What do these reports mean for the independent publisher?
Changes in the policies of the companies above may leave
fewer good options for self publishing, whether in electronic
or printed form.
According to Edward Nawotka of Publishers Weekly,
MightyWords suggests "... a number of other sites [that]
provide various levels of self-publishing opportunities and
services that might better meet your needs. It recommends the
services of vanity press 1stBooks Library."
But for professional writers, vanity presses may not be a
viable alternative. Disappointing sales are not the only
problem with vanity publishing...
For example, consider what the L.A. Times has gently termed
the "uneven quality" of offerings from some companies,
clearly seen when browsing their catalogs in broad
categories such as "Romance" and "Poetry." Professional
writers may not want their work associated with the kind
of material offered by some vanity publishers.
In addition, vanity publishing can be expensive, if a number
of add-ons and extras are charged. Some of these costs may
not be immediately apparent to the unsuspecting.
Finally, some authors and publishers have also reported
quality control problems and extended production delays
-- especially from companies that will not commit to a
a production schedule in writing.
In this climate of change, how can self-publishers best use
According to Paul Hilts of Publishers Weekly,
"Richard Sarnoff, president of Random House New Media ... had no
doubt that electronic formats will dominate, certainly within
100 years, he said, and probably within 10 to 20, but he also
noted that e-book revenues are 'minuscule,' and suggested that
print on demand was the better bet in the short run."
Print-on-demand (POD) offers many of the financial savings of
e-Books, most notably the ability to produce exactly enough
copies to meet market demands without producing un-sold books.
Yet the finished product is a "real" book, that can be made
widely available to the public through established channels
such as bookstores, libraries, etc. -- whether or not the
reader even owns a computer.
At present, POD services are still available from
For previously published authors and small to midsize presses,
Publishing offers a POD system geared for the
professional. UP also accepts a limited number of submissions
from new writers.
POD and e-Book services are also still available from other
companies listed in Chapter Five of the second edition of
Online marketing and promotion also remain effective, even
if the product is not itself digital. The cost of sending
e-mail or building a website like this one to promote a book
is usually a small fraction of the cost of direct (postal)
mail, printing brochures, and/or print advertising.
As usual, the publishing industry is changing rapidly at
the dawn of the new millennium, for both mainstream and
independent publishers. We urge you to visit this site
at least once a month, for the latest information.
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