Self-publishing made easy online

Self-publishing made easy online is a C|Net story on Blurb.com."access to a computer can make a book and get it professionally printed. The company offers free downloadable software, called BookSmart, which enables people without design experience to easily lay out the pages, choose background colors and fonts and edit photos. The design templates were created by book design experts."

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"Yet another way of annoying people with your stupid novel!""Self-publishing: So you wanna be a crank ... ""Cover = good""Self-publishing: It's like taking an ugly guy to the prom. Hey at least you're there and your shoes are cute."

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Your comment is kinda snarky. Many self-published books are worthwhile, more are not. You can't lump them all into the same basket.

The bigger issue is that these "do-it-yourself" outfits don't warn self-publishers that once they publish 1,000 or 5,000 or more of their own titles, what the heck are they going to do with them? They provide the tools for self-publishing, but not for marketing, and it's marketing that's sometimes even more challenging than writing a book. Mostly these books end up in the author's closet/garage/basement/relative's closet/etc. etc.

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How many crappy books have been put out by "real" publishers? The sad fact about publishing is that it isn't primarily about how good a story is, how well it's written, or how it speaks to a reader. It's about, "Can I sell it to as many readers as possible?"

Small and independent presses, unfortunately, are in the same boat with the big boys, and it's amazing how many rejection letters I've gotten with a hand written note at the bottom, "We'd love to, but we can't afford to print this title" or "We'd love to, but we're backed up for the next five years" or "We'd love to, but we're printing our last book ever tomorrow."

Publishers want proven formulas. They do. It's sad, but it's true. They can use some poor peon editors to pretty up prose, if it sucks badly, so that it is at least somewhat readable. Then they can release it, hype it, and sell it. Was the "Da Vinci Code" stellar prose? No. But it did have a catchy story that could be hyped up.

Would "Of Mice and Men" be published today? It's short. I mean, short is good in most publishing scenarios, but it's really short. Writers have used the works of Steinbeck et al. to test publishers... They've sent typed manuscripts of classic works to big houses, only to be rejected... not because anyone recognized it... but because these stories were "unsaleable."

It's a business, publishing. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but it makes it extremely difficult to break into, and more difficult to make a living at.

Granted, I'm partial. My book was published by a small press, dropped, and then I POD'd it on Lulu. Honestly, I've made more money from it on Lulu than I did at the small press, and I felt like I had more say over the matter. There was nothing as difficult for me as signing that contract with the first publisher, having them basically take most of my rights (which is standard for new authors) and then basically let it sit there. I was, for lack of a better phrase, sofa king happy when they discontinued my title and gave me back the rights.

There are good self-published books out there. PODdy Mouth is one site that seems to really handpick the best. Real live publishing contracts sometime come from real live publishers after a self-published book hits it off.

True, there are a lot of sucky self published books. But I'm betting the mediocre self-published book to mediocre traditionally published book ratio is about even.

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I don't think the "bigger issue" applies--certainly not to outfits like Lulu, and I think not to Blurb. The breakthrough in contemporary self-publishing is that you don't "publish 1,000 or 5,000 or more." You put up two PDFs (one for the book, one for the cover)--and books get produced one at a time when they're ordered.

Reasonably-priced, high-quality PoD is the key here. Sure, if you want to sell a bunch, you need marketing--but there should be no unwanted copies.

Blurb's problem is that their prices are way too high, at least for books that aren't full-color productions. That may change in the future--but I think you're paying a considerable premium for the canned designs. Which, for a lot of people who really do just want to have a few copies of something, may be perfect.

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If you look athttp://www.lulu.com/for exampleyou will see that you can make 1 book ..no need to make a thousand...they also provide marketing.Could be very useful for the organization of text and graphics for any purpose or presentationYes , the previous comment was snarky possibly pretentiously uninformed...a confusion of quality and marketing...or maybe just downright snotty...It's much bigger vision than the ....self publishing is bad beliefI'm going to do one for a friend of mine who is a poet...very difficult for a poet to get published...not a good market...does it mean he ought not to have a book of his poems because there is not a market ?Listen to commercial radio...has the music gotten better because record companies are involved ?my answer is yes, he should have a book of his poetry in his possession and if any one else wants one they should have the opportunity to obtain one...and no ...commercial radio music has not gotten better because record publishers are involved... they just make sure they can market the music...a style of unified texture.

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I'm not sure about "they also provide marketing"--realistically, for the kind of niche books Lulu does, the author needs to do the marketing--but otherwise, yes.

And I'm not looking down my nose at people who use Lulu. I fully intend to do so myself later this year for a book that I hope will sell a few hundred copies--because I want it out fast, and because I don't think it has quite a wide enough market for the traditional publisher I'd most likely discuss it with. Since I do have 13 traditionally-published books under my belt, it's really not a "no other choice" scenario.

I think Shoe has it about right as well. Fortunately, with good PoD, there's room for all three--big commercial publishing, small commercial publishing, and self-publishing/Publish-on-Demand. (There's still vanity press publishing, but that's a different and, I believe, distinguishable area.)

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Bingo...you nailed it...

there's room for all three--big commercial publishing, small commercial publishing, and self-publishing/Publish-on-Demand. (There's still vanity press publishing, but that's a different and, I believe, distinguishable area.)

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Turner ... consider strongly ... very strongly, like a big strong thing, that ...all things considered in consideration in the considerer ... you might need,to lighten up.

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I'll consider it stronglyvery stronglyI'll be the considereatorthen I'll decide on what I consideredthen I'll be the decideator and the consideratorhopefully this process will take me to the desireiffic state of lightuousness ...

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