I have to admit, there was a certain amount of vanity involved when I chose a POD outfit for The Kaska Trilogy, my first set of novels. But the rewards have exceeded my expectations, now that they are getting exposure on my website and reviews and comments are proving favorable. Oh, to actually see my words in print within a decent cover generated by a reputable house. It was most pleasant and exceptionally inexpensive. But ego aside, I wanted people to read my works and enjoy them.
I agree with those who say that online publishing will probably not replace paper, but there is a distinct catch. What about a pylon commentator in ancient Egypt? Where are his hieroglyphs now? Or the Akkadian biographer's latest cuneiform efforts? The business of the universe seems to be change, no matter our desires for opposing it. POD, I think, is an alteration that has arrived with some good credentials. I don't know that e-books can have a similar impact or a greater one, but it is certainly plausible once the flaws are reduced. What say you?
September 26th, 2001, 07:33 PM
E-books, are very good idea, because you can simply download it. No need to hunt, drive out and pick it up, or any other slightly annoying rerquirements. Simply point and click, and you've got it.
That being said, I personally do not read e-books. It's maybe just a personal thing, but I like holding a book in my hand, something that a computer screen will never replace. I like reading outside when the weather is favorable, I like taking my books with me whenever I might be sitting around or having to wait in really long lines, something that I can't do with an E-book. I think that the convenience with e-books is really cool, but it's not my cup of tea...
As for POD, about how much did it eventually cost? I have heard it can be inexpensive, but different people have very different ideas of what's inexpensive. I really don't have very much money myself, but it sounds interesting (though I plan to try and submit to publishers first), and I would like to hear a bit more about the process....
September 26th, 2001, 08:14 PM
The costs of POD vary not only with the publisher you use, but what other services you put into it. The key for nearly all of them is that the company provides the basics (ISBN#, printing, and royalty statements) while the actual "book" work (editing, marketing) is up to the author (which is not that different from what a new author at a major publisher might expect in any case - the editing and marketing bucks go to the established names).
My POD title cost me $99, through iUniverse. I was fortunate to have the services of my very talented wife to do the editing, otherwise I would have needed to hire some expertise to do that function. The $99 would have included a cover design, but I elected to do my own (this is a nice little side benefit that most traditionally-published authors don't get). I have been doing most of my marketing on the Internet, using my own web site and various no-cost listing services. Other than that, my only cost beyond the $99 has been printing up bookmarks and flyers for local use and for conventions.
The end result was a 6 x 9 trade paperback, printed on rather nice paper, with my cover art on good quality cover stock. To me, the physical book appears indistinguishable from any you can buy at a store. Anybody can purchase my book at Amazon, Barnes or Noble.com, or any of several other online retailers. To quite a few readers I've encountered, it's been completely immaterial to them where or how the book was published. Once they saw the cover or read an excerpt, that was enough for them to decide to buy it.
You're probably not going to sell a lot of copies, compared to being in a bookstore. But on the other hand, the odds are very high that after you spend years trying to break into those bookstores with a big publisher your book may get yanked in a few months if it doesn't take off (publishing becoming infected with blockbuster-itis more and more these days). With POD, you can sell your book indefinitely.
If you want to see the end result of one person's POD experience, you can review my website at www.sff.net/people/radthorne (http://www.sff.net/people/radthorne) to see what the book looks like, and check the links at Amazon, etc. For the investment, I think POD is pretty hard to beat. Again, as I mentioned in my other post today, it all depends on where you want to be as a writer. I feel exactly as Penumbra: I wanted people to read my works and enjoy them. Becoming a big-time author, with recognition from the literati, has not been high on my list of goals.
I have also recently created eBook versions of my POD title, although it is too soon to tell how well that is going to do. I wrote a how-to article on the process of making eBooks for my fellow iUniverse authors, which folks here may find useful as well. You can read it at www.sff.net/people/radthorne/eBookRoadmap.htm (http://www.sff.net/people/radthorne/eBookRoadmap.htm).
[This message has been edited by Radthorne (edited September 27, 2001).]
[This message has been edited by Radthorne (edited September 27, 2001).]
September 26th, 2001, 08:23 PM
I released the first book of my trilogy as an e-book, as well as a paperback edition. The paperback though has far outsold the e-book, at this stage, and seems to mirror the sentiments expressed at this forum in particular, that most people prefer a real book.
I've not yet bothered with e-book formats of the remaining two books in the trilogy - the trade paperbacks seem much more popular!
