Book Publishing: Should you Self-Publish or go with Traditional Publishing?


Publishing Contract

Traditionally Publish or Self-Publish? This is a more complex question than it first appears. You also have to answer 1) What are your objectives? 2) What are you willing to do/not do yourself to help sell your book(s)?

I have modest experience with both traditional and self-publishing: 20 years ago I wrote a novel, printed it, put it in a box and sent it to what back then was a medium size, independent publisher of military history that was trying to break into the fiction market. I had no agent and put a letter in the box to the effect of ‘let me know if you want to publish this.’ A few weeks later I got a thick envelope back. They loved the book and had sent me contracts for it and two more books. I signed all three contracts and they sent me advances for all three.

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3D Book Cover Maker — Fast and Free

3D book cover, 3d book cover maker, 3d book cover generator, 3D bookcover, sci fi book cover, science fiction book cover, book cover design, book covers design, ebook cover design
Example of a 3D book cover I created for free in about three minutes. This is not the actual cover of my upcoming novel…just a working example for this blog.

I stumbled on a powerful and simple way to make a 3D book cover for free. Several sites offer book cover makers, but they all seem to either want your email address, have poor resolution or offer only a few predefined views from which you must pick. I found one that with a little bit of “post production” work on your part will leave you with a very nice ebook cover or paperback book cover, much as you see above and in my sidebar. Now you can do your own book cover design, and see it in 3D.  Let me show you how it’s done.

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Donating proceeds from my novel to the Wounded Warrior Project

Wounded Warrior Project, Vietnam War, Veterans

When I published my short novel about combat in the Vietnam War and how it affected the participants, I promised to donate half of the proceeds to organizations that help our injured veterans. At the time I published it, I was hoping to sell 1 copy a day at a price of $.99. It was my first publication, so I wanted to keep my expectations in check.

When you sell through Amazon, if you price below $2.99 you only get to keep 35% of the sales price. Borrows through Kindle Unlimited and sales of my paperback are at different rates. So there are a variety of formulas in play, and I’ve changed the price of my book a few times. But in short, I was expecting to only collect about $125 dollars for the year, of which I’d give half to such organizations.

The great news is that my book has sold far better than expected — actually cracking the top 10 of several of Amazon’s Bestseller lists — and I’ve stabilized on a price of $1.49.

In short, I’ve now collected over $500 in revenue in less than 9 months. Though my total production costs (editing, some modest advertising, etc.) are close to $600, I’m keeping my promise and sending half of all I collect to organizations that benefit our Vietnam War veterans. Above is a screenshot of the first check.

In the grand scheme of things it is not a fortune, but I’m sure every dollar helps, and there will be more coming. When I hit a total of $600 collected, I’ll send another $150 check.

If you want to help me raise more money for our Vietnam veterans, please buy a copy of my book — which is dedicated to our veterans — and forward this link to those who care because there are soldiers who still need our help. This check went to the WWP, but that is not the only veterans group I’ll donate to over time.

Thank you, and thank them.

From Battle Cry to Bestseller

Amazon best seller list New York Times Bestseller Youth In Asia Battle Cry Leon Uris

So this was cool… Last night one of my 12-year olds asked me what was my favorite book when I was her age. I told her Dune. The other book I thought of, though I was a bit older than 12 when I read it, was one of the few books I’ve read several times. It was Leon Uris’ Battle Cry. It is the story of Uris as a young man in the Marine Corps in some of the most vicious fighting in the Pacific during WWII. Though the book rambles a bit and is a bit choppy, I was deeply impressed by his depiction of coming of age in combat. I was also engaged by how he showed the development of the unit. A bunch of young men became an unrelenting fighting force.

My Vietnam War novella is small in size and stature compared to Battle Cry, but my story is also about young men coming of age in battle. In some ways, I’m sure, my novel is a product of Battle Cry and many other stories and life events.

For those of you who don’t remember him, Leon Uris was one of the big names of fiction in the ‘70’s and ‘80’s. His books consistently hit the New York Times Bestseller lists and were made into movies.

I never imagined I’d see my first novel side-by-side with his on Amazon’s bestseller list, but it happened today.

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How to Successfully promote your new book (what has and has not worked)

Woman, Thumbs Up, How to sell more books

The topic of “how to be successful” publishing a book came up in a recent discussion. You are probably here because you have either published a book or are are about to, and you want to learn as much as you can about how to increase your book sales. Having published my first novel to a 4.6 “star” rating and flirting with the top 1% of sales and now having made it to the top-10 of five bestseller lists, I thought I’d share what I have learned.

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Amazon cracking down on fake reviews (serious writers should rejoice!)

Combating fake reviews, Amazon to crack down, book writing, book publishing

I don’t normally do much off-the-cuff editorializing on my blog, but I’m intrigued by Amazon’s recent announcement that they are going to attempt to get rid of bogus reviews.

I think it is a great news. This means that serious novel writers will have less BS competition out there.

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Book Signing! 23 May. NW Houston.

Copperfield Book Store, Houston, Book Signing, Writing Craft, Novels, Book Writing, Novel Writing

Wanted to let everyone know that on Saturday, 23 May, I’ll be at Copperfield’s Books to sign copies of my new novel, Youth In Asia, and to chat with customers about books, writing, the writing craft, how to write a book, showing and telling, the gobs of money writers make, and all related topics. I’ll be there from 11 – 3, so — if you happen to be in NW Houston Saturday afternoon, please stop in and see us.

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How to write a book? Make it easy for your readers to stay with you

How to write a book. Writing. Fiction. Fiction Writing.
. First rule is don’t knock your readers out of the story.

 

How to write a book? Don’t knock your readers out of the fantasy.

I saw a discussion on a board today about writing, and if it is a big deal to not “knock readers out of a story” with inconsistencies, bad grammar, inexplicable changes in tone, etc. If you want to learn how to write a book, and sell your book,  I think it is a big deal…a huge deal.

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