The New World of Publishing

The Git’s long-time reader Don Armstrong wrote:

Thank you! I’m impressed with Yahoo – they didn’t SpamCan you. There’s fame for you, if you like.

I’m also medium impressed with your hairs. There appear to be several of them, and they appear to be quite elongated. Not as many as I’ve got, of course, but longer and thicker. Longer and thicker is a good thing, I guess, when you start getting up there in years.

Publishing. Isn’t that a bit like starting a deck-chair-hire business – on the Titanic?

Actually, hehoomustnotbenamed (but whose initials are RBT) has had some interesting stuff to say or link to, about e-publishing. He makes some sense, although you need to sort through what IS, in the USA, vs what IS in Australia. His arguments about e-publishing on Amazon at $2.99 per copy, or even down to $0.99, where it becomes just a “who cares, what can I lose” button-push, are thought-provoking. There are authors out there who are raking in many hundreds of thousands of dollars a month, just because not only are they competent authors (as so many are), but also because they’re decided to sell electrons cheap, many times over.


Well Don, if you are going to have a hair-raising experience, it’s best to have plenty of hair I always say 🙂

The Git made some predictions about publishing a decade ago and the detail is proving as fascinating as having seen some of it through a glass darkly.

eBooks are certainly a success story; “We know that ebook uptake, as measured in sales or their percentage of publishers’ revenues, has doubled or more than doubled every year since 2007.” But note that nearly all of these sales are for fiction. The Kindle and its kindred devices are not kind to graphics, making them at this time unsuited to certain kinds of publication, even some fiction (think maps for example).

Print-on-Demand (POD) has transformed the market for books that sell in relatively low volumes. This area is dominated by non-fiction. The big advantage of POD is that low inventory costs somewhat offset the higher per print and bind cost. Amazon could never have the millions of books for sale that it does if it had to warehouse thousands of copies of books that sell in relatively small volumes. There’s also less moving of books from place to place prior to purchase.

The downside of POD is that affordable books can only include a small number of relatively low quality greyscale images. While you can have full colour, it is prohibitively expensive since every page must be printed on a full colour printer.

An increasing number of authors are self-publishing using POD. The printing/book distributing company invoices the author for the cost of books distributed and pays the author receipts for books sold. A number of authors report double the income on sales compared to the royalty they would have received when dealing with a regular publisher.

Blogging too is a form of publishing; it’s just insanely difficult to raise any significant income from it. Worse, the more time you spend writing a blog, the less time you have to write revenue-raising material. Worse still, the longer you blog, the more difficult it becomes to keep your audience amused with fresh material. And if you thought things couldn’t get worse still, you are wrong; the longer you continue to blog, the lower your Google PageRank becomes. PageRank is important if you want to have Googlers find your page near the top of a search.

So, now you know why The Git has moved his blog here, and left most of the older material on the sturmsoft website. Gradually, the old material there will be replaced by samples of published material and invitations to purchase. Ashwood Books will also publish more draft manuscripts and solicit feedback from readers so that the end product will be more finely tuned to readers’ needs.

Blogging is actually an addiction that The Git would most likely be better off without. However, it is fun, and The Git hopes to strike some sort of balance between writing for a living and finding time to indulge himself here.


Four years into the ebook revolution: things we know and things we don’t know

Self Publishing and Printing Your Own Book

Thought for the Day

It’s so much easier to suggest solutions when you don’t know too much about the problem. — Malcolm Forbes


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