chose to be forthcoming with all the information you need. They're in the business of turning your money into printed pages and back into money, for them. They're not holding seminars on the in's and out's of their trade.
Bottom're writing a book? How about cracking a couple that explain some of the more arcane foibles of the publishing business, whether self or otherwise. You'll be a step ahead of so many others.
Just a helpful hint from your Uncle Dane.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------, love, write, and throw some learning into the mix while you're at it.
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Dane F. Baylis

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