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Time to buy some ISBNs


So it’s that time. I need to buy my IBSNs. Well, that’s not technically true. I don’t have to buy an IBSN, it’s not required to self publish. However if you want to get your work in the hands of booksellers, libraries, and the like you’ll need an IBSN. It’ll also help people find your book on Goodreads. (If you’re not on Goodreads, you should be. Let’s be friends there.)

If I read all this stuff right I’ll need a different IBSN for different formats, though I have seen folks skirt this by just having an ISBN for the “ebook” edition.

My initial run for “The Stars Were Right” will be a Kindle .mobi, an iBooks .epub, and a DRM free .epub which I’ll be selling though my own store. Plus later this year I am hoping to do a small run of printed books as well. That means at least 3 ISBNs to start with, and more later. That means I’ll need to buy a pack of ‘em. Which means $250 dollars. In the grand scheme of this whole process that’s not a lot, but I keep staring at it my finger hovering over the buy button.

So yeah, being a publisher is expensive.

Writing Advice from Harlan Coben

Harlan Coben

Saw this snippet from a recent interview with thriller writer Harlan Coben over on Dean Westly Smith’s blog – it’s good enough it needs to be shared. You can read the full interview with Coben on The Big Thrill.

Franze: Does your success insulate you in any way from all the changes occurring in publishing? Do you worry about the industry?

Coben: I don’t worry about the industry because there is very little I can do about it. Here I will give out some free advice to “newbies”: Stop worrying so much about the business and spend that time WRITING. I know one thing—if I write a good enough book, readers will find it if it’s on digital or paper or stone tablets. If the book isn’t good enough, checking your Amazon rankings and tweeting how wonderful you are, isn’t going to help.

Franze: What’s your best advice to new writers—both those who are trying to get published and those with one or two books under their belts?

Coben: See answer two questions above. Most of the social networking and whatever are worthless. Yes, some writers have benefited from them, but some writers have also won lotteries. And yes, publicists will pressure you to do it, but a few years ago, those same publicists were telling you to travel on your own dime and set up book signings at remote stores or hand out bookmarks. How many writers made a big splash doing that? Sure, you need to know the business. It is constantly changing and we are entering a new world. But in EVERY instance of a book that really broke out, that really shook up the bestseller lists . . . it was word of mouth. Never does a clever tweet or funny Facebook status or Amazon list manipulation trick have any real, lasting effect. And that’s a good thing. The story is the thing. Embrace that. Career-wise, find the authors whose careers you admire. Study how they do it.

Franze: What’s the worst piece of writing advice that you’ve heard dispensed to writers?

Coben: Anything that doesn’t end with the sentiment, “Just shut up and write.”

Real writers ship

real artists ship

I have been doing a lot of thinking about the creative process in regards to publishing one’s work. Over the weekend I went to Emerald City Comic Con. It was both enormous and fascinating and I walked away learning a lot. It’s amazing to see what is out there and what people love and loathe and how passionate fans can be about a particular title.

In discussion about the con with my best friend I dredged up an old adage attributed to Steve Jobs that I always like to quote whenever I get on my soapbox:

Real artists ship.

Ouch. Kinda brutal isn’t it? No one likes to be told what they aren’t doing isn’t “real.” For some it’s a bitter pill to swallow, but as important as your work is delivery is just as important. Putting you work somewhere where it can be consumed by others is how you make it in this business, it’s the thing that separates the real artists from the hobbyists. What was Heinlein’s 4th rule again? Oh yeah, “You must put the work on the market.”

I’m now over halfway into my final edit on “The Stars Were Right” and not long before I begin the page layout process. Only a few months from self-publishing my first novel. (Eeep!) Looking back at what it took to get me here is kinda eye opening. I wrote two complete manuscripts before “The Stars Were Right,” and three or four half manuscripts, but I never shipped them. I never delivered. In a few months that’s going to change.

Is it scary? Hell yes, it’s terrifying, but as Rumi said:

Forget safety. Live where you fear to live. Destroy your reputation.
Be notorious.

