Wednesday, January 02, 2008

And another, now on self-publishing

I guess I'm making up for lost time.

But I had to post about this article on Yahoo! news, by Candice Choi, an AP writer, on the latest in self-publishing opportunities. There are many. This is a bit of a fluff piece, but I should note that the article was listed as one of the most popular when I went to Yahoo! news.

I have to say, the tone of her first line irritates me: "Getting a book published isn't the rarefied literary feat it once was." Oh, hoorah! But as the article continues, I can appreciate what Choi is saying, and I respect the use of self-publishing for niche audiences, whether local or just specialized, as in the example they mention of a group really into roses. Fine, publish for them, and self-publishing is a smart way to do it. Let's just all be clear on what comes out the other end. As Choi notes,
Printing quality can vary, with images possibly emerging denser or brighter in some copies. Some in the industry say the quality of on-demand publishing has improved greatly and few would be able to distinguish the difference from those printed on traditional presses. And on-demand books are priced according to their length, making them pricier than books printed en masse.

So there's all that.

And I did appreciate this mention from Tina Jordan:

Big companies like Random House Inc. or HarperCollins Publishers can promote authors on a national scale and get titles in major bookstores. Professional editors also polish copy in the traditional publishing world, a step that can transform a manuscript into a best-seller or perhaps a masterpiece.

"The value and cachet of being with a larger house is still something authors value," said Tina Jordan, vice president of the Association of American Publishers.

But ever the editor, I must ask: what about independent presses? How American, to only think of the extremes: self-publishing or Random House.

And another thing not mentioned here is how often publishers themselves use print-on-demand technology, meaning that if the author gets her or his book published by a publishing house, that same book could end up looking like a self-published book in a few years time, albeit with a professionally designed cover and interior (just reproduced in the same way as self-published). Publishers, too, have to appreciate the better quality of this technology, even if its accessibility is causing a glut in the book market.

Amazon getting involved feels a bit dirty, like B&N publishing their own editions of classics or, possibly worse, their own supposed literary review. Egads, man! Isn't this vertical integration gone amuck, and mucking up our industry?

1 comment:

Yvonne said...

We're a print on demand publisher (WME Books) and we pride ourselves on the quality of our work - which is professionally edited, produced, printed, and then marketed. We are working on getting books accepted in bookstores and have had a number of our books (non-fiction) accepted as college course required reading.

We do not work with authors unless they are serious about their books. Those who are understand the need to pay for higher quality work. It's in our nature to then work with the author to market his or her book - via blogs, blogging book tours, connecting to local independent bookstores, professional orgs, and more.

Thanks for helping authors understand the ins and outs of writing in a truly "user generated content" kind of world. Great job!