Monthly Archives: March 2009

When is an Author Not an Author?

Well, that’s debatable, but I’d like to suggest: When they are self-published. Oh yes, let the missives fly- but I can take it! I think what bothers me the most is when a self-published author mascarades as a legitimately published author- and yes I use that word knowing I may recieve hate mail- but facts are facts.
Publishing traditionally equals credibility in the eyes of the public. And if the public perceives you as that kind of author- and you aren’t that kind of author- I think it’s misleading.
I’m going to put something in here from Wikipedia ( it’s a sin yes- but oh so handy) And saves me from typing alot ( and I’m citing it so it’s okay)

Types of self-publishing

Vanity publishing
Main article: Vanity press
Vanity publishing is a pejorative term, referring to a publisher contracting with authors regardless of the quality and marketability of their work. They appeal to the writer’s vanity and desire to become a published author, and make the majority of their money from fees rather than from sales. Vanity presses may call themselves joint venture or subsidy presses; but in a vanity press arrangement, the author pays all of the cost of publication and undertakes all of the risk.
In his guide How to Publish Yourself author Peter Finch states that such presses are “to be avoided at all costs.” Because there is no independent entity making a judgment about their quality, and because many of them are published at a loss, vanity press works are often perceived as deserving skepticism from distributors, retailers, or readers. Some writers knowingly and willingly enter into such deals, placing more importance on getting their work published than on profiting from it.

Subsidy publishers
A subsidy publisher distributes books under its own imprint, and is therefore selective in deciding which books to publish. Subsidy publishers, like vanity publishers, take payment from the author to print and bind a book, but contribute a portion of the cost as well as adjunct services such as editing, distribution, warehousing, and some degree of marketing.[1] Often, the adjunct services provided are minimal. As with commercial publishers, the books are owned by the publisher and remain in the publisher’s possession, with authors receiving royalties for any copies that are sold. Most subsidy publishers also keep a portion of the rights from any book that they publish. Generally, authors have little control over production aspects such as cover design.[2]

True self-publishing
True self-publishing means authors undertake the entire cost of publication themselves, and handle all marketing, distribution, storage, etc. All rights remain with the author, the completed books are the writer’s property, and the writer gets all the proceeds of sales. Self-publishing can be more cost-effective than vanity or subsidy publishing and can result in a much higher-quality product, because authors can put every aspect of the process out to bid rather than accepting a preset package of services.[1]

Print on Demand (POD)
Main article: Print on demand
Short run printing is also called Print-on-demand (POD) or Print Quantity Needed (PQN). POD publishers generally do not screen submissions prior to publication, and many are web-based. They accept uploaded digital content as Microsoft Word documents, text files, or RTF files, as printing services for anyone who is willing to pay.[1] Authors choose from a selection of packages, or design a unique printing package that meets their requirements. For an additional cost, a POD publisher may offer services such as book jacket design with professional art direction; content, line, and copy-editing; indexing; proofreading; and marketing and publicity. Some POD publishers offer publication as e-books in addition to hardcover and paperback. Some POD publishers will offer ISBN (International Standard Book Numbers) service, which allows a title to be searchable and listed for sale on websites.
Many critics dismiss POD as another type of vanity press. One major difference is that POD publishers have a connection to retail outlets like Amazon and Books in Print that vanity presses generally do not.[3]

What’s the most common link between them all? YOU PAY MONEY TO BE PUBLISHED.
And that’s what is wrong with authors who claim to be authors when they have paid a printer to put their work out there. I don’t have a problem with paying people to market your books, put together proposals, source agents or any of that- but I do have a problem with advertising
yourself as an “author” when really you haven’t done all the work you should have. Promotion is one thing, building credibility as a traditionally published author is another. And if there is one thing that Stephen King never did- it was consider self-publishing ( Read his On Writing book and you’ll see what he went through)

Oh yes, I have no doubt many people will be upset by my statements and I am happy to debate these facts- by all means someone prove to me that self-publishing is a good thing and I will gladly offer up some form of apology.

Of course I might be a little bias because if everyone self publishes then I might be out of a job- but ignore that and listen to my missive.
Do the work- Do it right- and Don’t self-publish!


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The Phone and all its uses

When is a phone conversation too long? When you’ve come full circle and start repeating the same comments over and over again? When you forget why you called in the first place? When you start speaking about banal food choices and whether something is frozen or not? When you start answering everything with a question in a sing songy voice?
Yup. I’d say just about then.

Of course it’s always good if you are on the phone a great deal to invest in a portable phone. That way when you are speaking with someone and you really have no interest in what they are saying, you can do other things around the house like sweeping ( if your maid isn’t due to arrive the next day), or cooking up a nice bowl of poutine. Even in a small home, a portable phone ( when it doesn’t need recharging) is handy and shows that you really are a multi-tasker.

As an agent I am on the phone 3/4 of the day so a phone is a lifeline. But despite what you may think I don’t actually own a cell phone. Why? Because I don’t need one. In fact most people, except for maybe neurosurgeons really need a cell phone. Life isn’t as rushed or as important as most people make it out to be. And the world has become to reliant on the need to communicate every second of the day ( I have gmail for that!)

How many times have you been in line for a cashier when someone is either on the phone in front of you or are actually conversing as they are completing their transactions? Did we all really have to hear about how dumb your coworker was? Or that you wanted to tape something on television but forgot to set your dvd recorder? How did we live before hearing all these common excruitatingly boring daily transgressions everywhere we go?

By not having a cell phone I’m saving all of you from more noise pollution and from hearing the really boring chatter like how many buns and danishes I ate yesterday, and that I really only have decaf once in awhile, and that I know that my friend is probably really good at playing tennis I just don’t want to admit it.

So I’ll close with this little tip

Don’t answer the phone. If it’s important they’ll call back. If they don’t well someone might have died so maybe forget my first tip and answer the phone just in case. But don’t spend to long on there, some of us don’t have call waiting.

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