Saturday, December 20, 2008

Self-Publishing Part I

Some writers are skipping the traditional publishing channels these days and are getting their writing out on their own. While few can claim the success of Brunonia Barry’s The Lace Reader—which she released and marketed on her own and then received a book and film deal—writers are using new resources and methods to publish and release their work. In this first part of a two-entry look into self-publishing, I’ll highlight some innovative book-building sites.

San Francisco based Blurb is one of the more popular self-publishing sites, allowing users to download its fancy schmancy software called BlurbBookSmart and to lay out images, text, or just about anything in a variety of esthetically-pleasing templates made by professional book designers. Users have made cookbooks, books of photography, personal family histories, and traditional texts, as well as graphic novels, brochures, and marketing materials. This is also a great service for artists or designers looking into portfolio options. A four-color softcover starts at $12.95 (for up to 40 pages), and hardcovers of the same page count start at $22.95. For more pricing info, go here.

Blurb also offers a heavier, 100-pound premium paper option and allows members to make their work private (to be viewed or purchased by invite only) or public—meaning searchable and available openly for purchase. You’re even able to set the profit you’d like to make on each book sold and you retain the rights to your content (They do have a license to print your work and display it should you wish to have it public. This is fully-paid but royalty free).

Lulu offers a similar service, publishing self-arranged content and shipping them on demand, but they charge a commission on any titles sold. Xlibris and iUniverse follow the more traditional publishing route and charge fees, provide editing, marketing, and distribution services, and pay authors royalties.

My follow-up entry will be an interview with author Mike Heppner and his experience with two self-released novellas.

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