We live in amazing times. Never before has it been so easy for content creators in any medium to get their work in front of an audience. Distribution platforms abound: Kindle, iOS App Store, WordPress, Tumblr, Facebook, YouTube, Vimeo, Instagram, and Twitter. Those platforms are full of potential fans eager to dive into whatever quality product you deliver.

On my Twitter bio (and at the top of this blog) I refer to myself as an “aspiring novelist” – and I am and I will continue to be “aspiring” until that manuscript becomes a novel and readers are able to download it. I believe in what Steve Jobs said: real artists ship, and damn it, I’m going to ship.

(The image associated with this posts comes from Andrew Power. Check out the full sized version here or suport the artist and buy a print here.)

Amazon poised to sell “used” ebooks

Storm's A Comin'

This article from Publisher’s Weekly has been making the rounds and it should be discussed. As an aspiring novelist and future creator of digital content I am pretty concerned about what it could mean. “Used” digital files means nothing from that files perspective, what this seems to do is essentially hijack the rights away from the creator. It has the potential to be a big mess; I’m not the only one concerned. Let’s hope Amazon is listening.

Amazon’s business model has long been dependent on resellers of used books and other merchandise. But a U.S. patent that Amazon Technologies in Reno, Nev., received last week indicates that the mega-retailer has its sights on digital resale, including used e-books and audio downloads. According to the abstract, Amazon will be able to create a secondary market for used digital objects purchased from an original vendor by a user and stored in a user’s personalized data store.

Boston-based ReDigi opened the first marketplace for pre-owned digital music, which it launched in late 2011, Once a lawsuit that Capitol Records filed in U.S. District Court in Manhattan over the way it handles music downloads is behind it, ReDigi plans to expand into e-books and other digital items. In a press release issued yesterday, ReDigi commented that “the Amazon patent is further proof that the secondary market is the future of the digital space and that there is no turning back.”

The things that are happening

Things Are Happening

So it’s been an interesting few weeks, not enough changes in data to do a “Running the Numbers” post but I have little bits of news and wanted to share.

First, I had not one but two full manuscript requests for The Stars Were Right and not from agents but directly from publishers! As I have been implying for a few posts, I am considering self-publishing Stars, but it didn’t stop me from listing it and Coal Belly on Publishers Marketplace. While not a definite acquisition it’s still a good feeling to know publishers are actually interested in my books even if agents don’t seem to be.

Second, I hired an editor! I’m approaching the publishing of Stars from two angles: I’ll try to sell it the traditional path, but while I do that there is nothing to stop me from self publishing; of the 300 or so six figure deals reported to Publishers Marketplace in 2012, 20% were from books that started out self-published. If I am going to self-publish I have to get my manuscript up to a high level of polish so I can deliver my final product. To do that I need an editor. So, I am happy to say I will be working with Victoria Shockley on prepping The Stars Were Right for self-publishing. I’ve loved what she’s done so far and look forward to seeing what she’s able to do with my muck of a manuscript. If you’re looking for an editor, reach out to her. She’s great.

Third, I broke 25k words on Old Broken Road. That puts me about 25% in and it’s starting to pick up it’s pace in both my own writing and it’s plot.

Finally, I am getting really close to finishing the cover for The Stars Were Right to which I thank my friends in mischief over at at Butt3rscotch for the feedback, advice, and input. I love those lords and ladies, they’re a solid group. I’ll be sure to post about it on here when it’s finished.

Things are happening!

Barnes & Noble Closing 200+ Stores

Barnes & Noble to shut 200+ stores in the next 10 years

This link has been popping up everywhere, but I wanted to share it here as well. It seems Barnes & Noble will be closing 200+ stores over the next 10 years (Another link HERE in case you’re not a WSJ subscriber.) This is being reported as a strategic move, and they aren’t giving up, etc – still it’s an interesting development.

This isn’t necessarily bad news; book sales are up. What I’m wondering is with the closing of so many big box stores we couldn’t see a resurgence in independent booksellers stepping in to fill the gaps that a big box store has left. A small book shop can operate with significantly less overhead than bloated big box stores, and I’d imagine there is still and will continue to be a market for books sold via foot traffic. (Also, I love indie book shops and hope they never go away.)