Neil www.wn.com.au/clubclad/erebus (http://www.wn.com.au/clubclad/erebus)
September 26th, 2001, 09:04 PM
Thank you Radthorne. That was a hearty response and I appreciate it.
$99 is very, very reasonable. I was actually expecting it to be quite a bit more(I was thinking somwhere between $250-$350, which I really don't have right now).
Call me old fashioned, but I want to try and do it the traditional way if I can. I have written only one book thus far, and am currently in the middle of a second. And just knowing that if I simply cannot catch some publishers attention, I can give them the finger and do it myself is a real comfort. It doesn't feel like it's all or nothin'. If it doesn't work one way, well, I can do it another, with no one to tell me otherwise. I have also heard quite a few stories of people starting with POD and getting picked up by publishers after recieving some moderate success. So it sounds like POD is pretty much a win/win situation, and I like those odds...
Thanks again for the info. You brightened my day...
September 27th, 2001, 12:14 AM
Radthorne has given the best response so far. My experience with iUniverse duplicates his. ($99.00) I suggest you look at iuniverse.com and study their options. They include several deals with additional benefits to the basic package for paupers like myself. My own website is: http://rieserbooks.homestead.com/rieserbooks.html
It certainly gives those who need that kind of outlet a chance to compete with authors who spend $50K or more on marketing, though it is tedious and requires a great deal of persistance. In any case, please contact me,
Radthorne or especially Erebus if you need help. (He is extremely gracious and helpful.)
October 3rd, 2001, 09:00 AM
Erebus, my copies of Reflections and The Anvil Amulet just landed today... for POD books they look very nice.
I have some experience of POD, though via publishers who use that as a method of publishing and still pay you royalties and advances, etc. My first novel, The Secret Life of Colors was available on Bookface.com and made #2 on their horror list before they went bust (I made all of 7 bucks because of that, though it could have been more lucrative) though it has sold a few hundred copies (around 3-400 I believe over the course of 12 months) this doesn't really come close to a standard paperback. Part of it is the price, but Secret Life is now a bargain at 11 bucks at http://www.darktales.com my second 'book' Similar Monsters was brought out by COSMOS in May, and had an initial flurry of success but that soon fizzles out and I don't have the cash to keep hyping it, so it depends what you want. I did pick up some great reviews from Cemetery Dance, SFSite etc... so that might help along the line...
October 3rd, 2001, 03:11 PM
...my copies of Reflections and The Anvil Amulet just landed today... for POD books they look very nice.
Great..that didn't take too long given the mail problems in the US! Thanks for the compliment on their appearance too, Kane. I did the actual digital artwork for the covers myself and had a fair amount of input on how the books would look. I'm pretty happy with them myself and the quality I thought was very good.
Wraith Tide has just been released this week, and that concludes The Erebus Equilibrium and the first adventures of Jonathan Edward Malone. However, my hero will return in the sequel, Bortag's Curse, a work in progress due for release in 2003.
I really hope you enjoy the books. Most of the feedback I've received so far suggests that the series improves with each book. I guess I'd have to agree, and I'm particulary proud of the final installment! I look forward to your thoughts and comments in due course.
I'm also very happy to say that my POD publisher pays generous royalties as well, and I've sold books in many countries around the world now. I can only hope that such exposure may lead to bigger and better things in the future!
[This message has been edited by erebus (edited October 03, 2001).]
October 4th, 2001, 06:09 AM
Erebus - started reading Reflections today, so you are competing with Harry Potter 1 for my attention ,)
From the size of the books, what you might consider in 6 months or so is getting Virtualbookworm to put out 1 hardcover of all three in a single volume. I don't know if they do that, but I know that Xlibris do a very good hc version which for a book of this size would retail at about 30 bucks, which is about the same as the 3 paperbacks... but also becomes viable for library sales etc as they only want hcs...
(And now I know what you look like ,) )
October 4th, 2001, 03:37 PM
I forgot about the mug shots on the books! Mind you, that photo is a few years old now and there's probably more grey in my hair these days!
Thanks for the tip, but I have actually already got plans underway for an omnibus edition of the trilogy. I'm hoping to have that printed here in Australia though, and maybe, just maybe, I can get a mainstream publisher to do so. If not, there is a small firm which is doing my short story collection this year and I'm sure they'll do a great job with the trilogy in one volume as well!
I still own all rights to my work, save for the North American POD rights that VB have - but even that's only for two years (unless I renew them) and does not preclude me from doing re-prints out of the USA!